The Secrets of Tolkien's Rings

The Secrets of Tolkien's Rings - Frodo
In the 1950s, J.R.R. Tolkien published his trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Almost 50 years later, the work remains a phenomenon: it has sold more than 50 million copies, it has appeared in film version twice, and it is considered one of the greatest stories of all fantasy fiction. Why has The Lord of the Rings enjoyed such popularity over the years?
Tom Shippey once knew and taught with J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford University. Shippey explains why Tolkien's work still has an audience today: "More than the adventures of hobbits, elves and other creatures, Tolkien's imaginings are a reflection of the turbulent history of the 20th century. My colleagues in the literary department say it's all very escapist stuff, but I don't think so. It's actually all about what happened in the 20th century. The 20th century has basically been industrialized warfare. I think Tolkien was very preoccupied with the nature of evil, the nature of technology, the way in which things could be abused, and the way good intentions are subverted. That's what it's all about."
Shippey also thinks that Tolkien created a new genre: "Tolkien reintroduced the world of fairy tale to a new audience. It was a very traditional image of fairy tale -elves, dwarves, trolls, dragons, and wizards. But Tolkien turned the whole thing into a successful modern version of heroic fantasy. A lot of that stuff is traditional material that he has transformed in a kind of 20th-century way."

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