Tuesday 20 August 2019

JRR Tolkien’s great-grandson completes late brother’s daring bucket list

He previously appeared in one of The Lord Of The Rings films.

Royd Tolkien
Royd Tolkien

By LucyM

The great-grandson of The Lord Of The Rings author JRR Tolkien has told of the “incredible gift” of being able to complete his late brother’s bucket list.

Royd Tolkien was tasked by his younger brother Mike, who died from motor neurone disease in 2015, with taking on a series of daredevil challenges.

One of the challenges that Royd completed in his brother’s memory was a bungee jump while wearing a tutu, while another saw him travel to New Zealand – where The Lord Of The Rings films were made – dressed as wizard Gandalf.

Royd Tolkien

He ended the bucket list adventure by taking Mike’s ashes to the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Royd, who had a small role in the third film of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, told Hello! magazine: “Mike gave me an incredible gift that changed my perspective on everything.”

The brothers were set to revisit New Zealand but Mike’s illness prevented that from happening.

Royd said: “The idea was that we’d both go back, he’d do his bucket list and anything he couldn’t do, he would make me do. How could I say no?”

As part of the challenge, Royd wore the costume seen on Sir Ian McKellen in the hit fantasy films inspired by his great-grandfather’s novels while on a plane, but he admitted it left him red-faced.

Royd, who is making a film of his experience, joked: “How embarrassing is that? A Tolkien family member dressed as Gandalf? On Air New Zealand?”

He added: “I kept it on for half the flight but the beard fell off and people were a bit miffed with the massive hat and the staff. Some walked past and said, ‘Ahh, Dumbledore’. I was like, ‘Come on!’.” 

Of his last leg of the journey at Machu Picchu, Royd said: “It took me a step further away from Mike completing the list and I wasn’t emotionally ready for it.”

Read the full article in Hello! magazine, out now.

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