Bintel Blog

Did Tolkien Take a Page From Purim?

By Daniel Treiman

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Jewschool’s Ben Dreyfus notes a striking similarity between J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece “The Lord of the Rings” and the Purim story:

Haftarat Zachor (which is read twice this year here in Jerusalem) + Megillat Esther = The Lord of the Rings. One of them is totally plagiarized.

After winning the war with Sauron, Isildur is supposed to destroy the One Ring. He declines to do this, and as a result, his royal line ends and he is killed in battle, and the Ring continues to cause trouble. Many years later, when the Ring is finally destroyed, Isildur’s distant descendant Aragorn becomes king, and the monarchy is restored.

After winning the war with Amalek, Shaul ben Kish is supposed to kill Agag. He declines to do this, and as a result, his royal line ends and he is (eventually) killed in battle, and Agag’s descendant Haman continues to cause trouble. Many years later, when Haman is finally executed, Shaul’s father’s descendant Mordechai ben Ya’ir ben Shim’i ben Kish (one of the Men of the West, living in exile) becomes second to the king.


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