Lessons from the death of J.R.R.T.

In September 1973, Father John Tolkien celebrated a Requiem Mass for his father at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, in Oxford.  JRR Tolkien was buried next to his wife Edith in a Catholic cemetery just outside Oxford at Wolvercote.  He may have penned his own epitaph in 1956, shortly after The Lord of the Rings was published, when he wrote: “I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a long defeat — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.”

This sense of exile was present in The Lord of the Rings.  At the end of the story many of the heroes travel, quietly and alone, to the Grey Havens, a harbour containing ships to take passengers on a one-way voyage away from Middle-Earth.  Against all odds good has triumphed, but at a terrible cost.  Some of the travellers are scarred by evil, others by sorrow. The boat slips anchor and fades into the darkness, leaving in its wake a glimmer of light, which in turn disappears.  A sense of melancholy prevails.

3 comments:

matthew livermore said...

I have written about this here: http://golgonooza.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tolkien-and-tradition.html?m=1

Emmy said...

Your blog really is wonderful! I've recently renewed my passion for Tolkien, and I can't wait to read more of your posts :)

DEI-EX said...

Thank you Matthew...

Emmy... there are 8 years worth to choose from!!