Banned Book 18 - LOTR

The Annotated Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

 

                I am doing these four books because when I decided to re-read one, I just can’t stop.

 

                In 2001, members of a church in New Mexico burned these books.  The people participating in the book burning claimed that the novels promoted witchcraft and devil worship.

                Apparently I have been reading these books all wrong.

 

                There are plenty of reasons not to like these books.  One of my closest and oldest friends tried for about to read Fellowship of the Ring.  She was never able to make it out of Bree.  She found the writing dry, and to be honest, I always think liking old saga is a requirement when reading JRRT.

 

                Seriously, witchcraft and Satan worship.

 

                While Tolkien’s work is not the Christian allegory that Narnia is (and why Tolkien didn’t like Narnia), the work does have Christian values and symbols.  Perhaps foremost is both Bilbo and Frodo’s reaction to Gollum – pity and, most especially from Frodo, compassion.  Sam is many things, but he is not a compassionate as Frodo.  There is the healing of the land under the one true king.  There is the defeat of the devil by ordinary agents.  You don’t get much more ordinary than a hobbit in Middle Earth.  Sam is instrumental in getting the ring to Mount Doom.  He’s a gardener.  He grows things.  He is earthy.  He is a shepherd of plants.

 

                Perhaps what confused them is the fact that Frodo failed, for Frodo did fail it’s important to realize this.  He brings the Ring to the Mount, and the Ring is want, desire, everything.  It is temptation, and at the end Frodo cannot destroy it.  Gollum destroys it accidently.  Gollum who was saved by compassion inadvertently saves all of Middle Earth.  The worthless, grasping creature ensures the survival of the remaining Fellowship and the rest of Middle Earth.  He just doesn’t know it.  Frodo fails because Frodo is not God.  He is only a Hobbit.   No one could take it further, but still no one could take it that last step.  If you read the Bible, the heroes in the Bible aren’t always heroic.  They are not Gods, but his agents.  At times, they omit the truth, they lie, they stumble, they doubt.  There is no one Christ figure in Middle Earth like Aslan, but both Frodo and Aragorn are Christ like.  To not realize this when reading the books is just wrong.  Simplistic. 

 

                Today, I hear about movements for Real Beer and Real Gravy, and I can just see Hobbits starting these movements.  I really can.  LOTR is also part love letter to a way of life that was disappearing in front JRRT, an era of more traditional values.

 

                How come people who say they are for traditional values always challenge, ban, or burn books that promote the same thing?