The Power of Myth (Interview)

In 2004, on the backside of the last movie in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the then Anglican Bishop of Waikato David Moxon (who later became an archbishop) sent me an email about the power of myth in The Lord of the Rings after I requested an interview. Many thanks to the now Sir David Moxon on his time and energies in providing this content back then and later with The Hobbit. Remembering this is David Moxon’s voice and not mine. Here’s what he said, a voice in the pop life world:

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The Transformative Hobbit (Interview)

I asked Archbishop David Moxon what he thought about the transformative potential of The Hobbit as a story after he mentioned something along those lines. I was open to the idea that stories transform readers inside out at the level of spirit, as I was exploring something like this at the time with my film reviewing. But on second thoughts I am not committed to embracing this spirituality.

There were years where I deliberately found common ground between film stories and Christian spirituality, however I became more analytical about my comments later on and had some doubts about what I was writing. I mean, could the film Chocolat (2000) actually be viewed from the perspective of Christian theology? Maybe not from a Christian conservative perspective, but from an open minded, exploring the possibilities of the film at the level of the spiritual, it could be. I inclined to a more literal interpretation later on, which is conservative in nature, but at first, I was eager to bring a positive Christian perspective. However, that may not be entirely palatable if thinking through the facts of the movie more carefully.

So, I come to the part of David Moxon’s interview with me about transformative stories, at the level of spirit. Here is what he said as a voice on the matter in the pop life world.

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The return of The Hobbit (Circa 2014)

Another article on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from interviews with Archbishop David Moxon in 2004 and 2013. See what you think of the themes in it. Personally I may have reservations, but also makes me think. There is some truth in the theme of nature ‘replenishing’ and refreshing for the good. We see this in how advances to help others come from the world we are in, but were only discovered in the process of how the life of nature unfolds. I do not believe this is evolution, but would involve ‘life as it is’ and people being involved in the resources of God’s world to bring its resources to the surface. Does it apply to stories?

Stories that light the way

By Peter Veugelaers

C.S. Lewis, friend, and literary peer of J.R.R Tolkien, wrote in his review of The Lord of the Rings trilogy:

‘The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity…putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, is not retreating from reality, but rediscovering it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves. The Lord of the Rings applies the treatment not only to bread or apple, but to good and evil, to endless perils, anguish and joys. By dipping them in the myth they are clearly seen. I do not think [Tolkien] could have done it any other way.’ (Clive Staples Lewis quoted by Archbishop David Moxon from Richard Purtill’s Lord of the Elves and Eldils; Fantasy and philosophy in C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien (1974)).

J.R.R. Tolkien aficionado Sir David Moxon, an Anglican archbishop representing Anglicans to the Vatican in Rome, finds that stories like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings offer potential to transform our hearts.

The final installment of The Hobbit film trilogy is in December 2014.

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Meeting Tolkien again

This is the second part of my Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit articles written some time ago. David Moxon heard from me again in 2013 when The Hobbit sequel was released. We had been in touch earlier when The Lord of the Rings was released. Both times by email. Was this a movie relationship? I do not like movie relationships much, but I considered our correspondence was more of a professional nature rather than a personal one and this is what it was. Here’s the article that came from those emails, but the draft I submitted was editorialized quite significantly to make it more Catholic. The draft I wrote was angled on stories that speak to us personally.

Catholic faith revealed in Tolkien’s fantasy writing

By Peter Veugelaers

JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, used to say that his Catholic faith was implicit in his stories.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See, Palmerston North-born David Moxon, has made a study of the Catholicism’s influence on the writer.

“As time went on, [Tolkien] realized how much a part of his work Catholicism had become. He agreed that Lady Galadriel was an echo of Mary the mother of Jesus. It has been said that the lembas bread of the hobbit journey in The Lord of the Rings, which fed the will as well as the body, was an echo of the bread of the mass, and so on, in many other ways.”

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Top notch

Photo by Maria Orlova on

4 stars out of 4 stars. Back in 1944 this week A Canterbury Tale was first released, a British-made film helmed by writer/producer/director team Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. A Canterbury Tale is rooted in the idea of Geoffrey Chaucer’s book The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer observed pilgrims seeking blessings or penance as they followed the Pilgrim’s Road to the English locale of Canterbury and used his observations in his book. However, A Canterbury Tale significantly alters the original, but retains the idea.

Updated to World War II, blessings are in short supply. We are in view of a difficult time in the world. This background gives viewers a convincing canvas to believe in the seeker’s search.

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