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This feed isn’t perfect yet, we’re still tweaking it.
The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory, and it is best to resist drawing parallels to the real-world events of the 20th Century. That said, I do think it is informed by Tolkien’s WWI experience. I also think it’s fair to ask what Tolkien is saying about morality.
LOTR is a set of arguments about the corrosive moral effects of hubris, anger, jealousy, greed, and aggression. In my opinion, this is a case of an author telling a damn good story that reflects his values. There is no conscious effort to write a tract; but Tolkien’s moral and theological content is as easy to locate as Dante’s and Milton’s.
I think the way you locate the moral content is by looking at choices the characters make and the outcomes of the choices. Middle Earth has a well-developed natural order, supported by a monotheistic theology in which the one god and his agents actually exist. This is a list of mortal characters who are tempted by the Ring I made when I was preparing to write my Tolkien series at Part Time Monster. No citations for this post, because I wrote it entirely from my head. There are couple of notes at the end.
This is true to the books, IMO. This is one of the very few changes in Jackson’s movies that bother me enough to write about. I like the movies, but the scene with Gandalf and the Lord of the Nazgul feels like revisionist history to me. I’ll have a Tolkien post here later today and another at Part Time Monster. I’ll also have one at The Writing Catalog to show anyone who is interested how I planned my Tolkien series.