Part of the genius of Tokien is that he is a catalyst for magic. His own, of course, is the most powerful by far and it runs through all his writings like blood made of molten gold. Or maybe it’s more like molten mithril because it takes us out of our own world and into a completely self contained other world - but one which is so familiar. The way he never finished a large part of what he set out to express actually adds to the magic, because it makes his work a living thing that has no finishing, but which goes on living and transforming.
There is magic too running through the Peter Jackson films that makes them very compelling. It’s not as deep as Tolkien’s writing - it’s actually a whole dimension less than that is! Which is no discredit to the films but part of the reality that is film making. The films are a Fifth Age attempt to portray a Third Age set of events that are rooted in the First Age. We are looking at the reflection in a dim mirror of the shadows cast by light that came from the fires of a mythical past. Those films are maybe as close as we can get to expressing some of the mystery in visual form. And of course they are a pastiche of all the participants’ own experiences of the raw Tokien.
Other attempts such as The Rings of Power have failed because they lost contact with the spirit of Tolkien’s mythology. They lack the dazzling inner light that would set them beyond the common or garden banal hero story cliches that much of our media is buried in.
Another part of the true genius of Tolkien lies in the the idea of a richness of creation marred by a dominantly potent force of evil, the struggle against it, and the paradox of a Creator who allows it, maybe even wills it to be like this as a creative necessity. And the song of triumph of weak and ordinary folks, who contend with it, and succeed against all the odds and at terrible cost to themselves, in despite of a depth of evil beyond all mortal comprehension. From this struggle is born a world that is tragic, flawed, yet far greater and more noble than if evil had not been.
It’s not fashionable to see our own world and our own lives caught up in such an eschatological battle. Maybe the popularity of Tolkien’s myth suggests that they are valid beyond the reach of Middle Earth and echo a truth that lies deep in all our souls.