By Matthew Dickerson
A professional at the Hobbit and The Lord of the earrings trilogy indicates how a Christian worldview and topics undergird Tolkien's vintage works
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Extra resources for A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
What a powerful statement! ) We even see this principle practiced by Frodo when Sméagol becomes his prisoner. Though earlier in the story Frodo had heard of the treachery of Gollum and had wished him dead, when he actually meets the pitiful creature he is much more merciful. Initially he has Sméagol tied up in the elven rope. But the rope causes Sméagol to writhe and scream in agony (IV/i). When Frodo becomes convinced that simply the touch of this elven rope torments Gollum, he is willing to remove it at great personal risk rather than to act with the injustice or cruelty of tormenting his prisoner.
Desperate for knowledge, the wizard’s treatment of his prisoner was not gentle. The description is there for narrative reasons as the author wrestled with a difficult concept and required the reader to understand the power of the One Ring. indd 33 6/12/12 2:06 PM A H obbit J ourney not considering the moral implications of this action at the time he revised the scene, even if the scene arose for primarily narrative considerations—to convey the power of the One Ring—that does not mean that the author did not eventually ponder the morality of Gandalf’s actions.
He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace” (IV/iv). Here Tolkien not only personalizes those on “our side,” as we might call the free peoples of Middle-earth, but he also personalizes one of the enemy soldiers. The young Southron has a name, a heart, and a history. He may be evil, or he may not be.