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The Best Quotes of J.R.R. Tolkien

Art credit: Donato Giancola

Art credit: Donato Giancola

"If you really want to know what Middle-earth is based on, it's my wonder and delight in the earth as it is, particularly the natural earth"

— J. R. R. Tolkien

Everyone knows about J.R.R. Tolkien and his legacy. Where should one even begin to explain who he was and how much he managed to influence future generations?

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892 – 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and extremely accomplished scholar. Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon language, and English studies; both at the University of Oxford.

He is most famous for his Middle-earth book series, especially for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien enjoyed in learning and creating new languages. More than anything, he was an inventor of new worlds, new languages, and new writing styles. His imagination was always vivid and unmatched, and it allowed Tolkien to pave the road for future generations of authors and other artists. His contributions to the world of fantasy established him as the "father of the modern high fantasy genre".

J.R.R. Tolkien also had a talent for creating memorable and powerful quotes, and in continuation, here are some of the best ones.



"The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out."

— The Fellowship of the Ring

This was said to Frodo Baggins in the third chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring. Gildor Inglorion, an elf who met with Frodo on the edge of the Shire, offered the brave Hobbit wise words of advice when Frodo claimed that he knew dangers are real, but he never expected to find danger in his own Shire, of all places.

It's one of the strong quotes meant to remind us all that everything that happens to others can happen to us too. No one is immune to the evils of the world. Unpleasant surprises are inevitable parts of our lives.




"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

— The Fellowship of the Ring

The quote appears in the second chapter of the first book. Gandalf the Gray narrated the story of the Ring of Power to Frodo Baggins. The story was captivating but also frightening, and Frodo lamented the fact that such monstrous things are happening in his lifetime.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” Frodo said at that moment, to which Gandalf looked at him, and gave him a cautious, but wise reply.

"So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The full quote is quite self-explanatory.



"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

— The Fellowship of the Ring

Another great exchange of words between Gandalf the Gray and Frodo Baggins, that also takes place in chapter two of the first book in the series. When Gandalf told Frodo the story about Gollum and Bilbo, Frodo wished that Bilbo managed to kill the Gollum. Gandalf's reply influenced Frodo's future actions very much; more than anything else, Gandalf's words are what managed to stop Frodo's hand when he finally met with Gollum later in the series. Bilbo's and Frodo's acts of mercy are what finally led to the destruction of the Ring of Power, proving Gandalf's point.

Wise words such as these remind us that we're all only human, and it's not our place to judge others, for every act, good or bad, bears certain consequences, and we cannot always see them clearly.



“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.”

— The Two Towers

At the mere end of the second book, when Frodo and Sam had lost all hope, and after Frodo almost handed the Ring of Power to the enemy, it seemed that everything is lost. The battle was raging around them, and Frodo fell into a state of dispiritedness.

Samwise Gamgee, an eternal source of inspiration, bravery, and loyalty, offered to Frodo this amazing speech and managed to move everyone around him.

“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something. That there is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.”


"I want to be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren."

— TheReturn of the King

Being raised in an environment that was constantly a war zone, Éowyn of Rohan grew up to believe that being a glorified warrior is the only thing that mattered in the world. She fought for her place in a warrior's world, and she deserved it. It's only after she met her future husband, Faramir of Gondor, after the great battle she barely survived, that she realized the world has so much more to offer.

That's when she told him how she wants to shape her future. She would like to be a healer from now on, and to care for the living in the best way she can. There is more than one way to contribute to the world, and she chose her own way.

Art Credit: Ted Nasmith

Art Credit: Ted Nasmith

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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

— The Fellowship of the Ring

After Gandalf's demise in the Mines of Moria, others are filled with sorrow and pain. Upon reaching the fairest realm of the Elves, they meet with Haldir, an Elf of Lothlórien, who offered great words of comfort to Meriadoc Brandybuck. Merry had seen enough and wanted to return home to succumb to his pain and defeat.

Haldir was kind enough to remind Merry, and with him the rest of us, that darkness never stands alone. It intertwines with the light itself, and together, they give everyone the true taste of life. Kind and bad, beautiful and ugly, good and evil, all mixed together in a single cup. When we drink from the cup, we have experienced life and all it has to offer. In continuation, light cannot exist without darkness, and only alongside darkness, the light shines brighter.


“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

— The Return of the King

The adventure was finished, the Middle-earth was in peace at last, and it was a time to say one final goodbye. These are the last words Gandalf the Gray gave to his dearest Hobbits as they were standing on the shore, ready to be separated forever.

This quote is a great reminder that tears are sometimes good, even necessary, and more than anything, they are healthy reactions to certain losses. There's no shame in crying, and no one should feel weak for letting their tears fall down their cheeks. Sometimes, and more frequently yes than not, tears are the sign of strength.



"Where there's life there's hope.”

— The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

In chapter thirteen of The Hobbit, the future of an outstanding Hobbit, and the worst burglar in the history of burglars, Bilbo Baggins, was unknown. The company was ill-fated from the beginning, but at that moment, everyone was in a state of wretchedness.

It was Bilbo himself who reminded the company, that as long as there is still life in them, and in the world, there will be also hope in victory. They were still present, still eager to fight back, and it was all that mattered. Nothing is ever truly lost as long as there's at least one living being, somewhere out there.



"Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall."

— The Fellowship of the Ring

The quote appeared in the conversation between Gimli, son of Glóin, and Elrond Half-elven, about the oaths and weaknesses of living beings. Gimli was too quick to judge the ones who were too weak, tired, or lost to persist.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,” Gimli said. The Lord of Rivendell only partially disagreed, offering the fallen people some sort of comfort and explanation.

"Maybe,” said Elrond, “but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.”

It is true that we can never be sure what's our breaking point. And if we break, if we reach the ends of our force, and give in to defeat, we should never hate ourselves for that. In the end, like Elrond was kind enough to remind us, we're all only human, every one of us different, and we can never know how we'll react upon seeing the "nightfall". What matters most is that we try.

Art credit: Çiço Srk

Art credit: Çiço Srk


"Not all those who wander are lost."

— The Fellowship of the Ring

One of the most iconic moments of all time was when this exact line was said. It's a part of the poem “All That Glitters Is Not Gold” in Lord of the Rings, and it's essentially, about one of the most important characters in the series: Aragorn II Elessar.

The quote mostly means that some people are explorers, adventurers, and free-spirited by nature. Those traits do not make them physically, spiritually, or mentally weaker than all the others.

This is something that offered great consolation to everyone who dared to be different from the others but was taught that it's wrong and that they're broken. It was Tolkien who actually taught the different ones that they're not broken at all. On the contrary, sometimes they are the most special of us all.

Art credit: Shadow Master

Art credit: Shadow Master

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.


From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

Out of countless inspirational quotes that J. R. R. Tolkien honored us with, these are the ones that were chosen for this article.

What Tolkien's quotes would you add to the list?


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 09, 2020:

My favorite is the quote by Samwise Gamgee who is my favorite heroic character. He had more about him than anyone knew.



Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 07, 2020:

You have made me want to pull out my books and read them again. I loved those books.



Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 15, 2020:

Thank you very much, BookLover!

BookLover on June 15, 2020:

This was a very interesting and lovely read. I love the quotes you chose for the Hub!

Ivana Divac (author) from Serbia on June 15, 2020:

Thank you, Lorna and Liz, for your kind comments!

Liz Westwood from UK on June 15, 2020:

This is a very interesting collection of quotes from what have become relatively modern classics.

Lorna Lamon on June 15, 2020:

I enjoyed reading 'The Hobbit' and actually preferred it to 'Lord of the Rings'. His insight into life and the world of fantasy can only be applauded.

You have included many of my favourite quotes, however, this is one he wrote to his wife Edith. "I do so dearly believe no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly". This was an enjoyable and interesting read Ivan.

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