Much has been made of the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were close friends who spent time in each other's company every week for a number of years. Yet this friendship soured somewhat during the last few years of Lewis's life (Lewis died in 1963, 10 years before Tolkien's death). They remained friends and continued to see each other frequently, yet the closeness was gone, replaced by a certain tension. Why?
There may have been several reasons why these men, both prominent Oxford dons who wrote fantasy literature, drifted apart. Here are those identified by Humphrey Carpenter in his book The Inklings:
For all the strain that developed in their relationship, Lewis and Tolkien continued to have strong feelings for one another. After Lewis died, Tolkien wrote in a letter to a member of his family, "But we owed each a great debt to the other, and that tie, with the deep affection that it begot, remained. He was a great man of whom the cold-blooded official obituaries have only scraped the surface." Had the circumstances been reversed, no doubt C.S. Lewis would have said something similar about his friend J.R.R. Tolkien.