Aktualności ze świata miłośników twórczości Tolkiena

Tolkien is pro-life!

This essay was first published in Polish here on 28 August, 2008.
Translated by Noatar
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In Middle-earth, children are a sign of blessing from Eru. For there life is seen as a blessing. It is simply because those whom we can call the Voronwi Eruo, the Faithful of the One, are creators of the true civilization of life, and strongly opposed to the scheming of the Enemy, a tyrant of the culture of death… The Laws and customs among the Eldar, an excellent text written by Tolkien (and published posthumously in Morgoth’s Ring, the tenth of the 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth), as well as other writings of the Legendarium show a world of families, of marriages and children; a world where life is a gift and responsibility that should be accepted, never rejected. In Middle-earth, the ability to give the gift of life to others is treated as a blessing, whereas to take life – by acts of suicide or murder – means that Evil has been involved.

A little Boromir in the womb of Finduilas, 3.5 months after conception

What I find especially beautiful in the above-mentioned text is the highest respect for the life of a rational being, from conception until natural death. I also regard as important the fact that the Faithful (whether Elves or Men, Dwarves or Ents) believe their offspring to be a gift. Again, Tolkien writes about it in the context of the Eldar culture in his The Laws and customs among the Eldar. An inhabitant of Middle-earth can be expected to say ‘A child has been given to me’, rather than ‘I have a child.’ In the case of the Elves, in whom a child is born precisely twelve months after conception, they count out their conception, not birth, anniversaries. How should we call such an anniversary – a conception-day? As for the race of Men, in whom biological processes proceed less harmoniously, “smoothly” so to say, than in the Elves, they can never be absolutely certain of the moment of conception; that is why the only thing they can do is to celebrate the birthday. We know well that of all races of Middle-earth the way in birthday celebrations was led by the Hobbits, whose customs included a good deal of birthday traditions; celebrations of that kind were not a rare thing in Hobbit families, as this people used to have numerous offspring. We can be sure, however, that not only Elves but also mortals believed that the conception marks the beginning of life. Let us now remember the tragic deaths of Nienor and her unborn child. It is only nowadays that some people find these issues problematic. The Enemy is at work…

Since Middle-earth is the world of the affirmation of life, the issues of sex and sexuality are closely related to the conceiving of children there. The Elves refer to the time of their sexual activity as ‘days of the children’ (Morgoth’s Ring, p. 213), and have a healthy attitude to the sexual act as such, and approached without unnecessary prudery. What remains obvious for the Faithful is that sex is associated with parenthood; for this reason any sexual interrelation other than monogamy is treated by the inhabitants of Middle-earth with suspicion, and is said to have come from ‘under the Shadow’ (see The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 296)*. In the world of the culture of life there is no room for either polygamy (being a relation in which husband and wife cannot be faithful to each other, and one party is likely to dominate the other, which is against the culture of the Faithful) or homosexual relationships. If there is any “Sodom of Middle-earth” one could expect to find it right in the Shadow of Morgoth and Sauron, not in the West among the Elendili and the Voronwi (of which I wrote more in another essay.)

The Elves have a rich vocabulary concerning the issues of sex and the conceiving of children. The Quenya words: puhta, púcë and vië sound very pretty and make us think of family life. However, in this world sex is the province of the married, because the sexual act serves here to establish a marriage (in Middle-earth, it is not wedding vows taken by the bride and groom in the presence of their families and witnesses that constitute a marriage but wedding night!). Let us now imagine a look of amazement in the eyes of Faramir and Sam Gamgee, or of Aragorn and Arwen, who come to realize that our culture of death is favourable to those who can boast of a large “scoring” record, whereas the inhabitants of Middle-earth favour those who really have got to know only their husband or wife. The sexual freedom of “the Seventh Age” of Middle-earth, detachment of sexuality from procreation, a great number of abortions, the problem of contraception, and approval of euthanasia are to be held as completely foreign to the culture described in Tolkien’s books.

What about me? Will I choose the culture of life or the culture of death? It is worth giving some thought to this question, especially when we start to dream about the beautiful Middle-earth under the stars of Elbereth…

* „‚Monogamy’ was at this period in the West universally practised and other systems were regarded with repugnance, as things only done ‚under the Shadow'” (Letters, p. 296 – letter no.214). Of course it must have been heterosexual monogamy!

Kategorie wpisu: Eseje tolkienowskie, In Westron (English)

3 Komentarzy do wpisu "Tolkien is pro-life!"

ondotambaro, dnia 18.01.2009 o godzinie 1:29

Thank you for this wonderful essay! Tolkien is indeed pro-life. In all of his stories he celebrates the gift of life as a gift from Eru. Tolkien enthusiasts should discovert the spiritual and moral ideas of Tolkien’s story, and not take them as completely neutral. Middle-earth is not a playground for immoral behaviour but affirms God’s creation every step of the way. That is the wisdom and beauty of Tolkien. Devoutly non-Christian or ultra-liberal Tolkien fans should take heed, at least by not denying these aspects.

Galadhorn, dnia 18.01.2009 o godzinie 9:49

Thank you, Petri, for your nice comment. I am very glad you agree with me. The moral values of Tolkien’s books are not hard to be found. And for sure they are not neutral, indifferent etc.

Elendilion – Tolkienowski Serwis Informacyjny » Blog Archive » Elves for Life, dnia 27.01.2010 o godzinie 12:59

[…] from “Elves for Life” sales will be donated to Pro Life charities. Read also our text “Tolkien is pro-life” on […]

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