I will conclude my current series of Nietzsche and Tolkien with this post. It has been a mixed selection of agreements and strong contrasts. The role of God is the most striking disagreement.
One point that needs further work is the role of pity in the Lord of the Rings. The concept is central to both writers and I have a feeling they would starkly disagree about the concept.
Transvaluation of Values in Tolkien
I thought I would end with comments that were in agreement with a central Nietzsche goal – for the invidual to rely on their own moral compass and not rely on outside authority (e.g. God). It is stated by Elrond that the Valar (the Gods) will no longer directly help Middle Earth and they must deal with Sauron without further divine intervention (as happened in The Silmarillion).
[Elrond said] “And they who dwell beyond the Sea would not receive it: for good or ill it belongs to Middle-earth; it is for us who still dwell here to deal with it.” (Emphasis mine)
Interesting he mentioned good and ill/evil. 🙂
[Éomer said] “we desire only to be free, and to live as we have lived, keeping our own, and serving no foreign lord, good or evil.”
Here Éomer takes responsibility for leadership and refuses outside authority and assistance.
In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is of course the final(?) divine emissary from the Valar (the Gods) to middle earth. But can we rely on divine help in future? One of the last things he says in the book chimes with good ol’ Nietzsche. Gandalf says “take responsibility for yourselves” and he considers that his companions are capable of making their own choices. His departure to allow his “followers” to grow is not unlike Zarathustra saying “I now go away alone, my disciples! You too now go away and be alone! Thus I want it.”
‘Well, we’ve got you with us,’ said Merry, ‘so things will soon be cleared up.’
‘I am with you at present,’ said Gandalf, ‘but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.’
Thus Spake Gandalf
(and Anti Citizen One)