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Where the Shadows Lie

A Jungian Interpretation of Tolkien’s "The Lord of the Rings"

Pia Skogemann

Where the Shadows Lie takes the reader on a journey through Tolkien’s Middle-earth, following the hobbits, their companions, and the characters they encounter on their quest. Along the way, Skogemann reveals the deep symbolic layers that are the source of joy and enchantment that many find in reading The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn, with the aid of Gandalf, Legolas, and Gimli, ascends to the throne and becomes the center of a great, unified kingdom—a symbol of the collective Self. The four hobbits, representing individual "I"-consciousness, are transformed by the quest and acquire the psychological tools they need to renew the Shire—the small domain enfolded in the great.

Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious and the archetypes provide a key to understanding the forces of fantasy that are so powerful in Tolkien’s masterpiece—and thereby a key to understanding ourselves and the events of the outside world in our modern times.

Praise for the Danish edition:

“Skogemann goes through the whole of Tolkien’s work—characters, landscapes, and events—to determine what kind of archetypes and basic situations from the collective unconscious are appearing. And she does it with enormous zest.” —Anne Knudsen, Weekendavisen

“Pia Skogemann’s eloquent exposition is incredibly fertile even for an unbeliever like myself.... Her take on Tolkien’s trilogy pleasantly expands his universe in a most inspiring fashion.... She transports the work beyond black-and-white statements about the relations between good and evil.” —Bo Tao Michaelis, Politiken

“If you are looking for a way to understand Jung’s theories, Skogemann’s work is eminent.... I can warmly recommend this book.” —Niels H. Elberling, Højskolebladet

“The author shows why Tolkien’s brilliant story has touched so many people.... Exciting reading for all Tolkien fans who want to understand the story on a deeper, psychological level.” —Martin Hjelmborg, Lektørudtalelse

“I have studied Tolkien for many years, and Skogemann’s book is one of the most trustworthy and well-documented studies on The Lord of the Rings I have ever read.” —Lars Tjalve, Kristeligt Dagblad

232 pp.  

Chiron Publications


Published:  July 2009


Pia Skogemann, born in Copenhagen, has a master’s degree in comparative religion and has been a Jungian analyst in private practice since 1978. She is a co-founder of the C.G. Jung Institute in Copenhagen and has served as a consulting editor for Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice since 2006. First published in 1984, she is the author of twelve books and numerous articles on femininity, individuation, fairy tales, dreams, and archetypes. This is her first work in English. For more information, visit See all books by Pia Skogemann

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