1. Bainespal says:

    Read the “Tolkien’s Work” section, starting page 4 of War of the Fantasy Worlds: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on Art and Imagination, on why he wrote The Hobbit.

    Astonishing, that Lewis once criticized Tolkien for writing too childlishly, and then Tolkien went on to be so critical of LWW. Grow up, Inklings!

    How have you thought about The Hobbit? Why should a Christian read it?

    There are many reasons why Christians should read it, not the least the simple reason that there is something universal and holy about the notion of answering the call to adventure.
    I have a new theory about some of the themes in The Hobbit, based on my recent readings of Tolkien’s poem “Mythopoeia” and his essay “On Fairy Stories.” I think it has a lot to do with what Tolkien calls sub-creation — the making of myths and legends, or perhaps generically all sincere art of all kinds. I think the race of the Dwarves represent Tolkien’s theory of sub-creation. They are the ones who love to create, who love “beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic…” (p. 15). The Dwarves’ crafted treasure — their sub-creations, representing their art and their stories — were stolen by the evil dragon Smaug.
    I think Thorin’s description of dragons is very significant: “Indeed, they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad […] and they can’t make a thing for themselves, not even mend a little loose scale of their armor.” Dragons tell no tales and sing no songs. And those of us who already know the end of the story know what Smaug’s weakness is.

    The Hobbit, as with The Lord of the Rings, is filled with interjections for several songs and poems. Why do you think Tolkien included them? Do you enjoy them, or skip them?

    The poems and songs help make the world so much deeper and more real. I would never skip them; to do so would feel like sacrilege. Also, I think the songs contribute to the theme of sub-creation. The Dwarves’ song about the desolation of the Mountain is a beautiful tragedy in and of itself, a sub-creation lamenting the loss of the treasures that I’m viewing as analogous to our art and literature and music.

    I glad for this reading group!  I would greatly like to hear more thoughts about different things. 

What do you think?