Category Archives: Tolkien (J.R.R.)

Frodo’s Battle with Sin

Students discover that “Lord of the Rings” is a story about their Christian journeys.

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Sauron’s Ring: Power Corrupts

The ring in “Lord of the Rings” lends itself to numerous approaches.

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A Spiritual Quest Begins inside a Whale

According to Joseph Campbell, a hero’s journey invariably involves a “belly of the whale” experience. Tokien describes the experience in fantasy, Dan Albergotti in everyday life.

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Fantasy’s Special Insight into Reality

Fantasy literature becomes something different after the world ceased believing in magic.

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The Return of King Peyton

The excitement over Peyton Manning is like that of the townspeople for Thorin Oakenshield in “The Hobbit.”

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Hobbits against Spiders in the Playoffs

The Heat-Pacers NBA series is like Sam Gamgee fighting Shelob in “Lord of the Rings.”

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Kate’s Pregnancy: Return of the King

Fascination with Kate Middleton’s pregnancy may be tied in with the “return of the king” trope found in much British fiction.

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Fantasy, Because Reality Is Unsatisfactory

Fantasy is nothing in and of itself but takes its character in opposition to an unsatisfactory reality.

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Federer: Floating Butterfly, Stinging Bee

In the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee as he won his 7th Wimbledon title yesterday.

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Gazing into the Palantir in 2012

Tolkien warns us about gazing too deeply into the world’s darkness.

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What Fictional Fantasy Means

Having taught British Fantasy Literature for the first time last semester, I need to think back on it before it becomes a distant memory.    By reflecting publicly, I can share some of the insights I gained from the course. Two major things I learned are that (1) fantasy is an oppositional genre—by which I […]

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Discussing Literature without Teachers

My son Toby    My son Toby, who is with us for two more days before he leaves for the University of California-Davis English Ph.D program, gave a lecture to the St. Mary’s College Tolkien society on Friday. I am the club’s advisor but it was first time I had attended a meeting for several […]

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Fantasy As a Roundabout Road to Truth

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn  I didn’t do entire justice in Monday’s post to the Tolkien essay of my son Toby. In correcting that here, I also open up a more complicated vision of fantasy in general, as well as Tolkien’s fantasy specifically. I was wondering if Tolkien had retreated into fantasy as a refuge from […]

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A Legendary Elf-Dwarf Friendship

After a year’s sabbatical, I am resuming my duties, one of which includes being the advisor of the Tolkien Society. The group gathers regularly to hear talks, forge chain armor, attend masked balls (not that there are any masked balls in Lord of the Rings), and engage in other Medieval-related activities. I’ll mark the occasion […]

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The Magic World of Children’s Lit

William Kristof, the much traveled Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, wrote recently about the disturbing way that children’s IQ scores often drop over summer vacation. The cause is lack of intellectual stimulation. The problem is more severe with poor than it is with middle class kids. As an antidote, Kristof offered […]

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