J.R.R Tolkien lived and died a Roman Catholic. He clearly had a solid understanding of God’s providence and moral absolutes and frequently exalted mercy over judgement in his writings. Yet despite this, he sadly left us vestiges of his Roman Catholicism within The Lord of The Rings that you need to be aware of.
Let’s Get Nerdy
The Lord of The Rings trilogy wasn’t just created in a vacuum for a bit of fanciful reading but was borne out of a detailed world and mythology of Tolkien’s own creation. Many things from Tolkien’s mythopoeic work The Silmarillion are referenced in The Lord of The Rings and one would not necessarily understand what the significance of such things are unless one was… well, a serious LOTR nerd who looked into it.
Throughout the books, Frodo frequently cries out to a spiritual being called “Elbereth”. This happens at the Weathertop where the Witch-King’s “Morgul blade” makes friends with Frodo’s chest and also at the Ford of Bruinen when being chased by the Black Riders.
So who is Elbereth? She is Queen of the Valar, beings who are basically angels in Tolkien’s world. The name Elbereth itself is Sindarin (elvish) which translates as “Star Queen”, or Queen of Heaven.
So Frodo, when in danger, evokes the Queen of Heaven to aid him in his distress.
Roman Catholics & Revelation 12
This is significant when one understands how the Roman Catholic Church interprets Revelation 12:
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labour and in pain to give birth.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.” The Revelation 12:1-4
Roman Catholic Theology would have us believe this is a reference to their perpetual virgin; Mary. This is why Roman Catholics refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven. In reality, this is a symbol of the nation Israel, the 12 stars being a reference to Joseph’s brothers and his dream (Genesis 37:9). Stars are clearly used in Revelation 12 to represent spiritual principalities or authorities, notably the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev.12:1) and angelic beings (Rev 12:4). To call Mary the Queen of Heaven is to ascribe her authority over these things- #heresy
It Gets Creepy
Big deal, you say. Roman Catholics have whack eschatology- anyone could tell you that, right? Well, it gets dark. You see, the Queen of Heaven is a figure that pops up regularly in pagan religion and mythology. She is known as Ishtar to the Babylonians, Astarte to the Semites, Aphrodite to the Greeks and Ashtoreth to the Sidonians.
She is even mentioned in this book called the Bible. In the Bible, however, she is not your pal and she is certainly not Mary the physical mother of Jesus Christ.
What was going down in the days of Jeremiah is that the people of Judah had made a vow to worship the Queen of Heaven:
“…we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her” Jeremiah 44:17
And this is what God told Jeremiah to tell those folk:
“The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, …the Lord could no longer bear it, …Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.” Jeremiah 44:20-23
You see, the evoking of the Queen of Heaven brings God’s judgment and wrath, not protection from ills. This is a massive problem in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Frodo will need something stronger than Mithril to protect himself from God’s Wrath.
One Does Not Simply Make Disciples
With this knowledge in hand, you can now emblaze the interests of nerds like Sting at a Mordor man-flesh banquet and have a Gospel conversation that is more riveting than the Council of Elrond.