Today would have been the 121st birthday for legendary novelist J.R.R Tolkien. With the latest adaptation of his fantasy epics, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, still in the minds of many, an old interview with The BBC reminds us of the inspiration for the timeless classic.
"[I remember] the actual flashpoint," Tolkien told the BBC in March 1968 about his idea for The Hobbit. "I can still see the corner in my house in 20 Northmoor Road where it happened. I'd got an enormous pile of exam papers there and was marking school examinations in the summer time, which was very laborious, and unfortunately also boring. I remember picking up a paper and nearly gave it an extra mark, or extra five marks actually, because one page on this particular paper was left blank. Glorious! Nothing to read. So I scribbled on it, I can't think why, 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit'."
Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings while living in Oxford, but it's hard to imagine he envisaged what cultural icons they would become, as Peter Jackson continues to reinvent his masterpieces into big-screen blockbusters. Work on the second Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is in post production and set for a 2013 release. There and Back Again - the third and final film - is due for a 2014 release.