Rod, Shea makes a perfectly fine point about the moral complexities of LOTR. However, in my defense, I used the word “triumph” simply to mirror the Reuters review. I suppose a better word would be “battle” as in a theme of Tolkien’s is the battle between good and evil. But Rod, you misquote Shea. It is not too simplistic to say a theme of LOTR is “good versus evil.” LOTR is most certainly about good versus evil. The whole book is about the conflicts between good and bad, in Middle Earth and in our own souls. Shea’s objection is to the notion that good triumphs over evil in LOTR. And, to be sure, good never triumphs over evil permanently in LOTR. But, Shea concedes there are temporary victories. Which is why I think Shea’s being a bit tendentious — if I’d used “battle” instead of “triumph” I wouldn’t be budging on this at all.