Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Life

Did Tolkien Take a Page From Purim?

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.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.