First Things, Hobbits & Children

I was recently filing some old articles I had read in past years when I came across an incredible little piece on The Lord of the Rings that I had forgotten about. It is quite pertinent to our discussion and cuts to the heart of my concern over the Christian Church's near whole-hearted buy-in to the contraceptive age. Here is an excerpt from it:

The virtues of mortality are most obvious in the great paradox of the book: that the very mortal Hobbits are the only ones who can resist the Ring’s seduction and destroy it. Seemingly the most insignificant and lowliest race of all, they spend their (relatively) short lives in small pursuits. They have little use for lofty “elvish” ideas. As most characters in The Lord of the Rings remark, they are unlikely saviors of the world. In fact, their lowly mortality may be their greatest asset.

The Hobbits are firmly enfleshed. They love gardening, visiting, eating and drinking—“six meals a day (when they could get them… Also, unlike the other lands we see, the Shire is full of children, for Tolkien tells us that Hobbits have very large families, Frodo and Bilbo being “as bachelors very exceptional.” This is true of no other people in Middle Earth. The immortal Elves, of course, need few children… The Dwarves, though mortal, are very long-lived, and they have children so seldom that many believe they are not born, but grow from stones… The Ents seem to live more or less forever, but even they are dying out.

It is not only the older and the lesser races that have ceased to bear children. Barrenness also characterizes Gondor. Once great, the city has declined. Pippin sees there many houses that have fallen empty, so that “it lacked half the men that could have dwelt at ease there.” Beregond the guard tells him, “There were always too few children in the city…”

Click here to read the full piece written by Anna Mathie entitled ‘Tolkien and the Gift of Mortality’ (2003 First Things 137 – November 2003)

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