"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like "religion", to cults or practices, in the Imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."There is a ton of Christian symbolism in this series! I tried to get their wheels turning about what Christian, and specifically Catholic, symbols that are in the story by having them say something they know about Catholic beliefs. The mission of Jesus Christ, special celebration dates, and clergy was brought up, but not much else. How about purgatory? I told them to think about it and watch for anything as they read.
I loved the rest of the discussion we had. I asked them to watch how Aragorn develops as a leader, as he made some blunders and had some good moments.
For this week, hopefully they are researching who is Tom Bombadil and who is Sauron. Also, they can be researching the meaning of names in the LOTR. (hint: There is a pdf of a document Tolkien wrote about it.) We will discuss what they find this week. Next week, have the Two Towers read for discussion.