Day 1. Different kinds of magic in LOTR:
Some would say there is a latent distinction such as once was called the distinction between magia and goeteia… Neither is, in this tale, good or bad (per se), but only by motive or purpose or use. Both sides use both, but with different motives. The supremely bad motive is … domination of other “free” wills. The Enemy’s … magia he uses to bulldoze both people and things, and his goeteia to terrify and subjugate. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly); a magia, producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their geotic effects are entirely artistic and not intended to deceive.
Day 2. On Gandalf’s death (and glimpses of God):
Gandalf really “died,” and was changed… [He] alone fully passes the tests, on a moral plane anyway (he makes mistakes of judgement). For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defense of his companions, less perhaps than for a moral Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to “the Rules”: for all he could know at that moment, he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success… But Authority had taken up this plan and enlarged it, at the moment of its failure.
Day 3. Worship in LOTR:
The Númenóreans [had] only one physical center of “worship”: the summit of the mountain Meneltarma, “Pillar of Heaven”…; but it had no building and no temple, as all such things had evil associations… It is to be presumed that with the reemergence of the lineal priest kings (of whom Lúthien the Blessed Elf-maiden was a foremother) the worship of God would be renewed, and His Name (or title) be again more often heard.
Day 4. Writing fairy-stories for adults (chiefly himself):
“Fairy-story” is really an adult genre, and one for which a starving audience exists… As C. S. Lewis said to me long ago, more or less–(I do not suppose my memory of his dicta is any more precisely accurate than his of mine: I often find strange things attributed to me in his works)–“if they won’t write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves.”
Day 5. LOTR is not an allegory; however…
It is I suppose impossible to write any “story” that is no allegorical in proportion as it “comes to life”; since each of us is an allegory, embodying in a particular tale and clothed in the garments of time and place, universal truth and everlasting life.
Day 6. One of the many reasons why he wrote LOTR:
I longed to devise a setting in which the trees might really march to war.
Day 7. Tolkien’s first story:
I first tried to write a story when I was about seven. It was about a dragon.