Tolkien scion: Ring was cursed

20 November 2012 - 02:19 By © The Daily Telegraph
Simon Tolkien. Pic Bernard Vaughan
Simon Tolkien. Pic Bernard Vaughan

The grandson of the novelist JRR Tolkien has disclosed how The Lord of the Rings films tore his family apart and provoked a feud with his father.

Simon Tolkien, 53, said the immense popularity of Sir Peter Jackson's Hollywood adaptations was like having his family "hit by a juggernaut". The former barrister, now himself a successful novelist, said he began to lose "sight" of his identity and became "suffocated" by being known as "JRR Tolkien's grandson".

The problems also provoked an "incredibly, dreadfully painful" feud with his father, Christopher, with the falling out becoming so bad that the two did not speak for "a while".

His son got bullied at school. He wrote in a Sunday newspaper: "Maybe some people assumed it was about money . I don't know.

"In hindsight, I think all of my anger was being driven by this feeling that I was trapped. All I was ever going to be was the grandson of a very famous writer. That was the sum total of my achievements."

He said he managed to turn his life around thanks in part to his 50-year-old US-born wife, Tracy, with whom he now lives in California.

His grandfather died in 1973, aged 81, but his 87-year-old father is still alive and they have "sorted out all our differences".

He dedicated his latest book to his father, adding: "I guess I just feel lucky that I got the chance to put things right with my dad.

"But I'm grateful that he took the time to read my books and tell me that he liked them. That made me feel very fulfilled."

He said: "The arrival of a Tolkien blockbuster no longer fills me with the trepidation it once did. I won't be getting another sideswipe from the juggernaut."

His wife, whom he met at Oxford University 30 years ago, said it was traumatic watching her husband "shrinking away".

She said: "Sure, he knows he's never going to be as famous as his grandfather, or sell as many books, but at least he feels he's achieved something on his own terms."