Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien secretly trained as a British spy in early 1939, the Daily Telegraph reports. Newly released records show that Tolkien—one of his generation's foremost linguists—was given spy training along with 50 other intellectuals and had been picked to join the team trying to crack Nazi codes in the event of war. The writer turned down the offer to work at Britain's codebreaking center for unknown reasons.
"We simply don't know why he didn't join," a historian said. "Perhaps it was because we declared war on Germany and not Mordor.''