Thesis Theater: Miriam Davidson, “The Sword Not for its Sharpness: Nonviolent Countercurrents in Tolkien’s Epic of War”

Date & Time




Signum MA student Miriam Davidson will present her thesis “The Sword Not for its Sharpness:  Nonviolent Countercurrents in Tolkien’s Epic of War” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Miriam’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Brenton Dickieson.



The Lord of the Rings highlights Tolkien’s use of characters and narrative to accentuate the courage and honor earned by those who sacrifice themselves in combat. His plot demands, and often justifies, violent action. The people of Middle-earth will not stand by as Sauron works to enslave and kill the free folk. Still, there is a clear and consistent emphasis on the cost and devastation these violent engagements bring. Tolkien’s narrative strongly warns against the lust for power and the will to dominate others while elevating the importance of grace, forgiveness, and not striking without the gravest of need. War victors should be magnanimous, offering reconciliation and forgiveness to the defeated rather than destruction, slavery, or crippling reparations. Discovering the tensions at play between the honor of war and its human devastation, this thesis explores the countercurrents of nonviolence in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. These countercurrents ultimately demonstrate that Tolkien’s representation of war and nonviolence is impacted by his literary mode, educational background, personal beliefs, and exposure to war.


About the Presenter

Miriam Davidson has been practicing as a forensic psychiatric nurse practitioner in the Department of Corrections for the past 15 years. She has a deep-rooted love for fantasy literature and pursued a MA degree to expand and strengthen her reading and writing skills. With the help of her husband and dogs, she spends her free time restoring a 200-year-old lighthouse in Downeast, Maine.


About Signum Thesis Theaters

Each of our master’s students writes a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theater is their opportunity to present their research to a general audience, and answer questions. All are welcome to attend!

Signum University Thesis Theater

Join us on May 26th at 3pm ET for a Thesis Theater to explore the relevant description and surprising complexity of war in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; a timely topic.