Book Review: The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy

The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule them All Ed. Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson

I’m not sure if I liked this one. We meet all our familiar philosophers with heavy doses of Nietzsche, Plato, Augustine, Kant, and even Buddah. There’s heavy discussions of acceptance of death, the burdens and corruption of power, the transformation of free-will, and the struggle of good vs. evil. The problem is, while there were a few moments of thought provoking statements, on the whole it was rather done. It’s worth the read for the occasional insight and a new way of looking as some things. But be warned, you need to know the books not the movies for most of this. And you also need to have read the appendix in the back to get the complete story of Arwen and Aragorn, and to know what happens to everyone after the story ends. Still, if you want to start delving into the scholarly side of the Tolkien universe, this is a good spring-board. But if you’ve already spent many an hour debating the motivations of Elrond and Arwen and dissecting the maps of middle-earth, this book will seem sort of elementary.


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