By Matthew Dickerson

ISBN-10: 1587433001

ISBN-13: 9781587433009

A professional at the Hobbit and The Lord of the jewelry trilogy exhibits how a Christian worldview and subject matters undergird Tolkien's vintage works

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Additional info for A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth

Sample text

So even as Tolkien created a new edition of The Hobbit with this new ending to the riddle game, and explained away the first edition’s account as Bilbo’s story told to the dwarves rather than the true story, he also began to develop his concept of the Ring’s power. In his prepublication drafts of The Lord of the Rings, he slowly changes and adapts the dialogue between Gandalf and Frodo in which the wizard presents to the young hobbit the history of the Ring. In an unpublished version somewhere between the first draft and the eventual published draft, Gandalf recounts to Frodo his interaction with Gollum as follows: What I have told you is what Gollum was willing to tell—though not, of course, in the way I have reported it.

And yet that scene did make it into the book. Gandalf did, by all appearances and by his own admission and use of the words “fear” and “wring,” do something to Gollum: something probably best described as torture, either physical or psychological—probably both. Desperate for knowledge, the wizard’s treatment of his prisoner was not gentle. The description is there for narrative reasons as the author wrestled with a difficult concept and required the reader to understand the power of the One Ring.

Later in the same tale, we see that Sauron cruelly slays the companions of Beren and Finrod in a dark pit at Tol-in-Gaurhoth in order to determine their identities. Morgoth likewise tortures Húrin and places a curse on his offspring in an effort to gain information about the location of the hidden kingdom of Gondolin. And there are more examples. None of these examples alone suffices to show that torture is wrong in Tolkien’s world. Tolkien’s narration describes orcs and the servants of Sauron and Morgoth as eating and sleeping, for example; the fact that orcs do some activity does not, in and of itself, imply the wrongness of that activity.

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