On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road to Virtue With Tolkien and Lewis

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This is another book I’ve had the pleasure of picking up through Moody Publishers for review. Now, I normally preface my book review posts with a kind of “I chose to review this book because..” But I don’t really think I need to explain myself on this one.
J.R.R. Tolkien. C.S. Lewis. Nuff said. Amiright?!

More About This Book

From the book description on Amazon.com:
The world of J. R. R. Tolkien is filled with strange creatures, elaborately crafted lore, ancient tongues, and magic that exists only in fantasy; yet the lessons taught by hobbits and wizards speak powerfully and practically to our real lives. Courage, valor, trust, pride, greed, and jealousy–these are not fictional virtues. This is the stuff of real life, the Christian life. Professor and author Louis Markos takes us on the road with Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, with looks at selected classic works of literature as well, to show how great stories bring us so much more than entertainment. They inspire and convict, imparting truth in unforgettable ways.
Rediscover the virtue of great storytelling and the power of fantasy to transform our reality.

My Thoughts on the Book

Maybe it’s because I’m slavishly devoted in a fangirl spiral of euphoria over these two fandoms, but I thought this book was remarkable. Awesome, really. Worth reading again. Between the frequent references to classic scenes, and lengthy quotes from adventures in Middle-Earth and Narnia, this has made me crave another re-read of both Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Louis Markos, a professor at Houston Baptist University, has done an amazing job of describing the classical and theological virtues as they are designed and depicted in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Markos is clearly a fan of both authors and a well-educated man. As a Christian thinker, he provides insights into the novels that are enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking.
This book was clearly well researched and the source material thoroughly understood. And while being rather scholarly in his approach to the texts, he still manages to speak in terms that incite the fantasy loving heart:
“Though Lewis and Tolkien clad themselves, humbly and inconspicuously, in professional robes, these two Oxford dons were in fact medieval knights come down from the past, heroes for a distinctively unheroic age.”
I’ll say it again, get your highlighter ready, this book is GOOD. The basic truth conveyed (pulling heavily on Tolkien’s own article, “On Fairy Stories”), is that fairy stories can be helpful in conveying timeless messages to everyone.
Tolkien and Lewis had clear intentions in writing both the Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia books. They were intended from the start to illustrate and pass on Christian virtues. This book is a great “guide to the virtues” in these books. As someone well versed in both fandoms, having enjoyed and studies these book for well over a decade now, I’ve found that there is much for both children and adults to learn from this engaging book by Markos.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]

For LOTR and Narnia fans, this book is a must read! Okay now let the nerd wars begin.. which is your FAVORITE fandom of the two?

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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

6 thoughts on “On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road to Virtue With Tolkien and Lewis

  • 1 April, 2014 at 9:47 pm
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    But Tolkien adamantly disclaimed any evangelical intent. What he did profess was an adamant belief that what one valued invariably reached through, and that to tell a true story is — in some way — to tell Truth.

    Lewis, on the other hand, especially in his many letters to small Narnia-readers, talks about his intent to tell the Christian story as if it had happened in “another world”. Tolkien wrote of a pre-Christ Earth, in a possible alternative to history, or even a PRE-history.

    You can probably tell I’ve read all of the published notes of JRRT as edited by his son, his letters, and his books multiple times. ^_^;

    I love how Tolkien’s deep faith enfolds his story, and his words, with beauty; but that he never preaches or teaches. I love the heart of his work which is buried deep in the idea that God made with STORY in mind (the world “in statu viae”), and that he can imagine that story pre-history in Middle-Earth.

    But as for fandoms, I’ve always been one for LOTR. Narnia was lovely, but hadn’t got the pull or depth for me, and I remember being a little indignant that it was allegorical. :p

    Love the review though. I may need to check out the book.

    • 2 April, 2014 at 4:18 pm
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      I have been meaning to read the books and published notes of Christopher Tolkien for awhile now.. (that was his name, right??)

      I am much more of a Narnia and Lewis fan. Jonathan is more in the JRRT and Middle-Earth camp.

      If you could recommend any ONE JRRT book for me to read (books about him, not by him) what would you recommend??

    • 13 April, 2014 at 3:17 am
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      I am totally outnumbered in my loving Lewis more, lol

  • 1 May, 2014 at 1:44 am
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    Good to know the book was well researched

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