Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week: The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien created the fantasy world of Middle-earth during World War II. However, it wasn't published until the 1950's. In this world there are an assortment of walking and talking creatures: Elves, humans, hobbits, dwarves, and wizards. For the main part, they all coexist peacefully, but it isn't until the grande search for the one ring- which has unheard of power- that creatures begin to turn on one another and fighting breaks out across the peaceful land.

This is a classic known to many and regained popularity when New Line Cinema created three movies based on the trilogy. Tolkien's flowing language and ability to describe lands never heard of, but in such a way that you can believe they exist and see them in your minds eye, makes this trilogy a must read for many.

Now why is it featured in the Banned Books Week? Because, it's been challenged of course. Well, to be fair, it's also been set on fire. During the year 2001 the books were set on fire outside the Christ Community Church in New Mexico. They declared the books to be satanic.

... What? Wait, so what you're saying is that these books are satanic? Like, Antichrist supporting, Beelzebub cheering, satanic? How could characters like Frodo, Arwen, Gandalf, Legolas, Galadriel or Saruman- wait... okay so Saruman was a bit evil.

Hey let's check out this website that discusses the Lord of the Rings and how it's actually very much influenced by religion- in a good way. The author Jamie Lugibihl quotes:
In a letter to a friend, Tolkien wrote that the creation of "Lord of the Rings" was a "fundamentally religious and Christian work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision."

Time and time again this book has been challenged. It's actually listed at number 40 for the most challenged classics of all time due to its anti-religious themes. I really don't get this, truly. Where is there an anti-religious theme? Is it because these creatures that are totally made up don't openly speak of a God? I feel that this epic battle the characters are entering where they learn to sacrifice and protect one another to win against evil is very similar to the teachings of religion. Frodo is tempted by the ring, it speaks to him and many times he is almost willing to give up the good fight- so long as he stays with this whispering evil he wears on a chain necklace. But in the end, he fights against the temptation and ultimately wins the battle. Aren't there many stories in religion where people are tempted by Satan or some ultimate evil? Some fall to his tricks, others rise above it. To me- that spells religious. The fact that Frodo surpasses all of these temptations says to me that this book is in support of religion and very far from satanic.

I really and truly enjoyed the Lord of the Rings when I read it originally over 10 years ago. I absolutely LOVE the movies and I enjoy the message it sends. To me, I feel that it has an overwhelming statement that people should work towards a greater good. And how nice would it be if we destroyed all the evil items in the world?

But anyway, what's this with the book burning? Hey people who burned Lord of the Rings outside of the Christ Community Church, I know another group of people who just LOVED to burn books because the books were opposing of their own beliefs. They were a nice little group called the Nazi Party. Sit and think about that.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the words of support on the post. I appreciate it.
    Keep up the great work & happy blogging!



Leave a comment!