When pondering the relevancy of Tolkien to the 21st century, some things immediately come to mind, such as the lure of power and industry vs. nature. But I wonder if it’s not even more interesting to look at our collective memory. For Tolkien anchored his stories firmly in the traditions and legends of Europe. Myths speak to us about who we are and where we come from, and surely that is the greatest and most fundamental relevance any story can have, no matter what age the reader lives in?
The Ring represents the temptation of exercising absolute power. And the leaders of the West have to face an old question: ‘if the good man uses the bad mans weapon, does he then not become the bad man?’ Surely the events of the past 2 years have showed us that The Lord of the Ring lacks no relevance to todays geopolitical conflicts.
Neither have the conflict between nature and industry lost any relevance since Tolkiens days. Saruman cuts down the woods to feed the forges of Orthanc. We are told he has a ‘mind of wheels and metal.’ Likewise Mordor is a blasted wasteland void of living growth. The symbol of Gondor on the other hand is a white Tree, and in Middle Earth the forests themselves may go to war!
Of course there are many other issues that can be discussed as well; Solidarity between different peoples, loyalty as a virtue, how the small can overcome the mighty. Join us in #thehalloffire and share your views on Tolkiens relevance to the 21st century.
September 27-28: RoTK Book 6, Ch 4: The Field of Cormallen
October 4-5: Leaf by Niggle
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 7:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 3:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]
ET = Eastern Time, USA’s East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AET = Australian East Coast
Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.