Over on the "wtf Scottish Dwarves?" thread, Dr. Tolkien came up (obviously), and considering Tolkien's lasting influence on what many gamers (and everybody else) considers fantasy these days, I thought a thread specifically for getting into the nitty gritty about Tolkien's works, influences, et cetera would be fun.
Tolkien led to my love of historical linguistics and directly contributed to my interest in and knowledge of Germanic folklore and myths. He also came up with one of my favorite ways of thinking about fantasy and other speculative literature, which is the notion of "applicability".
Basically, after Lord of the Rings came out, lots of folks were like "oh, okay, so Sauron = Nazis (/communists/whoever) and the Ring = Aerial Bombing (/nuclear weapons/whatever)". But Tolkien came out and said something like "I'm not really into one for one allegories, I much prefer for a story to have 'applicability'". What he meant here was that the nature of evil and the use of force and warfare and so forth as presented in LoTR provides some useful insight into those real world situations, and certainly the real world events influenced him when writing it, but that the story is way more interesting and useful because it's not just a real world story dressed up in fantasy clothes, rather the fantastic elements can just as easily affect our thinking these days about evil/force/warfare and so on.
So! If you have favorite pedantic Tolkien topics to get into, or if you want to talk some more about applicability, jump on in, the water's fine!
(as a note, let's play nice here. I know this is near and dear to a lot of people's hearts, and that a lot of folks also have equally negative feelings for Tolkien, but I love how easy it is to have reasonable discussions on SG even when disagreeing)