Colonnade Letter to the Editor

Tolkien class is not just for geeks
By: A.J. Foss

Issue date: 12/2/05 Section: Editorial

Dear Editor,

When looking at political science classes being offered next semester, some students may be surprised there is a political science class titled Power, Politics, & Tolkien. The Tolkien refers to J.R.R. Tolkien, the famed author of The Lord of the Rings books.

Some students might be asking themselves: Why is GC&SU offering a political science class about "The Lord of the Rings?"

While most students feel that the Tolkien class is a joke, I believe this class is a legitimate political science course. Some skeptics believe the class could be just for geeks who love "The Lord of the Rings," but there are some real social and political issues that are dealt with.

One issue that can be discussed in the class is in its title: power. The One Ring is a symbol for power as anyone who wears the ring will have unlimited power. Some of the characters such as Bormair, a man who is part of the fellowship that sets out to destroy the ring, want to use the ring for good but tries to steal the ring from Frodo.

There could be a discussion on how power corrupts someone even when he or she tries to use that power for good. A historical example of this point could be Julius Caesar who wanted to revitalize the Roman Empire but became a tyrant because of the power he gained.

The students can also analyze the forms of government that are presented in "The Lord of the Rings." By analyzing the character of Aragon, heir to the king of Gondor, the kingdom of men, a lecture could occur on how a monarchy works and how Tolkien thinks about monarchies.

There is also an example of democracy with the Council of Elrond, a democratic-style meeting that occurs in Fellowship of the Ring. The Council hears arguments on what should be done with the ring and who should be responsible for destroying the ring. The class could have a discussion about this council works and its similarities to the United States Congress.

The Power, Politics & Tolkien class is not a class just for fans of the movies. People who think seriously about political or social issues can use this class to gain a deeper appreciation of the similarities between our reality and his imagination.

A.J. Foss
Staff Writer
The Colonnade

© Hank Edmondson 2012