In a volume titled “A Tolkien Compass,” this author has clearly lost his

* Scheps, Walter. “The Fairy-tale Morality of The Lord of the Rings.” In A Tolkien Compass, ed. Jared Lobdell. Open Court, 2003. This article was nothing short of an interpretative travesty. Schep, to his credit, draws some useful observations about the moral realism of Tolkien’s fictional world, but unfortunately he is entirely unable to appreciate (or understand, for that matter) the moral outlook of that world: “If we attempt to transfer the moral values inherent in [The Lord of the Rings] to the ‘real world’, we find that they may be called paternalistic, reactionary, anti-intellectual, racist, fascistic and, perhaps worst of all in contemporary terms, irrelevant.” He concludes by claiming that “the moral system which governs [the hobbits’] world cannot, without serious consequences, be applied to our own.” On the contrary, Mr. Schep, “serious consequences” are exactly what we are getting precisely because we will not apply the moral outlook of The Lord of the Rings to our world.

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