Tony Rossi writes "of the deeper themes that lie at the heart of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien":
At a recent press conference about the film in New York City, Richard Armitage, who portrays the Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield, said, “One of the things I find when I look into that book [The Hobbit] is a sense of Tolkien’s Catholicism, his Christianity – not necessarily in a denominational way, but in terms of his chivalric view of the world, his nobility which is expressed through kindness and mercy. It’s present in most of his characters and I find that inspiring.”
Tolkien did in fact acknowledge taking that approach in his stories. In a letter, he once wrote, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”
For instance, the ideal of mercy is evident in one scene between Bilbo Baggins, the titular hero, and Gollum, a threatening creature that he meets when he falls into an underground cave. Director Peter Jackson, who also helmed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, noted that creating this moment onscreen was a particular pleasure. Though “The Hobbit” occurs chronologically before “The Lord of the Rings,” the fact that they were shooting this prequel years after the other films allowed him to place special attention on this moment.
He said, “There was a scene in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ where they’re in the mines of Moria, and there’s a quiet moment where Gandalf is talking to Frodo about the events of ‘The Hobbit.’ He says that the pity of Bilbo rules the fate of all: meaning that Bilbo had a chance to kill Gollum but he didn’t. And the fact that he didn’t has now created the story for ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ So it was very interesting to shoot that scene and show the moment where Bilbo stays his hand – and also the reason why he doesn’t kill Gollum when he’s got the opportunity: because Gandalf insisted that ‘true courage is not about knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one.’”
Check it out... and more particularly, and perhaps too directly, consider checking out what is that drove Tolkien.