41+ J. R. R. Tolkien Quotes About Life & Friendship

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Introduction:  To understand the importance of J.R.R. Tolkien’s quotes on life, one needs to be familiar with his works, especially The Lord of the Rings trilogy and other novels he wrote, such as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.

Preliminary background information:  First, Tolkien lived in a world ravaged by war and violence, and he fearfully remembered what his father felt toward him. Second, Tolkien wanted a more Westernized version of Edenic Paradise than Islam or Christianity offered people while still having all three.

Middle Ground Between Living Simply And Doing Virtuous Work:  He was uneasy about being accorded sainthood for his fanciful stories when he mourned that there were no men in modern times who are “nobly negligent-slothfully intent on getting self-appointed tasks.”

Conclusion:  Conclude with how Tolkien believed this idea is necessary because of society’s current danger.


Motivational J. R. R. Tolkien Quotes

  • “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The world changes and all that once was strong now proves unsure.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “For we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that one day everything sad will come untrue.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “You have to understand the good in things, to detect the real evil.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Living by faith includes the call to something greater than cowardly self-preservation.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead. Today and tomorrow are yet to be said. The chances, the changes are all yours to make. The mold of your life is in your hands to break.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “How do you move on? You move on when your heart finally understands that there is no turning back.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The chief purpose of life, for any of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.” ~ 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. 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.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “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.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien


  • “All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost.”

This quote is from The Lord of the Rings and speaks to the idea that not everything that glitters is gold. Just because someone appears to be lost doesn’t mean they are. There is beauty and value in everyone and everything, even if it’s not immediately apparent.


  • “The world is perilous, and there are many dark places, but still much is fair.”

Another quote from The Lord of the Rings speaks to the idea that even though the world can be dangerous, there is still much beauty to be found in it. We mustn’t give up hope just because things are tough sometimes.


  • “Courage is found in unlikely places.”

This quote from The Hobbit reminds us that courage doesn’t always come from where we expect it to. It can come from the most unlikely people in the most unexpected situations.


Famous J. R. R. Tolkien Quotes

  • “It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Above all shadows rides the sun.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “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.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Little by little, one travels far” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “There is nothing like looking if you want to find something.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “There is nothing like looking if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen, of meadow-flowers and butterflies in summers that have been; Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were, with morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end, the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “For still there are so many things that I have never seen: in every wood in every spring there is a different green.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien Quotes
  • “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep…that have taken hold.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien


 J. R. R. Tolkien Quotes On Life, Hope, Adventure & Courage

Tolkien was a master of creating memorable quotes. Here are some of his most memorable quotes about life, hope, courage, and friendship:

  • “For you do not yet know the strengths of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet on the road.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “We may indeed in counsel point to the higher road, but we cannot compel any free creature to walk upon it. That leadeth to tyranny, which disfigureth good and maketh it seem hateful.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “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.” ~ J R R Tolkien Quotes
  • “It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “His grief he will not forget, but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “I am a Christian…so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “You aren’t nearly through this adventure yet.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien


J.R.R. Tolkien was a British author, scholar, and philologist best known for his fantasy novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

His academic background heavily influenced him in languages and mythology, which is evident in his work. Tolkien firmly believed in the power of hope, friendship, and courage, and many of his quotes reflect these values. He also had a love of adventure, which is reflected in his writing.

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