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Saturday, September 4 • 12:30am - 1:00am
When Enchantment Turns Rigid: The Scouring of the Shire

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"The Scouring of the Shire" creates a shocking change of mood in "The Lord of the Rings." Although the reader has been immersed in the sadness of fading enchantments, and Merry's comment as the hobbits approach the Shire that "It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded" is consistent with this mood of quiet disenchantment, Frodo's response that "To me it feels more like falling asleep again" suggests that the hobbits are about to encounter a different kind of enchantment. Indeed, the Shire has fallen under the rigid spell of totalitarianism because Lotho and a few others found meaning in their lives by submitting to a selfish Chief. This shift in mood from wondrous enchantment to totalitarianism depicts a vulnerability of enchanted experience that Tolkien saw play out in Nazi Germany ("...perverting...that noble northern spirit...which I have ever loved"--Letters 45) and that we can recognize in alt-right fascination with Tolkien and medievalism.

avatar for John Rosegrant

John Rosegrant

John Rosegrant's book Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss: Steps on the Developmental Journey will be published later this year. John has loved Tolkien's works since The Hobbit was read to him when he was six. He grew up to be a psychoanalyst who has helped adults, teens, and children... Read More →

Saturday September 4, 2021 12:30am - 1:00am BST
0 - Online only (Webinar Strand)