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RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

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  • Wilson, Bruce
    As JRRT was himself a devout RC, and divination is strictly forbidden by the RCC (and frowned upon by most other Christian bodies), I think he would hardly
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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      As JRRT was himself a devout RC, and divination is strictly forbidden by the RCC (and frowned upon by most other Christian bodies), I think he would hardly approve of his characters being associated with what he would have called (at best) 'superstitious nonsense' and (at worst) 'Satanic wickedness.'
      -----Original Message-----
      From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Pippin
      Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 8:08 PM
      To: Tolkien Discussions
      Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

      For collectors of all things Tolkien, did you know that The Lord of the
      Rings Tarot Deck and Card Game has been produced? Published by U.S. Games
      Systems, shared copyright (1997, so you all probably knew about this years
      ago) with Tolkien Enterprises. I found it at a local book store. Very
      interesting how Terry Donaldson assigned characters and situations to the
      various major and minor arcana.

      Pippin

    • Rob
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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        <<As JRRT was himself a devout RC, and divination is strictly forbidden by
        the RCC (and frowned upon by most other Christian bodies), I think he would
        hardly approve of his characters being associated with what he would have
        called (at best) 'superstitious nonsense' and (at worst) 'Satanic
        wickedness.'>>

        I agree with you.

        It shocks me that the Tolkien Estate would authorize such a thing given how
        tight of a rein they have generally kept on all LOTR related matters.

        Anyone know if these are movie-related cards? I can see such a thing
        slipping by in the madness of the movie rush. If not movie still, then who
        did the art on them?

        OTOH, they are just a bunch of cards as far as I am concerned with no power
        than a standard Hoyle deck (which you might argue had plenty of power when a
        card sharp such as myself has them, but now I'm just being cocky!!!). :)

        Rob
      • Wilson, Bruce
        I ve seen them; they are NOT movie based (unless we re thinking of different sets); I don t know who the artist is. All I can think is that: 1. They are
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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          I've seen them; they are NOT movie based (unless we're thinking of different sets); I don't know who the artist is.
           
          All I can think is that:
           
          1. They are authorized, but Chris T. was offered enough money that he overcame any scruples he might have had.
          2. They were authorized, but the way the proposal was framed was such that Chris T. didn't realize what was really being proposed.
          3. They are unauthorized and haven't been drawn to the attention of the Estate or any other protecting entities.
          -----Original Message-----
          From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Rob
          Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 1:17 PM
          To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot


          I agree with you.

          It shocks me that the Tolkien Estate would authorize such a thing given how
          tight of a rein they have generally kept on all LOTR related matters.

          Anyone know if these are movie-related cards? I can see such a thing
          slipping by in the madness of the movie rush. If not movie still, then who
          did the art on them?

          OTOH, they are just a bunch of cards as far as I am concerned with no power
          than a standard Hoyle deck (which you might argue had plenty of power when a
          card sharp such as myself has them, but now I'm just being cocky!!!). :)

          Rob

        • Pippin
          I don t pretend to guess what JRRT would think of the Tarot, but there is plenty of divination and magic in LotR, so I can t assume he would object to Tarot
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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            I don't pretend to guess what JRRT would think of the Tarot, but there is plenty of divination and magic in LotR, so I can't assume he would object to Tarot and a card game being inspired by his work.
             
            Pippin
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: 9/1/2006 6:58:34 AM
            Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

            As JRRT was himself a devout RC, and divination is strictly forbidden by the RCC (and frowned upon by most other Christian bodies), I think he would hardly approve of his characters being associated with what he would have called (at best) 'superstitious nonsense' and (at worst) 'Satanic wickedness.'
          • Wilson, Bruce
            Yes, but the magic & divination in LOTR are in a secondary world. If you will read the LETTERS, you will see that JRRT held that this made a difference.
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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              Yes, but the magic & divination in LOTR are in a secondary world.  If you will read the LETTERS, you will see that JRRT held that this made a difference.  There is a long letter of his countering a reader's objection to his having introduced reincarnation into his mythos when Christianity by and large (and expecially Roman Catholicism) has utterly rejected it.
              -----Original Message-----
              From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Pippin
              Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 3:37 PM
              To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

              I don't pretend to guess what JRRT would think of the Tarot, but there is plenty of divination and magic in LotR, so I can't assume he would object to Tarot and a card game being inspired by his work.
               
              Pippin

            • Pippin
              I m not following. JRRT defended having reincarnation in his writing (if I understand you), and he wrote extensively about a wizard using magic on the good
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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                I'm not following.
                 
                JRRT defended having reincarnation in his writing (if I understand you), and he wrote extensively about a wizard using magic on the good guys' side and seeing stones and (in the movie version) a big perfume bottle from Galadriel that lights up in spider caves, but you believe he would object to a Tarot deck (which to me is certainly not a tool of the underworld) using his characters? I think he would have been delighted, based on what I've read (including a biography), and apparently enough people at Tolkien Enterprises agreed in order to authorize this Tarot/game.
                 
                By the way...
                Tarot developed by Terry Donaldson
                Artwork by Peter Pracownik
                Game rules by Mike Fitzgerald
                'Dedicated to Gandalf--Long may his friendship be with us.'
                 
                I also don't understand 'secondary world'.  Does this mean if JRRT had written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as long as the setting was Middle Earth?
                 
                Perhaps I will understand if I read his letters. At present, the idea still feels like reading someone else's private mail, but that feeling may pass.
                 
                Pippin
                 
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: 9/1/2006 1:29:24 PM
                Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

                Yes, but the magic & divination in LOTR are in a secondary world.  If you will read the LETTERS, you will see that JRRT held that this made a difference.  There is a long letter of his countering a reader's objection to his having introduced reincarnation into his mythos when Christianity by and large (and expecially Roman Catholicism) has utterly rejected it.
              • Kenneth
                Here s a link to an article I posted here about four years ago. It s an interview with Joseph Pearce, the author of Tolkien: Man and Myth and Tolkien: A
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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                  Here's a link to an article I posted here about four years ago.  It's an interview with Joseph Pearce, the author of "Tolkien: Man and Myth" and "Tolkien: A Celebration".

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TolkienDiscussions/message/1422

                  It's a very good interview which I think those involved in the Tarot card discussion might find interesting.  One point which Mr. Pearce makes is the following:

                  There is very little of what could be termed magic in "The Lord of the Rings." There is much that is supernatural, but only in the sense that God is supernatural, or that Satan is supernatural, or that good and evil are supernatural.

                  It would be more accurate to describe the so-called magic in "The Lord of the Rings" as miraculous, when it serves the good, and demonic, when it serves the evil."

                  Given Tolkien's orthodox Catholic beliefs, I have to agree with those who believe that Tolkien would have objected to Tarot cards being associated with his work.

                  Kenneth


                  --- In TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com, "Pippin" <1kf.lists@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I'm not following.
                  >
                  > JRRT defended having reincarnation in his writing (if I understand you), and he wrote extensively about a wizard using magic on the good guys' side and seeing stones and (in the movie version) a big perfume bottle from Galadriel that lights up in spider caves, but you believe he would object to a Tarot deck (which to me is certainly not a tool of the underworld) using his characters? I think he would have been delighted, based on what I've read (including a biography), and apparently enough people at Tolkien Enterprises agreed in order to authorize this Tarot/game.
                  >
                  > By the way...
                  > Tarot developed by Terry Donaldson
                  > Artwork by Peter Pracownik
                  > Game rules by Mike Fitzgerald
                  > 'Dedicated to Gandalf--Long may his friendship be with us.'
                  >
                  > I also don't understand 'secondary world'. Does this mean if JRRT had written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as long as the setting was Middle Earth?
                  >
                  > Perhaps I will understand if I read his letters. At present, the idea still feels like reading someone else's private mail, but that feeling may pass.
                  >
                  > Pippin
                  >
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: Wilson, Bruce
                  > To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: 9/1/2006 1:29:24 PM
                  > Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot
                  >
                  >
                  > Yes, but the magic & divination in LOTR are in a secondary world. If you will read the LETTERS, you will see that JRRT held that this made a difference. There is a long letter of his countering a reader's objection to his having introduced reincarnation into his mythos when Christianity by and large (and expecially Roman Catholicism) has utterly rejected it.
                  >

                • Jack
                  The Mirror of Galadriel is clearly similar to a Tarot pack, both in its ability to see the future and in its inaccuracy. I wondered why the Catholic Church is
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 1, 2006
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                    The Mirror of Galadriel is clearly similar to a Tarot pack, both in its ability to see the future and in its inaccuracy. 

                     

                    I wondered why the Catholic Church is so down on Tarot so I looked and found this:

                     

                    Catechism of the Catholic Church
                    Divination and magic

                    2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

                    2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

                    2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

                     

                    For more discussion, look here:

                    http://www.catholic-forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1422

                     

                    hth

                    Jack


                    From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Pippin

                    I'm not following.

                     

                    JRRT defended having reincarnation in his writing (if I understand you), and he wrote extensively about a wizard using magic on the good guys' side and seeing stones and (in the movie version) a big perfume bottle from Galadriel that lights up in spider caves, but you believe he would object to a Tarot deck (which to me is certainly not a tool of the underworld) using his characters? I think he would have been delighted, based on what I've read (including a biography), and apparently enough people at Tolkien Enterprises agreed in order to authorize this Tarot/game.

                     

                    By the way...

                    Tarot developed by Terry Donaldson

                    Artwork by Peter Pracownik

                    Game rules by Mike Fitzgerald

                    'Dedicated to Gandalf--Long may his friendship be with us.'

                     

                    I also don't understand 'secondary world'.  Does this mean if JRRT had written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as long as the setting was Middle Earth?

                     

                    Perhaps I will understand if I read his letters. At present, the idea still feels like reading someone else's private mail, but that feeling may pass.

                     

                    Pippin

                     

                     

                    ----- Original Message -----

                    Sent: 9/1/2006 1:29:24 PM

                    Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions ] The LotR Tarot

                     

                    Yes, but the magic & divination in LOTR are in a secondary world.  If you will read the LETTERS, you will see that JRRT held that this made a difference.  There is a long letter of his countering a reader's objection to his having introduced reincarnation into his mythos when Christianity by and large (and expecially Roman Catholicism) has utterly rejected it.

                  • Pippin
                    Some would say the reader is inaccurate, not the Tarot. I agree that the mirror bears some similarities to the Tarot. Many things I can command the mirror to
                    Message 9 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                      Some would say the reader is inaccurate, not the Tarot. I agree that the mirror bears some similarities to the Tarot.
                       
                      'Many things I can command the mirror to reveal,' she answered, 'and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often strnger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?'
                       
                      Frodo did not answer.
                       
                      'And you?' she said, turning to Sam. 'For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem also to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy. But this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel. Did you not say that you wished to see Elf-magic?'
                       
                      Call it anything but magic, if it makes you more comfortable with the story.
                       
                      Pippin
                      ----- Original Message -----

                       

                      The Mirror of Galadriel is clearly similar to a Tarot pack, both in its ability to see the future and in its inaccuracy.

                    • Rob
                      Message 10 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                        <<I also don't understand 'secondary world'. Does this mean if JRRT had
                        written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as
                        long as the setting was Middle Earth?>>

                        I don't understand why the concept is so difficult to grasp, but I also like
                        how you've pointed out the kind of Catch-22 of Tolkien's stance.

                        I also assume you (Pippin) were not raised as a Catholic or Christian
                        Protestant.

                        In an effort to clarify the position that Tolkien, as a Catholic, would not
                        be kosher with an LotR tarot deck I will say that to C.S. Lewis tolkien
                        justified writing about a mythology that, though reminiscent of and
                        influenced greatly by his Roman Catholic background, was clearly also very
                        reminiscent of pagan pantheons by saying that all mythologies in literature
                        and world religions were echoes of the true mythology
                        (Catholicism/Christianity). So yes, in a way Tolkien is setting up a double
                        standard by making it all right to write about a non-Christian mythology in
                        an adventure story, but he is also divorcing the realm of fiction from the
                        realm of day-to-day "real life."

                        If I wanted to I could, if I were really interested in "true crime" type
                        stories, write tales with a serial killer as my protagonist. That does not
                        mean I think serial killers are heroes or that I want people in real life
                        becoming serial killers or emulating their lifestyle. That is a broader
                        example of what we're talking about, but the principle is the same. Tolkien
                        was okay with writing about a non-Christian mythology (though I, and many,
                        many others would argue that the entire cosmology of Tolkien's is in fact
                        Christian behind its face) in the fictional realm. But he would not be okay
                        with someone using his works to promote a non-Christian philosophy in real
                        life. If someone were to "fall away from God" because of reading the LOTR I
                        think Tolkien would struggle with that, personally. It is for this reason
                        that I doubt Tolkien would have okayed the idea of a tarot deck using his
                        LOTR characters.

                        Obviously the executors of the estate felt differently or just didn't give
                        the matter much thought or the thing just slipped past them at the time.
                        Certainly if Christopher Tolkien were here and arguing that his dad would
                        have been fine with a tarot deck I'd have to accept his judgement on the
                        matter. But I really do have to wonder if he was ever even aware of the
                        thing to begin with.

                        If you aren't getting the dichotomy yet, I don't know that I can make it any
                        plainer. However, if you do read Tolkien's letters, you will find letters
                        bearing directly on these kinds of matters, especially the ones where he
                        talks to his sons about religion and the nature of reality, etc. You really
                        get to know the man's mind a lot by reading his letters.

                        Rob
                      • Rob
                        I can confidently say that you are
                        Message 11 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                          <<The Mirror of Galadriel is clearly similar to a Tarot pack, both in its
                          ability to see the future and in its inaccuracy.>>

                          I can confidently say that you are definitely 100% sort of correct! ;) There
                          is a bit of foreknowledge involved with the mirror, however, I have always
                          viewed it not as a television to the future, but rather as (as its name
                          implies) a mirror which just happens to be able to reflect a person's
                          inner-self rather than just the outward appearance. Everything a person who
                          looks into it sees is based inside their own self and is an extrapolation
                          from inside them. What I mean is that I've always had the impression that if
                          Galadriel were looking over Frodo's shoulder into the mirror at the same
                          time they would both be seeing different things in it because it was
                          reflecting their own self back to them rather than being a TV to the future.
                          IIRC she has to ask Frodo what he saw, doesn't she? If the mirror were a TV
                          to the future, wouldn't she have been able to see what it was showing Frodo
                          just as well as he?

                          <<I wondered why the Catholic Church is so down on Tarot so I looked and
                          found this:

                          Catechism of the Catholic Church
                          Divination and magic

                          2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a
                          sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the
                          hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all
                          unhealthy curiosity about it.

                          2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or
                          demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to
                          "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading,
                          interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and
                          recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and,
                          in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate
                          hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we
                          owe to God alone.>>

                          Yes, that says it pretty perfectly.

                          Rob
                        • Rob
                          You are talking about the created, fictional world. I think the whole point of
                          Message 12 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                            <<Call it anything but magic, if it makes you more comfortable with the
                            story.>>

                            You are talking about the created, fictional world. I think the whole point
                            of this thread isn't to try to deny that there is what we would call magic
                            within the confines of Middle-Earth (gods living in mountains of iron or
                            talking eagles sound pretty magical to me), but rather that within the
                            confines of America, England, and Yugoslavia Tolkien would not be
                            comfortable, philosophically, with the idea of people trying to perform
                            magic. He would see such a thing as against the precepts of his church and
                            personal beliefs. Hence our incredulity that a LotR tarot deck, if truly
                            authorized by the estate, exists.

                            Is that dichotomy making sense to you? Do you see the difference we are
                            talking about? (I'm not trying to judge you or put you down, I am just
                            honestly wondering if you are understanding the hair we are splitting here -
                            or rather the hair we believe JRR himself is splitting.)

                            Rob
                          • Pippin
                            ... Interesting. I was born and raised in the Catholic church. Left around age 17 because of many things, mostly the lack of women priests. ... Or they gave it
                            Message 13 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                              > [Original Message]
                              > I also assume you (Pippin) were not raised as a Catholic or Christian
                              > Protestant.

                              Interesting. I was born and raised in the Catholic church. Left around age
                              17 because of many things, mostly the lack of women priests.

                              > Obviously the executors of the estate felt differently or just didn't give
                              > the matter much thought or the thing just slipped past them at the time.

                              Or they gave it a lot of thought and came to the same conclusion I did.

                              'An especial thank you to Laurie Battle of Tolkien Enterprises for her
                              support, advice, and personal enthusiasm for this project...' says one of
                              the acknowledgments. Tolkien Enterprises is a division of the Saul Zaentz
                              company in Berkeley California US.

                              Some, including myself, see what's pagan on its face, so we'll have to
                              share Tolkien. We do not know if his letters are any more revealing of his
                              true throughts than his books about Wizards, Elves, Sauron, Jewels, and
                              Rings. Maybe it was all nothing more than a vehicle for playing with
                              languages and their connection to mythology.

                              I better understand your opinion about the 'double standard' or
                              'dichotomy'. My difficulty understanding others' perceived dichotomies
                              probably relates most to my lack of a sharp dividing line between the
                              material and spiritual worlds.

                              I leave you (and probably leave this thread) with a footnote from Daniel
                              Grotta's biography of Tolkien:

                              Tolkien once said that 'hobbits have what you might call universal morals.
                              I should say that they are examples of natural philosophy and natural
                              religion.' He also revealed that 'the book is about the world that God
                              created--the actual world of this planet.'

                              Pippin

                              'I am in fact a hobbit in all but size.' J.R.R. Tolkien
                            • Jack
                              Just like the Tarot, then ... Jack _____ From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Rob There is a bit
                              Message 14 of 17 , Sep 2, 2006
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                                Just like the Tarot, then

                                :o)

                                Jack

                                 


                                From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Rob
                                There
                                is a bit of foreknowledge involved with the mirror, however, I have always
                                viewed it not as a television to the future, but rather as (as its name
                                implies) a mirror which just happens to be able to reflect a person's
                                inner-self rather than just the outward appearance. Everything a person who
                                looks into it sees is based inside their own self and is an extrapolation
                                from inside them.

                              • Wilson, Bruce
                                Have you never, then, read JRRT s essay On Fairy Tales ? If you haven t, then you have missed the key to the theoretical foundations of his literary output.
                                Message 15 of 17 , Sep 5, 2006
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                                  Have you never, then, read JRRT's essay "On Fairy Tales"?  If you haven't, then you have missed the key to the theoretical foundations of his literary output.
                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Pippin
                                  Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 11:00 PM
                                  To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

                                  I also don't understand 'secondary world'.  Does this mean if JRRT had written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as long as the setting was Middle Earth?
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  Pippin
                                  .

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