A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy
April 6, 2019
If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.
Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.
The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.
One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?
Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series was nothing less than astonishing. Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.
Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:
“Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century. He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels. In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself. We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons. In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations. Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue. What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.
The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.
In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:
“The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound. The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need. The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope. And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
And still there’s more:
“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life. And it is also good, because it heals our blindness. Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights. It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls. In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[Bold Emphasis Added].
Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.
Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.
The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones. In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.
Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel. For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.
Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.
That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.
On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:
“That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk life. Life is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]
Why this is so is because:
“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant. Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[Bold Emphasis Added.]
In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.
For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s magnum opus – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come. Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.
This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:
“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you. You see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before. Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before. But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm. Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered. Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.
Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.
Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come. It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul. For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil. That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate
 Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
 Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rinigs, p 17.
 Ibid., p. 3.
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
 Louis Markos, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
 Ibid., p. 14.
 Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.
Suggested Reading & Viewing:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.