Understanding Tolkien

Understanding Tolkien is  a series that I did in early 2017 that looked at some of the aspects of Tolkien that I believe made him a great writer.

In The Three Pillars of His Influence I tried to lay out why I think it is important for writers to study Tolkien and the ways he drew inspiration from his life, his studies and his faith.

In The Great Wars Part I and Part II, I looked at what World War I and II did to the Twentieth Century mind, the problems it posed, and the visceral clash it caused between ideology and reality.

Essentially, the Wars of the Twentieth Century presented real problems with how many moderns saw the world and explained humanities place in it. One reason that Tolkien’s stories have stood the test of time is because of the answer they pose to these questions. Tolkien drew perspective from the Ancients, and understanding from his faith.

In The Ancients, I look at how Tolkien understood the way the ancients, especially the old north, had faced many of the same issues that Twentieth Century Europe faced.

In Christianity, I explore how his faith allowed Tolkien to properly understand how the conflicting views and understandings fit together and gave him a unifying understanding of how to confront the issues that confront us still.

In the Conclusion, I try to tie everything together and point out a few resources that might hopefully further your understanding of this master storyteller. Tolkien was not only the father of modern fantasy, he is the descendant of the oldest bards who understood that stories were about more than just a few laughs or moments of entertainment. The greatest stories are windows through which we can see truth, mirrors in which we can see our own struggles, and sometimes, a map that can show us a little of the way ahead.