I recently had the pleasure of reading Verlyn Flieger's scholarly book Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World. Well-written and thoroughly-argued, the book is a stellar example of sound literary scholarship and is necessary reading for anyone looking for a more nuanced understanding of Tolkien's work and fantastic philosophy. In essence, Fliger argues that, for Tolkien, … Continue reading Book Review: Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World
In the moral universe Tolkien created, good and evil, at least on the surface, appear fairly cut and dry. Races like Hobbits and Men (at least certain types of them) are unequivocally good, while races like Orcs, Trolls, and the lesser types of men are transparently evil. Anyone who has read his work with any … Continue reading Are Tolkien’s Orcs Really THAT Evil?
We Tolkien fans are, not surprisingly, a very diverse group. There are those of us, for example, who are exclusively fans of Tolkien's original works (and even then there are further subdivisions, as there are those who only like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but not The Silmarillion). There are those who … Continue reading Why I’m Not a Tolkien Purist
Today I finally got around to finishing up a post I started two years ago. For some time now, I've been thinking about how very much we Tolkien fans--laypeople and scholars alike--owe Christopher Tolkien. From The Silmarillion to The History of Middle-earth (12 volumes!) to the upcoming volume on Beren and Luthien, Tolkien has been a masterful and truly … Continue reading In Praise of Christopher Tolkien
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
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?
One of the things that always stands out to me upon reading Tolkien's work, whether that be The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or The Silmarillion, is the pervasive sense of sadness and loss that permeates his literary endeavours. Time and again, the reader is made to realize that victory always carries with it a core … Continue reading Tolkien and the Political Pleasures of Sadness