The American Prospect
December 5, 2001

Tolkien on Homeland Defense
Chris Mooney

Editor's Note: I take sharp exception to the second part of this article in which the author draws comparisons between Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. It was, however, interesting reading an alternative viewpoint. I encourage you to read this article if you want a more optimistic view of Tolkien's works.

In a 1954 effusion about his friend J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis had this to say:

Almost the central theme of the book is the contrast between the Hobbits (or "the Shire") and the appalling destiny to which some of them are called, the terrifying discovery that the humdrum happiness of the Shire, which they had taken for granted as something normal, is in reality a sort of local and temporary accident, that its existence depends on being protected by powers which Hobbits forget, against powers which Hobbits dare not imagine, that any Hobbit may find himself forced out of the Shire and caught up into that high conflict.

Hmm, sounds familiar. What is 9/11 and the current conflict in Afghanistan if not a deep reminder that the pampered and protected civilization we enjoy in the U.S., "depends on being protected by powers which [we] forget against powers which [we] dare not imagine"? Just to get you prepared for the December 19th film debut of The Fellowship of the Ring -- which is going to make the charming but inferior Harry Potter books look like Waterworld -- here are two out of many passages from The Fellowship of the Ring that resonate with our current situation.

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