"I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought. "
Heavenly Light
Creative Commons AttributionHeavenly Light - Credit: raj_nair81 at Flickr

Could this be a reference to a higher power, or God, leading Frodo along the right path? Tolkien’s created world, Arda, of which Middle-earth is just one continent, does indeed have a God. Ilúvatar, sometimes called Eru or The One, is the creator of all existence. Beneath this divine figure are the Ainur, spirits who helped Ilúvatar to shape Arda. After the creation of the world, the Ainur were given the choice of whether to go into Arda or not. The ones who did became known as the Valar (Powers), and the less powerful Maiar. Both Elbereth and Morgoth (The Great Enemy), occasionally mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, are Valar. Sauron, a servant of Morgoth, is one of the Maiar. These powers watch over and sometimes intervene in the mortal world.

Gandalf himself, along with four other wizards (the Istari), were sent to Middle-earth by the Valar in order to guide its inhabitants in the coming fight against Sauron. They were given strict instructions only to aid, not to claim power for themselves, a rule that we will soon see one of the wizards has broken.

The Lord of the Rings can be read as a religious or spiritual book, with a battle of good against evil and a strong message about the corruptive nature of power as well as the evils of giving in to temptation (see next bookmark, p75). Tolkien was a Roman Catholic with strong religious beliefs that he has admitted influenced the novel, though he has strongly argued against all allegorical readings, stating that he prefers applicability to allegory. Temptation, lust for power, faith, humility, redemption, and good vs evil are all themes found in The Lord of the Rings.