Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tolkien's Legacy

Think about our class discussions over this semester and choose one theme that you think is important to Tolkien's legacy today. What aspects of this legacy or theme contribute to the staying power of Tolkien's writing? How is this theme relevant to you personally or to society in the twenty-first century? Why does Tolkien choose to include this theme, and how does he build his own legacy (or build on previous legacies) with it?

1 comment:

Tulkas said...

The theme of friendship or loyalty is very important to Tolkien's work. We've talked a lot about Frodo and Sam's relationship, but there are also many other relationships worth examining. Merry and Pippin, Aragorn and Arwen, Legolas and Gimli, are all very different, nuanced relationships. Tolkien portrays cross-cultural relationships, romantic relationships, and childhood friendships. Each is different, yet they share the common thread of deep loyalty and personal investment. It reminds me of Tolkien's time in the army, in which loyalty to one's comrades was very important. It also brings to mind The Inklings, the group of writers with whom Tolkien met regularly. Everyone identifies with the need to have such relationships, and the wide variety appeals to many different people. Everyone wants their own Sam to help them through difficult times.
Tolkien teaches us that friends are the key to success. Frodo couldn't have done it without Sam. Aragorn left Arwen with the knowledge that she would be waiting for him when he returned. Gimli needed Legolas to throw him. Today we have countless examples of friendships in fictional works. Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Han Solo and Chewie. Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe. Even The Beatles teach us that we can all get by with a little help from our friends. The idea of friendship being central to success certainly did not originate with Tolkien, but his works help to perpetuate the theme.