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Letter 339

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Letter 339 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


This letter, dated June 30, 1972, was sent to the editor of the Daily Telegraph and published in the issue of July 4 as "Beautiful Place because Trees are Loved". The letter was a response to the leader article of June 29, where actions by the Forestry Commission had been described as giving forests a "Tolkien gloom".

Tolkien writes in the letter that he rejects the use of his name as an adjective to "gloom", and continues to explain the motives of his forests. Lothlórien was beautiful because the trees were loved. The Old Forest was hostile due to bad memories. Fangorn Forest was old and beautiful, but under attack by a machine-loving enemy. Mirkwood, though under the dominion of a Power that hated all living things, was restored to its beauty.

Furthermore, Tolkien calls comparing the Forestry Commission to Sauron unfair, because it is capable of repentance. It might have done some stupid actions, but it does not weigh up to the damage to forests done by private citizens and minor official bodies.


By making the distinction between the Forestry Commission and Sauron on the basis of their capability of repentance, it can be implied Sauron is infinitely and unchangeably evil.