When You Read You too Explore
Stories expose the past, illuminate the present, and envision the future. However, that does not mean the writer analyzes the past with clear insight, has a thoughtful grasp of present realities, or envisages a viable future. The writer gives their understanding, explores the mysteries of life via the imagination, and invites you to explore with them.
“‘I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.’ ‘You have not seen him,’ Gandalf broke in. ‘No, and I don’t want to,’ said Frodo. ‘I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.’ ‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
Later Gollum is groveling at Frodo and Sam’s feet and Frodo remembers Gandalf’s words, and he feels pity for Gollum. But Sam does not understand. If he had his way Gollum would die on the spot. Yet in the end Gollum plays an important role in the destiny of the ring and all the players involved.
Exploring Via Different Story Forms
Throughout Tolkien explores understanding of how the past touches the present and impacts the future. Yet, we find in his response to some unenthusiastic reviews that he did not take his work too seriously. He states, “Some who have read the book, or at any rate reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no reason to complain, since I have similar opinions of their work, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.”