Tolkien, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and the Sadness of Expanded Universes

I am, in a good natured way, somewhat jealous of this article – it’s beautifully written and captures something of the deeper structure of the Middle-earth and Star Wars mythos, the notes of sadness often missed both by critics and casual fans. It reminds me of the defenses of Tolkien raised by writers such as C.S. Lewis and W.H. Auden. Well done.

Gerry Canavan

(some spoilers near the end of the post, though I try to be vague)

Not long after completing The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien briefly began work on a sequel called The New Shadow, set 100 to 150 years later during the reign of Aragorn’s son Eldarion. (The main link between the two stories is the minor character Beregond, the noble but disgraced soldier of Gondor whose son, Borlas, would have been a major character in The New Shadow.) The New Shadow reveals that the eucatastrophic fairy-tale ending of The Return of the King was extremely short-lived; with the Elves and the Wizards gone from Middle-earth, the Dwarves moving underground, and the Hobbits now isolated in what amounts to an enclave in the Shire, Men are quickly falling back into their old bad habits. In fact the Men of Gondor already seem to have forgotten much of the details of the War…

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