No Symbolism To See Here; Move Along


“I was reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ the other night, trying to let
my mind escape from the impending doom that awaits us all, and I
realized that Aragorn kicked some serious Orc ass, helped defeat the
forces of evil and became king, all without even saying the word ‘God.’
The best stories are not about mystical religious powers, but men and
women with strong moral courage that they didn’t get from quoting
chapter and verse.” – Michael
Mastroianni

Perhaps a Catholic Tolkien fan ought to inform Mr. Mastroianni of the
humerous irony of his statements. 😉

Comments 12

  1. theomorph wrote:

    Anybody who sees the Lord of the Rings as an example of secularism or materialism is clearly either (a) out of his mind or (b) lying about having read the books.

    Personally, I am one of the six people who isn’t all that impressed with the Lord of the Rings. I love reading the books–the language is beautiful, and the experience of reading it is great fun in the moment–but stepping back and looking at the big picture, the whole Good versus Evil thing makes a dull thud to my mind. So does the anti-technology bent. I.e., I think Tolkien was a great writer but not a very good philosopher.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 5:53 am
  2. John wrote:

    Furthermore, the representation of it as a catholic story entirely forgets the factor of Tolkiens experiences in the Great War, which is something he stresses.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 6:54 am
  3. Steve N wrote:

    I can’t believe it’s taking me this long to spot this!!!

    … to inform Mr. Mastroianni of the humerous irony of his statements.

    So, Funky, what kind of irony is that? The irony that hits right in the upper arm?? :-O

    Cheers!

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 6:37 pm
  4. Donna Marie Lewis wrote:

    I commented directly on the article…but I don’t know how to copy text from a box with no toolbar at the top….

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 6:47 pm
  5. John wrote:

    It’s worth noting that Tolkien himself stressed that he did not intend the books to be allegorical.

    As a good support for this lack of intent, you can just as readily interpret the book as a call for Aryan supermen to drive out the mongrels and the jews (which is certainly not what he meant, but which fits the story as well as the bible does).

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 12:43 am
  6. Jerry Nora wrote:

    John, an allegory is a story with a one-to-one symbolism, where each element stands for some concept. That is hardly the only form of symbolic story telling: Jesus did not tell many allegories, but his parables were not meant to be taken literally!

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 12:47 am
  7. Trotski wrote:

    Let’s see…

    Men of Numenor … line of Elendil … *blessed* by the *Valar* (subgods) with long life, great strength of body and will. Yeah, it is easy to be a self-made hero when you have the grace of those who did that whole making-the-universe-thing behind you.

    I’d call that a mystical religious power…

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 10:58 pm
  8. Funky Dung wrote:

    Not being allegorical is not remotely the same as not having thoroughly Catholic content. I’m sure Donna could easily furnish us with a plethora of quotes from the good professor to that effect.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 4:59 am
  9. Jerry Nora wrote:

    Something also evident from Tolkien’s other writings and biographies is that he worked hard to make it a very Catholic story.

    Perhaps Quenta Narwenion would be of service enlightening us here? :)

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 11:50 am
  10. Funky Dung wrote:

    Steve, I’ve read and heard from numerous sources that TLotR was intentionally a thoroughly Catholic story. It is not an allegory, but it contains a lot of symbolism and representations of a Catholic worldview. For Mr. M to imply that TLotR is a suitable escape from religiousity is rather humerous.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 7:05 pm
  11. Tom Smith wrote:

    The Pitt News, that beacon of truth to unenlightened University students, strikes again.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 10:56 pm
  12. Steve N wrote:

    You’re pullin’ my leg, err…, arm, right? 😉

    humerus ~ humorous ~ humerous …

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 9:26 pm

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