Essay J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings strikes a cord with almost everyone who reads it. Its popularity has not waned with the passing of time, nor is its appeal centered on one age group or generation. Book sales would indicate that The Lord of the Rings is at least as popular now as it ever was, if not more so. Some estimates put it at the second highest selling work of all time, following only the bible.

While it is certainly an exciting and well written work of fantasy, which cannot help but grip the imagination, all this would be for naught except for the poignancy of the themes which serve as its backbone. Foremost of these is Tolkien’s determination to show the natural world as the
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In previous ages the Valar, god-like beings of great power, intervened directly into the affairs of men with cataclysmic effect, but in the failing days of the third age, they merely send agents such as Gandalf to gently nudge the world in the right direction.

These declining cycles can be linked to a dwindling of the natural world. Once, great swaths of mighty forests like Fanghorn covered much of Middle-earth. Now Treebeard, a personification of nature if there ever was one, rarely wanders far, preferring to stay within his dwindling refuge. Just as warm summer cedes its place to icy winter, so too does evil eventually ascend over good. The inevitable resurgence of summer will never be quite as bright nor quite as wonderful as the one that preceded it however, a product perhaps of the destruction wrought by the previous conflicts. The best and the brightest have been culled, and their successors can only move on as best they can.

In Tolkien’s poem “Mythopoeia”, he champions the natural world as the ultimate expression of and inspiration for art in an effort to counter the arguments of his friend C.S. Lewis. He writes that creativity is a “…response of those that felt astir within, by deep monition movements that were kin, to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars…” Art, something that Tolkien saw as a having a major effect on life, was in fact brought on through inspiration by the natural world.

The magic of
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