J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom

By |2019-11-02T08:12:19-06:00November 10th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christendom, Christian Humanism, England, Essential, 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 |2019-10-29T21:01:16-06:00October 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, [...]

St. Augustine and J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2019-10-14T10:03:55-06:00October 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 |2019-10-12T14:11:46-06:00October 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 |2019-10-05T22:21:17-06:00October 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 [...]

The Earliest Days of the Inklings

By |2019-09-30T23:36:32-06:00September 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Imagination, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis talked, dined, drank, and walked together. And then, other friendships began to form around this critical one. Some arrived by chance, some by circumstance, and others by design. Eventually, they adopted a name: “The Inklings.” With the friendship of Tolkien and Lewis having grown into something almost preternaturally solid, [...]

Revisiting “The Fellowship of the Ring”

By |2019-10-04T12:56:45-06:00September 28th, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

As I pondered the artistic license that Peter Jackson had granted himself in one of the most important scenes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring, I realized that a film adaptation of a literary work should not be expected to follow the literal letter of the original but should seek faithfully to [...]

From Pagan Heroism to Christian Alliance: Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-10-05T09:54:55-06:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Great Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien argued that while Christianity gave the heroes a new point upon which to focus, the enemies of the heathen gods remained, too, the enemies of the Christian God. Beowulf, by challenging all that is spawned in Hell, has, by default, become the ally of all that destined to Heaven. Inducted into the [...]

Revisiting “The Two Towers”

By |2019-10-05T09:03:45-06:00September 21st, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

I’ve just enjoyed the second of the three movie nights at a friend’s house watching the full extended editions of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. As I stated in my essay describing my experience of watching The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in many years, it’s intriguing to see [...]

Tolkien’s “The Children of Húrin”

By |2019-08-23T11:55:02-06:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

How does one account for J.R.R. Tolkien’s seeming ability to live inside of mythology? He read it, he translated it, and he absorbed it. After all these grand things, he rewrote it. Yet, no matter how deeply he delved into the profound and pervasive paganisms of pre-Christian cultures, he never lost his ability to [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

By |2019-08-02T23:19:30-06:00August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Beren and Lúthien remains one of the most beautiful parts of Tolkien’s entire mythology. It matters profoundly in "The Lord of the Rings" and indeed also mattered profoundly in Tolkien’s own life. “The chief of the stories of The Silmarillion, and the one most fully treated is the Story of Beren [...]

The Batman and Tolkien’s Batman

By |2019-08-01T23:45:27-06:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Christian Humanism, Dwight Longenecker, Fiction, Heroism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Superheroes|

While we continue to marvel at the steady stream of superheroes being pumped out in comics and movies, I am more interested in ordinary heroes. The ordinary hero is the man or woman behind the scenes. They are the ones who play the steady, supporting role. Natural second fiddles, they are the loyal retainers [...]