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Old 07-05-2014, 02:10 PM   #36
Shade of Carn Dm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
In theory, Christians, in particular Roman Catholics, ought to appreciate The Lord of the Rings more than non-Christians. In fact Tolkien has more arguments and disagreements with obvious Roman Catholics in the book Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien than with anyone else.

The Lord of the Rings is obviously a fictional work. Manw and Varda never existed, ever. The earth was never flat. Gandalf never existed. Hairy-footed hobbits never existed. Tom Bombadil never existed. Nmenor never existed. Ents never existed. None of these things has any connection to Christianity.

But anyone who attempts to read The Lord of the Rings as though it were real is badly misreading it. Tolkien in his essay “On Fairy Stories” makes it clear that fairy tales, attract, to those who find them attractive, by their very unreality. The story The Juniper Tree is, according to Tolkien, an amazing tale. I agree. But it is not in the least realistic. It is not in the least Christian. Nor is it any kind of allegory. It is pure fantasy.

Lotrelf seems to miss that Christian theists are as ready to misread Tolkien as anyone. Anne Marie Gazzolo’s Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the Rings I found to be hideous pious piffle, to take a recent example. And there are other well-known Tolkien fans who I find to my taste to be pure evil.

Tolkien himself very much enjoyed David Lindsey’s A Voyage to Arcturus, a gnostic tale in which the moral is that pain is the sole virtue. In later life Tolkien found at least some of George MacDonald’s fantasy works unreadable and loathed C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books. Like everyone, Tolkien had individual tastes which were not always in synch with his fans. He liked what he liked.

Personally I left the Mythopoeic Society years ago because of my revulsion for its leader, Glen GoodKnight, a purported Christian, and a person whom I grew to loathe for his continual flagrant dishonesty. Eventually the Society, who had previously made him permanent president, realized they could legally get rid of his influence by just removing all presidential duties, and did so. Glen was still president, legally, but had no further duties or responsibilities or role.

Note that Tolkien’s religion was, despite what is often claimed, not so Catholic as is often claimed. Tolkien, in his fantasy, did not claim death was brought on humans as a punishment for eating the forbidden fruit. Tolkien very much disagreed with some of the reforms of Vatican II, notably the replacement of Latin in the church service. In his fantasy he avoids anything like a parish priest.

See for the statement:

Scholars of Tolkien, including Matthew Dickerson, author of A Hobbit Journey, adds that the Lembas, the thin small cakes that the elves make and eat, have sacramental or even Eucharistic connotations.

Wait a minute. How can lembas have “Eucharistic connotations” when it is supposedly consumed thousands of years before Jesus was born.

Dickerson says that Marian imagery also abounds in Tolkien’s work. “The Vala Elbereth, also called Varda, is certainly a Marian figure. She is a venerated and revered queen, whom the elves of Middle-earth call upon in times of need. Her name alone has power, and when those in need call upon her, help comes.”

The problem is that the same is true when in old legends believers call on pagan goddesses, and Elbereth, again, is supposed to exist thousands of years before the Virgin Mary was even born. And Elbereth has no son.

I am, or was, in personal communication with a fan who similarly believed, and presumably still believes, that Goldberry is really the Virgin Mary.

Last edited by jallanite; 07-05-2014 at 05:15 PM.
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