Christianity in Middle-earth
J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic from boyhood, and he described The Lord of the Rings in particular as a fundamentally religious and Catholic work. While he insisted it was not an allegory, it contains numerous themes from Christian theology. These include the battle of good versus evil, the triumph of humility over pride, and the activity of grace. A central theme is death and immortality, but Tolkien's attitudes to mercy and pity, resurrection, the Eucharist, salvation, repentance, self-sacrifice, free will, justice, fellowship, authority and healing can also be detected. Divine providence appears indirectly as the will of the Valar, godlike immortals, expressed subtly enough to avoid compromising people's free will.
There is no single Christ-figure comparable to C. S. Lewis's Aslan in his Narnia books, but the characters of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn exemplify the threefold office, the prophetic, priestly, and kingly aspects of Christ respectively.
Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic. He described The Lord of the Rings as "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work" and rich in Christian symbolism, as he explained in a letter to his close friend and Jesuit priest, Robert Murray:[T 1]
The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.[T 1]
Many theological themes underlie the narrative, including the battle of good versus evil, the triumph of humility over pride, and the activity of grace, as seen with Frodo's pity toward Gollum. In addition the work includes the themes of death and immortality, mercy and pity, resurrection, salvation, repentance, self-sacrifice, free will, justice, fellowship, authority and healing. Tolkien mentions the Lord's Prayer, especially the line "And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil" in connection with Frodo's struggles against the power of the One Ring.[T 2] Tolkien said "Of course God is in The Lord of the Rings. The period was pre-Christian, but it was a monotheistic world", and when questioned who was the One God of Middle-earth, Tolkien replied "The one, of course! The book is about the world that God created – the actual world of this planet."
The Bible and traditional Christian narrative also influenced The Silmarillion. The conflict between Melkor and Eru Ilúvatar parallels that between Satan and God. Further, The Silmarillion tells of the creation and fall of the Elves, as Genesis tells of the creation and fall of Man. As with all of Tolkien's works, The Silmarillion allows room for later Christian history, and one version of Tolkien's drafts even has Finrod, a character in The Silmarillion, speculating on the necessity of Eru Ilúvatar's eventual Incarnation to save Mankind.[T 3] A specifically Christian influence is the notion of the fall of man, which influenced the Ainulindalë, the Kinslaying at Alqualondë, and the fall of Númenor.[T 4]
Commentators, some of them Christian, have taken a wide range of positions on the role of Christianity in Tolkien's fiction, especially in The Lord of the Rings, including representations of Christ and angels in Tolkien's characters such as the wizards, the resurrection, the motifs of light, hope, and redemptive suffering, the apparent invisibility of Christianity in the novel, and not least the nature of evil, an ancient debate in Christian philosophy, that has led to lengthy scholarly argument about Tolkien's position in the book.
Applicability, not allegoryEdit
Tolkien stated in the foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings that "it is neither allegorical nor topical ... I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations ... I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers."[T 5] Shippey comments that Tolkien certainly did sometimes write allegories, giving the example of Leaf by Niggle, and that there is meant to be some relationship between his fiction and fact. He notes, too, that Tolkien deliberately "approach[ed] to the edge of Christian reference" by placing the destruction of the Ring and the fall of Sauron on 25 March, the traditional Anglo-Saxon date of the crucifixion of Christ and of the annunciation, and of the last day of the Genesis creation. Other commentators have noted further echoes of Christian themes, including the presence of Christ figures, the resurrection, hope, and redemptive suffering.
A Christian work?Edit
In favour is the scholar of theology and literature Ralph C. Wood with his 2003 book The Gospel According to Tolkien, which concludes "Christians are called to be hobbit-like servants of the King and his Kingdom. Frodo and Sam are first in the reign of Iluvatar because they are willing to be last and least among those who 'move the wheels of the world'". Wood notes, too, that the elves' lembas waybread is "reminiscent of the eucharistic wafer: its airy lightness gives strength in direct disproportion to its weight". Pat Pinsent, in A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien, states that "his own devout adherence to Catholicism is in fact reflected throughout his writing, to the extent that ... his faith was the driving force behind his literary endeavors".
An ambivalent position is taken by Paul Kocher, in his book Master of Middle-earth. He writes that "having made the times pre-Christian, [Tolkien] has freed himself from the need to deal with them in a Christian context, which would be awkward if applied to elves, ents, dwarves, and the rest." On the other hand, Kocher notes that Elrond ascribes purpose to events including the summoning of the Free Peoples to his council; Elrond uses the words "purpose", "called", "ordered", and "believe", implying "some living will". Similarly, he comments, Gandalf firmly tells Denethor, the despairing Steward of Gondor, that suicide is forbidden and indeed is "heathen".
Against is Catherine Madsen, who found herself drawn to faith by the novel, "yet not particularly to the Christian faith". She notes that Tolkien wrote that "Myth and fairy-story, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit[ly]".[T 6] She states that Tolkien clearly "did not intend his work to argue or illustrate or promulgate Christianity". In her view, Tolkien uses "Christian magic", not doctrine; she notes that Tolkien wrote that Middle-earth was "a monotheistic world of 'natural theology'".[T 7] The "natural religion" of the book is, she argues, based on matters such as the Elves and their longing for the sea, creating a "religious feeling ... curiously compatible with a secular cosmology". A world of religion without revelation, she writes, is necessarily ambiguous, and any triumph over evil also diminishes the good, so the world inevitably fades. Hence, what The Lord of the Rings offers is not a supernatural hope, but what Tolkien called "recovery", the reawakening of the senses, an unmediated attention to the present, as when Sam looks up into the night sky in Mordor, and is struck by the beauty of a star. To Madsen, this is "the most compelling thing about the book, and also the least Christian ... available to anyone of any persuasion, and not contingent upon belief."
|Dies in Moria,
reborn as Gandalf the White[a]
|Symbolically dies under Morgul-knife,
healed by Elrond[b]
|Takes Paths of the Dead,|
reappears in Gondor
|Saviour||All three help to save Middle-earth from Sauron|
|Threefold Messianic symbolism||Prophet||Priest||King|
The philosopher Peter Kreeft, like Tolkien a Roman Catholic, observes that there is no one complete, concrete, visible Christ figure in The Lord of the Rings comparable to Aslan in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series. However, Kreeft and Jean Chausse have identified reflections of the figure of Jesus Christ in three protagonists of The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn. While Chausse found "facets of the personality of Jesus" in them, Kreeft wrote that "they exemplify the Old Testament threefold Messianic symbolism of prophet (Gandalf), priest (Frodo), and king (Aragorn)".
Several commentators have seen Gandalf's passage through the Mines of Moria, dying to save his companions and returning as "Gandalf the White", as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. Like Jesus who carried his cross for the sins of mankind, Frodo carried a burden of evil on behalf of the whole world. Frodo walks his "Via Dolorosa" to Mount Doom just like Jesus who made his way to Golgotha. As Frodo approaches the Cracks of Doom, the Ring becomes a crushing weight, just as the cross was for Jesus. Sam Gamgee, Frodo's servant, who carries Frodo up to Mount Doom, parallels Simon of Cyrene, who helps Jesus by carrying his cross to Golgotha. When Frodo accomplishes his mission, like Christ, he says "it is done". Just as Christ ascends to heaven, Frodo's life in Middle-earth comes to an end when he departs to the Undying Lands.
A theme that runs throughout The Lord of the Rings but is especially clear in The Silmarillion is of light. The scholar of mythology and medieval literature Verlyn Flieger explains that Tolkien equates light with God and the ability to create. She cites from Tolkien's poem Mythopoeia ("Creation of Myth"):[T 8]
man, sub-creator, the refracted light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with elves and goblins, though we dared to build
gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sow the seed of dragons, 'twas our right
(used or misused). The right has not decayed.
We make still by the law in which we're made.[T 9]
Flieger writes that by this, Tolkien meant that an author's ability to create fantasy fiction, or in his terms "subcreation", was derived from and could be seen as a small splinter of the Divine Light, the "single White" of the poem. Further, the whole of The Silmarillion can be seen as a working-out of this theme of Man splintering the original white light of creation "to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes" in the forms of the sundering of the Elves into light and dark elves, men good and bad, and dragons and other monsters. This creative light, she states, was for Tolkien equated with the Christian Λόγος (Logos), the Divine Word.
The light begins in The Silmarillion as a unity, and in accordance with the splintering of creation is divided into more and more fragments as the myth progresses. Middle-earth is peopled by the angelic Valar and lit by two great lamps; when these are destroyed by the fallen Vala Melkor, the world is fragmented, and the Valar retreat to Valinor, which is lit by The Two Trees. When these too are destroyed, their last fragment of light is made into the Silmarils, and a sapling too is rescued, leading to the White Tree of Numenor, the living symbol of the Kingdom of Gondor. Wars are fought over the Silmarils, and they are lost to the Earth, the Sea, and the Sky, the last of these, carried by Eärendil the Mariner, becoming the Morning Star. Some of the star's light is captured in Galadriel's Mirror, the magic fountain that allows her to see past, present, and future; and some of that light is, finally, trapped in the Phial of Galadriel, her parting gift to Frodo, the counterbalance to Sauron's evil and powerful Ring that he also carries. At each stage, the fragmentation increases and the power decreases. Thus the theme of light as Divine power, fragmented and refracted through the works of created beings, is central to the whole mythology.
Tolkien wrote of the Eucharist or Blessed Sacrament that it was "the one great thing to love on earth"[T 10] where, he advised his son Michael, "you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth".[T 10] He described it as a divine paradox, meaning death but also eternal life.[T 10] Tolkien alluded to a religious significance of the lembas waybread in The Lord of the Rings in a letter to Forrest J. Ackerman in 1958:[T 11]
In the book lembas has two functions. It is a 'machine' or device for making credible the long marches with little provision, in a world in which as I have said "miles are miles". But that is relatively unimportant. It also has a much larger significance, of what one might hesitatingly call a "religious" kind. This becomes later apparent, especially in the chapter "Mount Doom".[T 11]
Based on Tolkien's statements, Christian commentators have argued that a highly developed Eucharistic symbolism is carried by lembas and its history, elaborated further in The Silmarillion, noting that "waybread" can be seen as a translation of viaticum, the Eucharistic food for a journey. In The Silmarillion, the lembas, for example, is given to the Elves to feed them during their Great Journey to the Undying Lands, recalling to Christian commentators God's gift of Manna to the Israelites during their exodus to the Promised Land at Exodus 14. The Maia Melian makes a royal gift of lembas to Beleg, brother-in-arms of the mortal Man Túrin, to be his "help in the wild":[T 12]
And she gave him store of lembas, the waybread of the Elves, wrapped in leaves of silver, and the threads that bound it were sealed at the knots with the seal of the Queen, a wafer of white wax shaped as a single flower of Telperion; for according to the customs of the Eldalië the keeping and giving of lembas belonged to the Queen alone.[T 12]
Tolkien immediately emphasizes the special nature of this gift:[T 12]
In nothing did Melian show greater favour to Túrin than in this gift; for the Eldar had never before allowed Men to use this waybread, and seldom did so again.[T 12]
The motif of hope is illustrated in Aragorn's successful handling of Saruman's seeing-stone or palantír. Aragorn is given the very name of "Hope" (Sindarin "Estel"), by which he is still affectionately called by his queen, Arwen, who at the hour of his death cries out "Estel, Estel!". Only Aragorn, as the heir of Isildur, can rightfully use the palantír, while Saruman and Denethor, who have both also made extensive use of palantírs, have fallen into despair or presumption. These latter traits have been identified as the two distinct sins "against the virtue of Hope".
The Christian theme of the redemptive and penitential nature of suffering is apparent in the dreadful ordeal of Sam and Frodo in Mordor. As another example, Boromir atones for his assault on Frodo by single-handedly but vainly defending Merry and Pippin from orcs, which illustrates also another significant Christian theme: immortality of the soul and the importance of good intention, especially at the point of death. This is clear from Gandalf's statement: "But he [Boromir] escaped in the end.... It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for Boromir's sake."[T 13]
The place of Christianity's angels is taken by the immortal Ainur, who are divided into two orders of beings, the Valar and the Maiar. The powerful Valar behave much like the pagan gods of Greek mythology. Flieger calls their role in Middle-earth "eccentric" from a Christian point of view: they are lower than the One God, certainly, but unlike angels they are sub-creators, each with their own realm. So, for instance, Manwë is King of Arda (the Earth), Ulmo is Lord of Waters, Mandos Judge of the Dead, and they were married. This positions them, as Tolkien stated, as demiurges, godlike figures in the Platonic scheme of things with the ability to shape the material world. As with the splintering of light, Flieger writes, the choice of the name "demiurge" implies subdivision, its original meaning including "to do by dividing".
Some Maiar, a lesser order than the Valar, were sent by the Valar into Middle-earth in mortal bodies to influence, but not to direct, events there. These Maiar were Wizards or Istari, of whom Gandalf is the best known to readers. Tolkien stated that they fitted the original Greek description "ἄγγελος" (Angelos) meaning messenger.[T 14]
Divine providence is represented in Middle-earth by the will of the Valar. This can be detected but is subtle enough not to affect free will or the need for individual courage. Its action is sometimes hinted at rather directly, as when Gandalf says that Bilbo and Frodo were "meant" to have the One Ring, though it remained their choice to co-operate with this purpose.
The nature of evilEdit
The Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey writes that The Lord of the Rings embodies the ancient debate within Christianity on the nature of evil. Shippey notes Elrond's Boethian statement that "nothing is evil in the beginning. Even [the Dark Lord] Sauron was not so", in other words all things were created good; but this is set alongside the Manichean view that Good and Evil are equally powerful, and battle it out in the world. Tolkien's personal war experience was Manichean: evil seemed at least as powerful as good, and could easily have been victorious, a strand which Shippey notes can also be seen in Middle-earth. Brian Rosebury, a humanities scholar, interprets Elrond's statement as implying an Augustinian universe, created good.
Rosebury writes that The Lord of the Rings is saved from simple moralising or allegory by the presence of realistically complicated moral conflict within the characters: the "good" characters are challenged by temptations, while the "evil" characters all have good sides, were once good, or hesitate over evil actions.
|Sauron||Evil||Fallen angel (Maia)
Pride, desire for power
|"Nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so." – Elrond|
|Gollum||Evil||Hobbit corrupted by the Ring||"An old starved pitiable thing"|
wavers over betraying Frodo and Sam
|Saruman||Evil||Fallen Wizard (Maia)
Pride, desire for power
|"was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against"|
|Frodo||Good||"best hobbit in the Shire"
Nearly pacifist in
"The Scouring of the Shire" (at end)
|Says Bilbo should have killed Gollum (at start)|
Corrupted by Ring, claims it in Mount Doom
|Boromir||Bad → Good||Well-intentioned;
covets Ring as weapon;
tries to steal it from Frodo
|Repents and sacrifices his life trying to save the hobbits Merry and Pippin|
|Théoden||Bad → Good||Corrupted into inaction by Wormtongue||Revived by Gandalf, takes wise and bold action, dies hero's death in battle|
The Episcopal priest Fleming Rutledge writes that moral conflict, as seen in the struggle within Gollum, is central both to the narrative and to the "underlying theological drama". Far from being a battle of good people against evil monsters, she writes, the evil is within each individual, citing Saint Paul's comment in Romans 3:9–10 that "none is righteous, no, not one".
In other mediaEdit
Christianity Today reported that Oxford University's Bodleian Libraries exhibition "Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth" was "nearly comprehensive" but had one "glaring omission": "any mention of the author's devout, lifelong Christian faith." It mentions Michael Ward's comment that Tolkien's faith is not obvious in Middle-earth, unlike his friend C. S. Lewis's Narnia, and concludes that "Only if we recognize Tolkien's deep Christian faith can we hope to understand the life and work of the 'Maker of Middle-earth'".
- This list identifies each item's location in Tolkien's writings.
- Carpenter 1981, #142
- Carpenter 1981, #181
- Morgoth's Ring, Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth, pp. 322, 335
- Carpenter 1981, #131 to Milton Waldman, late 1951
- Lord of the Rings, "Foreword to the Second Edition"
- Carpenter 1981, #144 to Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954
- Carpenter 1981, #165 to Houghton Mifflin, 30 June 1955
- Tolkien 2001, pp. 85–90
- Tolkien 2001, pp. 85–90
- Carpenter 1981, #43 to Michael Tolkien The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, March 6-8, 1941
- Carpenter 1981, #210 to Forrest J. Ackerman The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, June 1958
- Tolkien 1977, ch. 21, "Of Túrin Turambar"
- The Two Towers, book 3, ch 5 "The White Rider"
- Carpenter 1981, #156 to Robert Murray, S.J., 4 November 1954
- "JRR Tolkien: 'Film my books? It's easier to film The Odyssey'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- Chance 2001, p. 192
- Bramlett, Perry (2003). I Am in Fact a Hobbit: An Introduction to the Life and Works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-86554-851-X.
- Kerry 2011, pp. 17–50.
- Shippey 2005, p. 49.
- Shippey 2005, pp. 191-197.
- Shippey 2005, p. 227.
- Kreeft, Peter J. (November 2005). "The Presence of Christ in The Lord of the Rings". Ignatius Insight.
- Dickerson, Matthew (2013) . "Moria". In Drout, Michael D. C. (ed.). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 438–439. ISBN 978-0-415-86511-1.
- MacArthur, Kerry J. (2004). "The Theological Virtues in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings". In Miller, Paula Jean, FSE; Fossey, Richard (eds.). Mapping the Catholic Cultural Landscape. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-7425-3184-8.
- Olar, Jared L., "The Gospel According to J.R.R. Tolkien", Grace and Knowledge, Issue 12, July 2002
- Wood 2003, p. 165.
- Madsen 2004, pp. 35–47.
- Wood 2003, pp. 3–4.
- Pinsent, Pat (2020) . "Religion: An Implicit Catholicism". In Lee, Stuart D. (ed.). A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien. Wiley. pp. 446–460. ISBN 978-1119656029.
- Kocher 1974, pp. 77–78.
- Kocher 1974, p. 41.
- Kocher 1974, p. 50.
- Nitzsche 1980, p. 42.
- Pearce, Joseph (2013) . "Christ". In Drout, Michael D. C. (ed.). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Routledge. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-0-415-86511-1.
- Kerry, Paul E. (2010). Kerry, Paul E. (ed.). The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and the Lord of the Rings. Fairleigh Dickinson. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-1-61147-065-9.
- Schultz, Forrest W. (1 December 2002). "Christian Typologies in The Lord of the Rings". Chalcedon. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Stucky, Mark (Summer 2006). "Middle Earth's Messianic Mythology Remixed: Gandalf's Death and Resurrection in Novel and Film" (PDF). Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. 13 (1): 3. doi:10.3138/jrpc.13.1.003.
- Keenan, Hugh (2000). Bloom, Harold (ed.). The Appeal of The Lord of the Rings: A Struggle for Life. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: Modern Critical Interpretations. Chelsea House Publishers. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-1-349-38251-4.
- Bedell, Haley (2015). "Frodo Baggins: The Modern Parallel to Christ in Literature" (PDF). Humanities Capstone Projects. Pacific University (Paper 24).
- McAvan, Emily (2012). The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786463886.
- Dalfonzo, Gina (2007). "Humble Heroism: Frodo Baggins as Christian Hero in The Lord of the Rings". In Pursuit of Truth.
- Flieger 1983, pp. 44–49.
- Flieger 1983, pp. 6-61, 89–90, 144-145 and passim.
- Smith, Scott L., Jr. (2019). The Lord of the Rings and the Eucharist. Holy Water Books. pp. 17–20. ISBN 978-0998360386.
- Brother Andre Marie (1 October 2007). "J.R.R. Tolkien and the Eucharist". Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Benedict Center, New Hampshire. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
- 'Catholic Church' (17 December 2020). "The Lembas". Wilmington for Christ. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
- Smith, Scott. "The Hidden Manna in the Lord of the Rings". All Roads Lead to Rome. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
- Flieger 1983, pp. 53–55.
- Stanton, Michael N. (2013) . "Wizards". In Drout, Michael D. C. (ed.). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Routledge. pp. 709–710. ISBN 978-0-415-86511-1.
- Shippey 2005, pp. 173–174, 262.
- Kocher 1974, p. 37.
- The Fellowship of the Ring, book 2, ch. 2 "The Council of Elrond"
- Shippey 2005, pp. 160-161.
- Shippey 2005, pp. 169-170.
- Rosebury, Brian (2003). Tolkien : A Cultural Phenomenon. Palgrave. pp. 35–41. ISBN 978-1403-91263-3.
- Rutledge 2004, pp. 57–59.
- Ordway, Holly (21 August 2018). "The Maker of the Maker of Middle-earth". Christianity Today. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
- Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-31555-7
- Chance, Jane (2001). Tolkien's Art: A Mythology for England. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-9020-7.
- Flieger, Verlyn (1983). Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World. Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-1955-0.
- Kerry, Paul (2011). The Ring and the Cross : Christianity and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press / Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-61147-620-0.
- Kocher, Paul (1974) . Master of Middle-Earth: The Achievement of J.R.R. Tolkien. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140038779.
- Madsen, Catherine (2004). Chance, Jane (ed.). 'Light from an Invisible Lamp' : Natural Religion in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien and the Invention of Myth : a Reader. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 35–47. ISBN 978-0-8131-2301-1.
- Nitzsche, Jane Chance (1980) . Tolkien's Art. Papermac. ISBN 0-333-29034-8.
- Rutledge, Fleming (2004). The Battle for Middle-earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in The Lord of the Rings. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-80282-497-4.
- Shippey, Tom (2005) . The Road to Middle-Earth (Third ed.). HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0261102750.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), ISBN 0-395-08254-4
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), ISBN 0-395-08254-4
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), ISBN 0-395-08256-0
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (2001). Tree and Leaf. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-710504-5.
- Wood, Ralph C. (2003). The Gospel According to Tolkien : visions of the kingdom in Middle-Earth. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22610-7. OCLC 51937282.