I'm reading the biography of Tolkien right now. With that, and reading his letters, the professor could be quite gloomy in his writing with much of it due to the manner of his mother's death at an early age. But in his everyday life he was indefatigable and downright cheerful and friendly. He made friends with anyone whether of a high or low station in life, and was even a bit of a prankster like pulling out his false teeth and handing them to the clerk with his money or dressing up like an Anglo-Saxon warrior complete with axe and chasing a neighbor down the street. While I have a love/hate relationship with Jackson's movies, I thought the battle of Helm's Deep was more Tolkien than Tolkien. That is, in the books, the good guys win with a hard-fought battle, but you never get the sense that it is a desperate battle with little chance of victory. In the movies, the good guys have lost and only because they remain faithful and fight on anyway does the divine element (Gandalf) show up to deliver victory. It doesn't get anymore Tolkien then that: A fallen world in which Man alone cannot win.