The Power of the Ring

The new edition's cove--not as pretty as mine.
The Power of the Ring: the Spiritual Vision Behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, by Stratford Caldecott

InterLibrary Loan is my friend this month, and I've been reading 3 at once.  First to the finish line was this very lovely book by Stratford Caldecott--I am having a Caldecott party lately, since I just read his Beauty for Truth's Sake and just got Beauty in the Word a couple of days ago--and this is an older book, all about Tolkien and not education.  That sentence kind of got away from me there...

If you're interested in how Tolkien's faith informed his work, and especially in how his Catholicism comes out in his books, this is the book to read.  There are several books like this actually; I've enjoyed one or two before, but Caldecott points out a lot of things I hadn't run into before.  It was really enjoyable to read, too (although the font used in the edition I read was a little annoying.  There is now a second edition, and while the cover illustration leaves something to be desired in my opinion, maybe the font is better!).

Now I'm really in the mood to read LOTR again.  It's been a very long time for me, unless you count when my husband read the whole thing aloud to our kids a year or so ago, but I didn't listen all the time.   Does anybody want to do a readalong?

If you read it, be sure to check out the appendices as well.  There's some good stuff in there, and also a short analysis of the film trilogy if you're interested.


  1. I do want to do a readalong but not this instant minute. When were you thinking of doing it?

  2. Gosh, I don't know. Not right this very minute--this EBB/RB thing takes a lot of time! September? Some time in the undefined future?

  3. I didn't know Tolkein was Catholic. Wasn't he a part of--what was it called--the Oxford Group or something? A Christian club of sorts with C. S. Lewis and some other writers at Oxford in the 1930s? Or am I thinking of the Inklings?

  4. JRRT was a really devout Catholic--daily mass and so on. He was an Inkling, yep. It's got a reputation as being a Christian group, but it wasn't exclusively so--Owen Barfield was an Anthroposophist and IIRC there were atheists.

    You might also be thinking of the Oxford Movement, which was a Victorian thing?

  5. Well, I got curious enough to go to Wiki, and you're right, JRRT wasn't in the Oxford Group. But it did exist at that time, and was a Christian fellowship type of thing. I also found out that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous based their "meeting" style of therapy on the Oxford Group's methods. Who knew? :)

  6. Oh, interesting! Thanks for the info. Historical connections are so funny sometimes--AA and Oxford Group, wow.

  7. At 50 I decided it was time to read The Lord of the Rings. Now I understand why people are so passionate about it. This book on Tolkien's faith sounds good.


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