J.R.R. Tolkien’s two famous novels – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – reveal more and more layers of meaning on each reading. Critics like to argue about Tolkien’s real meaning, but he was perfectly clear about that: his allegories of war and peace are about our time, his and ours.Share
Tolkien’s generation saw the rise and fall of the Kaiser, Hitler, and Stalin, grim enemies about as close to Mordor and Sauron as we can imagine. And Tolkien clearly identified the first hobbits he was acquainted with – it was the small-town people of Worcestershire, where he had lived. These were the ordinary people who went to war and put their lives on the line when Dark Riders came to invade their peaceful Shire.
The famous Tolkien novels speak to us because they evoke our deepest dilemmas – most of all, the never-ending puzzle of ordinary people faced with unspeakable evil. If your parents and grandparents had to come to that moment of decision in their lives, you probably know all about it. They did not choose war; war chose them. (Read more.)