Friday, September 28, 2007

Why Tolkien is the man

"Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it."

--J.R.R. Tolkien

Everyone to some degree or another is in "prison." It may be a lousy job, poverty, a bad relationship, an unhappy social life, or the prison that encloses all mankind--frail bodies of flesh, our own mortal coil. Tolkien, a World War I veteran who saw several of his best friends die in the muddy trenches of France, and lived through World War II and the Nazi blitz, knew that as well as anyone.

But why should we put our heads down and accept banal realities? If you don' t like the look of your prison walls, choose another path. There are other worlds to explore. Tolkien didn't like the look of our own world, so he went ahead and created Middle-Earth. Although we cannot "see" this world and the worlds of our imagination with traditional senses, they are no less real than gray prison walls. They live within our minds and hearts, and as long as we pass down great works of art like The Lord of the Rings, are eternal.

2 comments:

Krauser-san II said...

did you read The Dark Tower ?

Brian Murphy said...

Just the first two books... I enjoyed them very much, and still need to finish the series.