You're a congenial man, yet these books are incredibly
violent. Does that ever feel at odds with these views about power and
The war that Tolkien wrote about was a war for the
fate of civilization and the future of humanity, and that's become the
template. I'm not sure that it's a good template, though. The Tolkien
model led generations of fantasy writers to produce these endless series
of dark lords and their evil minions who are all very ugly and wear
black clothes. But the vast majority of wars throughout history are not
like that. World War I is much more typical of the wars of history than
World War II - the kind of war you look back afterward and say, "What
the hell were we fighting for? Why did all these millions of people have
to die? Was it really worth it to get rid of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, that we wiped out an entire generation, and tore up half the
continent? Was the War of 1812 worth fighting? The Spanish-American War?
What the hell were these people fighting for?"
There's only a few wars that are really worth what they cost.
I'd go further, but I'm clearly not just reading my own views into his stories.