J. R. R. Tolkien, 1892–1973
Despite the universal derision of the literary establishment, which could never comprehend its inherently noble spirit, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was recently voted the greatest work of fiction of the twentieth century by thousands of Waterstones’ customers. The accolade is well-deserved, for Tolkien’s masterpiece is a classic of heroic romance. Drawing inspiration from traditional European mythology and from his love for the English countryside, Tolkien created an imaginary world and invented mythology which have proved timeless in their appeal.
First published in 1956, Tolkien’s Ring Saga is composed of three books, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers,and The Return of the King. Although the late Walt Disney planned to produce a grand, animated film of the entire trilogy, which would probably have done the mammoth work justice, the film rights were unfortunately acquired by a hyphenated ‘Hungarian’ film producer. He tore the story to ribbons and totally lost the plot, even portraying Tolkien’s white Elvish tribes as Mexicans with Oriental features. It seems that a worthwhile film version of the great work will therefore have to wait until the political victory of British Nationalism unleashes a fresh wave of culturally sound artistic energy. [This essay was written before Peter Jackson directed his The Lord of the Rings movies.–Ed.] In the meantime, fortunately, we still have the books.
John Ronald Reul Tolkien, ex-soldier, expert philologist and Professor of Anglo-Saxon by the time he was just 33, claimed that he wrote his novels to fulfill an inner desire to “create a myth for England.” To that end he constructed a highly complex and intricate world of his own, modeled somewhat on Northern mythology and Wagner’s opera Der Ring des Nibelungen. The fantasy world, Middle Earth, was inhabited by various races of men, elves, dwarfs, Orcs, goblins, trolls, and Hobbits. The author devised complete alphabets and languages, such as ‘Elvish’, created calendars, and drew detailed maps of the various kingdoms and homelands of Middle Earth.
Although Tolkien disliked allegory, his Middle Earth is in many ways like our own, and ethnic realities play an important part in the lives of its inhabitants. For instance, the Numenoreans were an aristocratic race of men, “. . . fair of face and tall, and the span of their lives was thrice that of other men of Middle Earth. These were the Numenoreans, the Kings of Men, whom the Elves called the Dunedain.”
But three great evils endangered the Numenorians: plague; invasions by hordes of alien Wainriders from the lands of the East; and racial intermixture:
After the return of Eldacar, the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dunedain became more mingled with that of lesser men. For many of the great had been slain in the Kin-strife. This mingling did not at first hasten the waning of the Dunedain, as had been feared, but the waning still proceeded, little by little, as it had before . . .
For the high men of Gondor already looked askance at the men among them, and it was a thing unheard of before that the heir of the crown, or any son of the King, should wed one of lesser and alien race . . .
Now the descendants of the kings had become few. Their numbers had been greatly diminished in the Kin-strife . . . while others had renounced their lineage and taken wives not of Numenorean blood. So it was that no claimant to the crown could be found who was of pure blood . . . and all feared the memory of the Kin-strife, knowing that if any such dissension arose again, then Gondor would perish.
Comparable to the advanced, highly gifted and intelligent European peoples in our own world, the Dunedain were great pioneers, administrators, leaders and empire-builders, despite making up only small proportion of the total population of Middle Earth:
All told, the Dunedain were thus from the beginning far fewer in number than the lesser men among whom they dwelt and whom they ruled, being lords of long life and great power and wisdom.
Yet the Dunedain’s special qualities and attributes were gradually lost over years of degeneracy, diluted and bred out by mixing with other types, so that their nobility and longevity, bestowed upon them by their Creator, the ‘All-father of the Universe’, was brought down to the level of their inferiors.
The “evil of mixing,” as Tolkien describes it, is a major theme of his writing, and is naturally of much interest to those who wish to see the various racial groups of humanity preserved, rather than being destroyed forever through the intermingling of blood.
As he wrote his epic, Tolkien would mail out each completed chapter to his son, Christopher, who was serving in the RAF in South Africa between 1944 – 1950. Coincidentally, this was at precisely the time when that self-governing Dominion of the British Empire was instituting a policy of separate development for different racial groups.
In total contrast to the Numenorians, Northmen, Elves, Hobbits, and Dwarfs are the Orcs, a green skinned, ignorant race of giant goblins who, according to Tolkien, spoke ’snaga-speech’.
Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people, as it was in the language of Rohan. The Orcs were first bred by the Dark Power in the North in the Elder Days. It is said that they had no language of their own, but took what they could of other tongues, and perverted it to their own liking, yet they made only brutal jargons, scarcely sufficient even for their own needs, unless it were for curses and abuse. And these creatures, being filled with malice, hating even their own kind, quickly developed as many barbarous dialects as there were groups or settlements of their race, so that their Orkish speech was of little use to them in intercourse between different tribes.
The Orcs were generally shambling, clumsy brutes, savages created by the sorcerers Margoth and the Dark Lord, Sauron, as war fodder. They were needed to help him to gather the Rings of Power, the means by which he would be able to bring about an evil world empire, and the enslavement of all the peoples of Middle Earth.
Usury and Manipulation
Tolkien’s last book, The Silmarillion, published in the 1970s, took this theme even further. Universally panned by the literary world, it tells of an evil, scheming, underground race, which lurks in the shadows, operates usury, dabbles in necromancy and hordes gold and jewels, manipulating events from behind the scenes.
Though civilization, freedom, life, honor, and beauty seem doomed by the evil forces arrayed against the ‘White Council’ of Aragorn and Gondor in The Lord of the Rings, the mannish, dwarvish, and elvish armies finally turn the tide with a famous victory at The Battle of Pelennor Fields:
East rode the knights of Dol Amroth, driving the enemy before them: troll-men and Variags, and orcs that hated the sunlight. South strode Eomer . . . and they were caught between the hammer and the anvil. For now men leapt from the ships to the quays of the Harlond and swept north like a storm . . . . But before all went Aragorn with the Flame of the West, Anduril, like a new fire kindled . . . .
Hard fighting and long labor they had still, for the Southrons were bold men and grim, and fierce in despair, and the Easterlings were strong and war-hardened and asked for no quarter. And so in this place and that, by burned homestead or barn, upon hillock or mound, under wall or on field, still they gathered and rallied and fought until the day wore away.
Then the Sun went at last behind Mindolluin and filled all the sky with a great burning, so that the hills and the mountains were dyed as with blood; fired glowed in the river, and the grass of the Pelennor lay red in the nightfall. And in that hour the great Battle of the Field of Gondor was over, and not one living foe was left within the circuit of the Rammas. All were slain, save those who fled to die, or to drown in the red foam of the river.
This is the first victory for the armies of the White Council in a very long war. The men of Middle Earth want only to live in peace and plenty among their womenfolk, families, and loved ones, yet they fully realize that it is their sacred duty to take up arms against an enemy who seeks to enslave them. Their war is heroic and just: the pale-skinned mannish, elvish, and dwarfish allies are never cruel or mistreat their prisoners, unlike the Orcs, who think nothing of beheading prisoners for fun.
The fate of a warrior is in his own hands. Wielding his sword and shield he has at least a chance to live, or die, through his own fighting prowess.
It is clear from Tolkien’s personal diaries that he deeply detested modern warfare, especially the aerial mass bombing of civilians in Britain and Germany during World War Two. He regarded the dropping of bombs on defenseless babies, women, and old men from thousands of feet above the ground, by those who could not see the devastation they wrought, as repugnant and uncivilized, unworthy of European civilization.
Tolkien was no pacifist, but he believed that British soldiers should only be called to fight for Britain and her Empire, not in foreign quarrels which were none of our business. The hypocrisy of declaring war upon Nazi Germany, but not on Bolshevik Russia, which had also invaded Poland in 1939, was not lost on Tolkien. Like another British literary genius of the Thirties, Tarka the Otter author Henry Williamson, he believed in 1939 that another fratricidal war between European nations would be a “total disaster.” Later in his life he described the bloody conflict which followed as “five years of darkness.”
In the foreword to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote that:
One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead . . . . The country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was ten, in the days when motor cars were rare objects.
Parallel to his dislike of modern, impersonal warfare, Tolkien increasingly began to reject and actively oppose the encroachment of mechanization, automation and the urbanization of traditional country life. He was one of the first pro-countryside campaigners!
Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favorite haunt. They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skillful with tools.
Tolkien’s vision was of a Britain of family farms, villages, and small towns, with cities of traditional architecture, where scientists would develop the power of technology, producing new sources of energy which did not pollute the environment. Undoubtedly, he would have been horrified by the extent of urban over-development on greenfield sites today.
Nobility and freedom
There is much with which nationalists can identify in J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings: the nobility of ancient and self-reliant peoples; the neighborliness, comradeship, and community spirit of The Shire, with its clean air and green landscape; the heroic life or death struggle for a great cause, between the forces of light, freedom, and racial survival, against the conspiracy of corruption and tyranny.
Tolkien undoubtedly lit a beacon of inspiration in the imagination and hearts of many of his fellow Britons, and indeed among kindred folk worldwide. The Lord of the Rings in particular continues to touch a nerve deep in our racial psyche, which clearly worries the twisted champions of genocide through integration. Any popular literature which has ethnic identity, and the necessity of struggle to protect it, as its theme must inevitably arouse the hostility of the cosmopolitan arts and literary critics network, just as it must deserve our attention.
Tolkien’s healthy, moral and idealistic tales of valor and truth therefore make particularly good Christmas and birthday presents for the children of nationalist families. The Hobbit is ideal for younger children, while The Lord of the Rings will delight teenagers and adults alike. Here there is no perversion, no degeneracy, and no political correctness. Take a look for yourself!
From Spearhead, July 1998