This past spring I audited a Socratic dialogue class on the literature that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination. Among the many works explored and discussed, we spent two weeks reading Phantastes, by George MacDonald. The students in the class were discussing the character of Anodos and his seeming inability to make reliable decisions and follow the … Continue reading Is Anodos Naïve or Immature?
I wrote last week about the influence freedom has on the Narnians’ actions toward their fellow men (and animals). However, what I did not have time to write about was how this freedom influences their attitudes as well. If one reads enough C.S. Lewis, it becomes clear that the Narnians are Lewis’s interpretation of a … Continue reading More on the Influence of Freedom on Character in The Horse and His Boy
In The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis portrays the Narnians as being honourable, gracious, and genuine people. This is especially evident in The Horse and His Boy owing to its Calormen setting. The customs and culture of Calormen are placed beside those of Narnia; and the Narnians are seen from the perspective of Calormenes, or … Continue reading The Influence of Freedom on Character in The Horse and His Boy
As far as Middle-earth and our world are concerned, Hobbits are uneducated. They are the personification of country-bumpkins, with little or no knowledge of math and science (outside of what is required for farming and marketing), literature (save their own tales and ditties), or history. Yet in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the … Continue reading Courage in Spite of Ignorance
In some ways, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien differ greatly in their approach to stories. However, in many other aspects the two share very similar ideas. One example is in their depictions of the towns of Narrowhaven in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Lake-town in The Hobbit. The leaders of both towns are … Continue reading Lake-town & Narrowhaven: Monetary Gain and Unbelief
Sometimes, in reading a work of literature, I encounter a snippet of wording which illuminates a previously unnoticed pattern in another work. This was the case with a particular reference in W.B. Yeats’ preface to Lady Gregory’s translation of the Finn Cycle to the degradation of the mortal-immortal relationship over the course of Irish mythology. … Continue reading The Wearing of Time on Mortal-Immortal Relationship
It appears that The Return of the King is the hardest book in the trilogy for me to put down or, more accurately, the hardest for me to resist picking up. This may be because of the many day-spring moments in The Return of the King: flashes of incredible beauty...
Do you remember your first reading of The Lord of the Rings? What was your reaction when you discovered Gandalf was not dead, as you and the members of the Company believed, but fully alive? ...
The book begins in Hobbiton with much the same lively writing style found in The Hobbit. You can tell that neither Tolkien nor the Hobbits realise the dark roads they will travel in this sequel...
Hello, my friends, This fall I have been re-treading the paths of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. My brother is taking a Socratic discussion course on these works and I leapt at the opportunity to reread them. As I finish each book, I will share with you the thoughts that come to … Continue reading Rereading The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, Part 1: The Hobbit (Raw Reflections)