Why “Lord of the Rings” Means More To Me Than Ever


All you need to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you. ~Gandalf the White

The city of Minas Tirith...or it could be your city

It’s been about 20 years since I took that fateful step, going out of my proverbial door and introduced to The Lord of the Rings. Almost ten since I watched The Fellowship of the Ring come to life, almost exactly the way I’d imagined it, on a big screen. Tolkien wrote of countries that never really existed and creatures of myth and legend. On some level, they resonate with me much more than the news of the day ever will.

The best stories, from antiquity onward, speak to our innermost fears and hopes. LoTR is no different. Gandalf, Frodo, and the Fellowship took great risks in the face of unimaginable evil so that the world might be safer and freer. Instead of Dunedain Rangers like Aragorn, our world has Navy SEALs and Special Forces who fight behind the lines. There may be no Orcs inhabiting the earth, but there are heartless terrorists and greedy stockbrokers. I could go on and on, but you get the general point here.

The Ride of the Rohirrim

In these times, I’m just as worried as the average citizen of Rohan or Gondor might have been. Yes, I go about my job and my daily life, but I’m worried about forces far beyond my control. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and huge fluctuations in the economy can and do happen every day in our world. The most worrisome feeling is the strange sensation that there’s nothing I can do. Or is there?

LoTR fans will be the first to tell you that “the smallest person” can make the biggest difference. Maybe that’s why I, and millions of others, love the stories so much. It’s a fine example of a hero who may not be the strongest, or the bravest, or certainly the tallest…but who saves the day despite everything. Hardly any of us may be a natural leader like Aragorn, as wise as Galadriel or Gandalf, as natural an athlete as Legolas. But we can all do our part.

Up to the summit of Mount Doom

 Anyone who knows me will know that Sam, the humblest of Hobbits, is by far my favorite member of the Fellowship. I still cry buckets every time he tells Frodo how it is worth fighting to save what’s still decent and good in this world. For good reason, too. I think that there is such a thing as good versus evil in our world today. I also believe that we have choices. Do we sit by, lazily, and do nothing (Denethor?) Do we try and argue that our neighbor’s problems do not affect us (King Theoden?) Do we let our greed and blind ambition win (Boromir and Gollum?) Or do we actually try and do something despite the fact that we’re scared half to death and know there’s a good chance we could die? Sam does his part…and a whole hell of a lot more. Without him, Frodo could never have completed his mission.

Maybe I’m such a softie because, deep down, I know I’m a Sam and not an Aragorn or even a Gimli. I’m not the prettiest or the most talented or the smartest. Aren’t we all, save for maybe a few rare exceptions?

Yes, I still love LoTR. The stories are both timely and timeless. Every time I can, as a library employee, share the books, I will. They have wisdom for our age, for our world, not just Middle-earth.  I only hope we never have to face an evil as great as that of Sauron. I do believe the potential for such evil exists, and that we’ve already seen it at work.

I also believe that heroes, no matter what size, will always be ready to fight for what is just and good in the world. Thank goodness for that.

The road leads ever on and on

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to click “Like” and subscribe to P&Q! Better yet, email me at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com! And remember, YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 11, 2011.

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