Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings a guide to Middle-earth by Duriez, Colin Tolkien, John Ronald Reu - TOLKIEN AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS By the same

Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings a guide to Middle-earth by Duriez, Colin Tolkien, John Ronald Reu

This preview shows page 1 out of 254 pages.

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 254 pages?

Unformatted text preview: TOLKIEN AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS By the same author The C.S. Lewis Encyclopedia (Crossway Books, 2000) The Inklings Handbook (with David Porter, Chalice Press, 2001) J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (Sutton, 2003) A Field Guide to Narnia (forthcoming, Sutton 2005) TOLKIEN AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS A GUIDE TO MIDDLE-EARTH COLIN DURIEZ This book was first published in 2001 by Azure This edition first published in 2004 by Sutton Publishing Limited The History Press The Mill, Brimscombe Port Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2QG This ebook edition first published in 2013 All rights reserved © Colin Duriez, 2001, 2013 The right of Colin Duriez to be identified as the Author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly. EPUB ISBN 978 0 7524 9562 0 Original typesetting by The History Press Contents Foreword by Brian Sibley Preface Part One The Mind Behind Middle-earth 1 The Life and Work of J.R.R. Tolkien 2 A Brief Chronology Part Two ‘The Book of the Century’ 3 Introducing The Lord of the Rings 4 A Guide to The Lord of the Rings and Its History 5 How The Lord of the Rings Relates to The Silmarillion Part Three An A–Z of Tolkien’s Middle-earth 6 Beings, Places, Things and Events Part Four A Look Behind Tolkien’s Life and Work 7 Key Themes, Concepts and Images in Tolkien 8 People and Places in His Life 9 Tolkien’s Writings Bibliography The Tolkien Society To my mother, Madge Anar kaluva tielyanna FOREWORD The Reality of the Fantastic I f you’ve paid good money for this book, then the chances are you’ll be fairly keen on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Therefore, it may come as something of a shock to you to know that there are those who are left absolutely cold by The Lord of the Rings and the other tales of Middleearth. Some people simply can’t get to grips with an author who goes to such elaborate lengths in creating an entire history, geography, literature and language as background to a work of fiction. Ironically, it is just this feature of The Lord of the Rings that others find most appealing. For them – and, I might as well own up and say, for me as well – the real strength of Tolkien’s writing doesn’t rest on such conventional elements of good fiction as story and character, excellent though he is at both, but on a skilfully created sense of fantastic realism. Few other writers, before or since, have attempted anything on quite so grand a scale, and even fewer have created other worlds that – whether in those insouciant tales of The Hobbit or Farmer Giles of Ham, or in that complex fantasy epic, The Silmarillion – are so beguilingly convincing. Why then did Tolkien labour so intently and take such meticulous care over something which isn’t, in the literal sense of the word, ‘true’? Essentially, he saw no conflict between the fantastic and those things which could be verified by reason, logic or science; indeed, he firmly believed that if the fantasy writer approached his subject with the same degree of reason as would be expected of the non-fiction writer, the better the resulting fantasy would be. It was a belief that stemmed from Tolkien’s Christian view of the creative artist. Man, he said, had a natural desire to create because he was himself a created being ‘made in the image and likeness of a Maker’. Tolkien went so far – some may say too far and too fancifully – as to suggest that a writer’s creations might actually become, in some sense, part of God’s greater Creation. ‘All tales may come true,’ he hazarded, ‘and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.’ For a great many readers, Tolkien’s worlds don’t have to come true—they seem true already. It doesn’t matter to them why this should be; it is enough that it is. So what then is Tolkien saying in his stories? Unlike his friend C.S. Lewis, he was not fond of allegory (and only once wrote in that genre, with his short story Leaf by Niggle); but he did passionately believe in what he referred to as the ‘applicability’ of fantasy. Tolkien knew that the most fantastical adventure remains a hollow artifice if it fails to engage its readers on an emotional level. Though we and Tolkien’s characters are worlds apart, we identify with their feelings, share their dreams and fears. Which is why, heart in mouth, we follow Frodo and Sam on their struggle through the ash-pits of Mordor towards Mount Doom; or why real tears start in our eyes when we read of the ill-starred romance of Beren and Lúthien. And the presiding virtue in so many of Tolkien’s tales is hope. Always, even in the longest and darkest night of Middle-earth, there glimmers a light – however small and flickering – of humanity, compassion and courage. These and many other aspects of the fantasy realms of J.R.R. Tolkien are discussed by Colin Duriez in this book. Here you will find a listing of all the people, places and things of importance in Tolkien’s writings. This, of course, is extremely useful if, for example, you can’t quite remember who Amras was; what you would do with lembas; where in Middle-earth you would find Caras Galadon; or what you might expect to see in the Halls of Mandos. The book also contains details of Tolkien’s life, his friends and colleagues and the writers and thinkers who influenced his work; and – most importantly – summarises his beliefs and the way in which they are revealed in his books. This volume will prove a welcome addition to any Tolkien reader’s bookshelf, since wherever you dip into its pages you can reckon on gaining some new understanding of Middle-earth or the man of extraordinary vision who created it. Apart from which, it is impossible to read Mr Duriez’s book without wanting to read – or reread – Professor Tolkien’s books, which is an undoubted compliment to both authors. Brian Sibley Preface J .R.R. Tolkien is such a widely read author that it is difficult to believe that, once upon a time, his publishers were convinced that The Lord of the Rings‡ might well make a financial loss for them. In those unenlightened days, the learned Professor could mutter the word ‘orc’ at uncouth behaviour, or exclaim ‘Mordor in our midst’ at an ugly example of modern life, without his meaning being known to the general public. Now the very word ‘hobbit’ has entered the English language, with its own place in dictionaries. The readership of his books is well over 100 million (the print run of the first US paperback edition of The Silmarillion ‡ alone was reportedly over 2 million). He is read throughout the world in many languages. Several polls of readers have made The Lord of the Rings their first choice. In 1996 the British bookshop chain, Waterstones, and a network TV programme, Book Choice, commissioned a poll of readers to determine the five books ‘you consider the greatest of the century’. The response was impressive. Around 26,000 readers responded, with 5,000 giving the first place to The Lord of the Rings, placing it in the number one position as the book of the century. Other polls repeated this preference. In 2000 Tom Shippey published J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. He is a literary scholar who like Tolkien has held the Chair of English Language and Medieval Literature at Leeds University. His book opens with the increasingly plausible claim, ‘The dominant literary mode of the twentieth century has been the fantastic’, a claim he defends rigorously in the book. He speculates: When the time comes to look back at the century, it seems very likely that future literary historians … will see as its most representative and distinctive works books like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and also George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot-49 and Gravity’s Rainbow. Not only is Tolkien read on a vast scale, but his work is present in many media – on audiotape and CD, in computer and board games, in illustration (by such as Rodney Matthews, John Howe, Ted Naismith, and Alan Lee), in drama adaptations, and on film. Tolkien’s status as a global phenomenon has been reinforced by the appearance of the three-part film by Peter Jackson (2001–3), each part representing a volume of The Lord of the Rings. Using the latest computer techniques, and filmed in the unspoiled landscapes of New Zealand, it employs actors of the calibre of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel,* Christopher Lee as Saruman,* Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins,* Liv Tyler as Arwen,* Ian McKellan as Gandalf,* and Bernard Hill as Théoden.* Peter Jackson described the work as the holy grail of cinema…. I really think it would have been impossible to do The Lord of the Rings before the advent of computers…. With computers, we’ve arrived at a time when anything you can imagine can be put on to film, and … anything Tolkien could imagine can be put on film. Explorations of virtual reality, particularly in film, has opened up the big philosophical and theological questions about the scope of reality. Does it extend beyond what can be measured, and beyond what can be seen, touched and heard? The denials of modernism, which tried to put reality into a closed box, seem increasingly hollow. The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy about actual reality. Underpinning it is Tolkien’s carefully worked out idea of sub-creation † (see Chapter 7), in which the human maker imagines God’s world after him, just as the early scientists – and today’s cosmologists like Stephen Hawking – think God’s thoughts after him. For Tolkien, the moral and spiritual world is as real as the physical world – indeed, each is part of one creation, and a successful sub-creation like the linguistic world of Middle-earth* captures them all in an organic whole. The result is an image of reality that is making a claim to reliable knowledge. Even readers who have ventured into Middle-earth through reading The Hobbit ‡ or The Lord of the Rings may not realize the full treasures to be found in Tolkien’s other writings, and in his thinking. This book tries to explain the relationship between the two familiar works and Tolkien’s less well-known life work The Silmarillion. This is a work Tolkien never finished, and which was reconstructed and published by his son, Christopher Tolkien, after his death. I argue that it provides a necessary backdrop to the adventures of the Ring.† Furthermore I try to show that the relationship between Tolkien’s life, his work as an Oxford ‡ scholar, his close friends (especially C.S. Lewis‡) and his fiction is itself fascinating. There are of course many readers of Tolkien who may have travelled in The Silmarillion. Many find this book strangely different from the other, more popular works. Some are overwhelmed by the proliferation of new names and places, yet attracted by a sense of depth and richness – and of even more of a world to explore. My book hopes to introduce, or remind readers of, the abundance that exists in Tolkien’s thought and imagination. It makes no claim to be exhaustive, but to provide helpful pointers. Selection was the most difficult of my tasks. The book is made up of interweaving sections, relating to his life, thought and writings, with the main focus upon The Lord of the Rings and its background – Middle-earth itself. To allow readers to follow through themes and subjects, fictional and actual, which capture their interest I have used asterisks, and other symbols, within articles and entries to show other references. If this omits a significant cross-reference I give it at the article’s end. Where appropriate, I have added further reading. At the end of the book is a list of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works (most of which are described within Chapter 9). For descriptions of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, the reader is referred to Part Two. The key to symbols of reference is: * Entry in Part Three: An A–Z of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Chapter 6: Beings, Places, Things and Events † Entry in Part Four: A Look Behind Tolkien’s Life and Work, Chapter 7: Key Themes, Concepts and Images in Tolkien ‡ Entry in Part Four: A Look Behind Tolkien’s Life and Work, Chapter 8: People and Places in His Life Chapter 9: Tolkien’s Writings Significant works of art and literature – like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the background of its invented mythology, † set in his world of Middle-earth – challenge the human understanding and imagination. † The challenge is just as real, I believe, as when a new philosophy or scientific theory is thought out. Human beings are always in the process of being shaped. Without challenge, we specialize and stagnate. Tolkien, significantly, was particularly antagonistic to mechanization, represented in Sauron, Mordor,* Saruman, and the despoiling of the Shire.* We are all on a journey – for which the quest to destroy the Ring in The Lord of the Rings is an image, with applicability to us. Tolkien, by challenging us, helps us to go in a right direction, and arrive at a certain destination. One of the songs of Middle-earth characteristically speaks of the road going ever on and on, a seminal image in the stories. As Bilbo said to Frodo, ‘It’s a dangerous business … going out of your door.’ Tolkien’s portrayal of new possibilities helps us to have the refreshment and moral strength to persevere over what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Tolkien challenges the spirit of our age, which says that there is no meaningful journey – either because there is no road, or because all roads lead to the same destination. The fact that Tolkien is so popular with readers in numerous countries shows that many people are attracted by the hope that shines through his work. This book is enlarged and substantially reworked from my The Tolkien and Middle-earth Handbook (1992). My thanks are due, in writing this new book, to many people, far too many to acknowledge. The ideas started out as a paper given at L’Abri in Switzerland in 1969, and slowly grew, with the encouragement of Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker (whose pioneering ideas on symbolism and reality opened up many vistas). My many friends in the Tolkien Society have helped to keep me exploring Tolkien’s writings and context, and given me the opportunity to try out on them my attempts to understand Middle-earth. I am most thankful for the friendships gained through Tolkien’s legacy. It has also been my privilege to meet notable and inspiring literary scholars who were big enough to take Tolkien’s writings seriously, such as Professor Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, Colin Manlove, Professor Jakub Lichanski of Warsaw University, and Chris Garbowski at various Conferences held to explore the work of Tolkien or his friend C.S. Lewis or the literary mode of the fantastic. Their labours have helped to make my little book possible. My thanks as well to Alison Barr for all her encouragement, and to Claire Sauer for her much- appreciated and cheerful editorial work on my typescript. My thanks too must go to Sarah Flight for taking my book to a wider readership through Sutton Publishing. Also, The Marion E. Wade Collection at Wheaton provided invaluable resources, although my visit there was, alas, all too brief. Colin Duriez PART ONE The Mind Behind Middle-earth ONE The Life and Work of J.R.R. Tolkien I was born in 1892 and lived for my early years in ‘the Shire’ in a pre-mechanical age. Or more important, I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories), and in fact a Roman Catholic. The latter ‘fact’ perhaps cannot be deduced…. I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe and like good plain food…. I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much. (Letter, 25 October 1958) J .R.R. Tolkien’s most familiar creation, the hobbits* of Middle-earth,* belonged only to his private world until September 1937. Before then they were known only to his children, to his great friend C.S. Lewis,‡ and to a few other people. The print run of what is now a children’s classic – The Hobbit, or There and Back Again ‡ (1937) – in its first edition was fifteen hundred copies. Forty years later, in 1977, the initial print run for the first US edition of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion‡ was over 300,000 copies, and two years later the run for the first US paperback edition was reportedly over two and a half million copies. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, the first son of English citizens Arthur Reuel ‡ and Mabel Tolkien. ‡ At the time of his father’s death in 1896, Ronald Tolkien and his brother Hilary were in England with his mother because of his health. They remained in England after his father’s death and occupied a rented house in Sarehole, ‡ Warwickshire, outside Birmingham. ‡ In Sarehole there was an old brick mill with a tall chimney. Though it was powered by a steam engine, a stream ran under its great wheel. The mill, with its frightening miller’s son, made a deep impression on Tolkien’s imagination. In The Lord of the Rings (1954–55) he wrote of a mill in Hobbiton,* located on the Water, which was torn down and replaced by a brick building which polluted both the air and water. In his letters Tolkien remembered his mother as ‘a gifted lady of great beauty and wit, greatly stricken by God with grief and suffering, who died in youth (at 34) of a disease hastened by persecution of her faith.’ Her nonconformist family was opposed to her move to Roman Catholicism, which took place in 1900. ‘It is to my mother,’ wrote Tolkien, ‘who taught me (until I obtained a scholarship) that I owe my tastes for philology, especially of Germanic languages, and for romance.’ The boys’ education required that the family move into Birmingham. Father Francis Morgan ‡ was a Roman Catholic parish priest attached to the Birmingham Oratory, founded by John Henry Newman. He provided friendship and counsel for the fatherless family. Half-Spanish, Father Morgan was an extrovert whose enthusiasm helped the Tolkien family. With the boys often ill and the mother developing diabetes, Father Morgan helped to move them to Rednal, in the countryside, for the summer of 1904. The feeling there was like that of Sarehole. Mabel Tolkien died here later that year, and Father Morgan was left with the responsibility of the boys. He helped them financially, found them lodgings in Birmingham, and took them on holidays. In 1908 Father Morgan found better lodgings for the orphaned brothers on Duchess Road in Birmingham. Here Tolkien fell in love with another lodger, Edith Bratt, who was slightly older than him. She was attractive, small and slender, with grey eyes. Father Morgan (like King Thingol in Tolkien’s tale of Beren* and Lùthien*) disapproved of their love. He was fearful that Tolkien would be distracted from his studies, and ordered him not to see Edith until he was 21. It meant a long separation, but Tolkien was loyal to his benefactor, the only father he had really know...
View Full Document

  • Fall '19

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes