New blog post: Imagined Afterlives: Death in Classic Fantasy

To begin with Tolkien: though mortal, Hobbits don’t seem to have a theory of the afterlife. Innocent, rural, physical, they thoroughly enjoy this life’s pleasures and die with a sense of fulfilment: a long life well lived. Can Bilbo outlive the Old Took? He will if he can. We are told nothing of Hobbit funerals except at the very end of The Return of the King where the hobbits who fell at the Battle of Bywater are laid together ‘in a grave on the hillside, where later a great stone was set up with a garden around it.’ Their names live on in memory, but there’s no speculation about a hobbit heaven, just a practical disposal of the mortal remains – and an equally practical interest in inheritance.

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