The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in Lord of the Rings

The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in Lord of the Rings

The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in Lord of the Rings

The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in Lord of the Rings

Excerpt

This commentary on The Lord of the Rings differs from others in that it is organized according to J. R. R. Tolkien’s unfolding plot. Instead of identifying various themes and then analyzing them, I have chosen to be guided by Tolkien’s own professed trust in the revelatory power of narrative. This power is well known to all who have responded to Tolkien’s exceptional skill as a storyteller; it is part of the mystique of the beloved tale. In my discussion, I wanted to hold on to Tolkien’s narrative momentum, because it seemed to me that something of fundamental importance was being conveyed precisely through that momentum.

This strategy dawned on me, I like to think, because I came upon Tolkien with virtually no presuppositions. Somehow I missed the Tolkien-mania of the 1960s. Late in that decade, I acquired a handsome three-volume set of The Lord of the Rings through the Book-of-the-Month Club, but it sat unread on my bookshelf for thirty-five years. I therefore came to the book later in life and with almost no prior information about it; I had no idea what a hobbit was, and the name Gandalf meant nothing to me. In spite of this ignorance, or quite possibly because of it, my first reading convinced me that I had seen something theological in the plot that was unique to Tolkien, and the second reading confirmed it. I had a hunch that I had uncovered something in the book that had not yet been sufficiently celebrated.

I am a Tolkien amateur, in both the highest and lowest senses of that word. That is to say, I am a lover (ama-teur) of Tolkien’s story, but I am not a Tolkien scholar or expert. I made a deliberate decision not to read much of the secondary literature or spend hours on the websites. In areas of fine ex-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.