Login | Register
 
Message Board | Latest Posts | Your Recent Posts | Rules

Thread: Tolkien's comparisons to religious figures

Is this discussion interesting? Share it on Twitter!

Bottom of Page    Message Board > The Lord of the Rings > Tolkien's comparisons to religious figures   [1] [2] >>
Absolutely not, however, some have mistakenly made that assumption. I Recommend you read Professor Tolkien's Forward to The Fellowship of the Ring and also our thread entitled God in Lord of the Rings found under The Golden Perch under Taverns.
Yeah, Tolkien would have had a heart attack at the mention of such a thing. Although his creation myth is quite clearly inspired by the biblical account, I don't believe any of the events depicted after that warrant biblical comparisons. And while the Valar and the Maiar might be analogous to biblical angels, I don't think Tolkien wanted them to be thought of as one and the same. I can't see any parallels between Aragorn or Gandalf and Jesus Christ though.
I have also come across many discussions that compare Frodo, Gandalf or Aragorn to Christ, however, I think the best thing to do is to refer to what Tolkien says about the subject and as previously mentioned his forward should all but answer this question. I have checked with The Letters Of J.R.R Tolkien and have found the following which be of help:rrFrom Letter # 156rr
Quote:
There a naturally no precise modern terms to say what [Gandalf] was. I would venture to say that he was an incarnate angel ...
rrAngel coming from the word angelos meaning messenger.rrrFrom Letter # 181rr
Quote:
Thus Gandalf faced and suffered death and came back or was sent back, as he says, with enhanced power. But though one may be in this reminded of the Gospels, it is not really the same thing at all. The incarnations of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write.
rrI recall reading something about the discussions regarding comparing Aragorn and/or Frodo to Christ (but I cannot locate the section at this time) the book by Tom Shippey, J..R.R Tolkien: Author of the century. When I do I will post it.rrr[Edited on 9/9/2002 by Rednell]rr[Edited on 9/9/2002 by Rednell]
So Angry Smilie I reckon this might be Tolkien's reaction to the mere mentioning of any link between LOTR and religion. So Angry Smilie

Not that I mind you mentioning... Interesting theory I think, but I don't think it would work. Cool Smilie
Why do people always have to complicate the issue? Surely that it is an excellent book is enough, it doesn't have to be connected to the Bible or whatever. As a Christian I can see very little/ no parallels to the Bible in the Lord of the Rings.
Another thing that annoys me is that fantasy books are never related to any other religion only Christianity. Why is that? Mad Smilie
Anyway I'm not really stressed with people telling me I shouldn't read such *evil* books Paranoid Smilie
So in agreement with the others I don't think there is really any link Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
(Sorry for the little stress up there!!)
Good quotes, Rednell. When Tolkien refers to Gandalf as an angel, I strongly think he is thinking about the origans of the word (angelos=messenger etc, as you said). One thing that is said (whether by Tolkien himself or by that gentleman Mr. Tom Shippey, I forgot)is that Frodo=Froda. This I find highly likely: it says in the appendix that the names of the boy hobbits have been altered from ending in 'a' to ending in 'o', thus the name Frodo was Froda. And if this were not evidence enough of a philologist's intention, the characters of Frodo and Froda are simliar, they both support peace. Froda was a Danish (???) king. In ancient writings are hints of a Frodi and a Froda, who are believed to be the same person, both this Danish king. They are sometimes related to Frey, either great worshippers of him, descendants of him, or even manisfestations of him. The historical reign of Frodi/Froda was known as the Peace of Frodi, during which there were no wars and no crime. When the king died, his death was concealed, for his thanes feared that if their enemies knew their king was dead they would attack. (compare this to the scenareo at the end of Beowulf, one of many pieces Tolkien studied) Froda/Frodi is not associated with Christian religous figures as far as I know.
I am rambling!!! Someone tell me to stop!!!!! Wink Smilie
Sam: stop! Winking Smilie

No, interesting theory, though it might be easier to read if you split up long posts into paragraphs. I just hate reading really long posts that aren't divided into paragraphs. Sorry about that, but I really think that would make it easier to read. Though this posts wasn't *that* long. Tongue Smilie
Agreed about the length thing Tommie, I find that about five lines per paragraph is a nice length, of course if the subject matter doesn't fit into five line bundles, that it is another matter. I also hate it when every sentence in web news stories is assigned to a new paragraph even though the subject remains the same as the preceding one.

Oh, and Samwise, don't worry about rambling we don't mind as long as it is interesting and on topic. I found what you were saying very enlightening, but when I get interrupted while reading, it is easier to find my way back to where I was if the paragraphs are shorter, thus my five line optimum. Smile Smilie
Hear hear Grondy! Thumbs Up Smilie
Sam, definitely don't stop rambling. That's about the most interesting thing I've read here so far today. Thanks. I was very into Norse mythology a couple of years ago, but I got really slack and stopped researching it, so any information you churn out to make JRR look like the rip-off merchant he was is more than welcome.
There he goes again, trying to drum up another argument, er discussion, via a sacrilegious statement. Are you all going to let him get away with it? Big Laugh Smilie
No! I am not going to let him get away with that! Big Laugh Smilie What Tolkien was doing was recreation, not plagerism. Now everyone please watch while I split my post into paragraphs Big Smile Smilie :
In LETTERS, one interesting thing that Tolkien says about his work is that 'my work is fundamentally Catholic'. Of course, our next question is: what does fundamentally mean?I take it to mean that since he is a Catholic, then his opinions and religious views will come through in his writing, which is what happens to all postAuthorIDs, unless they write an incredibly dry piece.
He also goes on to say that because of this he did not intentionally insert any hints to religion into his book, nor did he take any out. We know that the hobbits keep genologies, but we do not know of any buriul grounds. We know that people get married, but who marries them? In the Aragorn and Arwen wedding scene, it seems almost as though it is Elrond marrying them, because it states he gives his sceptre to Aragorn, or something like that. In the chapter 'A Window in the West' Faramir and the others say a sort of grace, to 'Numenor that was, and Elvenhome that shall ever be.'
As Tom Shippey pointed out in his book about Tolkien, something I appreciated, was that while Tolkien was a devout Christian, he was also a philologist, and he spent his life studying pagan works so that others could appreciate them. While his work may be 'fundamentally Catholic' he wanted re-create the world behind the old pagan pieces, and so had to borrow elements from them to make his work believable and 'accurate'. You can see this in his very Norse outlook, all the emphasis on doom and the ending of the world, etc.
Now I have given you three very nicely split paragaphs and will stop now. Big Smile Smilie

[Edited on 1/10/2002 by Samwisegamgee]

[Edited on 2/3/2003 by Samwisegamgee]
Aaah. Thanks Sam! Thumbs Up Smilie
An interesting view from somewhere else: (www.userfriendly.org)

Quote:
LOTR pet peeve by tesla_koil [2004/12/06 09:03]
Is it me or has the greater chrisitan church totally grasped onto the whole LOTR thing as a missions thing? Normally they would decry sorcery and mischief, idiotry. I know it was written by a christian with all sorts of chrisitan imagery and such, but still do you really think Gandalf did not use magick? maybe its just me but I saw a church have a missions night and invited all sorts of kids to watch LOTR and thought wow now thats a mixed message. Specifically cause it was a conservative baptist church.

To which Hadji replied:
Quote:
Part of the Christian imagery is that by hadji [2004/12/06 09:16]
Gandalf wielded more power than he used. With as much power as he had, he also recognized the danger of abusing it. In that same vein, when he was offered the ring, he resisted the temptation of "think what good I could do with this."

He recognized that the value of goodness comes from free will and not from forcing it upon people. His main role was to inspire others to fight, of their own will, against the forces of evil. He only wielded his power when it was necessary, to meet a challenge that was beyond the scope of others.

He recognized the danger of letting others become dependent on his power. The danger to them of taking him for granted, and the danger to himself of growing an ego and becoming corrupt.

This type of character is rare in other types of wizardry stories. In the others, the wizard or sorcerer is ever willing to wield their full power at the drop of a dime, giving no heed to the dangers of which Gandalf was fully aware.

And:
Quote:
I get that by tesla_koil [2004/12/06 09:21]
but what 9-13 year old is going to see that? I love the movies and the novels. What I am saying is I have heard people rail agianst fantasy novels by and large because of the mystical and magical elements. And in several fantasy novels i have read the lead mage is hesitant to use his/her abilities. most notably in my mind right now is allanon from the terry brooks shannara series.

And finally:
Quote:
Yeah, there is some hypocrisy there. by hadji [2004/12/06 09:24]
Personally, I also like the Harry Potter books. And I would bet you that the same people who rail against those take their kids to see Disney movies that involve magic and wizardry.


Most interesting I find Hadji's first reply. Some thoughts on Gandalf there that had not crossed my mind. Smile Smilie

That forum is tree-ed. Here is another reply to the first post:
Quote:
RE: LOTR pet peeve by josh6466 [2004/12/06 09:26]
tesla_koil LOTR has an astounding amount of Christian (especially Catholic) imagery. Although Tolkien despised the use of allegory, there are many very Catholic elements that are applicable to the story. The two that pop to mind are Galadriel as the Virgin Mary and lembas bread as a type of the Eucharist, especially since it's "more powerful the more one depends on it alone". In the legends that surround many saints, several have been said to subsist of the Eurcharist alone for long periods of time. There are several books out about the Gospel in the Lord of the Rings, or something similar. My favorite is Sanctifying Myth, written from a Catholic perspective. Peace,

To wich was replied:
Quote:
my point by tesla_koil [2004/12/06 09:49]
we willing claim the unknown when it suites our ministorial needs and bash when it doesn't

Any thoughts? Keep it civil please! Smile Smilie

And another branch off the stem:
Quote:
Oh, come on... by Spud31 [2004/12/06 09:22]
Can we just stop with the magic is evil bit? Look beyond that for the message in the movie. To use it as a ministry tool, you watch the movie, then discuss the message(s) behind it.

I have a "Fall Festival" at Halloween to bring children into the church. Someone complained about the bobbing for apples and said it was a pagan custom. The point is not what we are doing, but why we are doing it, and what we are saying to the kids. The message I was giving was one of thanksgiving for the season.

So the movie is just a tool to get people into the church and thinking about the Christian walk in a new way. The magic part is irrelevant.

And..
Quote:
its a bad thing by tesla_koil [2004/12/06 09:44]
to decry the use of magic and preach agianst folks who follow then lift up gandalf, radagast and the rest as ok. iz all i am saying.

And finally:
Quote:
I can see that. by Spud31 [2004/12/06 09:58]
But I have to say, "OK. That was pretend. But how can we apply it to our real lives?" Same thing with Harry Potter. I don't have a problem with my child reading and watching Harry Potter books. She knows that she can't really fly around on a broomstick. We have to seperate fantasy from reality. (Nola's gonna kill me for that one...)

BTW, I'm a Methodist and we tend to be much more liberal. So I don't really preach against sorcery much anyway. ;-)

Wasn't there a "Harry Potter is dangerous for young minds" thread here somewhere too?

I find Spud's first reply quite interesting. The "The point is not what we are doing, but why we are doing it" attitude is one i like a lot, and find quite refreshing.
Beware!! The Inquisition is again on a leash, searching for fantasy fans to burn! Be very afraid!

Anyway, it appears that Gandalf is clearly Mozes in the flicks. Look what he did with his staff and the Ten Orc Commanders.

Christian imagery, indeed.
Hah! I "Virumored" my post while you replied! How does it feel? Tongue Smilie

Anyway: In this case the inquisition is not burning the fantacy fans, but fire them up using their interest in a constructive way?
Well, my opinion on the whole magic thing, is that reading magicy fantasy harrypottertype books really depends on the child. My friend's little sister read Harry Potter and immediately got out a broomstick and complained to her mother that it wouldn't fly, tried to pull out the fur off her cat to put in her 'wand' she was making, asked Mum why she didn't just use magic for the chores, and began looking for wizards. Now that's scary. But other kids will just read it and say - "cool book." but will realise that magic is not real and that it simply exists in 'Faerie' as Tolkien calls it, and the Pot of Story. Harry has been put in the pot and boiled, and the harry potter series have come out. And they will understand that. (I've been reading On Fairy-stories).
One difference between lotr and Harry Potter is that in lotr the wizards are born with their magic abilities. Frodo could never become a Galndalv with lots of training. In Potter, ordinary humans are learning magic.
I don't know any pottery, but are those really 'ordinary' pupils? Aren't they born without any magical talent at all then?

Well...no Grev. In HP, you are either born a witch or wizard, or you are born a Muggle(some are born Squibs, which are non-magical folk born to a magic family). You can hone your magical abilities as a child/teen at Hogwarts or other witchcraft/wizardry schools, but you cannot even attend such schools unless you are either magical, or in Mr.Filch's case, a Squib. Muggles simply cannot perform magic in any way nor be a part of the magic world. So that's pretty simple.

Loni, I agree, a child's reaction to any form of fantasy, be it literature or even make-believe play, is very induvidual. I think a lot of it depends on how accepting that child's parents are of "other-worldly" things and of how much freedom to use their imagination they are given. As a kid, I myself was told A LOT to get my head out of the clouds. Normally, that would have been enough to eventually sway me away from the things I now love most, seeming how my parents placed much more emphasis on success(monetary) than happiness. But, being very strong-willed, I did not get estranged from Fantasy or "Faerie"; quite the contrary. Thanks to the rebellious nature of most humans, I gravitated closer to what I was being steered from, if only at first for the sheer spite. And that brings me to this: it is ridiculous to try to manipulate a child away from using their imagination-what is taboo becomes the most desirable...

As far as any religious implications in LOTR, I agree that there are possibly many references to Catholicism...but as was said before, I do not think they were intentional on the part of Tolkien. And if they were, I do not think they were meant as a missionary message to come to Christ, I get the gist that they would have been more of artistic images to evoke the feeling of sacredness and mysticism. Tolkien may have been a devout believer, but he was not someone who would have tried to push his faith onto anyone, as far as I can tell.

Here is something to muse on, which I have wondered about for years and plan to ask whichever God I get to first when I die: What if magick and religion were actually one? Our puny human brains cannot possibly attempt to comprehend that which we cannot see for ourselves, and we have a tendency to narrow things down so that we can explain things...what I'm saying is, What if everyone is right, and all the religions and cults and covens and sects are all on the right track somehow? Is religion so different from magick? Both have explanations for why things exist and work as they do, both have mystical elements, both are followed zealously worldwide...I don't know. I myself have found no answers in either religion or magick, and I have studied almost all forms of both. I believe in it all, if that's possible. Anyway, that is my theory...wrong or right.
That's very interesting, Grondy. Maybe that's why my friend believes in the THeory of Evolution and goes to St. peter's cathedral every Sunday. I really can't understand her.
Tolkien's friend C.S. Lewis began as an aetheist, and then converted to what he called 'mere' Christianity at the age of 33. Lewis defined this as the common fundamental beliefs from all denominations (what it all boils down to). He and Tolkien would discuss their beliefs and their writings on a regular basis. Lewis has since become the 'greatest christian writer of our time.'

Lewis and Tolkien wrote in a way that teaches christian values without any mention of christianity. Without using allegory, Tolkien has created a stage on which he can display many different moral codes. Then he shows the interactions of them and how they all come together on the most fundamental level. Friendship, family, tradition and the environment are meant to be seen as gifts for us to treasure and protect. These things are stressed above all else.

There is no need to mention God in the context of these stories. Tolkien stresses the importance of free will. He wants us to know that we all have it. It's a huge responsibilty to accept, so many people like to put it back on God. In LOTR, the Fellowship all take on that responsibility. They don't just sit back and say 'Oh, God will take care of this.' They realise that it is up to them.

Of course, Tolkien's religious background influenced much of his writing. But he still separates LOTR from religion itself so that anyone from any religious background can get the true meaning of it without feeling like they have been preached to.

I myself come from no particular religion. I have derived most of my own values and morals from LOTR. I feel the 'Joy' that Lewis talks about in some of his writings when I read LOTR.

Sometimes when I have a problem to overcome, I think to myself ' what would Frodo do?'
@Loni: Huh? What did Grondy say where, that made you come to that conclusion? *confuzzeled*

Anyway: There is no conflict in being religious and believe in science. The official view of the Catholic church is that God created the Universe... 13.6 billion years ago in a Big Bang. He/she/it also created every species of plants, animals and us humans.... through evolution. Science tells us what happened, but not why. "Why" is still in the domain of religion.

Do not get confused by the current "stuff" going on in some American states, with "evolution" versus "intelligent design". Some Christians do see science as a threat to what they thing is right, but many do not. You will have to figure that one out for yourself, no one can tell you what to believe.

@ Eldarwen:
Very interesting post! Thumbs Up Smilie
Friendship, family, tradition and the environment is definately Christian values, but not exclusively so. The three first ones at least, stand as strong, or even stronger, in Islam. Not surprisingly, as all three theistic(?) religions have the same God and most of the same prophets and scripts. I have no idea of Islam's view on the environment, but then again there are Chistian groups that are very strongly against environmentalism on the grounds that the destruction of the Earth is thought to bring forth the End of this world and the creation of the new. I'm not in a hurry, but apparently some are growing impatient. Smile Smilie

I guess friendship, family and traditions is pretty universal values, common in all cultures and religions. That Lewis has become " the greatest christian writer of our time" is perhaps a tesitment to the universality of those values, and when we in the Christian part of the world reads them we feel his writings describe ourselves and our thoughts, and we make those values our own.

The Christian God is completely different to the Islamic one, I think you'll find.

Quote:
Anyway: There is no conflict in being religious and believe in science. The official view of the Catholic church is that God created the Universe... 13.6 billion years ago in a Big Bang. He/she/it also created every species of plants, animals and us humans.... through evolution. Science tells us what happened, but not why. "Why" is still in the domain of religion.


Not necessarily. No time ot elaborate, I've got a nother class.
Carefull now. No religious discussions on PT boys and girls. Naughty naughty! Moderator Smilie
When in doubt, go read the rules. They are perfectly clear on this. Don't do this again. -Amarië-
It is hard to write a fitting reply when you keep changing the wording all the time. But thanks. Smile Smilie

I accept your decision, if not your definition. The rules are clear perhaps, but the moderation track record indicates differently. Google is your friend (or foe?)

Angel Smilie
I am sabotaging you on purpose! No not really, just a bonus. (didn't mean that either Wink Smilie )

Google is a nice tool. It can be used for a lot of things, but old post were posted during the rules that applied then. Google won't tell you what has been deleted and edited away. Todays rules are based on the experiences from back then. If we didn't think we needed them, then we wouldn't have them. It is for the best, and not up for debate.
Those exerpts that I gave you were old, definately. But I found them looking for more recent comments, posted after the new rules. I remembered them, but not their position, thus enter Google. (which wasn't very helpful this time)

Speaking of google..... look at this ad i got up: Google ad
If you found anything offensive in my post, this must surely be so far across the line that it comes back on the other side! Big Smile Smilie
Right.... we've all been bad little elves. (If in doubt, always blame the elves) I didn't do it, honest!!!! Shall we get back to the topic?
"When in doubt, go read the rules." -Amarië-

"If in doubt, always blame the elves." -Loni-

"When in doubt, draw an elephant" -Larry Gonick-


Now I'm really in doubt here... Very Mad Smilie

Speaking of Larry: His most exellent book "The Cartoon history of the Universe III - From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance" is well worth a read, and on topic. Or on topic with the off topic topic? *Screams and run around a little, then starts drawing an elephant breaking the rules and blaming the elves*

That ad doesn't comply with our rules and I think it should be removed. Moderator Smilie

It probably got there because of the content on that page which as a couple posts that probably should have been edited to remove some inflamatory words.
Back to the topic...I believe a lot of this is mentioned elsewhere, but here I go anyway. When I first read the Silmarillion, I was amazed at the images from Genesis that it conjured in my mind, but also, I found there to be quite a bit of Greek and Norse mythology wrapped up in Tolkien’s history. I agree with the comments that as a philologist, Tolkien studied many cultures and religions, since language, especially historically, is wrapped up in religion.

Now, after saying that, many people, even theologists, would say that Genesis is written in the style of the mythological tradition. This does not mean that it is not true, just that it is meant to be taken at a symbolic level rather than a literal level. I would argue that the Silmarillion as well as LOTR not only harken back to mythology on a Christian level in making Frodo and Aragorn out to be Christ figures, but even further back to the heroic legends and their quests (Jason and Odysseus immediately come to mind), for if we move forward from there, we can see that Christ himself is on a heroic quest of his own, one to save mankind.

Quests may be seen on many levels as a journey through the Self and the creation of identity. Tales such as LOTR in which every aspect does not end in joy and happiness are an important part of our psychological development, and it may be argued that they should not be “dumbed down” as many of them have been (e.g. Disney versions of The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, etc.). These tales were used in the past to teach children and to enable them to deal with situations psychologically before they had to deal with them in real life just as tales from the Bible are and have been used.

Laurel – I completely agree with you regarding the merging of magic, religion, etc. What’s to keep someone from saying that Jesus’s “miracles” are a form of magic? Or that God appearing as a burning bush or Moses parting the Red Sea are all a certain form of magic? Where does the differentiation lie?

In regards to science and religion, the two have been in conflict for centuries. It does not mean that religion has never accepted certain scientific explanations, but it certainly does mean that religious groups will not entirely acquiesce their own arguments and one day believe that everything is explainable though science. Of course, scientists such as Francis Bacon believed that science was possible because of God, and that it should not be used without acknowledging the source.

However, books such as Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…even LOTR…show the dangers that can be attributed to technology (science and advancement) when the effects of such actions are not taken into consideration. These books show that people are willing to work for science at the expense of everything else – imagination, reason, religion. They are taking their places as gods or God at the expense of much more than their own identities.
An interesting post Eruwen and I agree with some of it but...

Quote:
I would argue that the Silmarillion as well as LOTR not only harken back to mythology on a Christian level in making Frodo and Aragorn out to be Christ figures,


I have never thought of Frodo or Aragorn as being Christ figures and I don't think Tolkien intended them to be taken as such. I don't think he intended any character to be compared with a religious counterpart. There are parts of Christian attitudes in some characters but this, I believe, is Tolkien drawing on his own experiences, culture and life. Both Aragorn and Frodo have elements of 'Christ' but only as much as Christ was there for the good of mankind, as were Frodo and Aragorn, Frodo more so because he had the 'burden' to bear and the final sacrifice to make. Gandalf had already made a sacrifice and risen again (Christlike?) but he is still not a 'christlike' character.

If love, loyalty, selflessness, self-sacrifice and honour are Christlike qualities then how many other characters can be likened to him? Faramir?

I think it more that those who endeavour to 'save' the world, who respect honour and loyalty etc contain some of the qualities that Christ did, not because they are 'christlike' but because someone who is prepared to put themselves at risk for others requires those qualities which are not peculiar to just one man.
You are right, Vee, but you have to include the rest of my sentence in the quote. I think what I was trying to get at is that the novel is more of a heroic quest and that the characters can be likened to any figure that has been on a heroic quest whether Jason, Odysseus, Christ, or even Little Red Riding Hood. If people can relate these characters to Christ because it helps them identify with them, then so be it. If they can't see it at all and would rather think of these characters as Buddha or Odysseus, so be it. I think as long as people get something out of it, it doesn't matter who they relate the figures to. Ya know?
Again, it all comes down to applicability. Period. JRRT didn't write LOTR as an allegory to the Bible at all, but it is possible for some ppl to see biblical themes or figures in LOTR. Or muslim themes, or what-ever.

I only see movie-Gandalf as Moses, but that's about it ("let my hobbits go!"). No why didn't Arwen turn into a salt pillar?

And LOTR isn't really a quest. It's an anti-quest. Frodo goes not to search for a magical Ring that will destroy "evil", he searches to destroy a magical Ring to destroy "evil".

Quote:
The Christian God is completely different to the Islamic one, I think you'll find.

It's not. Try reading the Qu'ran.
Samwisegamgee; in a post of yours you said that the Hobbit name of Frodo Baggins would be Froda, when in fact it was Maura Labingi.
Eh, what post are you replying to? Thought Samwisegamgee isn't really around much anymore, unfortunately :-(.
wot are we talkin about? ah well i suppose its human nature to over-complicate things. when you write a creation myth for a mythology there is not many paths that can be chosen really, either a single god created the world, a number of gods created the world, or it was there in the first place. Tolkien chose the single god, as did the writers of the bible, only similiar due to the absence of many viable alternatives.
as for christ-figures, your always gonna have characters who are good, bad, and have a myriad of characteristics, does it mean they are modelled on a similiar character in a earlier story? there are probably people in the world today who share some characteristics with Frodo/Gandalf/Christ. and wot did we expect the professor to do, survey every religion to make sure none of his characters resemble thiers?
Virumor said:
Quote:
And LOTR isn't really a quest. It's an anti-quest. Frodo goes not to search for a magical Ring that will destroy "evil", he searches to destroy a magical Ring to destroy "evil".


I believe it is an “inverted” heroic quest rather than an anti-quest. It’s not really against questing; Frodo just has a different goal than most questing parties.

Fingolfin said:
Quote:
Tolkien chose the single god, as did the writers of the bible, only similiar due to the absence of many viable alternatives.


I would disagree that Tolkien chose to represent LOTR as a monotheistic book. There are many gods in LOTR – it reminds me more of the polytheistic nature of Greek mythology and how all the gods kind of do what they want, but they must answer to Zeus.
There is only one true god in Tolkiens books and that is Eru. But the Valar are obviously inspired by Norse gods, Greek and Roman gods (and the hierarchy of angels and who know what other sorces of inspiration he had from other religions and mythologies, that man knew a lot!). Manwes status is very simmular to Zevs' and Odins.
Quote:
Loni
has made 1491 posts is an Elf from Lothlorien and is not Online.
Posted Monday 6th December 2004 (10:35pm)

Well, my opinion on the whole magic thing, is that reading magicy fantasy harrypottertype books really depends on the child. My friend's little sister read Harry Potter and immediately got out a broomstick and complained to her mother that it wouldn't fly, tried to pull out the fur off her cat to put in her 'wand' she was making, asked Mum why she didn't just use magic for the chores, and began looking for wizards. Now that's scary. But other kids will just read it and say - "cool book." but will realise that magic is not real and that it simply exists in 'Faerie' as Tolkien calls it, and the Pot of Story. Harry has been put in the pot and boiled, and the harry potter series have come out. And they will understand that. (I've been reading On Fairy-stories).


Before I say anything I would have to say that depending on the child you may acquire different reactions as said above. This is exemplified with different table-top games.

Yet I do feel that I need to bring something up. Magic in my opinion does in reality exist. It might not be the card tricks or even the harry potter magic that is often thought of, yet I would find it ridiculous that those who are Christian simply ignore or dismiss words in the New and Old Testament such as "Soothsayer, sorcerer, soothsayer, etc" Another reason that it is evident that magic exists is the fact that people wouldn't fear magic if it did not exist. If magic did not exist there would be no reprimanding the Gothic teens who feel that they must adopt the pagan ways of the druid or such, except in the occasion that it is viewed as a waste of time.

Another topic I saw mentioned was Gandalf using magic and how it was condoned. For this I would have to iterate that for nearly every use of magic there is similar (or more powerful) usage of the priesthood, this may be interpreted as magic is a corrupt form of the priesthood.

Now I would like to say welcome all.
HI MehangelWaving Hello Smilie I will not comment on anything ,just welcoming you to this friendly site . Share and Enjoy !! See you around in the threadsHappy Elf Smilie
I will probably be banned from this site for saying this Smile Smilie but this is what I truly believe-
We all have a set of values and beliefs and ways of doing things, traditions and all sorts of things that make up who we are.
I believe that Tolkien believed with all his heart that his belief system, his way of looking at the world and whether or not he believed in a Divine being that was ultimately in charge of events and who gave to His creation freedom of thought and word and deed had nothing whatsoever with the story he wrote. He was in love with languages, how they sounded, what they meant, their origins and such and h e loved the thought of creating some for himself. It was upon that fact that he began to write a story around this.
However, he was a deeply one hundred per cent comitted Christian, a Catholic and the most precious thing in the world to him was to partake of the Sacred Host, and he believed that held within that sacred host after the mystical prayer of a priest was Christ, his Lord and Saviour present in body blood and Divinity.
And I honestly believe that what beliefs he deeply held, especially about the love of God and redemption as well as an ultimate overthrow of all evil by a good and Loving God was present in little bits here and there, scattered about as tiny seeds that after years and years of writing began to take more and more shape and were unknowingly deposited in his work.
I remember reading about his conversation on this and that concerning his work and influence and at one point the gentleman looked hard at him and said something like " I hope you don't think that you wrote all this alone." And the shock of that statement made him wonder if in fact that was true, if God had all along had a part in it.
But no he never meant to do it, nor have it as an allegory of anything. still ..............
so go ahead and pelt me, I won't take offence. Smile Smilie
Quote:
I will probably be banned from this site for saying this but this is what I truly believe-

Well, there's nothing wrong with expressing your opinions/beliefs, as long as you respect the opinions/beliefs of others.

So I can't see any problem with your post.

This thread contains posts from before PT instated its draconian laws, so some of its content is kinda dubious, though.
Although Tolkien does state that he would not dare to replicate the Bible in his own fasion, it is very obvious that he used many of the common themes of the bible in his works:

Melkor rebels against the One who created him -
Satan rebels against the One who created him,

The Last Battle/Dagor Dagorath is called the Day of Doom, instead of the DoomsDay. It is basically an account of the Apocalyspse in Tolkien's myth,

Manwe could perhaps be mistaken for Jesus in so much that he is an 'Angel' sent from God and that he has 13 as apposed to 12 'deciples'. The other Valar are not of course really desciples but you catach my drift. Tolkien simply added an extra 1 so as the Valar were not confused with Jesus and the desciples (I personally however think the Valar to be much more like the Greek gods than Angels).

And my last point is as follows:

"There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made." - The Ainulindale

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." - John, The bible

Obviously they are no where near the same but it is apparent that Tolkien at least based his start up sentence to his entire myth on this.

Also most of the Ainulindale is fairly similar to the first parts of the bible when God created the Earth ('Let there be Light' and 'Let these things be' etc)

So my point is that Tolkien would no admit to such a thing even if it was true becuase he was so religous.
Tolkien's stories take place in a distant past. To me it is pretty clear that Tolkien couldn't/wouldn't create a past which didn't fit with his Catholic faith.

But there is so much more than that. I want to learn more about his inspiration beyond the Bible. What I find interesting is to read about Norse mythology and stumble upon Ulmo, to compare the Fenris wolf with Sauron, to know (or to believe I know) why dragons are called lokí, to see all the dwarven names listed one by one and to know he read that poem and this is where he found them, to hear spoken Finnish and listen for Quenya sounds, to see a list of Welsh names and realize that names like Arwen fits in nicely. And still I haven't gone further than in my own back yard to look for Tolkien.

Only focusing on what is simmular with the Bible is a bit like saying "Yes Professor, you said it wasn't an allegory, but I say it is anyway! So hah!", and ignore all the other things he knew and loved, and all the little "secrets" hidden in his works. He's too smart for us, that's the problem. Wink Smilie
Tolkien has made mistakes with his published works (not saying he should not be expected to though). For instance he says this:

"The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer. .... Z may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him." - 210 From a letter to Forrest J. Ackerman [Not dated; June 1958]

"With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink." - FOTR

Also another incident is as follows:

"That was the last time in those wars that he passed the doors of his stronghold, and it is said that he took not the challenge willingly; for though his might was greatest of all things in this world, alone of the Valar he knew fear." - The silmarillion

If only Melkor knows fear why then do we have the following:

"Now the Valar were sitting in council before their gates, fearing the lengthening of the shadows, when the messengers came from Formenos."

"Then again the Valar were gathered in council, and they were divided in debate. For some, and of those Ulmo was the chief, held that the Quendi should be left free to walk as they would in Middle-earth, and with their gifts of skill to order all the lands and heal their hurts. But the most part feared for the Quendi in the dangerous world amid the deceits of the starlit dusk; and they were filled moreover with the love of the beauty of the Elves and desired their fellowship."

"But fearing that the other Valar might blame his work, he wrought in secret: and he made first the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in a hall under the mountains in Middle-earth."

Tolkien does make mistakes, though rare.

Tolkien does state that he does not think allegory:

"...my mind does not work allegorically"~Letter 144

"The story is not about JRRT at all, and is at no point an attempt to allegorize his experience of life."~Letter 183

"There is no symbolism or conscious allegory in my story".~Letter 203

However he does also state that if you look hard enough through his works you WILL find them:

"Other arrangements could be devised accordingly to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and have always done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicablity to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse ';applicability'; with ';allegory; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."~Foreward to LOTR
alone of the Valar he knew fear."

What Tolkien probably meant here was fear for oneself. Melkor was the only Vala who was afraid of someone else, and the only Vala who was afraid of what might happen to himself.
Yes indeed. It seems likely that Melkor was fearing for himself, whilst the Valar were fearing for Arda and the people. However I can find no defence for Aule. He seemed to fear the other Valar and Eru finding out about his work.
  [1] [2] >>