This is a fantastic little book. It goes through the whole trilogy in chronological order, pulling out events and examining them in the light of Christianity to see what they contain. Faith, hope, love, sacrifice, redemption, grace, desire, fear, death, weakness, danger -- there are so many wonderful topics packed into this book!
While it's set up so you could use it as a devotional, reading one section a day, I didn't read it that way -- I gobbled it up as fast as I could, underlining and scribbling madly in the margins. I'm teaching my niece high school lit again this year, and we're reading The Lord of the Rings together as our first project. Delightful! I'm drawing on this book for a lot of the themes we're discussing.
Particularly Good Bits:
Tolkien understood that our lives are part of a grand drama that both transcends and explains our experiences. The drama's narrative infuses meaning into scenes and events that would otherwise seem arbitrary and meaningless. Tolkien saw the adventure of our lives, like the adventure of his hobbits, as part of a story that began "once upon a time" and is moving toward its eventual "ever after" (p. xi).
C. S. Lewis believed that our desire for something better is a gift, a way of reminding us of what it is we lost and what it is we hope to regain (p. 2).
Tolkien saw our world as neither completely right nor completely wrong, but rather as a good that has been violated, a beauty marred. He realized that the only way we can understand that which occurs within time is to view it within the context of that which occurred before and beyond time (p. 4).
The true forces of evil in our world are rarely haphazard or indiscriminate. The occasional mad gunman notwithstanding, the history of mankind shows that the most destructive wickedness is devious and determined. Violent insanity is far less trouble than diabolical brilliance (p. 18).
It is only when we humble ourselves by acknowledging that we don't know everything that we are able to learn from others (p. 22).
Middle-earth, in other words, is a hauntingly luminous mirror image of our world. For we know that the world in which we live is a perilous place, a place where good and bad, light and dark, innocence and horror, glory and depravity march side by side and sleep back-to-back. We forget this at times, of course. In the course of our dull daily routines we often grow numbly accustomed to it all. But there are those moments when we wake suddenly in the middle of the night and remember that we are, after all, surrounded by terrors (p. 33).
It is our human destiny to participate with God in the ongoing work of creation (p. 112).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Absolutely clean and God-pleasing.
I wrote this review specifically for this year's Tolkien Blog Party. If you haven't yet, check out the blog tag and enter the giveaway. There will be more posts coming this week, including games and another Tolkien-related book review.
This is also my 7th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017.