Letter to David Masson (12 December 1955)

From Tolkien Gateway

On 12 December 1955, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to David Masson (librarian at the University of Leeds).[1][2]

Excerpt[edit | edit source]

Tolkien remarked that the reviewer should not have made such a fuss over giving quarters to orcs. 'Surely how often "quarter" is given is off the point in a book that breathes Mercy from start to finish: in which the central hero is at last divested of all arms, except his will? "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", are words that occur to me, and of which the scene, in the Sammath Naur was meant to be a "fairy-story" exemplum ...'

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 40
  2. 2.0 2.1 Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 482
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth (Grafton 2nd ed., p. 132n; HarperCollins 3rd ed., p. 164)