Context of Creation
The Lord of the Rings is an outstanding example in literature, widely regarded as one of the most renowned literary works ever created. Its significant impact is evident in how it portrays and subsequently shapes the fantasy literary genre. Following its publication, few literary works have successfully emulated the intricacy and vastness inherent in the world meticulously crafted by Tolkien. Written in the 20th century, a period marked by the tumultuous backdrop of World War II, The Lord of the Rings comprises six books carefully described. J.R.R. Tolkien, the erudite architect behind this monumental work, weaves a narrative tapestry unfolded against a dreadful conflict that afflicts various races inhabiting Middle-earth. These races are entangled in a whirlwind of violent upheaval triggered by the seductive allure emanating from the evil power within the One Ring.
Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth about 6,000 years ago, The Lord of the Rings addresses contemporary challenges facing humanity with timeless resonance. Tolkien’s narrative explores profoundly intrinsic themes of humanity, encompassing the dichotomy of good and evil, power dynamics, the complexity of love and loss, embodiments of courage, fidelity to duty, and the importance of friendship. Furthermore, the story artfully incorporates symbols of religion, mythology, and philology, contributing to its diverse thematic depth and drawing inspiration from Norse mythology. As a scholarly linguist and polyglot, Tolkien creatively endeavors to compose a unique language, Quenya, and designing various alphabets to enrich the linguistic tapestry of his Middle-earth tales. This linguistic creation, akin to poetry inspired by romanticism, finds fluent expression on the pages of the books, thereby enriching the narrative with additional layers of complexity and cultural richness.
In the early 21st century, Jackson undertook a transformative task by transposing literary works into cinematic form, resulting in three outstanding films. Peter Jackson carefully divided the narrative into three cinematic parts based on these efforts, each receiving prestigious awards. These cinematic adaptations continued to garner large audiences, paralleling the enduring popularity of the original novel and The Hobbit film trilogy. These adaptations collectively contribute to disseminating Tolkien’s imaginative responses to the moral, political, and cosmological issues facing humanity. Remarkably, this enduring cultural impact extends beyond traditional media, resonating through contemporary adaptations, widespread influence on social media platforms, immersive role-playing games, and expansive fan communities. With unwavering enthusiasm, they preserve Tolkien’s legacy metaphorically by kindling a Beacon. The timeless allure of these narratives is closely tied to specific, significant, yet generally unrecognized philosophical concepts.
Politics fundamentally revolves around the allocation and exercise of authority and influence among individuals within the framework of society. The field of political philosophy delves into the examination and contemplation of optimal methods to achieve this power distribution. As a result, crucial questions arise regarding the governance of Middle-earth, prompting exploration into the most prudent approaches. In this contextual framework, the Dark Lord Sauron assumes a singular role in determining the governance structure in Middle-earth. Although Tolkien provides limited explanations about Sauron’s specific goals, it is evident that he successfully garnered extensive and formidable support by mobilizing vast military forces and employing intimidation. Notably, conventional democratic principles have no foothold in this realm; instead, a system reminiscent of medieval kingdoms prevails, receiving genuine support from the society.
The Destructive Power of the One Ring
The main issue revolves around the One Ring, which possesses destructive qualities. Those who lack ambitions for power and strive to coexist will find themselves vulnerable amid profound conflicts, as they lack protection from the upheavals of great wars. Those who steadfastly hold onto their ideals and visions for a better world will be enticed by the extraordinary power bestowed by the Ring. They are inclined to use this power to improve Middle-earth’s conditions for their own people’s welfare, as exemplified by the aspirations of Boromir of Gondor. Although such ambitions may seem selfish, it is noteworthy that individuals living in less-than-ideal conditions may fundamentally only long for comfort and security.
The stakes are incredibly high for the inhabitants of Middle-earth, as there are numerous enticing promises regarding the enhancement of quality of life, wealth, new territories, and other desired outcomes. However, inevitable clashes of ideologies will soon occur. Regardless of whether one’s intentions are good, acquiring power fosters the assumption that one’s ideology must prevail over others. In the dominant spectrum of human behavior, individuals prioritize the protection and well-being of their social groups. Their response to difficulties often depends on perceiving a direct threat to their community. The motives behind such actions, whether driven by evil or good intentions, still need to be understood. Nevertheless, recognizing genuine commitment to duty demonstrated by these individuals is necessary.
In a sharp reflection reminiscent of Faramir’s contemplation of a fallen Haradrim warrior, one might ponder the origin of this sense of responsibility. Faramir’s earnest observation underscores the universal nature of such commitment: “I suppose his cause was much the same as yours. However, what name he bore, from what land he came, and whether he was truly evil at heart; these things he has forgotten. I do not know. The lies or threats that led him on this long journey from home if he did not choose to remain there in peace. The unavoidable war, as expressed by Faramir, reminds us that war will only make us all victims. In investigating the nature of the desire to pursue ‘goodness,’ one must question the fundamental essence and underlying motivations. The One Ring’s cultivation of the desire for power proves to be a significant source of major problems in the depicted world. Individuals, enticed by the prospect of harnessing this power for the advancement of their kind, become ensnared in the allure of the Ring. However, it becomes clear that the dominance of this power is always under the control of Sauron, who not only orchestrates everything but also takes immortality from the Elves.
Without mercy, Sauron manipulates and enslaves the land through false promises to share his highest power, causing them to suffer the consequences of their actions and the impending disaster. In explaining the origin and nature of the Nazgûl, Sauron’s formidable servants, Gandalf the Grey reveals that the Nine Rings were bestowed upon mortal Men, eventually turning them into Ringwraiths, shadows under the significant influence of Sauron. To combat the evil brought by the One Ring, the Ring-bearer, Frodo Baggins, and his loyal companions decide to undertake the arduous task of destroying the Ring, thereby eradicating its evil from the world. The One Ring, which remains neglected until now, is seen as the primary key to Sauron’s power, and its destruction is considered a way to disarm Sauron, expel evil, and restore peace to the world of Middle-earth.
The Fellowship of the Ring
This strong alliance, known as the ‘Fellowship,’ is built on shared values and united by the common desire to confront ‘evil.’ Tolkien aims to convey that unwavering belief in this collective desire will ultimately climax in the long-awaited ‘War of the Ring’ and the end of the Third Age. Tolkien was deeply devoted to his Catholic faith, and this spiritual inclination is manifested in the pages of The Lord of the Rings. The overt connection between his religious beliefs and The Lord of the Rings narrative is explicitly acknowledged when he affirms the work’s fundamental Christian nature in a letter. Beyond this explicit statement, Tolkien, as a talented creative writer, adeptly integrates his values into the narrative structure, using symbols as channels to convey profound messages and nuanced meanings that are open to the reader’s interpretation.
Although Tolkien intentionally avoided the use of explicit allegorical elements in his storytelling, the underlying religious essence permeates the story, finding expression in the characters’ complex journeys, the development of language, and the moral aspirations explored. Astute readers can trace the assimilation of religious motifs in the tapestry of Middle-earth, where society eagerly anticipates the arrival of a king. Specifically, Aragorn, the rightful heir to the throne, resembles the traditional portrayal of Jesus Christ, both in appearance and role. Ultimately, Aragorn fulfills the longing of the free people by providing them with a benevolent ruler who brings the peace and justice they yearn for. Through carefully crafted examples, Tolkien seamlessly weaves a narrative harmoniously with profound religious nuances, enriching the reader’s experience with layers of meaning and contemplation. Tolkien was particularly interested in religious terminology, a significant aspect that significantly influenced his creative efforts. One specific source of inspiration for Tolkien’s exploration of religious themes was the collection of Anglo-Saxon Christian poetry. In these verses, the term ‘Éarendel’ holds a significant position alongside the phrase ‘middle-earth,’ a concept later immortalized in The Lord of the Rings.
In The Lord of the Rings, the term ‘Middle-earth’ refers to the region inhabited by humans. At the same time, ‘Éarendel’ (or ‘Eärendil’ in Quenya), an Old English expression meaning ‘morning star,’ assumes a profound significance. Tolkien draws parallels between ‘Éarendel’ and the ‘bright morning star’ associated with John the Baptist, finding deep beauty in this linguistic relationship. Verses from Crist I by Cynewulf, particularly “Éala Éarendel engla beorhtast / Ofer middangeard monnum sented,” serve as an essential starting point for Tolkien’s work on the legend of Eärendil. In Tolkien’s intricate narrative, ‘Eärendil’ becomes the name of the Half-Elf legend who lived in the First Age. Specifically, echoes of this legend are seen in the gift given to Frodo by the Elven Queen Lady Galadriel, water from a fountain that captures the radiance of Eärendil’s starlight. This luminous water proves to play a crucial role in Frodo’s subsequent quest. Additionally, alongside the symbolic bread known as ‘lembas,’ reminiscent of fulfillment in the Eucharist, the hobbits receive a communal cup in a farewell ritual, thus fostering parallels with religious communion practices.
The film adaptation vividly portrays Lady Galadriel’s realm harmonizing with angelic music, further reinforcing the religious nuances embedded in Tolkien’s narrative. Later in the storyline, Aragorn’s poignant gesture towards the fallen Boromir resembles making the sign of the cross, weaving together two powerful Catholic symbols. Tolkien’s careful integration of religious elements enriches the depth and resonance of his literary work, leaving an indelible mark on the exploration of faith in the fantasy world. Religious motifs are intricately woven throughout the narrative in various dimensions. The War of the Ring, a pivotal conflict in the story, serves as a symbolic battleground where the forces of good contend against evil. Tolkien argues that the victory of Christian virtue is paramount. The Fellowship is endowed with virtues unusual for their races, wisdom, and virtue embodied by an elf, courage demonstrated by a dwarf, and a wizard reminiscent of a Pope. This fellowship is led by a Pope-like figure who notably claims no dominion over any territory and, remarkably, crowns Aragorn without asserting any power. In contrast, the opposing faction represents a malevolent parasite attempting to drain the life force of all that is good and just.
The onslaught of evil is spearheaded by the Dark Lord Sauron, ruling from the stronghold of Mordor and spreading malevolence through erupting emissions, torture, plague, smoke, and disease—all symbolizing nefarious intent. His power is backed by legions of unsightly armies guided by instinct, with no interests beyond those aligned with their immediate satisfaction. Through the One Ring, Sauron subjugates Middle-earth, inundating the region with a parasitic malice that increasingly opposes the moral principles of the Fellowship. Essentially, we are told that these principles represent virtue while opposing principles embody evil. Is Tolkien’s perspective on morality somewhat simplistic? Yes. However, the allure of Tolkien’s narrative lies in attributing positive moral values to concepts and artifacts rather than its academic significance. He imbues the virtues of moral values inherent in objects and concepts with his symbolism, introducing nuanced dimensions.
For instance, Tolkien adeptly injects vitality into the concept of evil by strategically using uppercase letters on specific words, such as ‘Shadow,’ thus personifying it as the evil manifestation of Sauron. The unpleasant hatred emanating from Sauron compels Frodo to utter his foreboding, ‘The days are growing dark,’ indicating a tangible and pervasive influence. Conversely, the character of Theoden experiences revitalization when he breaks free from the manipulative grip of his evil counselor, Grima, and is later enlightened by the wise counsel of Gandalf the White. This transformative episode underscores the dichotomy between good and evil, emphasizing the capacity for redemption and renewal even in darkness.
The Deceptive Nature of the One Ring
Furthermore, the One Ring, seemingly just an ornamental piece, transcends its outward appearance to exert a profound and perilous influence. Filled with the hatred and malice of the Dark Lord Sauron, the ring becomes a symbol of temptation and robust control. Its allure lies in the promise of power, triggering relentless struggles among individuals eager to possess it, regardless of the authenticity of the power it holds. As an object that appears ordinary, the One Ring paradoxically unleashes evil, fueling greed, jealousy, and malevolence, thus sparking chaotic conflicts to dominate Middle-earth. Remarkably, this lifeless One Ring bears similarities to human free will, unleashing destructive and debilitating powers that harm its possessor. Bilbo, for instance, experiences a physical decline after relinquishing the ring’s influence, starkly contrasting with the sustained vitality it granted him outside the natural aging process. Gandalf the Grey’s observation, ‘You have not aged a day,’ highlights the magical and malevolent nature of the ring’s enchantment, emphasizing its ability to manipulate time and vitality for nefarious purposes.
Additionally, the shards of Morgul blades typically pierce the hearts of individuals suffering, transforming them into evil wraiths through their bewitching attributes. However, an exception occurs in Frodo’s case, who survives the Witch-king’s attack. The extraction of the shard takes place after Glorfindel (depicted as Arwen in the cinematic adaptation) issues a command for water to drive back the advancing Witch-king and his fellow Nazgûl. In an extraordinary incident, Frodo experiences prolonged pain while commemorating the attack. It prompts reflections on the ethics of attributing brutal and hateful characteristics to enemies. Such an approach cannot be sustained. Notably, the conclusion featuring a happily resolved rule under Aragorn’s governance underscores the vulnerability of Tolkien’s beliefs. Delving into philosophical inquiry, we seek to understand how Aragorn’s rule navigates the complex socio-political crises that unfold.
Blessed with spiritual nuances, Tolkien briefly asserts that Aragorn’s rule successfully resolves intricate difficulties. However, the narrative needs more detailed explanations regarding the mechanisms employed to achieve this resolution, leaving a gap in its foundational reasoning. Realistically, any ruler would face formidable challenges and factional divides. However, akin to a metaphorical Second Coming, Aragorn succeeds in instilling spiritual obedience, reflecting Tolkien’s beliefs without explicitly elucidating their underlying reasons. It is essential to be aware that these stories are not constructed with the dry and impartial characteristics of academic analysis, recognizing the narrative nature inherent in enjoyable stories. Furthermore, Tolkien conveys insights not through rigorous precision but by embedding aesthetic appeal in his storytelling. In this way, he imparts lessons about the potential emergence of ‘goodness,’ emphasizing the importance of beauty in storytelling over strict academic scrutiny.
Tolkien can be categorized as a romanticist due to the influence of values of hope and steadfast beliefs in his literary works. Although his prose deliberately avoids academic intricacies, readers are inevitably immersed in his subjective portrayal of ‘goodness,’ embodied in the intertwined elements of nature throughout the narrative. Our previous exploration of Tolkien’s spiritual inclinations revealed the significant role he attributed to spirituality in the pursuit of virtue. However, it should be noted that his symbolic expression extends beyond the spiritual realm, reflecting a profound connection with the natural world. Middle-earth serves as a canvas filled with metaphors drawn from the richness of the natural environment. The mysticism enveloping magical elements in his narrative captivates readers, fostering a deeper appreciation for the inherent beauty of nature. At length, Tolkien elaborates on seemingly ordinary components of nature, such as blades of grass, ancient trees, and landscapes of otherworldly realms intricately carved into the structure of valleys and rivers that surpass conventional boundaries.
Living Vitality of Natural Entities
In his meticulous delivery, Tolkien imparts unique potential to these natural entities, endowing them with living vitality through the enchanting ambiguity woven into his descriptions. The dynamic interaction between magic and nature not only enhances the narrative but also intensifies the allure of the grandeur of nature, captivating readers with the intricacies of Tolkien’s imaginative brilliance. Admiration is exclusively reserved for Shadowfax, often called the ‘lord of all horses.’ However, one might question whether Shadowfax is just a horse, challenging the sense of reverence felt. Furthermore, many incantations evoke assistance from nature, exemplified by Gandalf’s use of ‘Blinding Sunlight’ to attack enemies with intense sunlight. It prompts contemplation about the true nature of these magical occurrences.
The narrative also depicts wild creatures emerging from the trees to evade the menace of the Nazgûl. However, one might question the accuracy of this portrayal. As the Shadow recedes and hope re-emerges in Middle-earth, the White Tree, symbolizing Gondor, Men’s home, blooms again. Is this a coincidence, or does it indicate an evil influence within the land? The ambiguity surrounding these events leaves us in deep perplexity. Drawing inspiration from the amalgamation of literal and symbolic values that Tolkien weaves into his narrative, an intriguing question arises: Should we, in the present time, embrace a similar romanticism to preserve our planet? It reflects on the parallels between Tolkien’s fictional world and our challenges, adopting the mindset that appreciating and respecting nature might be a crucial and timely consideration.
A magnificent tableau unfolds under the night’s embrace as the trees stand tall in grandeur, their branches gracefully arching over the road and river coincidentally passing beneath their spread branches. Their sturdy trunks appear in subdued gray, while their leaves, in their delicate vessels, hint at a delicate tapestry of empty gold bathed in the soft glow of starlight. Contrary to what is associated with the Garden of Eden, this evocative depiction is, in fact, a homage to Lothlórien, a mythical haven of the elves meticulously crafted by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. The intricate portrayal and distinct linguistic nuances permeating this trilogy have elevated it to unparalleled recognition, a testament to Tolkien’s work’s living imagination and linguistic genius.
The Lord of the Rings as a Fantasy Epic
Indeed, The Lord of the Rings stands as a paramount fantasy epic in our time, and its transcendent allure has been further solidified by the cinematic adaptations spearheaded by filmmaker Peter Jackson. The discourse surrounding this epic has flourished, likening it to the modern-era Star Wars, especially among fantasy genre enthusiasts eagerly anticipating a cinematic masterpiece. However, beyond the cinema-loving community, this epic tale has also significantly influenced a specific demographic: Christians. The resonance between The Lord of the Rings‘s narrative elements and Christian symbolism has yet to escape attention. Themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the eternal struggle between good and evil in the epic have sparked contemplative discussions among Christian faith members. Thus, The Lord of the Rings stands as a cinematic and literary triumph and a source of inspiration and reflection for diverse audiences, including fantasy enthusiasts and those seeking profound spiritual connections.
The perception that The Lord of the Rings is a Christian allegory is an idea many embrace, but its intricacies are complex. If this were a simple allegory, the figure of Christ would prominently appear in the character of Frodo Baggins, who carries the metaphorical burden in the form of a ring, akin to the symbolic cross, seemingly to redeem the Earth. In parallel, the Fellowship of the Ring is often equated with the apostles of Christ. However, complexity arises when considering the resurrection motif because Gandalf, not Frodo, experiences a resurrection after dying in the Mines of Moria. Additionally, a striking deviation from the biblical narrative is evident in the composition of the Fellowship, consisting of only nine individuals compared to the twelve apostles accompanying Christ. This peculiarity prompts contemplation: if Frodo is considered a Christ figure, why does the resurrection occur with Gandalf, and why does the Fellowship comprise a different number than the twelve apostles?
In addressing such questions, it is crucial to recall Tolkien’s aversion to overt allegory. Expressing his sentiments, Tolkien stated, “I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations.” He emphasized his belief that myths and fairy stories should embody moral and religious truths, though implicitly and non-allegorically. For Tolkien, the essence of this narrative lies in its ability to convey truths implicitly, avoiding explicit allegorical nuances. Thus, the nuanced tapestry of The Lord of the Rings invites readers to delve into a world where moral and religious truths are delicately interwoven into the fabric of the narrative. Tolkien and his lifelong friend and collaborator C.S. Lewis often discussed the potential expression of Christian faith through unconventional and distinctive forms. Their shared belief extended beyond conventional practices of merely reciting Bible verses, as both aspired to find alternative ways to articulate Christian doctrines. The duo harbored the intention of creating an innovative literary genre that could be embraced by Christian believers and those without religious convictions.
Concealed Religious Elements
According to Mike Foster, a prominent English professor at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Illinois, and a representative of the Tolkien Society of North America headquartered in England, Tolkien demonstrated wisdom in recognizing that overly explicit incorporation of religious elements could categorize the narrative as allegorical. As a result, Tolkien deliberately concealed Christian nuances in his work, allowing the story to transcend religious boundaries. Foster notes, “Millions of readers have immersed themselves in Tolkien’s narrative without having to share his beliefs, yet the depth of his storytelling has enriched them.” In the introduction to the trilogy published in 1965, Tolkien explicitly stated that his work had no allegorical or topical intent. Tolkien consistently denied any connection between the trilogy and Catholicism throughout his life. However, at age 81, the esteemed author corresponded with Robert Murray, a Jesuit priest, and acknowledged that The Lord of the Rings indeed has fundamental religious and Catholic nuances. Tolkien explained that although the religious essence was initially unconscious, it became a conscious element during the revision process, permeating the narrative and symbolism.
At the heart of this grand tale lies the One Ring, created by the malevolent Dark Lord Sauron in the intense fires of Mount Doom, situated in the foreboding land called Mordor. The possessor of the One Ring has power over all evil forces, but its use for good purposes or against the Dark Lord is deemed impossible. The corrupting power inherent in the ring is exemplified by the character Gollum, a creature who happened upon the ring and hid it in an obscure underground crevice. Over time, Gollum succumbs to the allure of his ‘Precious,’ clearly depicting the biblical principle of the dangerous growth of sin, starting innocuously but ultimately enslaving individuals. The One Ring is indestructible, except under one specific circumstance—the intense heat of the same fire that birthed it. Its evil nature obstructs any possibility of concealment, as it exerts a power that attracts everything evil toward it. Additionally, the malevolent gaze known as the Eye of Sauron can discern the presence of the ring when worn by any creature. The Dark Lord harbors an insatiable desire for the ring, relentlessly pursuing it with unwavering determination. Suppose he succeeds in obtaining the One Ring. In that case, his evil ambition will culminate in the conquest of all of Middle Earth, transforming it into a vast shadowy domain reminiscent of New Jersey, enslaving its entire population.
Therefore, it becomes crucial for the Free Peoples of the West to embark on a mission to destroy the ring. As contemporary audiences now realize, the monumental responsibility of transporting the ring through the perilous lands of Mordor to Mount Doom falls on the shoulders of Frodo Baggins, a hobbit standing at a mere four feet tall. Tolkien’s intentional selection of Frodo as the ring-bearer is a key thematic element underlying the narrative. Implicit in this choice is a profound Christian ethos of stewardship and sacrifice. Hobbits are depicted with characteristics that lean towards friendliness rather than conventional beauty—broad faces, bright eyes, rosy cheeks, and mouths inclined to laughter, eating, and drinking. Entrusted with the significant responsibility of traversing the heavily guarded territory of Mordor and destroying the ring, Frodo faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The apparent impossibility of this task becomes a deliberate narrative device crafted by Tolkien, emphasizing the belief that the pursuit of goodness demands sacrifice and extraordinary difficulties. This literary strategy reinforces that answering the divine call requires a willingness to endure exceptional challenges.
After they depart from the Shire, each hobbit unmistakably demonstrates an unwavering commitment to a goal more significant than the routine existence within the Shire’s boundaries. Even individuals of the hobbit kind can relinquish their fondness for pipe and ale to rise to the status of heroes. Frodo’s embodiment of purpose relies on his determination and steadfast spirit. Sauron’s main downfall originates from his misguided assessment of individuals solely based on their physical status and strength, a critical oversight that catalyzes his demise. The Dark Lord underestimates the hobbits and remains oblivious to their fundamental motivations. As Augustus M. Kolich, a prominent Tolkienologist at the University of Pennsylvania, expressed, “Sauron failed because he saw the world through the prism of his evil tendencies. He was unable to understand why anyone would choose to leave the world. The attraction of the One Ring with choosing its destruction.” While he comprehends the motives of characters like Boromir, a human who attempts to exploit the ring for his gain, Sauron fails to understand the hobbits’ indifference to the allure of power and conquest. The conclusion of The Lord of the Rings aligns with what Tolkien termed ‘eucatastrophe:’ a sudden turn of events that brings about profound joy to the point of tears—a phenomenon he considered the highest function of fairy stories. He argued that this narrative device resonates because it provides a brief glimpse into the fundamental Truth governing the Great World, which is the destination of the design of human nature. Furthermore, Tolkien underscores the Resurrection as the most critical ‘eubencatastrophe’ in the most incredible Fairy Story, giving rise to a unique emotional response: Christian joy, characterized by its qualitative similarity to sorrow, emanating from the point where Joy and Sorrow meet.
The Perpetual Threat of ‘Dyscatastrophe’
However, in Tolkien’s worldview, the specter of ‘Dyscatastrophe’—evil disaster—still emerges as a possible ending for every age, including our own, as a perpetual threat. The overarching thematic thread woven into Tolkien’s narrative asserts that extraordinary achievements can be attained when one wholeheartedly dedicates oneself to a purpose. It is necessary not to isolate oneself in the idyllic holes of hobbits, unaware of the rampant evil in the world. The ‘Dyscatastrophe’ that might occur is a consequence of such isolationism. The collective call is to keep moving forward, effecting positive change by aiding others and following the teachings of Christ. Through concerted individual efforts, seemingly insurmountable goals can be achieved, reflecting the imperative to defeat Sauron and the fundamentally evil One Ring—a message aligned with the teachings of Christ. Are there indeed examples of original magical incantations in the world of Middle-earth? Undoubtedly so. Tolkien cleverly imbues life into entities that seemingly lack it, as exemplified by the ancient Ents—living and moving trees that harbor intense hatred for the evil Orcs who cruelly destroyed their kind. The Army of the Dead is another manifestation of enchantment in Tolkien’s narrative. Furthermore, Hobbits undergo an extraordinary transformation in stature after consuming Ent-draught, a potent potion characterized by the essence of solid wood.
The intricacies deepen when Gandalf, a central figure, undergoes a form of metaphysical rebirth. The One Ring, a crucial artifact, grants its wearer the ability to achieve foresight. Apart from these overt examples of magic, Tolkien’s Middle-earth is also characterized by subtler elements with qualities and capacities beyond overtly magical or extravagant. In the realm of symbolism, Tolkien constructs a foundation for our understanding of his values and aspirations. Does including religious themes in Tolkien’s narrative evoke a sense of violation? These thematic elements serve as a conduit through which we gain insights into the ideas of beauty and its intrinsic meaning. Tolkien’s conceptualization of beauty does not need to be solely bound to religious connotations but transcends those boundaries. Through the excellent integration of personal and stylistic elements, coupled with his meticulous descriptions, Tolkien brings magical artifacts to life, illuminating his profound fascination with nature and truth. Tolkien’s spiritual inclination and romanticism are evident, and the echoes of joy resonate through his prose. As readers, may we not only comprehend but also absorb these sentiments, allowing them to permeate our hearts and minds, much like the enchantment woven into the fabric of Middle-earth’s structure.
- Murray, B. (2002). Lord of the Rings. Issue 39 | Philosophy Now.
- Ringo, E. (2017). Beyond Good and Evil: The Complex Moral System of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Tor.com.
- Spencer, A. (2023). The Philosophy of Tolkien – A Review. Ethics and Culture.