This article first appeared at: voyagecomics.com
It might seem strange or odd to think that a fictional book can have a real impact on a person’s life, but I would argue that a mythical adventure has a great capacity to change someone’s life for the better, especially when it is infused with a view of the world that is in accord with the true, good and beautiful.
I first was initiated into Middle-Earth when I was in junior-high. Like many others in the year 2001, amidst the hype of the movie adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, I decided to ask for the one volume Lord of the Rings for Christmas. Upon receiving it, I went ahead and read the whole book, from The Fellowship of the Ring to The Return of the King by the end of the school year. This was the first substantial fantasy novel I ever read.
After that moment I was hooked. I wanted to know more. I proceeded to purchase The Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion. In addition to learning more about the mythological realm of Middle-Earth, I also bought a biography on J.R.R. Tolkien and was fascinated by his life and his devout Catholic faith. At the time I was experiencing my own inner conversion to the Christian faith and so reading his biography proved to strengthen my own faith.
Yet that was only the beginning. Throughout my college years I maintained my interest in Middle-Earth, but became busy with figuring out what I was to do with the rest of my life. Upon graduating, I married my wife and my interest in Tolkien and Middle-Earth was rekindled as she shared the same passion I had for the beauty of The Lord of the Rings.
Then I read Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien and my eyes were opened to a whole new view of Middle-Earth. By the end of the book I could say with Kreeft that “almost everything reminds me of something in The Lord of the Rings.” Also, I could affirm that,
“The Lord of the Rings heals our culture as well as our souls. It gives us the most rare and precious thing in modern literature: the heroic. It is a call to heroism; it is a horn like the horn of Rohan, which Merry received from Theoden and used to rouse the Hobbits of the Shire from their sheepish niceness and passivity to throw off their tyrants, first in their souls and then in their society.”
The world around me opened up and gave me a new view not only into the things around me that I could see, but also into the things around me I could not see; the hidden realities of this world.
This is the primary attribute of all good mythological adventures, opening you up to the spiritual, recognizing that there is more to this world than meets the eye.
Soon after delving deeper into The Lord of the Rings, I stumbled upon Corey Olson’s podcast The Tolkien Professor. I listened to his entire Tolkien Survey lectures and everything I thought about Tolkien and Middle-Earth was not only confirmed, but I discovered even more beauty that I never knew existed.
In the end, I was brought to understand the power of Fairy Tales and how they are meant to take us out of the ordinariness of life to see the world in a new way. The world around me began to teem with life and history. By delving into Middle-Earth, I began to see that my life was indeed a part of an even greater Story and that I had a role to play just like Frodo and Sam.
Tolkien & Faith: Essays of Christian Truth in Middle-Earth
J.R.R. Tolkien has captivated the imagination of countless souls with his fantastical realm of Middle-Earth. While his world never mentions God, Tolkien’s Catholic faith is woven throughout his fictional mythology. Voyage Comics presents a selection of previously published articles – including a few that have not been published – on a range of Tolkien topics that investigate the underlying Christian themes that can be found in Middle-Earth.