something to ponder: this is the link to my blog: please post your comments
Could you enlighten me by telling me why Catholics are big fans of The Lord of the Rings. I liked all of the movies - I saw all three I think (i have a bad memory). Is it becasue J.R.R Tolkien was a Catholic.
Kind of reminds me of Mel Gibson’s version of Judas who goes mad after his betrayal of Christ.
Gollum is a mad man who has sold his soul to the ring as Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver and other motives not discussed in Scripture. Judas like Gollum was a regular disciple or regular hobbit enjoying the good life until temptation bekons and they snap and become mad men ultimatly killing themselves over a ledge Iin one of the gospels anyway) in a suicide of sheer madness.
The Gospel says Satan entered into Judas as we see evil enter into Gollum once he is tempted by the Ring this is the obvious corollation. Though in no way are the characters are identical but there are some simililarites and he is the closes fit in my book anyway.
Gollum is the residual effect of Original Sin. It is the opposite of our Guardian Angel urging us to sanctification, it is the dark side of our nature urging us to self-gratification.
LOTR is a Catholic fantasy. No, it’s not always obvious, but Christian idea is always in the subsurface of the story. Just to give you one example. Towards the end of Return of the King, Frodo is overcome by the burden of the ring. When he can collapses, Sam is there (as he always was) and Sam knowing that the burden of the ring is Frodo’s alone, frets over what is to be done. He can’t carry Frodo’s burdern, but he resolves that he can carry Frodo. When Sam makes this decision, he is suprised by just how easy it was to carry Frodo. How well does this echo with Matthew 11:28-30?
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I think Tolkien was clear that LOTR is not allegory, the way, for example, Chronicles of Narnia are. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between elements of the story, and elements of the faith. There are points of contact, e.g. the elven bread is Eucharistic, but it is not the Eucharist.
I think Gollum is someone who is completely twisted and perverted by evil and lust, and yet even still has some flicker or faint remembrance of goodness, which Frodo tries to reach out to. But Gollum is Gollum, and not specifically anyone in our Christian history.
Both Tolkien and Lewis were adamant about their stories not being allegorical. In both cases though, Christianity was such an important part of their daily life and the subject of many a discussion at the pub that even in stories where they deliberately refrain from allegory they couldnt’ help but throw in a Christian slant.
Not because Tolkien was a Catholic but because LOTR is a Catholic story.
Catholics can more readily pick up on the Catholic elements in the story because they are familiar to them–at least Catholics who understand how mythological story telling works. Not every Catholic is attuned to such writing, just like everyone else–some only like real life stories or other kinds of fiction.
As to Gollum’s place in the Christian view of life, he’s a complex character who is both good and evil, but the evil has all but consumed him. He was no saint before he killed his cousin to get the ring from him. He was a thief and one who liked to pursue the occult side of things, looking into dark holes and wanting to be admired for his arcane knowledge of such things.
I believe that with or without the ring he would have come to no good, but the ring brought out the very worst in him, as it brought out the very best in others, like Aragorn or Faramir for whom the very thought of owning the ring was anathema.
Take a look at this link:
Gollum’s life shows that good can come from evil. His motives are dark and twisted, but when all is said and done, his help along the journey was invaluable to Frodo and Sam. They needed him as their guide. That’s why Frodo cannot kill him. He knows Gollum still has a part to play.
His story reminds me of Judas. God was able to bring good out of his betrayal.
Thanks for the link Mommyof4 that was a great article.
I was pondering the questions pose by MH84
Could you enlighten me by telling me why Catholics are big fans of The Lord of the Rings. I liked all of the movies - I saw all three I think (i have a bad memory). Is it becasue J.R.R Tolkien was a Catholic
Everyone here has had a great answer to the questin, but there is a side of this story that we forgot to address. True, LOTR is a Catholic Story, but we forget one thing. It is plainly and simply a well written story in a thouroughly crafted world. I thought back to my first time reading the story. I was in the eight grade and though I did have a Catholic background, I had little presumption about what stories I ought to like. I read something and I either liked it or I didn’t. That was before I read Tolkien. Tolkien had spent so much time creating the history, the languages, the mythology of the world, that I was convinced the Middle Earth existed–part of our world, but removed.
The world was so real, that the story was born from the history. This is far different from most stories of fantasy, which take the opposite approach. Usually the world is created to host a story.