The Mixed Legacy of Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-03-07T11:20:36-06:00March 7th, 2020|Categories: Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Only the works published during J.R.R. Tolkien’s lifetime should be considered canonical, whereas the unfinished works collected, collated, and edited by Christopher Tolkien should be considered extra-canonical. I would even venture to suggest that Christopher Tolkien’s work should be considered as footnotes to his father’s corpus and not an extension of it. In the [...]

Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-02-11T16:45:42-06:00February 11th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

After his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien became the literary heir of all things Middle-earth. He quit his prestigious academic professorship at Oxford and dedicated himself fully to his father’s legacy. We are a better people and a better civilization as a result. On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the holy host of the Valar (all [...]

Vale, Christopher Tolkien: Middle-Earth Is Indebted to You

By |2020-01-29T16:37:58-06:00January 29th, 2020|Categories: Character, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature|

If J.R.R. Tolkien was a Titan, Christopher was Atlas, with the weight of a cosmology on his back. On January 16, in France, and at the age of 95, Christopher John Reuel Tolkien quietly passed away. The headlines of many obituaries and tributes refer to him as the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, which indeed [...]

Gollum and the Spirit of Christmas

By |2019-12-09T17:50:09-06:00December 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christmas, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

When we think of writers associated with Christmas, Dickens would no doubt come to mind, as, perhaps, would Chesterton. It is unlikely, however, that the name of Tolkien would spring to mind. In Tolkien’s works, such as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, set in Middle-earth, there is no place [...]

Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom

By |2020-02-01T12:32:53-06:00November 10th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christendom, Christian Humanism, England, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Senior Contributors, StAR, Timeless Essays|

J.R.R. Tolkien believed that the Anglo-Saxon world might offer us strength to redeem Christendom. The hero of “The Lord of the Rings,” after all, is an Anglo-Saxon farmer turned citizen-warrior. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he discusses J.R.R. Tolkien’s christological interpretation [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle”

By |2019-11-05T21:50:56-06:00November 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” must rank as one of the finest short stories of the twentieth century, breath-takingly beautiful, even by the highest Tolkienian standards. As with so many of his writings, “Leaf” takes seriously issues of goodness, free will, destiny, subcreation, and eternity. One very late night or early morning in 1939, [...]

Approaching Weathertop: Anatomy of a Scene

By |2019-10-29T21:01:16-05:00October 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series, Writing|

Though the approach to the mountain Weathertop is only one scene in “The Lord of the Rings,” it is a telling one. Through romance, imagery of light and color, the voluptuousness of his landscapes, and the holiness of song and poetry, J.R.R. Tolkien brilliantly reveals himself as a master of the English language and, [...]

“Beowulf” and the Men of the Twilight

By |2019-11-23T15:40:06-06:00October 20th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

The “Beowulf” poem, J.R.R. Tolkien stressed, is fundamentally about the very nature of heroism. Beowulf is, of course, a “noble pagan.” Given such a consideration, questions arise: Does he advance only his own will, or does he take into account God’s grace? Can true heroism even exist in a Christian world of grace, or must [...]

Fate and Will in Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-11-23T15:38:35-06:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Beowulf Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Arguably one of the finest stories in the Western Tradition, “Beowulf” concerns the advent of a hero and his timely end. Throughout, questions of fate, free will, good, and evil predominate. Most prominent, though, are the theological questions of will and grace, one pagan and the other Christian. In 1926, when merely a thirty-four [...]

St. Augustine and J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2019-10-14T10:03:55-05:00October 13th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. Augustine, StAR, Timeless Essays|

As with St. Augustine as the barbarians tore through Rome’s gate on August 24, 410, at midnight, J.R.R. Tolkien looked out over a ruined world: a world on one side controlled by ideologues, and, consequently, a world of the Gulag, the Holocaust camps, the Killing fields, and total war; on the other: a world [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth

By |2019-10-12T14:11:46-05:00October 11th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Senior Contributors|

Myth, J.R.R. Tolkien thought, can convey the sort of profound truth that is intransigent to description or analysis in terms of facts and figures. But, Tolkien admitted, myth can be dangerous if it remains pagan. Therefore, one must sanctify it. As an artist, a scholar, and a mythmaker, Tolkien gave us a glimpse of [...]

Revisiting “The Return of the King”

By |2019-10-05T22:21:17-05:00October 5th, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors, Uncategorized|

I’ve just completed the sixteen-hour marathon, run over three consecutive Tuesday evenings at a friend’s house, watching all three extended editions of Peter Jackson’s movie magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings. I’ve already shared my impressions of watching The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers for the first time in possibly [...]