Tolkien Gateway

Bill Stickers

Bill Stickers was a villain — a figure in a "long-running family epic" told by J.R.R. Tolkien to his children. The stories "revolved around the tireless efforts of Major Road Ahead to prosecute the villain".[1]

Bill Stickers was an "irrepressible villain" and "a huge hulk of a man who always got away with everything".[2]

[edit] Inspiration

Tolkien was inspired by "signs hanging on various Oxford gates",[1] saying "Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted".[2][note 1] Basing his discussion on a newspaper article revealing that C.S. Lewis was a member a secret gang during the 1920s,[3] David Bratman has speculated that Tolkien in addition might have been inspired by the gang member Margaret Pollard's (a friend of Lewis's) gang pseudonym, "Bill Stickers".[4]

The stories about Bill Stickers and Major Road Ahead were only told orally (possibly around 1926 and 1930[5]), and have thus not been recorded,[6] unlike, for example, Roverandom and Letters from Father Christmas.


  1. It's an old prank to paste up posters with 'Bill Stickers is Innocent' underneath these sign (cf. Bill Stickers is innocent).

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Chapter 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Austin Olney, "About J.R.R. Tolkien" , (accessed 12 November 2013)
  3. Thomas Burrows, "CS Lewis supported secret heritage gang" dated 15 October 2013, (accessed 12 November 2013)
  4. David Bratman, "ten miscellanies make a blog post" dated 5 November 2013, (accessed 12 November 2013)
  5. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 135
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, p. 162