Simon Mario Reuel Tolkien
(born 1959) is a British barrister and novelist. He is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the eldest son of Christopher Tolkien. He was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and then Downside School. He studied modern history at Trinity College, Oxford.
Since 1994, he has been a barrister in London, where he lives with his wife and their two children. His first novel, The Stepmother
(published as Final Witness
in the United States ), was published in 2002.
When Christopher Tolkien issued a statement that the "Tolkien estate would be best advised to avoid any specific association with the films", Simon Tolkien broke with the estate and offered to cooperate with the filmmakers, stating "It was my view that we take a much more positive line on the film and that was overruled by my father."
Following up a 2001 interview with the Independent
, Simon in 2003 gave interviews to the London Telegraph
and other media in which he discussed his strained relationship with his father, describing it as a permanent breach. Simon was especially bitter about the composition of the board of the family company when it was created in 1999: "'[A]bout four years ago he started to think about who would succeed him on the board of the company which administers the Tolkien estate. He named new directors to join him and I was not one of them. Why should I be excluded from the board of my grandfather's company,' he asks, 'when my stepmother is on it? I think my grandfather would be appalled to know that I'd been treated in this way.'"
Other media organizations misreported the story as Simon having been removed
from the Tolkien Company board by his father in retaliation for Simon's support of the films. This led to an internet firestorm, with ever-wilder rumors spreading from claims that Simon was "removed" for having attended the Fellowship of the Ring's
2001 premiere to assertions that Christopher guarded his home in France with a wild boar, which Christopher was forced to address via a press release from his lawyers, stating inter alia
- There was no dispute between Christopher Tolkien and his son, Simon Tolkien, as a result of Simon Tolkien going to see the first Lord of the Rings film.
- Simon Tolkien was never on the Board of any Tolkien company and was not 'removed' from any such position by Christopher Tolkien.
- Nor has Christopher Tolkien 'disowned' Simon Tolkien.
Simon however remains a trustee of the 1967 Tolkien Discretionary Settlement along with his cousins Joan and Michael Tolkien.