On Tolkien As with many,


On Tolkien

As with many, I have recently gotten the extended version of The Lord of the Rings and I started watching it a couple of days ago, going through much of the documentary stuff and about the first half of the film.

Something I have not much seen described in all the discussion of Tolkien is the reaction I have to him, either in the books or in the true-to-form video. Tolkien is one of the few writers who inspire in me a sense of longing and belonging. When I read or see Tolkien, I want to be in the world he has made, and I know is some ineffable sense I am. His work puts me in direct contact with at least a sense of supernatural realities. The same is true for certain parts of the Arthur Legend. When I read the Old French contributions, and even Mallory, the entire world is transformed in the light of these legends and works. So too with Tolkien. I cannot describe the reaction any further than to say that it is a deep longing, a strong belief that I am encountering the truth in ways that cannot otherwise be explained. I love Tolkien's work for this transformative ability. I agree with some critics and scholars who point out that there are certain awkwardnesses of phrasing and a lack of felicity in some of the writing; and yet, it makes no difference whatsoever in its impact.

I have seen people for whom Tolkien offers nothing whatsoever and they are impossibly enigmatic to me. I would like to understand them, but I have no grasp whatsoever on what drives them. I guess Tolkien incites in me that "romantic" fire in the original sense of the term. His work is steeped in a deep history which is often more interesting in its fragmented appearance in The Lord of the Rings than it is in the more detailed works.

For me, this then is the essence of Tolkien--he touches upon the mythic and supernatural in ways that only two other things do--King Arthur and the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord. I don't know why these three take me to this different place, and of course there can be no equivalence between them, two being inventions and one being the Truth; however, they are part of the gracious way God has seen fit to make me and to the treat me. To me, they are the constant reminders of our eternal home, and they succeed always in calling me there, in making me aware that it is indeed a real destination, and reminding me that " There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 19, 2002 8:07 AM.

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