7 Dec 2022
The Lord of the Rings (2001)
Featuring Dr Marian Kelsey
In many ways, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring perfectly demonstrates most of the tropes of a "Chosen One" type: An ordinary person chosen for an extraordinary task, guided by a mentor-type figure, and aided by a loyal support system. But who is the chosen figure in this film? Is it the hobbit, Frodo, or Aragorn, the king to be? In this episode we debate who has been chosen, and what biblical imagery may be present in our two potential chosen one characters. We also look at two of the primary influences on JRR Tolkien's writing: his Catholic faith and his experiences of trench warfare during the First World War.
Many thanks to Dr Marian Kelsey and Dr James Connolly for their time and expertise.
Dr Kelsey is a Teaching Associate in Hebrew Bible at the University of Nottingham. Make sure to look out for her chapter, "Retellings of Biblical Narrative in Science Fiction and Fantasy" in the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of the Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry. You can find a full list of Dr Kelsey's publications on her website, or follow her on Twitter @MERKelsey.
Dr Connolly is an Associate Professor of Modern French History in the School of European Languages, Culture and Society at University College London. You can find him on Twitter @DrJamesConnolly.
Alison Milbank, Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians: The Fantasy of the Real (T&T Clark, 2009).
Sarah Cross, "The Fellowship of the Ring: The Lord of the Rings on Film". Public Archaeology, 2:4 (2002), 252-255.
Chance, Jane. “Is There a Text in This Hobbit? Peter Jackson’s ‘Fellowship of the Ring.’” Literature/Film Quarterly, 30:2 (2002), 79–85.
Erich Auerbach, “Odysseus’ Scar,” in Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Translated by Willard Trask (Princeton University Press, 1953), 1–23.
Matthew Rose, "Tolkien and the Somme," in Death and Immortality in Middle-Earth, ed Daniel Helen (Luna Press, 2017).
Issacs and Zimbardo, eds. Tolkien and his Critics: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings (University of Notre Dame Press, 1968).
CS Lewis’ Response to critics of The Lord of the Rings: The Dethronement of Power.
The Battle of the Somme propaganda film from 1916.
They Shall Not Grow Old documentary film by Peter Jackson (2018).
Coming Soon [We aim to have transcripts available within a week of broadcast]