Faith and Fantasy: Tolkien the Catholic, The Lord of the Rings, and Peter Jackson’s Film Trilogy

Tolkien caused the Fellowship of the Ring to set out from Rivendell on their great journey on December 25th, Christmas Day, the Feast of the Nativity, and that the Ring should be cast into the fire on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation (which is in itself a huge clue to the reality that his story points to something greater than itself. The fall of Sauron is not the end of the story.) Stephen Greydanus has written a beautiful reflection on the Catholic Faith that Tolkien brought to the writing of his greatest work and in this final week of Advent I would like to offer it to you here.

The Fellowship of The King

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Note: This article refers to important, even climactic plot points in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings necessary to this overview of the spiritual significance of Tolkien’s work. If you haven’t read the books and wish to be able to do so (or to watch the films) without knowing in advance what will happen, please do so before reading this article.

    J.R. R. Tolkien once described his epic masterpiece The Lord of the Rings as “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work.” Yet nowhere in its pages is there any mention of religion, let alone of the Catholic Church, Christ, or even God. Tolkien’s hobbits have no religious practices or cult; of prayer, sacrifice, or corporate worship there is no sign.

     To make matters more difficult, Tolkien was equally emphatic that The Lord of the Rings were not to be understood allegorically. In fact, Tolkien was…

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