Stardew Valley – To Game or to Garden…Why Not Both?

Stardew Valley

How do bookworms get into “Stardew Valley?” Well, for those who have met my husband, Alex, you may or may not know his background with computer software and video games. His knowledge in computer software is extensive, especially for someone who didn’t major in it, but his love for gaming and creating games is even greater. Therefore, when this bookworm married him, she found herself drawn into the world of games. And during a particularly rough patch in her life, she was introduced to the game, Stardew Valley.

Building vs. Fighting in Stardew Valley

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but many men in my generation and younger have little interest in Building Games – which I believe is the term for for games that focus more on growing and creating things and not on fighting. I know, at the very least, my husband would rather play a game like Zelda, Warframe, or Super Smash Mario Bros. But, for those of us who would rather do something other than combat, Stardew Valley is the perfect game. Why? Let me provide the short answer.

As the main character in Stardew Valley, you get to escape from your daily grind job and farm on your deceased grandfather’s farm. After clearing the land and producing your first small crops, you can then more easily befriend the locals…and even choose to marry one of them!!…and buy more seeds, to produce better crops.

You can also raise farm animals, update your house, go foraging throughout the valley, and fish. There’s also mining, where the creator did create some personal combat. But, after fighting through the main mines and receiving the Galaxy Sword, combat in Stardew Valley is much simpler…maybe even a little enjoyable…. LOL!

How Stardew Valley Inspired Me to Garden

Though I’ve lived in a farming community for most of my life, I never had any interest in it until I played Stardew Valley. To be sure, I know farming in real life is much more difficult than in Stardew Valley, for I had to learn that lesson the hard way. But the joy in receiving crops in the game also managed to transfer over to me having joy in growing some vegetables in the backyard. It is something I had never done before, and something I hope everyone learns to do.

Gardening, when someone has – pardon the phrase – lead in their butt, like I do, can be extremely difficult. And thank God for the two men in my household who do all the hard yard work! But to take a cultivator and grind deep into the ground to plant some potatoes is honest hard work. To see the potato plant leaves emerge and grow brings excitement. And to have a bountiful harvest, much like Alex and I had when we planted and watered the Yukon Gold potatoes, brings much, much joy!

And, to be perfectly honest, it’s all thanks to Stardew Valley. The game that had given a young woman some happiness when she needed some lifting up. And that, according to this ignorant, burgeoning gamer, is a game worth it’s money.

Stardew Valley’s Creator, Eric Barone

As a game developer, my husband greatly esteems Eric Barone, who created Stardew Valley. During the initial month when I played through the came incessantly, Alex continuously checked up on how Barone (a.k.a. ConcernedApe) created certain game aspects, and he tried to figure out what techniques ConcernedApe used. In other words, he was fanboying, which was cute, though all I really cared about was playing the game.

However, now that a year has passed since this initial month, I can honestly say that Eric Barone seems like a genuinely kind young man. For, when I took some time to crochet some purple Junimos, as found in Stardew Valley, my husband texted ConcernedApe, asking if I had permission to try and sell them. He replied about three weeks later with a simple, “Sure, I don’t mind.” And for a man who made it big with one self-made game, that means a lot to people like my husband and I.

Support ConcernedApe and Play Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has come out on many video game consoles by now, as well as on iPhones, and I highly recommend the game. Many of the game concepts appear true in the real world, such as the various fruits and veggies, and even the Chinese blue chicken, and is therefore somewhat edifying. Though, some of the awesome game concepts are obviously fake, like the decay-preventing clock and the scepter that brings you to your front porch from wherever you are….

But, as a girl who went to college and graduated with honors, I learned more about how the real world works through this game. The hard, laborious, grinding tasks that make men and women feel good at the end of the day. And I learned how essential these men and women are, despite how so many people (especially here in California) look down on people who lumber, drill, mine, fish, and so on.

So, thank you to everyone who provides the basic essentials which create the clothes I wear, the food I eat, and the shelter over my head. And thank you, ConcernedApe, for opening my eyes to their existence and importance, to both me and everyone who has ever lived and breathed.

So come spring, and when I plant those Yukon Golds and Russets, please bring forth a bountiful harvest. Much like I would bring forth in Stardew Valley.

Image from BagoGames

Allow Me to Write Plainly

Slightly over a year ago from today, my husband and I ate at a birthday dinner with my in-laws. When asked about my job, I had the opportunity to describe my work on, and the subjects I write about. For, I had then recently quit my position in retail due to needing to address my mental health.

The woman, who had a far more lucrative position in the Bay, proceeded to ask prying questions into my humble blog. Both my husband and I received the impression her curiosity stemmed more from mockery than genuine interest. For what kind of person does it take to respect simple, honest writing? Someone who loves God.

I, sadly enough, also struggle to respect lowly positions with low wages. Though I love God, my pride and my ego hated working at the retail position. As a result, given my mental condition, it had driven me completely over the edge. The voices had mocked me for years, and eventually the tears had begun streaming down my face uncontrollably.

And what did my employer have to say? She provided me with a warning and told me I was unprofessional. So, I quit. Plain and simple. I never wanted the job to begin with, so I wasn’t going to fight for a job I didn’t want. The choice had been easy.

Naturally, most people with my mental condition cannot afford to simply quit their jobs. God has blessed me with a family, both parents and a husband, who make just enough of an income where we can all get by. And I try to help with online money opportunities. But, in all reality, most people with schizophrenia never attain great job opportunities. And I’m no different.

So, if my reader has managed to make it this far, please understand that I write for the sake of writing. People may encourage me to write about my faith, or my interest in British fandom, but I write because I enjoy the process. And if a reader stumbles across my blog and finds an article of interest, awesome! But, I realize I shall never make a proper living as a blogger, and I will accidently (or intentionally, given my state of mind) insult and anger some people. But I write merely for writing’s sake.

Please accept my apologies for when I write in anger. I do sometimes stress over if I have written inappropriately. And when I think I have, I do apologize and hope to receive forgiveness. For I had to forgive the woman, because she didn’t know my situation or condition. And even if she had, God still expects His followers to forgive as we have been forgiven. So, I shall try, succeeding only with God’s help.

From this point forward, I will write on what currently interests me. This shall be a personal blog. For, though I long to write about the great complexities about my faith, the reality is that I have little desire to do much of anything these days, and my anxiety over my voices is large and cumbersome. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

#1 Money Tip – Give Generously

Zig Ziglar, an inspirational writer and speaker, strongly advocated the idea “Help others get what they want, and you get what you want” for many, many years. It’s often taken as the #1 Money Tip. In his book See You at the Top, he listed example after example of men and women who seemed to prove this theory. So why do Christians still refuse to sacrificially give portions of their incomes?

Why Should I Give to the Church?

As the title suggests, I advize giving financially to your local church body. Many, MANY people believe the Old Testament law of giving 10% of your income to be inapplicable to modern day Christians. I disagree. Why? The reason is simple:

If Jesus Christ’s coming to Earth and sacrificing himself on the cross satisfied every living, breathing Christian’s obligations to God, their fellow Christians, and mankind, then Christians would be free to act in whatever way they pleased. Cheating on exams and lying to our neighbors would be acceptable behavior.

But Christians who are honest with themselves know better. For Apostle Paul speaks about “Renewing our minds,” also known as our conscious recognizing our body’s sinful habits and choosing to change the body’s actions. Yes, Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled the law for people to enter Heaven. But we Christians still have the obligation to pursue righteousness, behaviorally, socially, and financially.

Applying Zig Ziglar’s Theory

Having first read Zig Ziglar’s success theory straight out of college, I was sceptical. As an undergraduate with no experience and no job, I was sceptical about how giving away my few, hard-earned dollars could benefit me. As you have probably realized, Zig Ziglar meant more than giving financially.

To give to others includes working hard at your job. If you increase the profit margin at your boss’s company, whether through saving money or generating more sales, then you are helping your boss and everyone who works for him. This would satisfy the #1 Money Tip. For, if this boss cares about his employees, even just a little bit, then you and your coworkers will get the holiday bonuses. You may even get a pay raise within a year or two, given the profit margin increase is high enough.

Another way to apply Zig Ziglar’s theory is to provide emotional support for your friends. If you help your friends in their time of need, then they will likely help you when you need them. **Warning** This becomes less and less true as generations come and go. I’ve found more support through my senior citizen friends, then my peers. A friend who is a peer is a rare commodity that is to be treasured….

Giving to God Financially

If giving other people our hard work will financially benefit us, then why do we give to God? There are two big reasons. One based on theory and superstition. The other based in hope from faith.

Think about God’s favored men written about in the Torah. The main five men, including Abraham and Isaac, were extremely wealthy men. Though I cannot be certain their wealth came in an easily liquefiable form, such as gold. I do know they had extraordinarily large herds of sheep and cattle. And that is worth millions even in today’s standards.

So when the Torah men gave 10% of their best crops and herds, it favored God immensely. I assume, in part, because doing so showed their pursuance in righteousness with God. And in order to have a relationship with the Savior, one must be righteous. God blessed these men in many ways, including financially, for their obedience.

For the Christians who disregard the Old Testament and its holiness, then consider this idea: God tells us to live and act for Him, so we may store treasures for ourselves in Heaven. Do I know what to do to gain these treasures? Maybe a little. And do I know what these treasures are? No. But it’s gotta be better than anything on this earth, so I’m going to try.

Conclusion on #1 Money Tip – Give Generously

So, if men in the Bible and people in modern day times have found themselves financially set when they offer their incomes to their local church bodies, then it may be a worthy thing to try. If anything, the church may save the extra funds and help struggling members if hard times come. May the Lord bless your church body with a great church bookkeeper, for such times will come.

I do believe that giving financially, and giving love to the lonely and destitute, will benefit everyone in the long run. Running with this theory may not make you rich, but it should provide you with everything you need. Is this all just Christian superstition? Maybe. But I think following old Christian laws is a safeguard in pursuing righteousness. And that is something every Christian needs to pursue for his and her own soul.

*Picture provided by

Granville Sharp, a Madman with a Holy Agenda

Granville Sharp

Where Granville Sharp’s Name First Appeared

Reading about William Wilberforce and his work toward ending the slave trade revealed a character of even higher interest. Someone who, unlike Wilberforce, contained little charm. But, like William Wilberforce, and even more so than the great politician, he showed extraordinary skill, intelligence, and zeal in everything about life. His name was Granville Sharp.

Great appreciation is given to Eric Metaxas, both for his work and his ending bibliography. Amazing Grace solely focused on the abolition movement, and somewhat on those involved in the seemingly-impossible task. However, readers with greater interest in William Wilberforce’s friends have the information available to go and learn more about them.

Why Our Work Will Focus on Granville Sharp

Why would someone have any interest in learning more about the individuals involved in the abolition movement? Someone other than a student studying the history on slavery? Because William Wilberforce’s friends, godly and zealous individuals, pursued exemplary lives. Such lives, as to make modern-day Christ followers only wish for their passion and determination.

Based on the information in Amazing Grace, people knew Monsieur Granville Sharp as a madman, an unhinged genius. He and his family, brother, wife, and children, contained extraordinary musical talent. So great was this talent, the Sharp family frequently performed for the King of England. But the general public viewed him as a madman for other reasons….

Why Granville Sharp Drew Our Attention

During an age when hedonism ruled the public at large, both upper and lower classes, Granville Sharp stood out like a flame in a dark woods.  Superstition also ran rampant during this time, but some, the hated few, knew better. These few English citizens, having heard and believed George Whitefield’s message, became what the hedonists’s dubbed as Methodists. In America today, they are known as Evangelical Christians.

William Wilberforce felt obligated to keep his faith under wraps, due to the politicians he daily dealt with. Granville Sharp, free from any restraints, spoke about his faith in Jesus Christ with gusto. When the Church of England authorities attacked his view on the Holy Trinity, using his ignorance of ancient languages as ammunition, he learned the Hebrew, Latin, and Greek languages and wrote several dissertations defending his beliefs. Sharp even used what he learned to fix several translation mistakes in the English Bible. His amendments remain intact today.

Granville Sharp and His Dissertations on God and Slavery

To pursue Granville Sharp’s works on, readers will find a plethora of the genius’s works available as public domain. If reading through these documents to learn more about the man and his faith seems odious to some readers, then allow us to read them and summarize what we find for you!  Two resources that Author Eric Metaxas used and referenced will find their way into our work as well.

Studying about slavery is, for some Generation Ys and Millennials, an overdone study. But, what America’s public schooling left out, The Unspoken Christian Law will cover. Such information predominantly being about the faith behind many essential abolitionists.

So, please, join us in this study. Though Granville Sharp may have had a reputation as a madman, Eric Metaxas, and what I suppose to be many other Christ followers, viewed him as a man insistent on bringing God’s Perfect Will to the fallen world. And if a great author like Metaxas thought the man to have pushed forward God’s Holy agenda, then we hope to learn exactly what Granville Sharp believed, taught, and lived.

**Sorry for the long absence. As all my readers know, life hits hard sometimes.

***Cover image provided by the Yale Law Library

The Mad Ramblings of a Cra-Cra White Woman Living Under California Jurisdiction


Some people who read this title will automatically judge my thoughts, beliefs, actions, and hopes to be worthless. Most people in California, at least in the metropolitan areas of California, are these people. And I just so happen to live in a small Californian town, between the Great Valley and the Bay Area. Small or large, it seems like every city here is filled with flamingly-wild libs.

Why do all these people think my worth as an individual is minimal, if not non-existent? It’s not only because I’m officially classified as paranoid schizophrenic, because inwardly people do take my mental illness as a good reason to disregard everything I say. (Never would they admit to judging me for my mental illness, for that’s non-PC….) But, I’m thought of worthless because I believe in Christ Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, who died and rose again to save all mankind from eternal damnation. And I’m Republican, and that’s simply unforgivable to them.

“How dare you speak of us as filled with hate and judgment! That’s you and your religion!” said the up-till-the-moment-politics-and-religion-came-up friend. Well, you know what? I find that I am growing increasingly angry and upset that people speak ill about my faith, slander my fellow Republicans, and call me stupid for following a path that WILL ULTIMATELY, as in ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS LIFE, bring me joy and peace from my Eternal Father in Heaven…. God save me now from my anger and bitterness on this side of Heaven….

Over the past few years, as I’ve struggled with coming-to-terms with my condition, learning to live a semi-normal life, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it would be like to live as if it was only me and the land around me. It would be hard, extraordinarily hard and life-threatening. However, if Federal and State government hadn’t turned civilization into such a soft, clumsy, namby-pamby bunch, then maybe everyone would have been happier. Maybe, just maybe, some overpowering and manipulative authorities wouldn’t have come in and destroyed mankind as we know it.

Think of my politics as you will: Tea Party, Nature Lover, etc. I know virtually nothing about them and they mean nothing to me. All I know, based on the original setup of Adam and Eve in the Garden, when mankind walked with God, knowing neither shame nor fear, life must have been beyond my comprehension of beauty and peace. So, ultimately, our overpowering and manipulative authorities came to be because of sin.

I’m not here to convert anyone who doesn’t wish for something better than what life has given them. (Because, as certain libs have instituted it, their political supporters do get many freebees the rest of us don’t….) But, does California really have to take all our hard-earned money just so we can water our plants and catch our meat?

The laws have become so ridiculous that we aren’t even allowed to kill certain animals. “They’re almost extinct!” cry the libs. Bull! Small town ranchers are losing cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, and more because, as California so enforces it, hunters aren’t allowed to shoot wildcats. Pull your heads out of your butts, California State Officials, we’re being overrun by these “almost extinct” species!

As California law officials enforce, we Californians can’t even tie a string to a pole and grab one or two inch-long fish without first paying them for our permission to do so. Ridiculous! How will we eat unless we have a high-enough income to support all the Federal and State taxes, Social Security, Medicare, rising-prices on clothes, gas, shelter, and electricity, the mouths dependent on us, and more? We can’t! Unless we wish to go to a church’s food program. Or, most dismally, a government food program.

What makes getting free food from the government so bad? A.) It’s not free. B.) It’s not coming from the taxes we’re paying, it’s coming from the Federal Loan Fund. So, even though the government is taking our money in various ways, causing debt among the people, the state’s financial officials are still causing California to go into debt. And let’s not even discuss USA’s Federal Debt, and how it’s causing the whole nation to sink ever lower and lower among worldwide civilizations…. Stop giving our hard-earned pennies to under-worked, overpaid government employees, California!

For those who have stayed with me until this point, take joy in knowing that my cra-cra (for those who don’t know, “cra-cra” indicates the disabled mentally ill) ramblings are coming to an end for today. Personally, I believe everything that I wrote. And I believe and think ill about many other enforced laws – and some given permissions, such as Marijuana- in California. But what can I do? I’m a simple girl, trying to live a simple life, without trying to anger anyone too badly. But California makes that a very difficult, if not impossible, goal to achieve.

Ultimately, the problem is rooted in sin. And if only more people, especially the small-minded sect of libs, realized the One God’s loving nature, we would all be better off. But, no. Government punishes Christian business owners who stand up for their beliefs, and no room is given for mistakes. And that goes for the Christian non-business owners as well.

Christians and Republicans have no room in California, and we know how much we are hated and desired to leave the state, if not the country. And to end with a bit of bitter and angry sarcasm…Thank you, Californian libs, for making a poor, struggling, mentally-ill, Christian woman feel unwanted, incompetent, and hated in a state which she cannot afford to leave. May the peace of God be with you all, amen

*The article’s photo, called “Loveless Cafe Neon Sign,” was created and provided by Brent Moore.

**Yes, it’s an actual hotel in Nashville, but it is “oh, so applicable” to California homes.

Welcome to all Truth-Seekers and Christian-Haters. This website is for all of you…

How many young Christ followers have read theological material, attempting to grow in their Christian faith, only to wonder why they have never heard any Ordained Pastor, or Priest, preach on the material found in so-said Christian book?

“The material must be false,” said the too-busy-to-read Church friend. “He’s only a man. It’s not guaranteed anything he writes is God-inspired,” said the avid feminist.

Or, there is the other side of the argument. The side where the so-called God-breathed material actually IS FALSE.

“Beth Moore has sold millions of books. Throughout all her mission-oriented years, she has always had a heart for lost and hurting women. And, oh! How can you actually question Rick Warren? He has clarified the meaning to life!” Modernized Christian theology has BAMBOOZLED many Christians.

What is the point to this statement about Christian material?

My husband, my family, and I have reached the point, having read through the Holy Bible countless times throughout the years, where we wish to make THE TRUTH known to all people. At least, to all people who desire inner peace and joy. (And we’re not talking happy-go-lucky peace and joy. We’re talking about finding the ability to stay goal-oriented and on the right path in a depraved and insane world.)

From this point forward, studies regarding unpopular laws regarding Christian living and Christian belief will appear below. Such topics include a woman’s role in the church, what the Bible says about anger and wrath, abortion, turning the other cheek, and so-on and so-forth.

If these topics are mundane and acceptable to you, great! Maybe you can help defend the Gospel with me to all the people who hate the One-and-Only Living God.

That is all that I have to say at this given time. Please follow along with me as I study my books and write about what I learn. If it pleases God, maybe some genuine GOOD will come from this blog.

*All articles pertaining United Kingdom items, located in the USA, are still on here. Please ignore or peruse them as you will. The focus of the blog has shifted toward biblical studies.

How Anglo Saxon’s Éarendel Inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil


Eärendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arverenien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in…

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1994)

Clarification for all readers who have yet to read The Silmarillion, including myself, is here required: The character Eärendil, of whom the star of Eärendil was named, appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien Elvish mythology, and received much reference elsewhere for genealogy purposes. Below, I have consolidated the information from three sources, detailing how an Anglo-Saxon poem inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil and all that the character embodied.

When Eärendil First Appeared to J.R.R. Tolkien as Éarendel

In reading Humphrey Carpenter’s biography on J.R.R. Tolkien, I stumbled across a name which rung a familiar tune. The name was Éarendel. Found in the Anglo-Saxon religious poems, entitled the Crist of Cynewulf, Éarendel was the one significant Anglo-Saxon influence of only a spare few Anglo-Saxon influences seen in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. And what Tolkien drew and created from this inspiration formed the significance behind Elrond, Ruler of Rivendell, and all his kindred.

But let me not jump ahead. First, an explanation on how young Ronald Tolkien found this name: It happened during Tolkien’s time spent studying at Oxford University. In-between his lengthy essay writings, he took some time to delve more deeply into “the West Midland dialect in Middle English,” as described in Humphrey Carpenter’s J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography (2000, p. 72). When he read the Cynewulf lines, he felt an awakening, or something more akin to an enlivenment of his inner imaginative being.

Eärendil Origins As Seen in the Meaning Behind Éarendel

The Cynewulf lines contained definite religious context, explaining why Ronald Tolkien interpreted Éarendel as symbolizing John the Baptist, the prophet proclaiming the coming of Jesus Christ. However, as Carpenter discovered from his own research on J.R.R. Tolkien, the up-and-coming scholar and author “believed that ‘Éarendel’ had originally been the name for the star presaging the dawn, that is, Venus” (Biography, 2000, p. 72). To decipher the certain meaning behind the possibly-Germanic-origin name is presumably impossible, as noted in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (2000).

Both interpretation and personal belief scream out the origins behind Tolkien’s Eärendil. Because Eärendil had an Elvish mother and a Mortal father, he would father children who could choose immortality or mortality. An Elf species, such as the half-elf Elrond, that could choose Middle-Earth over the voyage into the immortal land. The clearest example existed in Elrond choosing to voyage to the next land, while his daughter, Arwen, chose mortality to stay behind with Aragorn.

As for Eärendil being exiled to shine brightly as a star, representing to all as a beacon of hope…. Well, I would think the connection to J.R.R. Tolkien’s astronomical belief about Éarendel representing Venus – a star to the earth, for all intent and purposes – to be evident.

How J.R.R. Tolkien Used Eärendil, Seen in a Christian Perspective

For those who haven’t made the connection yet, Éarendel is the same name as Eärendil, only the latter is in the Elvish language. One language, I’ve heard, of the 10 or 12 languages that Tolkien created. Along with creating languages, Tolkien used Christian theology, in an uncommon way, to portray faithful Christians in their walk with God in The Lord of the Rings. An example in mind is Tolkien’s idea of both immortality and mortality being gifts from the One God.

Though J.R.R. Tolkien is known for his devoutness to God, a note in The Letters teased that the idea of mortality being a Godly gift is nothing but ‘bad theology.’ However, in continuing to read this particular letter, the reader learns about how Tolkien desired to show the beauty in Christians staying faithful to God and practicing His Will, while still living on earth.

Then comes the symbolism where Eärendil shines as the brightest star: The star gives Men, Elves, and all the good species hope for a brighter future, free from the slavery to darkness. Much like how John the Baptist gave the hope of Christ to a dying world, enslaved to sin.

Concluding Thoughts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil

I, too, can appreciate the phonetic beauty in both names, Éarendel and Eärendil. This appreciation led to a discovery on how J.R.R. Tolkien truly tied his epic fantasy to Catholicism, and on how Christians ought to live during their time on earth. But much more symbolism lies in wait, I am sure, of what Christian living ought to look like. And with that, I hope to make deeper connections with the Holy Bible itself.

Please feel free to comment below. This is a study in progress, and all helpful commentary is gladly welcomed. Thank you for reading, and I hope you will join me as the journey through Middle-Earth continues.

Or, start on this journey’s beginning here.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie

  1. Humphrey Carpenter J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography. Great Britain: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
  2. Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien The Letter of J.R.R. Tolkien. Great Britain: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings. Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – The Lord of the Rings Backed with Cornerstones

J.R.R. Tolkien's early years

Everyone with even a slight interest in the man behind The Lord of the Rings knows J.R.R. Tolkien became, and remained, a devout Catholic all his life. Don and Author, J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years provide hints as to why he took this scholarly and literary path in life. As to his success in these pursuits, little need be said.

The third book I’ve picked up, to learn more about this great Christian Author, is Humphrey Carpenter’s biography on J.R.R. Tolkien. More questions arose in my mind about the literary giant’s parents, and how their behaviors and decisions influenced J.R.R. Tolkien for the long term. I will detail the most obvious influences, as much for my benefit, as for any young person who has yet to learn about the Most Influential Fantasy Author of this age.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – Why Hobbits Enjoy English Countrysides

Soon after young J.R.R. Tolkien turned four-years-old, his father passed away from rheumatic fever. Therefore, his mother, Mabel Tolkien, was forced to take charge for her two sons, Ronald (as J.R.R. Tolkien was then called) and Hilary. After many months of staying with her family, Mabel finally found an affordable spot in Sarhole, the English countryside.

Author Humphrey Carpenter emphasized the strong impact this move made on J.R.R. Tolkien and his imagination. He went on to describe how young Tolkien and his younger brother would trespass on their neighbors properties, including local farms. Memories from these times must have influenced J.R.R. Tolkien in writing The Fellowship of the Ring. Or, at the very least, it influenced the film makers. Merely consider how Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took joined Frodo and Sam, as they travelled to Rivendell, from the following quote:

An old farmer who once chased Ronald for picking mushrooms was given the nickname ‘the Black Ogre’ by the boys.
~ Humphrey Carpenter, as found in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – How Middle Earth’s Languages Were Born

Ever since Mabel first began to teach her sons, Ronald showed an enthusiastic interest in linguistics. Enthusiasm, and to emphasize an obvious point, GREAT aptitude. Word meanings, as well as word sounds, fascinated Ronald. And he brought this fascination with him to King Edward’s School, where he added on to his Latin, French, and English language skills.

To connect this with The Lord of the Rings requires no effort at all. Everyone who has read the books, and/or seen Peter Jackson’s movies, knows about the Elvish language. The language that J.R.R. Tolkien created himself. And, as I recently learned in my studies about the man, the Elvish language was only one of many. One of 14, was it? I will find out for certain later.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years –  Why The Lord of the Rings Contains Many Christian Values

In my last article about The Lord of the Rings, many readers made the assumption that I assumed Tolkien’s great work lacked in Christian principle and meaning. This is false, for I have read and heard the Holy Bible many times, and I have a fair understanding about what the Christian values are (though, Christian values in regards to Catholicism, and all the meaning behind it, I am completely ignorant of). And, having read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I can see where the values and principles apply.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years ended up containing much family drama, especially in regards to religion and death. Mabel Tolkien and her sister, May Incledon, both decided to become Catholic and receive instruction, around the time Ronald entered his school years. The predominantly Baptist Tolkien relations, and Mabel’s Unitarian father, were outraged. And much funding that Mabel relied on was suddenly cut.

Suffering both from financial hardships and diabetes, Mabel crossed over to be at peace with Our Father in Heaven in year 1904. She left Ronald and Hilary orphaned at the tender ages of 12 and 10. Thus, her passing solidified J.R.R. Tolkien’s love for linguistics and Catholicism, and his love for her and all she did for her children.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – In Summary

I pray that I have done J.R.R. Tolkien justice, based on what I have written so far. I intend to learn a great man’s mind, and attempt to share what I learn with my peers. My apologies for upsetting many readers with my previous article. It surely was close-minded and presumptive.

Humphrey Carpenter has so far written plainly and comprehensively on J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years, and I can’t wait to read more! I see where humanity’s fallen nature affected the Tolkien family, but what more can we expect from people who walked the earth? I shall not cast the first stone, for I am not without sin.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy Lay Within Myth and an Avid Imagination

origins behind tolkien's fantasy

Please forgive me for the last anecdotal article, as some Facebook Group individual has labeled it. And, allow me to mention some very enlightening information, provided to me from a different Facebook Group individual. An individual with far more advanced research on my blog’s present topic.

The material comes straight from J.R.R. Tolkien. Though the Inkling author wrote this material for over half-a-century, he never finished it. However, thanks to his son, Christopher Tolkien, we can read some about Tolkien’s symbolism as found in his posthumously published work, The Silmarillion.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy: What I Expected

What I expected, really, is irrelevant. For, it merely seemed like an extensively thought-out history of a boy’s imagined fairy-land and people. And, it is. But there is so much more!

Contained within The Silmarillion‘s preface, a letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldman in 1951, there exist the admitted origins behind Tolkien’s Fantasy. And they are not what the average run-of-the-mill Christian is led to believe. Below, I provided two quotes that indicate something surprising about J.R.R. Tolkien and his lifelong work. Something he would later regret, and come to change.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  Written to Trick and Mislead

On the side of mere narrative device, this is, of course, meant to provide beings of the same order of beauty, power, and majesty as the ‘gods’ of higher mythology, which can yet be accepted – well, shall we say baldly, by a mind that believes in the Blessed Trinity.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

Does this written sentence sound devious to anyone other than me? If objects like romanced monsters, like Frankenstein’s monster, were looked down upon as poor literature, then writing about mythological gods definitely would have been considered in a poor light. Did J.R.R. Tolkien understand this when it came to publishing his childhood fantasies?

As far as I have heard, people throughout all the Christian first-world countries began to neglect their Christian backgrounds after the World Wars, especially WWII. And, if people neglected their upbringing in Christian beliefs, then Faith in “the Blessed Trinity” would diminish also. Though I will refrain from discussing it here, I have read some into J.R.R. Tolkien’s love and religious life. How much emotional trauma did he endure to suffer in the trials of his Faith? To seemingly merely appease the Christians in his life?

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  Something Like Sacrilege in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letter

Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing. For one thing its ‘faerie’ is too lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and repetitive. For another and more important thing: it is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

The writer goes on to speak about how modern authors, in writing about allegory and mythology, should avoid ‘real’ modern-day symbology. He even explicitly emphasized to refrain from referring to the Christian religion. Though, pre-Christian, pagan day symbology was perfectly acceptable. Consequentially he used much Norse mythology, linguistic inspiration, and more content from age-old religions.

Outrageous! To thus criticize those who openly share their faith through their writing seems morally wrong to me. And, since Tolkien’s good friend, C.S. Lewis, wrote about what a popular YouTube video called his Jesus Lion in Narnia, then the rift between the most beloved Inkling members is perfectly understood! Whoa, there, calm down, Mary. Tolkien had his fallacies just like everyone else.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  The Summarization

So, in reading the preface to The Silmarillion, I have learned that J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t base everything in Middle Earth on the Faith and Belief in Christianity. While he may have sought to include more on One True God and His righteousness into his fantasy in later years, the origins behind Tolkien’s fantasy lay in paganism.

Conclusively – oh! One thing more! According to Tolkien in his note to his friend, the Elves more closely resembled the angels. Not necessarily the angels as heard about in the Holy Bible, but angels of Tolkien’s variety. And if Gandalf was an “incarnate angel,” then he served the mythological gods, and not the “‘real’ world” Christian God.

Please don’t come away from this blog post with the impression that our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien now exists in the underworld. I believe he’s finally at peace with our Lord and Savior in Heaven, but it proves an excellent point: We see what we want to see.

Tolkien’s genius still fools some of us simpletons, especially me! But, then again, was God working through Tolkien, to speak to an ever-growing Atheist world about the beauty in the Christian walk? It is said J.R.R. Tolkien believed it to be so, and he proudly carried the torch onward in later years.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie

* A large Thank You belongs to those who are continuing to teach me on Tolkien’s inspirations. And I, as the writer, beg for the reader’s patience as I learn about Tolkien’s great worth as both a Christian and an Author.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Debate About Wizards and Angels

Symbolism behind Gandalf

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Background

English 101, a requirement for this particular religious university. An attractive female professor taught the class, barely older than her students, and a complete fantasy nerd. What does she give for her students to research and debate about? Either The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, asking which contains stronger meaning and symbolism.

Students were required to make a five minute speech about their chosen topic, and answer any questions which their fellow students had about their speech.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Set-Up

First day of speech and debate, and a teenager, as sweet and shy as she was tall and lanky, took stage. She influenced nobody. Her audience, whether action-driven The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) fans or geeky, wanna-be-a-wizard Harry Potter fans, already had their minds set. And she was too hesitant and receding to sway anyone.

What did she argue? According to her research, and according to her religious parents and teachers from her high school years, LOTR far outdid Harry Potter in everything good and right. The Boy Who Lived dealt in nothing good, for it developed from Wicca.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Question

I could hardly stomach her judgment on Harry Potter. To say something to bring her down felt like a necessity, not a personal inclination. So, being the even-more hesitant and shy Harry Potter nerd, I posed her the one question that I could think of as a flaw in her argument:

“If anything with wizards and magic is so distasteful and disreputed, then why did J.R.R. Tolkien include wizards in his Middle Earth?” The hesitance in my voice didn’t match the swelling anger in my heart, and I waited with bated breath.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Answer

Miss Tall and Lanky seemed afraid when I raised my hand. But, when she heard my question, some confidence filled her person. Effusing sweetness and gentleness, she answered:

“J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t write in the wizards to represent magic and witchcraft. The wizards actually symbolized God’s angels. Does that make sense?”

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Reality

At the time, I merely mumbled in agreeable understanding, seething in my heart at having failed to defend Harry Potter. But now, having finished the Harry Potter series, and having set it aside for several years, my interest in the Inklings  and their works piqued. C.S. Lewis might have started me in studying theology, but J.R.R. Tolkien and his symbolism now appears in a new light to me.

Miss Tall and Lanky had argued a beautifully true and honest point, regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and his use of symbolism. Her faith at that age allowed her to see it, whereas at that age I was still lost and unable to see. But, please don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at how Gandalf spoke and behaved within the first two chapters in The Fellowship of the Ring.

 Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Strong, Yet Subtle, Meaning

Take the small speech from Gandalf, as he tried to comfort Frodo about holding the One Ring. It’s meaning struck me as plainly as a child throwing her toy at me. But J.R.R. Tolkien explained it in better words in The Fellowship of the Ring:

‘Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.’

Gandalf spoke the above words to Frodo, as Frodo lamented over having hold on the most dangerous thing imaginable. The indication of a stronger, more powerful force is now clear to me, as it had been clear to the other student all those years ago. And its subtlety, based on the alludence to naming the good force, more clearly indicates something real in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world, such as his belief in the holiness in Christ Jesus and His power over all things.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Final Conclusion

Gandalf seemed to represent God’s angels in other ways in these first chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring.  His watching over Frodo’s well-being represents guardianship. His roaming Middle Earth to help find answers to present oddities much represented to me how God’s angels roam the earth to help humanity fight the evil forces. And more examples will appear later in the series showing the symbolism behind Gandalf.

Ultimately, the other student was mostly right in her argument, at least in regards to the symbolism in The Lord of the Rings. Seeing as she had never read Harry Potter, she remained in the dark to that series’s great qualities. But, as my readers and I go through J.R.R. Tolkien’s most popular series, I hope to be able to learn and share more about the hidden meaning behind the text.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie