Tolkien Gateway

Luck

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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"You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"

"Thank goodness!''"

Gandalf and Bilbo[1]

Luck is success or failure apparently brought about by chance. Bilbo Baggins was born with a fair share of it, far exceeding the usual allowance, as Thorin remarked. [2][3]

Elrond noted that he did not think it was by chance that many strangers came at the same time to his council, but "rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world."[4]

Inspiration

Tolkien scholar Joseph Pierce, referencing Tolkien's Catholicism, argues that "luck" is a euphemism for "a supernatural dimension to the unfolding of events in Middle-earth, in which Tolkien shows the mystical balance that exists between the promptings of grace or of demonic temptation and the response of the will to such promptings and temptations. This mystical relationship plays itself out in the form of transcendent Providence, which is much more than 'luck' or chance."[5]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  5. Joseph Pierce, "'The Hobbit' and Virtue" dated 14 December 2012, catholiceducation.org (accessed 9 September 2021)