Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Last night I began Fellowship of the Ring again...I've now seen each of the movies multiple times and read the series twice before. I brought my dad's trilogy to Oxford with me...I love this edition because the pages are yellowed and they have the best maps. Before I had gone three pages I realized again how magical these books are. Tolkien created several languages, including Elvish, Dwarvish and Black Speech, and then wrote the books to go along with them (he was a linguist and historian at heart). Because the books were written to provide a world for the languages, one feels when reading them that this is only a tiny part of the lore of an entire universe...which I suppose Middle-earth was meant to be. Tolkien says in the Foreword that he "cordially dislike[s] allegory in all its manifestations," so the series is not specifically an allegory, except in the sense that all great stories can be applied to our own lives.
Hobbits, of course, are a great deal like humans; they love comfort and fellowship and good food, and often don't bother much with events outside their own little corner of the world. They are simple folk who get caught up in a story that is much greater than they, but although so many larger characters step into the tale, in the end the story essentially belongs to Frodo and his three companions. I think the greatest stories, including the story of Christ, are best understood and appreciated through the lens of their effect on "ordinary" people.


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