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Tolkien's Holy Fools

March 14th, 2016 | 6 min read

By Jake Meador

At one point in The Lord of the Rings Gandalf, the great wizard-hero of the story, is asked by another character what hope there is that Frodo and Sam would fulfill their quest and destroy Sauron's ring of power. "There never was much hope," he replies. "Only a fool's hope." But this, as it turns out, is precisely the point.

It's a striking thing that Tolkien's Silmarillion is singularly focused on the deeds of great men and elves in the first age of the world. Then the high elves and the earliest men, still in many ways kin to the elves in those days, waged war against Morgoth, the first dark lord of Tolkien's legendarium. Set that story next to The Lord of the Rings and you begin to notice a pattern.

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Jake Meador

Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy, and sons Wendell, Austin, and Ambrose. Jake's writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Commonweal, Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play and he has written or contributed to several books, including "In Search of the Common Good," "What Are Christians For?" (both with InterVarsity Press), "A Protestant Christendom?" (with Davenant Press), and "Telling the Stories Right" (with the Front Porch Republic Press).