TOLKIEN'S NEW WORK: A Parable on Humanity's Inability to Conquer Evil Without a Redeemer "Already the reviews are pouring in, and most are favorable for J. R. R. Tolkien's The Children of Hurin. Rather than focus on the usual stuff of criticism, I want to look directly at Tolkien the Catholic author and what he does with this material. The man who talked about the necessity for a happy ending and the triumph of good over evil has produced a tale of woe, betrayal, and tragedy that turns the most optimistic of us to tears. Therein lies the genius of this work. Born out of the despair of World War I, treasured in his heart for his entire life but never really given final form, a window into the complex heart of this Catholic author, The Children of Hurin is a brilliant portrayal of the power of evil even in the midst of God's providence and ultimate conquest of this dark force. Almost a century old in its genesis, the tale is parable for our times and a cautionary warning about the pride of humanity. In our world, we like to think of ourselves as the masters of creation, flawed but not really sinful. Ask a friend if he or she sins and they will tell you they make mistakes but "sin?"--not so much. The Western world values "niceness" above all other virtues and raises tolerance to an almost oppressive level. We must accept anything and everything because each of us is the ultimate decider of what is right and wrong. Ambiguity rules our hearts and assuages our consciences. What is good for you may be wrong for me and vice versa. Too much reflection and we may think badly of ourselves. The problem is: not enough reflection and when our sins come home to roost and we must face them, then we may just give in to despair.