Happy 124th Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

Kirsten Silven

English author, poet, and professor, J.R.R. Tolkien, was born in South Africa on January 3, 1892 – exactly 124 years ago today – prompting many fans and members of the Tolkien Society to raise a glass wishing the writer a "Happy Birthday," as part of a longstanding annual tradition, according to Washington's Top News (WTOP).

"From Vienna to Israel, from New Orleans to Hollywood, people all over the world are toasting the 124th birthday of author J.R.R. Tolkien."

According to ComicBook, Tolkien has been ranked as one of the 50 greatest English authors since 1945 by London newspaper The Times, and he is also widely regarded as the father of modern-day fantasy writing. Legend has it that Tolkien first began writing at the early age of four, but it was at the age of 45 when he published The Hobbit– a book originally written for the entertainment of his own children – followed by the sequel The Lord of the Rings, that Tolkien's storytelling genius became a worldwide phenomenon.

"In his 81-years roaming the planet, he would conjure up some of the most iconic stories which are still acclaimed and respected today. His imagination would not be denied."

Happy birthday toasts aside, there's no doubt that Tolkien's visions of good vs. evil are what continue to captivate readers. His handling of poignant, always-timely themes, such as the potentially devastating moral consequences of having too much power, are still just as enchanting to audiences of all ages today as they were nearly a century ago.

"All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink, and say the words 'The Professor,' before taking a sip (or swig, if that's more appropriate for your drink)."

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

"I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil." – The Return of the King

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens." – The Fellowship of the Ring

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." – The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

"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." – The Fellowship of the Ring

[Photo Credit: Associated Press]