Book: Tolkien’s Ordinary Virtues, by Mark Eddy Smith. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I’m a big fan of Tolkien (if you follow me or my blog, you probably already know that) and decided to give a chance to this one even knowing it was totally related to religion and it’s not my thing anymore.

The book is about Christian comparisons between The Lord of the Rings and some virtues shown in the Bible. I know talking took his Catholic religion very seriously and was even raised by a Priest after his mother passed away, so it would be nice to see the book again through these lenses.

One aspect I enjoyed about the book is the way the author explores these virtues. The author decided to go through the book chronologically and listed the characters’ virtues while they were going through the story. It was great to see the story from a different angle.

There were even some good sentences from the Bible which I found very relevant, even when you don’t consider any religion.

If you’re Christian and a Tolkien fan, I will certainly recommend this book. If you’re not Christian but were in the past, it’s nice to see the references. If you’re an atheist but are still curious to see how your favorite artist used to see the world, you may enjoy this too, but at your own risk.

Here is my raw notes about the book:

  • A book about a Christian view of The lord of the Rings.
  • Treebeard also “resurrected” in his own way. He was convinced to take action about the problems he was seeing.
  • even our failures can be powerful instruments of providence
  • Tolkien’s stories are heavily inspired by the bible
  • “If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be” — Aragorn in the council of Elrond
  • It was easier for Bilbo to give the ring to Frodo because he was already giving everything to his fellow
  • Merry and Pippin were just friends Frodo trust. Even the elves recommended Frodo to take people he enjoys the company for the journey
  • Gandalf is the master of friendships. He praises friendships over all other virtues. Almost everyone around him are his friends: Radagast, the Eagles, Scadufax the horse, etc
  • Gandalf did his best to make Gimli and Legolas friends
  • Staying home to raise kids is a sacrifice parents are willing to make to have the benefits of a family
  • Most of the fellowship did their own sacrifices of abandoning their homelands in the danger of a war to join the fellowship.
  • Gandalf is always concerned about his friends, even when he was falling after fighting the Balrog, he just warned hit friends to “fly”.
  • The kindness of Frodo with Gollum is the proof that Frodo is resisting the ring’s power
  • True wisdom is the ability to see things as they really are
  • Hope is not a feeling, it’s a choice
  • Being good and wise maker it easier to understand evil because good accepts the evil within themselves. Evil negates the good and can’t see any good other than that that benefits themselves
  • When Saruman died, his spirit tried to go to the west, but a cold wind came and dissolved is to nothing. The west rejected him. He had all the chances to redeem but didn’t do it.
  • The grace (to go to the west) was given to Frodo by Arwen, who decided to live a mortal life along with Aragorn
  • Love consists in simply knowing another person, thing, or place and rejoining of their existence in attempting of know them fully and intimately with no thought of possession but rather an immersion. In its highest forms, love of others supersedes the love of self.
  • Gandalf considers most people around him as friends
  • Galadriel provided a good trial on temptation. When you don’t succumb to temptation you increase your will
  • Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope never disappoints us (Romans 5, 3-5)
  • There was something else guiding the arrow that pierces the orcs hand and showing Pippin the vision of Strider
  • The advise to Theodren was to cast aside regrets and fears and do the deeds at hand