Friday, May 24, 2019

For The Nerdy Among Us

Being a life-long Tolkien fan, I'm well aware about the controversies surrounding his works. There is enough material online for those interested which will discuss (sometimes) at length whether there is occult in his books and whether they are good for Christians to read. While I really like The Hobbit, and most of the LOTR, I have always felt uncomfortable about Silmarillion and never could finish it, aside from a short humorous retelling of that story.

In fact, last time I tried to read it when I was in my mid-twenties, I started getting vivid nightmares and was forced to quit. It's rather a depressing reading overall, so I don't think I really missed much. Tolkien was really obsessed with Elves. In fact, personally I think his Hobbit is the best of his books because one sees so little of them and they don't come across as particularly great. Lord of the Rings has Legolas in it which is OK, but then it also has Galadriel whom I always have found rather irritating.

 One can attribute it to female jealousy, perhaps, but I have the same general feeling about all the passages which deal with general greatness of Noldor. (And why do they worship Manwe's wife instead of Manwe himself? Sounds rather matriarchal to me). Anyway, if you have read Simarillion or have a general idea what it is about, Noldor don't come across as particularly great, noble or enlightened though the author keeps telling us they are.

It's interesting that though Catholics nowadays find it expedient to claim J. Tolkien as one of their own, when he first tried to publish his stories about Valinor in a Catholic magazine in the 1930s, they were apparently rejected under the guise of being "too heathen". Of course, it was before Vatican II and "anything goes" attitude. Anyway, I'm not particularly troubled by the elements of heathen mythology in his books, otherwise we as Christians wouldn't be able to read the original myths, either, and even when I was a kid I was able to distinguish fairy tales from real life.

Still, I find some aspects of Silmarillion troubling. Recently I listened to a radio program about Gnosticism and its dangers and it dawned upon me. Was J. Tolkien a Gnostic? Here is an interesting discussion which I found and yes, some (Internet) Gnostics claim him as one of their own (as do the Neo-Pagans, by the way).

If you have any thoughts on the topic, feel free to share in the comments! Different opinions are appreciated.


  1. Housewife OutdoorsMay 27, 2019 at 4:36 AM

    I have never managed to read Silmarillion. It gives me creeps. You know, like the first 10 pages already. Just cannot do it.

    I personally don't think it matters what religion writer confesses. Orson Scott Card is a mormon, and you couldn't tell it by his books. I am a big fan of "Ender".

    Unless, of course, the religion is feminism. For some reason it always runs through. It is really annoying when you read otherwise high-quality fantasy or even historical novels and the auhtor has seen fit to spoil everything with feminists characters (even transgenderism or other things unnatural will be presented in positive light). It is just so unconvincing.

    Interestingly enough, in LOTR I find only elves unconvincing. Everybody else behaves like you could expect "people" from their background behaving. But elves seem to manage to live thousands of years without learning a thing. Or without havinga raison d'être. They just exist, with no passion or enthusiasm. They are so lame they propably have skimmed milk in their veins and yet one should see them as something special.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets creeps from this book:)

    I think literature and art in general has always been used for propaganda purposes but a good writer will make it more subtle, so to say. With progressives, on the other hand, the more propaganda the better and they hardly care about being convincing or even entertaining any more. They know they will be published and promoted any way so why bother?

    As for Tolkien, I really like how he describes Hobbits, dwarves (especially in The Hobbit) and even men. There is some fine deep drama between Faramir and his father, for instance. But when it comes to Elves...I remember how we used to laugh about them sitting in Rivendell getting drunk all the day (what was the name of the stuff they used to drink which was supposedly so wholesome?) They come across better in Hobbit, since they are described with more humour (and yes, they are shown as liking their wine too much and getting drunk and being greedy which makes them more likable, imo).

    In LOTR he fell back into waxing poetic about how awesome they are which made them so unlikable. I mean it's like this kid at school whom they always use as an example and everybody hates because of that:) And these awesome Noldor, btw, committed mass murder of other Elves in Silmarillion and all this in blessed Valinor, too...