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A Letter from Christopher Tolkien's Lawyer


I never imagined, when attempting to read The Simarillion in high school , that I would one day get a letter from Christopher Tolkien's lawyer. Today is that day!

The letter is a response to this blog post ("CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN IS A BIG PRICK") from January 2004. Yes, it was a little harsh. But many Tolkien fans were upset by published news articles saying  Christopher Tolkien was unreasonably opposed to the Lord of the Rings films and was impeding any possibility of The Hobbit reaching the silver screen.

Tolkien's lawyer looks like quite an affable fellow, doesn't he? I have complied with their requests to the best of my ability, all detailed in the revised blog post ("CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN IS APPARENTLY A CHARMING AND NOBLE OLD CHAP, PRONE TO OCCASIONAL BOUTS OF STUBBORN PRICKISHNESS."). My very favorite part of this whole affair is their demand that I publish the following statement:

(5)  Christopher Tolkien does not guard his house with a wild boar.

Of course he doesn't... (barely suppressed laughter) Tolkien's Internet Movie Database bio says otherwise. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to make up your own mind on the presence of boars on Mr. Tolkien's estate.

On a more serious note - can any legal folk tell me if I need to worry about comments on my blog post calling Tolkien a "big prick" (my words) "friggin' bastard" (blog commenter)? This was a common reaction among some Tolkien fans to news reports that Tolkien was holding up a film adaptation of The Hobbit.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Blogger's Guide to Defamation strongly suggests I'm well within my legal rights, due to Tolkien's status as a (obviously rather sensitive) public figure, my lack of "actual malice," my quoting of published news articles on this controversial matter, and this web site's status as a blog – which are opinionated forums by nature.



October 5, 2006 at 11:08 AM in Dandy Foppery, Media, Weblogs | Permalink


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You are being very kind to rename that post. I agree with your assessment that you were firmly within your legal rights. Lawyers love to intimidate people. Their actual recourse here would have been futile. Still, I would get a lawyer to send them a reply to politely tell them in legalese to fuck off.

Posted by: Michael at Oct 5, 2006 12:17:55 PM

I'm hoping for something even better - a BoingBoing post. :-)

Posted by: chuck at Oct 5, 2006 12:26:02 PM


Posted by: taylor at Oct 5, 2006 12:38:24 PM


Posted by: Aaron Landry at Oct 5, 2006 1:38:21 PM


Posted by: Aaron Landry at Oct 5, 2006 1:38:54 PM

Personally, I admire a man who keeps a boar, domestic, wild or otherwise.

Posted by: T-Bone at Oct 5, 2006 1:49:39 PM

Days without an accident in Chuck's workplace: 0

Posted by: taulpal at Oct 5, 2006 1:59:17 PM

that's hilarious.

Posted by: chuck at Oct 5, 2006 2:08:42 PM

It is clearly not defamation to say a man guards his home with a wild boar. That is an extremely complimentary comment. It would be cool to have a wild boar. It is also cool to have a giant prick, is it not? Just sayin...

Posted by: Jason at Oct 5, 2006 7:12:19 PM

I agree completely. I'm very pro-wild-boars-and-big-pricks.

Posted by: chuck at Oct 5, 2006 7:18:49 PM

Contact someone in your state ACLU office. Now!

I've seen free speech cases on blogs work out well for the bloggers. I'm not a lawyer but I think wild boars are KOOL!

Posted by: BrianR at Oct 6, 2006 6:50:01 AM

"Holy fucking shit, if you've ever seen his huge boar you know to be very afraid. It's not the length so much as the girth and density..."

Posted by: Jonathan at Oct 6, 2006 7:48:53 AM

Chuck, I'd recommend putting the full text of the cease-and-desist letter online and in web searchable (read: google indexable) format (as opposed to an image scan). I did the same with mine earlier in the year: My first cease-and-desist letter with great success.

Then I contacted the ACLU who were very interested in my case. It's rare for them to take it, but they are looking to break into more technology-related cases. Feel free to email if you'd like to chat more.

Posted by: Justin Watt at Oct 6, 2006 12:58:06 PM

Chuck, what can I say? You're a dangerous man. It will be nice to see your next vlog project...

From Slander Prison. :-)

Posted by: Dave H. at Oct 9, 2006 10:51:07 AM

Or...maybe you were just rude, and should have chosen your words with greater respect and courtesy ;)

Posted by: brettc at Aug 2, 2008 10:05:55 PM

will christopher tolkien be writing any new LOTR book with a new story..or any other related book.????

Posted by: baber at Sep 16, 2008 3:58:50 PM