11. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Christianity and Catholicism
I decided to include this one first because it is the most likely to be obvious in the eyes of the more casual viewers. Gandalf and Saruman are loose placeholders for the positions of Jesus and Satan in the world of Middle Earth. The Jesus symbolism is especially prominent in the change of Gandalf's title. He starts out in The Fellowship of the Ring as Gandalf the Grey then is reborn as Gandalf the White after making a heroic sacrifice for his brethren. This mirrors the classical teaching of Christianity in regards to the trials laid before Jesus and his prior resurrection after being crucified. That's all pretty obvious but where the symbolism gets truly interesting is in the layout of Middle Earth itself. Themes of Christianity and Catholicism are so inherent to this world that they can be found literally everywhere just under the surface of the story. The awaiting of the king to return brilliantly coincides with the biblical idea of awaiting Jesus' return at the Rapture. While this could have been a vague reference that could be interpreted in many different ways, Tolkien uses the ghosts that aid in the Return of the King to symbolize the Christians that the Bible says will return with Christ. In the end times they will fight in one last battle for the Earth just as the ghost soldiers do in the final Lord of the Rings film. It's even named Return of the King to highlight this idea even further. Also, the land of Middle Earth deals in absolutes just as the Christian and Catholic faiths do. The value system of Middle Earth is never ambiguous, but rather always a plight for the forces of good to triumph over the forces of evil. The citizens of the land are incredibly diverse just as people are, which lends the message that we all have to work together to achieve salvation just as the many different races of Middle Earth must work together to destroy the ring.