Lord of the Rings Chat Fred Alberti December 27 chatmaster shouts, The Lord of the Manor commands your presence in Auditorium for our Lord of the Rings Chat with special guest Jim Ware, author of “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings“. The proceedings are starting NOW.” spikehost says, All hail! spikehost says, My lords and ladies, I bid you welcome to the Great Castle of crosswalk.com Chat! I am Lord SpikeHost, and it is my great honor and privilege to be your host this lovely evening. Joining me are Their Graces Lady AppleHost, Lady AngelMuffin, and Lady DaisyHost. All hail to the King of the Castle, His Most Garrulous Majesty King Fritzpw_Admin the Ten-Fingered! Our guest of honor is Jim Ware, author of “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings“. He will be more than happy to answer your queries. May it please Your Majesty to ask our honored guest the first question. madchatter asks, Tell us a little about your book, “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings“? jim_ware says, This book is fairly simple; it is about 150 pages or so. The approach is devotional more than anything else. The original title was “Christian Reflections on the Lord of the Rings.” We looked for themes in the three “Lord of the Rings” books and illustrations, parables and such. Each chapter is 2 or 3 pages in length summarizing the scenes followed by a sermonette. I don’t want to pose as an expert on Tolkien. There are others who could write better about it. We hope to reach a broad audience with this view and how the Christian view is shown in his books. hortwiz asks, What Biblical principals do you see in LOTR ? jim_ware says, Well we see a whole host of biblical themes. One of the strongest … We hear a lot about the battle of Good and Evil. Tolkien is strong on the theme of sin. He shows us how temptation works. The ring is a temptation to many characters. We see how the temptation affects Bilbo and Gandolf. They envision how they might do GOOD with the evil, much like Satan in the Desert tempted Christ. It shows the corrupting nature of power. The redemption is also a strong theme because once Tolkien has shown us the sin he shows us redemption and the long road to destroy the ring. There is a sense that this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Frodo was injured by the mordul blade of the ring wraith, and never really recovers. Frodo is forced to leave middle earth like the elves. That says that our only home is not in this world. This world is to tainted by sin. Our only hope of complete redemption is beyond it. That is a big part of Tolkien. spikehost says, Lord ChatMaster has announcements for us. chatmaster shouts, Join us here in the Auditorium at 9 pm ET on Tuesday, January 29, for our Chat with Christian journalist Cal Thomas!” chatmaster shouts, Check out Jim Ware’s book, “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings“. guest2174 asks, I thought Tolkien said that his books were not allegories? jim_ware says, right…he did say that. I think the books of CS Lewis are much more allegorical. Tolkien hated allegory. He set out to write a great story, which he did. The other side of that coin is that being a strong believer ( he was a devout Roman Catholic) he couldn’t help but let his faith come through. He created a world from the ground up. Kurt Bruner (Co-writer of “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings“) likes to say that Tolkien’s Faith bubbled up throughout the book. Tolkien wrote to a friend, “You are more perceptive than anyone else and have revealed to me some things about my works “The Lord of the Rings” it is, of course, a fundamentally religious and Catholic work.” Tolkien goes on, “Unconsciously at first, but later it changed that is why I have not put in, or have cut out practically all references to anything “religion”, to cults or practices in the imaginary world.” For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism Tolkien is saying that he didn’t write a religious story but his faith was evident because it was his… It bubbles up throughout the story. inkling71 asks, I see many characters representing some aspect of Christ’s person or work. Would you agree, and whom do you see as the strongest “Christ-figure” in the stories? jim_ware says, I would agree. We didn’t write about this in our book but it is something that interests me since I have read these books as a teen. I see three characters that are Christ like. They each represent characteristics. Frodo is probably the most, if I had to choose. He is like Isaiah’s suffering servant. Frodo, like Jesus, is an unlikely savior. When Jesus came into the world the Jews were looking for something different, someone strong, a military hero to defeat the Romans. Jesus was born in an out of the way corner. He seemed to be a nobody. But He was the Son of God. In the same way, Frodo is a hobbit, a member of an obscure group of people considered a halflings who are not bold adventures, like to stay home, and are not out looking for danger or challenges. It is one of these who is chosen to bear the burden of their world. He goes through tremendous sufferings to do it. So I see in him a great picture of Christ, the unexpected messiah, the servant who bears the suffering of the world. I think that Aragorn is another image of Christ. There is some overlap with what I said about Frodo, but he is the King. There is no King in the land when we start the story and when we first see him he doesn’t look like a king. He is first seen as a shadowy figure, with a hood over his face that the landlord calls Strydor. A ranger, one of the dangerous folk no one trusts. And yet as the story goes on we find out Aragon is, in a way, like a messiah…the King destined to reclaim his kingdom. In the New testament theology some talk about the incognito messiah. Jesus did not appear to be who he really was, he seems to be just a humble carpenter when in fact he was the creator of the universe and yet he walked among us. He had a disguise and walked among us. We touch on this in the book in the chapter, “Deceptive Appearances.” There we discuss Aragon. It is out of that episode in the book where you find a verse that Gandolf uses, “All that is gold does not glitter, not all that wander are lost.” That was applied to Aragorn. It is in the same way that Jesus came. For that reason, many did not recognize him, did not believe in him. The third one I would see as a Christ figure would be Gandlolf. chatmaster shouts, Join us here in the Auditorium at 9 pm ET on Tuesday, January 29, for our Chat with Christian journalist Cal Thomas!” chatmaster shouts, Check out “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings” by Jim Ware and Kurt Bruner. crossroad asks, many see wizards as evil. Gandalf is a good guy. What’s your take on that? jim_ware says, First…the wizard part. In Tolkien’s world, what we would call a wizard is not necessarily a wizard. Tolkien created an entire world of his own. There is, in his story of creation, (Silmarillion) in the very first line ERU, the one who in Arda is called Illuvatar. That is Tolkien’s God. He goes on to say how Eru created other beings like the Ianur…the holy one that was the offspring of his thoughts. Then he goes on to describe how these holy ones aid him in creating the world. To me…this is like the angels, and their helping God in creation. Gandlolf is like a junior angel. He is Maier…a servant to the Lanur. He is sent into the world to be a guardian to the inhabitants of middle earth. He has supernatural powers. But the source of this power is different than what we think of in wizards. He is more like an angel or archangel. Gandolf, is also like a picture of Christ in that he guides and serves the fellowship of the Ring. When he leads them through the deep dark places of Moria he sacrifices himself…stays behind to battle the fire demon. He makes a stand, while the rest escape. And just then you think he is defeated when he is drawn down into the abyss. This is where the book (and the movie) leaves him. Frodo and the others come out on the other side of the mountain. It is such a picture of the disciples after the crucifixion. They are weeping the loss of their leader. In the second book, Gandolf returns transformed. No longer Gandolf the Gray he is now Gandolf the White. He tells his friend how he went down battling the demon and then eventually raised up again. It is a touching moving image for me to think of how the disciples see Christ again like how the fellowship sees Gandolf again. So when I read this… I see the gospel story. guest2174 asks, What did you think of the movie? jim_ware says, basically, I like the movie. There were small changes they made with plot and characters. And much had to be left out. But on the whole, I think it is very faithful to the books. spikehost says, Give ye ear to Lord ChatMaster! chatmaster shouts, Join us here in the Auditorium at 9 pm ET on Tuesday, January 29, for our Chat with Christian journalist Cal Thomas!” chatmaster shouts, Don’t forget to check out “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings” by Jim Ware and Kurt Bruner. blackbear1 asks, do you think Christians should see the movie, “LORD of the rings?” jim_ware says, Oh yeah…I don’t see any reason why not. As a matter of fact I saw the movie again last night…for the second time. I was noticing … I felt just visually… Just the way the director set up the way the whole thing looked on the screen… I saw a lot of catholic imagery. There is the scene where the shards of the sword are laying across the alter… It reminded me of the Pietra. Galadriel…when she is seen…reminded me of a Madonna …a Mary (not the singer). Behind the last fighting scene you see a statue that looks like St Francis of Assisi. The director could have made it look very different. He could have made it look more like dungeons and dragons. But instead it is very Christian. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but I think it is worth seeing. gumby2000 asks, What cautions do you have for parents regarding their children and the “Lord of the Rings” movie? jim_ware says, Well… I agree with my partner Kurt. He thought it was too violent for young children ( under 13). Now…my 12 yr old went, but when we got home he said, “that was the best action movie I’ve seen.” For younger kids it is not just violence… It isn’t gory… But it is intense. A friend took a boy who was 11…and he felt “shell-shocked”. Younger children might not be able to follow the story. kitty-bit asks, Did you think that the movie portrayed the Christian values found in the books? jim_ware says, Basically I think it does and that is because it is a true rendering of the story in the books. So to the extent that it follows the book it can’t help but reflect the values. jellyroll1 asks, Considering what the Bible says about witchcraft and sorcery, (in both Testaments) how can we justify endorsing this movie? jim_ware says, Well, again, I don’t think this book has that kind of wizardry/witchcraft in it. There just isn’t that much of it in the books. And what is there, there is a different source. It isn’t conjuring. Saruman is like Gandolf…a Maiar. And the Dark Lord…he is like Satan… They are like Fallen angels. guest2200 asks, Is your book about the Lord of the Rings movie or the books? jim_ware says, It is about the books. We wrote it before we had even seen the movie. We had no idea when we did our book if the movie would be a true rendering of the book. We knew the movie would bring interest back to the books so we took the opportunity to bring light to the Christian themes in Tolkien books. guest2206 asks, Would you give the book to a friend who isn’t a Christian jim_ware says, Yeah, I have done that. I think it would be a good tool for building a bridge to a non-Christian friend who was a fan of Tolkien…or fantasy literature in general. In fact I think Kurt and I would like that to be a major audience we reach with this book. fritzpw_admin says, What age group would your book, “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings” be most appropriate for? jim_ware says, I think from teen to adult. We aimed it at adults but teens/young adults would understand it as well. inkling71 asks, What kind of impact has the trilogy had on you personally? jim_ware says, That’s awfully hard to answer. It had an impact on me before I became a strong, dedicated Christian. I discovered it when I was about 15 and it captured my imagination. I sometimes relate this to CS Lewis’s autobiography (Surprised by Joy). Lewis says that George MacDonald was a kind of mentor for him. When Lewis was 14 he picked up a copy of a book by MacDonald…Phantastes. It is a wild kind of Fairy Tale. Lewis said there was something about that book…He could see a light… It baptized his imagination when he was still to young to understand it intellectually. I think Tolkien did that for me. It helped to prepare me to gain a sense of how great an adventure life can be. God intends life to be a great adventure. We discover that when we first give our lives to Jesus Christ. A book like “Lord of the Rings” can give us a taste of the kind of adventure, for the adventure of life, the life of faith. Since growing up I have also seen the other pictures and images… Parables… Shown in the story. spikehost says, Be sure you check out Jim’s book, “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings.” spikehost says, Master Jim, we appreciate your coming tonight! jim_ware says, Thanks for having me it was fun to be here. God bless you all. jim_ware waves at everyone. fritzpw_admin waves at everyone. spikehost says, The proceedings are ended! Go in peace!