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A scholar explores the ideas within TheLord of the Rings and the world created by J. R. R. Tolkien: “A most valuable and timely book” (Ursula K. Le Guin, Los Angeles Times–bestselling author of Changing Planes).
What are millions of readers all over the world getting out of reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Defending Middle-earth argues, in part, that the appeal for fans goes far deeper than just quests and magic rings and hobbits. In fact, through this epic, Tolkien found a way to provide something close to spirit in a secular age.
This thoughtful book focuses on three main aspects of Tolkien’s fiction: the social and political structure of Middle-earth and how the varying cultures within it find common cause in the face of a shared threat; the nature and ecology of Middle-earth and how what we think of as the natural world joins the battle against mindless, mechanized destruction; and the spirituality and ethics of Middle-earth—for which the author provides a particularly insightful and resonant examination.