Why Tolkien Still Matters

“But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good tilled earth.”

― JRR Tolkien


The work of J.R.R. Tolkien seems to at times forget about his legacy. No, not his legacy of being the father of modern fantasy fiction but the legacy of his philosophy. It is easy to look at Tolkien and only see him as a literary giant rather then somebody who sought to not only create a new mythology but whole new society. It is far more easier to focus on the fantasy and not so much the real world idealism he placed in the pages.

For Tolkien, he did not look to create Middle-earth just as place to escape the woes of this world. He created the world to restore what he most certainly thought was lost. Theology, culture, economics and politics were very much part of the organic framework in the societies in Middle-earth. For Tolkien his desire to escape into Middle-earth was not because he wanted to leave behind the real world rather the dreary and unimaginative one of modern times that replaced it. He sought not just high fantasy but actually the simple and ordinary aspects of the Agrarian society. This totally seen in the Shire and the hobbits. To him he wanted both the fantastical and the humdrum aspects of Middle-earth. He wanted the once pristine natural world along with the beautiful hallmarks of medieval society. His work while a great piece of imaginative art is actually less fascinating without his philosophy embedded into it.

Image result for tolkien in nature

The truth is, Tolkien’s idealism of Middle-earth is still very much needed even more now then it ever was. As destructive the modern age was with industrialization, war and materialism. The post-modern age is even more destructive in a more dull way with globalism, digitization, agnosticism, neo-liberal secularism, proxy wars & corporate mass consumerism. Now more than ever, we need to escape to Middle-earth. A place where not only will we see the good green earth but small local communities thriving. Just as Bilbo longed to see mountains again we also long for a time where the core fundamental values of Western European and Christian culture is at the fore front. As more people becomes slaves to the digital age and social media we need to unplug and have a good pipe, an old book and a roaring fire to keep us warm. We need to flee our constructs of technological terrors and remember the warmth of the sun on our back as work in our gardens or roam the woods. There is need for all of us to go on adventure just like Bilbo being thrust out our hobbit holes and into the world. We need to see the faith of Gandalf in our leaders in our communities and families. We need to remember the goodness of Samwise Gamgee and the devotion of Aragorn to his friends. We need tell tales over large ales and sing and dance. We need to remember the good and simple things of life.

We need all of this now because people are more at each other’s throats more than ever before. Now more then ever the curse of Smaug has come to mark us with greed. We have lost sight of what matters the most and Middle-earth is our way back. The philosophy of Tolkien is what can bring us back to our roots and take us back to the fundamental truths we all knew as wee little hobbits.

Poem:The Wandering Ranger

Some might ask me what does it mean to be a Wandering Ranger?
Surely nothing more than being a stranger
who must now find peace in nature.

Yes I love this beautiful creation
but I seek it now out of frustration.
For just as Tolkien’s sons of Arnor
I have been ever so keen to explore.

Lord grant me mercy for this road I must tread.
I am indeed wandering this world looking to be fed.
For it is my lot in this life to find no place to call home.
Indeed I seek it only in the holiest tome.


What purpose does it for me find favor.
In a world run by a terrible slaver.
Hear me now one cannot two masters serve.
The one of heaven is certainly not of this earth.

Fads and foolish trends do I lament.
When inside the church they find cement.
I am only reminded of what was that pure faith.
That most holy thing now gone only left a wraith.

Give me grace from above as I start this path.
Things have been done that will have an aftermath.
No longer silent can I be about this charade,
Oh my heart is burdened with how many swayed.

So a ranger’s life I now have finding solace in the wild.
Most certainly it seem evident ever since I was child.
I tread ever on the trail finding shelter in the ruins.
Of what most certainly was the church’s undoing.

My sadness is for the bride
and her ever troubling slide.
When she courts the wisdom of men
she so ever abandons the love of Him.

I am now but a mere image of the man
who so faithfully felt part of this clan.
I seek a place where my faith can grow
destined for isolation like Thoreau.


So I wander on with no bed to lie on
Ever so waiting for the rise of dawn.
Wanting only to let your light show me the way.
Until that prophesy is fulfilled on the last day.