Why Are Tolkien’s Villains So Compelling?

Every time I re-reard The Lord of the Rings, I'm struck anew by how absolutely compelling Tolkien has made his villains. In many ways, these formidable foes--Saruman, Sauron, the Witch-king--threaten to overshadow the protagonists of the novel. While we know a great deal about the heroes, their motivations, their ancestries, a great deal remains shadowy and unknown … Continue reading Why Are Tolkien’s Villains So Compelling?

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The Exquisite Queerness of Jackson’s “The Hobbit”

It is no secret that we queers have always had an appreciation and an adoration of Tolkien's work.  The richness and depth with which he paints the relationships between men--especially that between Sam and Frodo as they make their way to Mount Doom--almost inevitably strike a resonant chord with young queer nerds reading Tolkien's work. … Continue reading The Exquisite Queerness of Jackson’s “The Hobbit”

In Defense of Peter Jackson, Tolkien Fans, and Nerds Everywhere

Peter Jackson has taken a lot of flack for the alleged butchering of The Hobbit, variously described as bloated, silly, crass, and all of the familiar insults typically hurled at his work, and at fantasy in particular.  Most frustrating, and revealing, however, has been the consistent charge that Jackson has caved in to his own fan-boy impulses, … Continue reading In Defense of Peter Jackson, Tolkien Fans, and Nerds Everywhere

Review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

The final installment of Jackson's Hobbit trilogy hits many of the high, operatic moments of The Lord of the Rings, leaving this fan completely satisfied, and more than a little sad, at this concluding cinematic adventure in Middle-earth. Warning:  Full spoilers follow.   Further warning:  I will probably also have more thoughts on this film after I see it … Continue reading Review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

Reading “The Simarillion” Part One

C.S. Lewis once remarked of The Lord of the Rings that:  "Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron.  Here is a book which will break your heart."   While LoTR is (perhaps rightly) Tolkien's most famous work, the work of his heart, as numerous biographers and letters attest, was always The Silmarillion.  Lewis's words ring even … Continue reading Reading “The Simarillion” Part One

Who Owns Tolkien?

In case you missed it, Peter Jackson recently announced that, unless the Tolkien Estate grants permission to utilize any of Tolkien's published works (other than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), there will no more Tolkien films made in the foreseeable future.  This should come as no surprise to any of us who have kept up … Continue reading Who Owns Tolkien?