There is a little-noticed line in the first volume of The Lord of the Rings that helps make this connection. It contains an important key, I believe, for unlocking this book that conveniently integrates the previously scattered episodes constituting the life of Turin Turambar. In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Company of Nine Walkers having found their path blocked by a huge snowstorm on Mount Caradhras, the wizard Gandalf cryptically declares that, “There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he…”
To an extent heretofore unrecognized, we know that we are born with genetic predispositions, whether mental or physical, that set drastic limits on our prospects and possibilities. We are also the partial products, not only of environing influences, but also of just plain luck – of good or ill fortune, of wyrd. Who of us can say that we have chosen the true path at every turning, or that we have deserved every disaster that has befallen us, so that our lives can be entirely explained by the decisions we have rightly or wrongly made?
This is not for a moment to suggest that Tolkien regarded the universe is an unsponsored and undirected accident. On the contrary, it is Morgoth himself who is the absurdist and nihilist, here declaring that “beyond the Circles of the World there is Nothing.” Yet Tolkien seems to have questioned God’s omnicausality as it is often conceived – namely, as if God were the divine Designer who, acting from beyond the universe, imposes his order from without.