Tag: Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterwork The Lord of the Rings delighted so many of us as children, yet it and its vast body of accompanying work, such as the Silmarillion, contain a rich depth not well understood by most adults. Tolkien’s work reflects his academic interests in the history of language and the Medieval world, as well as his Catholic faith. What purpose and religious message does his writing contain? Does his work carry a political meaning?

Here to discuss is Professor Rachel Fulton Brown, Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Chicago. In addition to her work on the history of Christianity, medieval liturgy, and the cult of the Virgin Mary, she teaches a popular course “Tolkien: Medieval and Modern,” and has a series of lectures and writings mining the depths of Tolkien’s thought and writing.

The Completion of an Epic Fantasy Trilogy


In 2011, “Toward the Gleam” appeared. A fantasy, the book’s premise was that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium were based on actual events. Author T. M. Doran bases a central character on Tolkien, John Hill, who find a prehistoric manuscript preserved over thousands of years. Set in the twentieth century, “Towards the Gleam” follows forces of good and evil contending for possession of the manuscript.

A sequel, “The Lucifer Ego” followed in 2018. The manuscript, safely hidden at a monastery gets stolen. Oxford University archaeologist Frodo Lyle Stuart gets recruited by his Uncle Henry to recover the document, the inspiration for “Lord of the Rings.” That book ends with the manuscript returned to safe storage, there to remain.

Or will it?

The Conservative Stewardship of Christopher Tolkien


“A wizard is never late,” says the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lords of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. “Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he needs to.”

I am not a wizard. Which is why I am only now getting around to memorializing J.R.R.’s son Christopher, who died earlier this month at age 95. Indeed, his passing has already been noted, in a more timely fashion, elsewhere on Ricochet. So I can only hope that readers will excuse my tardiness. For Christopher’s efforts on behalf of his father’s literary legacy are not merely worthy of praise in themselves. They also present an example of what it means to be conservative, in the most literal sense.

Christopher was involved in the saga of The Lord of the Rings almost from its very beginning. Though the germ of Middle-Earth predates any of J.R.R.’s children, telling what became his works as stories to his children helped him refine and develop them. Christopher later recalled, “[a]s strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created. For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.” And of these children, Christopher was the keenest on these tales. So keen, in fact, that his father put a young Christopher to work as an editor. In a letter to his publisher, the elder Tolkien wrote that “I received a letter from a young reader in Boston (Lincs.) enclosing a list of errata [in The Hobbit]. I then put my youngest son to find any more at two pence a time. He did. I enclose the results—which added to those already submitted should (I hope) make an exhaustive list.”

The Legendarium Podcast Has Come to Ricochet


At the beginning of this year, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Craig Hanks, who listens to the Remnant with Jonah Goldberg (on which I make furtive appearances) heard that I was reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien. Craig happens to host his own podcast, The Legendarium Podcast, on which he and others discuss the great works of sci-fi and fantasy literature. He invited me onto his show to discuss The Silmarillion. You can listen to the episode here

Something strange happened when I distilled my thoughts about The Silmarillion in a post I published on Ricochet: All of Ricochet’s various nerds came out of the woodwork and had a field day discussing this somewhat more obscure “prequel” to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. A similar thing happened when I produced another post, about God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert, after appearing on one episode of the Legendarium (and later another) to discuss it. 

The revelation of an “undocumented nerd” community at Ricochet convinced higher-ups to bring this large, underserved population “out of the shadows” by bringing Craig’s podcast here. And so here it is. Now the Legendarium’s deep-dives not only into Tolkien and Herbert and the worlds they created but also their explorations of other, perhaps more obscure authors and worlds, are available via Ricochet. 

‘The Silmarillion’ Is a Dense Yet Highly Engaging Origin Story for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth


As Game of Thrones draws to a close, and a new Amazon Lord of the Rings TV series awaits, J.R.R. Tolkien is sure to return as the king of fantasy (if he ever even left). Despite being dead now for nearly 46 years, Tolkien created, in Middle-Earth and the stories that take place there, a rich, vivid mythology that has ensured his immortality.

Many people first came to appreciate Tolkien’s work because of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in the early 2000s. I was one of them. Only eight years old when The Fellowship of the Ring came out, I was not allowed to see either it or its sequel in theaters (though I did catch them later on DVD). But when my parents said they would let me see The Return of the King in theaters, I decided to read all of the books in the trilogy before the movie came out so that I would appreciate it properly. Even at age 10, I recall getting lost–in the best possible way–in the epic and fully realized world of heroism and mysticism that Tolkien had created. Seeing the last movie in theaters remains one of my best-ever theatrical experiences, and it confirmed my status as a Tolkien fan.

Looking for more ways to deepen my fanhood at the time, I came upon The Silmarillion, which I have now had the chance to discuss on an episode of the Legendarium Podcast. Described to me as the ‘Old Testament’ of The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion gave the backstory to which the more famous trilogy is the culmination: the creation of the world, the early struggles between its gods, the plight of the elves, the coming of men and dwarves (and their own trials), etc. Delighted that there was more material to read, I dove right in…only to crash on a rocky shoal of confusing names, excessive detail, and quasi-poetic prose that seemed straight out of some ancient tome. I got only a few dozen pages in before giving up on The Silmarillion.

Director Peter Jackson Strikes Gold Again with WWI Documentary


The Oscars for 2018’s movies have come and gone. It’s far too early to tell whether any of these movies, even Green Book, the Best Picture winner, will actually be watched much after this year. But true transcendence is hard to pull off, so the safe bet is: No.

Yet one movie with a good chance of a lasting legacy didn’t even get any nominations: Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old. Jackson is best known for directing live-action adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The final chapter, The Return of the King, won Best Picture for its year of release, and earned Jackson Best Director. This is worth considering not merely for reasons of pedigree. For these two works share more than a quality that has ensured a legacy for Tolkien’s work and Jackson’s adaptations, and will, I hope, ensure one for They Shall Not Grow Old.

How Secularism gets Tolkien Wrong


I have had to check out of Ricochet for a while because I was assigned to write a book, which is cool but to get anything done on that project I needed to take a break. I came back to the site and started reading posts and sure enough that made it impossible for me not to write up a post myself. A post by @LoisLane really inspired me to write I post I have been thinking about for a very long time you can find her excellent post and fascinating comment thread here

The Lord of the Rings movies differed from the books in many ways, which is to be expected since a movie and a book are very different mediums. For instance at the “Breaking of the Fellowship” I think it was vital to the movie to show Boromir fighting for Merry and Pippin and Aragorn “avenging” Boromir. I saw the Fellowship of the Ring three times in the theater and each time the audience was on the edge of their seats as Boromir redeemed himself and they erupted in applause when Aragorn dispatched the Uruk-hai that killed Boromir.

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https://www.weeklystandard.com/hannah-long/christopher-tolkien-and-the-legacy-of-his-father-j-r-r-tolkien-the-steward-of-middle-earth A brilliant piece on the legacy of Tolkien – not only in work but also in spirit. ‘Frodo Lives’ was scrawled on a subway wall and somehow that tiny sword, glowing with hope found it’s way to me many, many years ago in the Appalachian Mountains. It prompted me to check the books out […]

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Happy Birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!


Today, September 22, is the birthday of the cousins Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Bilbo adopted Frodo after his parents fell out of a boat (a very un-hobbitish place to be) and drowned when he was just a lad. Bilbo recognized that he and Frodo ought to band together against Sackville-Bagginses and their ilk, and took Frodo into his home, Bag End, and under his wing.

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Let’s imagine a day thirty years in the future. The children currently sitting across from me are in their early forties, likely with children of their own. Their nostalgia for the heroes of their youth has become highly marketable, and Hollywood has taken notice. It’s time to reassemble the original Avengers. Of course, these actors […]

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Some days ago right after the Trump video tapes hit, @larrykoler made an impassioned plea for Republicans to stand together against the assault on Trump like the men of Middle Earth did before the Black Gates of Mordor. At the time I criticized his analogy as woefully in adequate. Who is Trump supposed to be […]

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Overall, I was satisfied with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.  But he made several changes that bothered me.  Motivated by Merina Smith’s comment on the Epic Disappointments thread — “The Lord of the Rings movies.  They changed the story in stupid ways.” — I thought this might be an entertaining post topic. […]

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