Articles

Wandering in Wonder

Wandering in Wonder Present-earth Enjoyment from Middle-earth Beauty People love Tolkien because his writing elicits wonder. We love Middle-earth, in large part, because we long to enjoy its wonders in our daily Present-earth experience. Consider Peter Kreeft’s perspective on the wonder-eliciting power of Tolkien’sThe Silmarillion: “The Silmarillion is a Great Book. I deduce this from…

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Interview with the Late Dr. Michael N. Stanton, Tolkien Scholar

Interview The Late Dr. Michael N. Stanton, Tolkien Scholar Here’s a little biographical information about Dr. Stanton: EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: He received a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont in 1968 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1971. His dissertation was on the English poet Robert…

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“The Hobbit” at Eighty

When Tolkien wrote these words, which would become one of the most famous and most memorable opening sentences in all of literature, he could not have known what literary power would be unleashed by his creation of the diminutive hole-dwelling creature, Bilbo Baggins. This year, as we celebrate the eightieth anniversary of the publication of The…

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It’s Not an Adventure Until Something Goes Wrong

So often these days, people seek “adventure,” only to spend so much time and money beforehand to ensure nothing goes wrong, that by the time the “adventure” happens, it’s no longer an adventure. In light of this, I have long held to the motto, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong”.  Well, as we…

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A Fragrantly Recurring Tolkien Smoke-Ring

John Elton Pletcher loves storytelling, all-things-Tolkien, and literary analysis (with a special eye for everyday applicability). Speaker, author, pastor, and curator of @GandalfTheGuide, John lives in Lancaster, PA with his wonderful wife, Nancy, and three high-energy, creative sons. Though they never met, I am quite confident that J.R.R. Tolkien would have loved my grandfather, Everett…

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A Most Curious Tolkien Word—for your Week-after-Easter Motivation

“Tolkien viewed this wonderful concept as operative for our history, not just Middle-earth.” Like most inhabitants of Present-earth, you are probably not uproariously excited about going back to work after the holiday weekend. You might take heart as you move into your post-Easter workweek by pondering one rather quirky word, unique to Tolkien’s lexicon. Before we consider…

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Tolkien’s Often Missed Reference to Good Friday in The Lord of the Rings

In the quotation above, Tom Shippey gives us a window not only into the brilliance of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world-building prowess, but also into its striking and easily missed subtext. Tolkien’s point to which Shippey refers comes after The Return of the King chapter (“Mount Doom”) in which Frodo and Gollum (against all their desire) destroy the Ring,…

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“My Precious” and the Human Condition

Author Scott Sauls writes: Do you remember what Gollum called the ring of power in The Lord of the Rings? His “Precious.” J.R.R. Tolkien was reading the human condition when he came up with that little detail. It is our fallen human tendency to grasp a “Precious” to replace Jesus as our functional lord and…

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What does “eucatastrophe” mean?

From an interview I did with the late Dr. Michael Stanton back in 2004: One thing I have noticed is that even though Tolkien coined the term back in the late 1930s, when he was still in the early stages of writing LOTR, very few of his earlier critics seem to have picked up on…

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3 Ways to Conquer Your Fears

Use The Lord of the Rings to navigate your fight-or-flight instinct. Many characters in The Lord of the Rings resist their flight instincts to fight for courage. If Hobbits—who are of meager stature and abilities—can fight through fear, we can as well.   So, read through The Lord of the Rings again to learn from its courageous…

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