AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien Paperback – February 16, 2018
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About the Author
- Publisher : Christian Publishing House (February 16, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 154 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1945757795
- ISBN-13 : 978-1945757792
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.35 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #227,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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One of Williams's virtues as an explainer of Tolkien is that he manages to discuss themes such as Christ figures and Providence without being overly "artsy" or strained, as one sometimes finds with those who write on Lewis and Tolkien. Williams does not seem to have the problem that "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail"--he explains what it means for a character to be a Christ figure in cases where that actually makes sense.
Williams spends time in his book showing how Peter Jackson's treatment of Tolkien in the LOTR movies is unintentionally at odds with Tolkien's worldview, a view of reality that Jackson didn't share and hence felt that he had to modify. Many of us who are the "real" Tolkien fans (which is to say, fans of the canonical versions of the stories in Tolkien's own work) have noticed the same things, such as Jackson's desire to "complicate" figures without being able to accept character like Faramir who apparently seemed to him to be too good to be true. I would add, as well, that many of us have actually *known* people who were truly honorable and would not consider taking the Ring from Frodo by force, so in that sense Faramir is actually realistic. No one should insist that realism requires making everybody struggle in the same way (e.g., with the temptation to take the Ring). And as Williams points out, the movie portrayal of Denethor is actually *less* complex and interesting than that of the books, since in the books Denethor has great nobleness, making his fall all the more tragic. Williams also shows how Tolkien is giving us a kind of "higher realism" by portraying characters who are ideals.
Thanks to Donald Williams for a work that manages to be both scholarly and sensible!
Nevertheless, I salute this book for its virtues of conciseness, wit, apologetic savvy, and curmudgeonly cheerfulness. The author is well read but not stuck up. I can now see Tolkien’s world from 35,000 feet—and I enjoy the fictional scenery.