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Tolkien was a devout Catholic, following his mother who had converted to Catholicism in the year 1900. When she died Tolkien felt that she had become a martyr for her faith; this had a profound effect on his own Catholic beliefs, and no doubt had an influence on his creation of the world of Middle-earth. Tolkien tried hard to bury his Christian themes deep in his books, because his friend (C.S. Lewis) made them more obvious in The Chronicles of Narnia, which Tolkien thought drew the reader away.