Aragorn’s Lineage

Aragorn’s distant ancestor, Isildur and his battle with Sauron is a perfect representation of David and Goliath in the Bible. Like David, Isildur faced a massive villain who was defeated by a small act. David flung a small rock; Isildur sliced off a finger. Neither action seems enough to defeat a 9+ foot villain, but in both cases led to the demise of a major participant in the destruction of a life-as-we-know-it type of situation.

As we know, Aragorn is the descendent of Isildur. Who in the Bible do we know that is a descendant of David?

Jesus Christ is a descendant of David just as Aragorn is a descendant of Isildur. In the Bible, Jesus Christ is called by many names, similar to the different names of Aragorn. Jesus Christ wasn’t an ordinary man. He was the son of God. For this reason, he was fit to perform the atonement. Aragorn wasn’t an ordinary man either. He was a dunedain. This made him live longer and even influenced his ability to resist the Ring.

The Ring in the books was meant to embody sin and temptation. Knowing this, simply think of a time in the Bible when temptation had a huge role in the development of Christ. Christ was faced with temptations, and so was Aragorn. Aragorn had the opportunity to take the Ring, but he didn’t, just as Christ didn’t fall to Satan’s temptations.

Throughout the books, elves represent an angelic, godly people. They have magic, similar to God’s power, that made them different. Elves represent everything godly, and to be an elf is to be essentially an angel. The dunedain have elf DNA, this makes them as close to a godly being as any human can be, just as Christ was the most perfect any being touched by humanity can be.

Aragorn bares many similarities to Christ throughout Lord of the Rings, but is definitely not the only representation. The deeper the reader looks into each detail of Tolkien’s masterpiece, the more it can be seen that there was even more to Tolkien’s complex fantasies than what any reader can see. Symbolism is a huge part of Tolkien’s work and gives each read just a little more to learn.

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Chapter Three: Three Is Company-Part Two

After the Black Rider trots off into the distance, Frodo states how strange he felt, that the feeling told him he did not want to be found by this mysterious man.

You know when ever someone repeats something in a literary work that they are telling you something important. Frodo repeats the word “felt” many times, this tells us that the way he feels is either important to the story line or important in the symbolism Tolkien was trying to use. Frodo didn’t know the man was bad. He felt it.

Sam speaks up and tells Frodo that he knew where the Black Rider came from. He said that only just the day before his Gaffer saw the man, and the man was asking about a Baggins. He told this to Sam, at the time he thought nothing of it because Gaffer is old and it was dark.

Frodo admits to having heard Gaffer speaking to a strange talking fellow. Pippin is convinced that there is possibly no connection and they should just get moving. This is further justifying Pippin’s character as the part of us, or the type of person, who doesn’t see what is happening around them. They aren’t aware. They either choose not to, or simply don’t notice what they should.

Frodo says that he wished they had waited for Gandalf, and then Pippin suspiciously asks Frodo if he knows something about this black rider. Frodo tries to simply brush the comment away by saying he doesn’t want to know.

From then on, they kept their distance from the road.

This part with the road seems strangely opposite that of Bilbo’s story about keeping on the path. As Bilbo’s journey required not straying from the path, Frodo’s instead was to be avoided. This could be because the path through Mirkwood was leading them through the bad, trying to keep them on the path to good. Whereas Frodo’s path was covered with evil.

When the three hobbits come upon a hollowed out tree, they climb inside to rest. Tolkien makes a point to mention that the tree is pretty much dead, yet it still produces leaves. This could be a symbolic foreshadowing to the common theme that even things that seem lost and better off dead can still produce good, they still have that potential inside them, even if they can’t gain their full potential back. They have already missed all those many years of potential to do good.

As they continue on the path, they sing a song that Bilbo had written. In among other lines of the song is the words of Pippin’s song in the movies known as The Steward of Gondor on the movie sound track. It is a brilliant song showing that we can’t stay home forever, we have to continue on our adventure in order to become better.

The three run and hide in the shadows when they hear hooves behind them. It was definitely a black rider. It crawls creepily toward Frodo, sniffing. The closer it gets, the more Frodo desires to slip on the ring. It was much more powerful than the earlier time he had felt the temptation. A sound in the near distance scares the rider away. Sam starts to exclaim quietly that it was elves. The other hobbits had to pull him away, or else he would have run to the elves.

The elves are singing, which is what scared the rider away. Frodo knows little of the words sung.

One of the elves sees and recognizes Frodo. They greet, and Frodo says they are traveling in the same direction as they. Because the elves see themselves as superior beings, at first they laugh that Frodo wants to travel alongside them. Pippin interrupts to ask the elves about the black riders. They become interested and decide to take the hobbits with them elsewhere to speak about it.

After Frodo speaks something in the language of the elves, Gildor, the elf leader, calls him “elf friend.” They warn the hobbits that they will become weary for the elves will be walking far and long.

The elves stop and have a party. Kind of strange, but okay. They have a wonderful time until Frodo and Gildor are the last awake, talking.

As they talk, Gildor reads things from the look on Frodo’s face. He knows he is troubled and is unsure if he can succeed. He knows that the Enemy is after him, he doesn’t know why, but nonetheless it’s true. Gildor tells Frodo nothing about the Black Riders, because he believes it is up to Gandalf to tell Frodo. Gildor believes that it is all Gandalf’s responsibility what Frodo knows.

Frodo speaks his fear that Gandalf may not return at the time he had said. Frodo asks if he should wait for Gandalf or continue on. Gildor can only say that it is strange for Gandalf to be late, and that it is Frodo’s choice whether to stay or continue. Frodo jokes that it is said to not go to elves for counsel, because they will tell you both no and yes.

Gildor warns that if Frodo does go on, that he should not go alone. To only bring those who he trusts. Frodo thanks him.

Frodo finally begs to be told what the black riders are. Gildor asks if it is not enough to know they are the enemy. If they are simply the enemy, what does it matter what they are exactly? All Frodo needs to know is that they are simply evil. Frodo is still unsure how he will find courage to continue on. He asks how he can find it. Gildor once more tells Frodo of his friendship, and Frodo drifts into sleep.

Chapter One: An Unexpected Party-Part Two

The instant Bilbo disappears in chapter one, every single guest at the party bursts into conversation. Most of the talk was of how crazy Bilbo is. Frodo just sits and laughs quietly at the amusement of the guests.

As Frodo sits and ponders, he begins to think about Bilbo’s little trick a little harder. He realizes how much he cares for Bilbo. I like to think Frodo in that moment started to wonder what would happen to him if Bilbo really was gone. If Bilbo really had disappeared and would never return. That is what makes him realize how sad he would become if Bilbo left this world in such a quick flash as his trick.

Tolkien makes a large deal about the clothes Bilbo changes into when he returns to Bag End. He describes the nice, embroidered party clothes he removes and the old, tattered clothes that replace them. Thinking about this, ask yourself, Why would someone who has such nice and expensive things change into old, dirty clothes on such an occasion as an important birthday? No one would even change into dirty clothes on their worst day unless it was their last resort.

Tolkien explains further in a way that makes us realize that the clothes Bilbo puts on are the same as those he word on his adventures with the dwarves. Think about the symbolism behind the clothing. Bilbo had never really been one to wear expensive things and look fancy. We can tell this by the way he is constantly giving to those around him, thinking not of himself, but others. Also, it says that Bilbo rapped up his fine linen clothing and put it carefully away, this makes it seem as though he hasn’t even worn it before, he still has the packaging it came in.

The clothes he wore on his journey symbolize his old self. The part of him the was “more Took-ish.” These clothes show all the wear and tear of an adventure, of which you would never experience behind the borders of the Shire. This tells us that he is not planning to stay in the Shire, which we can also assume by the other things he was said to have gathered together upon returning to Bag End. Also, those old clothes represent his old self. Bilbo is choosing to embrace that of his past and leave what home he has already.

Bilbo soon verifies this theory himself as he converses with Gandalf. He tells Gandalf he is going on a holiday and doesn’t mean to come back.

Taking a step back for a moment: Before Gandalf shows up, Bilbo puts his ring in an envelope and sets it on the shelf, then just after he takes it out again. At this point for most people (who don’t already know the story by heart, but have read the Hobbit), we can tell that there is something about the ring that isn’t quite the same as it was in the Hobbit. Bilbo can’t seem to detach from the ring, but this could also just be a simple man who doesn’t want to separate from such a sentimental treasure.

During Bilbo’s conversation with Gandalf, we hear another famous line.

“I feel sort of stretched, Gandalf…like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Let’s analyze this a bit, shall we?

Think about it. When you take just a knife full of butter and try to spread it over your entire toast, it eventually thins out to the point where it has no point. It doesn’t give it the flavor you intended. Bilbo here could be meaning that as he goes along, spending his days in the Shire (gliding his knife across the bread), he feels that his knife is going to continue gliding through his life, never lifting itself off to obtain more butter, never adding more to his now dull life. He feels like all this time spent idling away is stretching him, making him become more and more thin as his adventurous life is left behind him. He is only spreading his butter, dragging it in circles, going no where. This is what he uses to describe why he needs to leave.

After such marvelous and terrible adventures. How can one go back to a normal life completely?

Tolkien writes in one line that, to me seems a bit humorous on his part. Gandalf tells Bilbo that no one will read his story (which we know is actually what the Hobbit book is, technically). This makes me laugh a bit, because we know that thousands of people read the Hobbit. It’s almost as if Tolkien is making a joke about how successful his book actually was. Just a random thought.

Bilbo then says that Frodo would come with him, if Bilbo asked him. But he also says that Frodo is not ready. I compare this to our existence before earth life. Not all of us are born on earth at the same time, obviously. So this represents that we will all have a chance on earth, just that some of us aren’t ready at the same time as others. Just like how on earth we don’t all progress at the same rate.

The next bit is almost word for word in the movie. Gandalf and Bilbo discuss the ring and what its fate is to be. Bilbo calls the ring his “precious” just as Gollum had. This definitely tells us something is up. The ring starts to look more and more like a poison. Or an addiction. If this ring is causing such a respectable man to become like such a sad, pathetic creature, then there is definitely something about that ring that is not right for the mind.

Bilbo and Gandalf soon agree to leave the ring with Frodo. This tells us a TON about the type of person Frodo is. They trusted him enough to leave him such a powerful and dangerous weapon. They had to have had total faith in Frodo as a person to take care of this ring. So they leave it for him (after Bilbo tries to take it with him first, of course).

Bilbo and Gandalf say their goodbyes and Bilbo is off, singing as he goes. Which song is a very deep sort of poetry. It ends with “And whither [the road goes] then? I cannot say.” This means that he has no idea where his journey is going to take him, but yet still he goes. No one knows where their road will take them, we simply have to follow and discover for ourselves where it will go.

The next day, after Frodo had discovered Bilbo left the day before (as Bilbo had told him he was planning on doing), Frodo finds that Bilbo had written out what things he owned that he was giving away. (He even gave things away to the Sackville-Bagginses!)

This chapter ends with a conversation between Frodo and Gandalf. Gandalf explains that Frodo is to soon go out into the world on a sort of small journey. They discuss what is to happen and Gandalf tells him that he will return one day to let Frodo know when it is the time to leave. And so Frodo waits until it is his time to go into the world.

Meriadoc: The Responsible Hobbit

Merry is the logical Hobbit between him and Pippin. He is constantly trying to keep Pippin out of trouble. Merry’s best attribute is his desire to fight for what is right. He sees all this fighting and death around him and all he wants is to help his friends.

The instant the black riders come after the Hobbits just outside of Hobbiton, Merry knows that there is something Frodo has that they are after. In the book, Merry actually knew about the ring, or rather saw what it did. One day, Merry saw Bilbo put on the ring, after that, he sent Sam to go investigate and listen to what happens in Bag End (that means Sam really was dropping eaves! 😉 ). Merry had an idea what was going on from the very beginning. It isn’t until later that he realizes the magnitude of the situation.

We get a clue at how ignorant he starts off. When at Weathertop, he foolishly lights a fire with his buddies, not realizing that he can’t have all the many regular meals whenever he wants anymore, especially when there are nine evil Sauron’s servants tracking them.

When Merry sees Frodo leaving the fellowship at Amon Hen, he immediately understands and tries to lead the orcs away from him. He completely disregards his own safety for the sake of his friend. He realizes later that his carelessness in his attempt to save one friend resulted in the death of another. This could be one of the reasons he was so fixated on helping his friends in battle, because he doesn’t want to feel as though he can’t do any good.

When Hobbits are with Treebeard, Merry is trying to convince Treebeard to fight with them. He figures that the size of the ents would be the perfect strategic advantage. When Treebeard takes an entire day, completely disregarding something that is so important to Merry, it frustrates him to the point where he feels that he really can’t do any good in this war that has taken over normal life. He pretty much gives up. Thankfully for him, Pippin managed to convince Treebeard to head toward Isengard, where he sees the destruction Saruman has caused.

If it weren’t for this tender mercy, Merry wouldn’t have ever made it into battle, defending what he believes in and helping his friends. Merry is an example of our willingness and drive to do what’s right and help others. We all want something, we all should want what’s best for those we care about.

Merry realizes fully the extent of the damage Sauron has brought to the world when he sees his closest friend forced to leave him. Seeing Pippin struggle against such evil, suffer from such a trial, he realizes how much he cares for Pippin and doesn’t want him to have to ever suffer at the hands of such evil.

Imagine. Remember the way Pippin reacted when he was holding the Palentir? He struggled, he couldn’t even let go. If this were your brother, sister, closest friend or relative, how would that make you feel? Personally, it would scare me to death! I would never want to see anyone, let alone my closest friend have to deal with such a thing.

You could compare this to seeing your family members go through trials. Maybe you have a family member struggling with addiction, or health problems, or maybe even lost someone you loved to a disease or an accident and it hurt someone you care about to the point where you don’t know what will happen to them or if they will recover from such hardships.

When you see your family suffer, it changes what is important to you. When once you only cared about all your meals and having a good laugh or pipeweed, you now want only to save your friends and family and get rid of what things cause them pain.

We see Merry’s enthusiasm best when he is with Eowyn on the way to Pellenor. He is training, practicing, and preparing to fight for his loved ones. His enthusiasm grows dramatically as he gets better and better and sees that he does have the potential to do good. When Theoden tells him that he cannot come to battle, it’s as if he is reliving the moment when he thought Treebeard would just take him home. Only this time he doesn’t have Pippin to say something clever to help him. He realizes how much he needs Pippin in his life only to feel like he will never see him again.

Eowyn becomes his next tender mercy. When he feels like no one will take him with them to fight, Eowyn sweeps in to give him his chance.

Through Merry’s characterization, we can see that we do have a chance to help our loved ones. We may feel like there is no way we can do anything for them. What can I do to stop someone from using drugs or alcohol? I can’t just tell them to stop or take it from them. I have no control over their choices. While some of that is true, we still have the power to be an influence and example in their lives. They know what they are doing is not right, but without you by their side, they might never stop or get better. Simply being there for them can do a lot. We just have to support them and help them when they ask for it.

Even though it isn’t likely for someone who is struggling to ask for help, we can still do something. Maybe drop a comment here and there. Mention little things that touch lightly on the subject and try to spark a conversation that will get them realizing they need help or asking for help. It is never too late.

Merry shows us that we should want what’s best for our family, biological or otherwise. There is always something we can do. We can’t give up on them. And even when we feel like it’s over, God will help us get back on the saddle. He will provide those tender mercies that will keep us going. And we will never have to worry about waiting on the edge of a battle we can’t escape.

Haldir: The Under-appreciated Elf

Haldir is by far one of my favorite characters in the Lord of the Rings. (And Craig Parker who plays him is a nice guy too! Thank you Salt Lake Comic Con! 😉 ) He doesn’t play a very big role, but he is very important character in some ways.

Haldir, if you don’t know, is the elf whom the fellowship first meet when they stumble on Lothlorien. He is the one with the famous line, “the dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark.”

The most important scene Haldir is in is the battle at Helms Deep. Everyone thinks they aren’t going to make it out, but then the elves show up. Haldir nobly helps the men, whose lives are almost irrelevant compared to his. He did not have to do that at all. Even worse (*spoilers* for those who haven’t watched), it ends in his death.

The best/worst scene of his is the death scene. Good as in the symbolism and acting, bad as in depressing! Anyway, when Haldir is hit in the back by an orc, he starts to realize what is happening. He sees all the dead elves around him, his friends and relatives. He realizes that death isn’t impossible for him. Just because he can live forever, doesn’t mean he can’t be killed. He feels death slowly encompassing him, it makes the watcher realize how close death is for all these important characters. Death can come to anyone, being a main character doesn’t save you from it.

This scene is much like the scene with Legolas, just less subtle. It is another motivating death, like Gandalf’s and Boromirs. It is not meant for the watcher to put themselves in his place, but in the place of all those who see the death and are motivated to fight harder for him. Death shouldn’t cause us to give up, but to fight harder.

The one that ends up with Haldir dying in his arms is Aragorn. Aragorn tends to be the one witnessing the death of those he loves. Since he is the Christ-like character in the situation, he is the one he is saddened by the brutal death of those he cares for, like how Christ loves all his spirit brothers and sisters. Aragorn sees death happen to Elves and Men, this shows how Christ loves us no matter our background, no matter our race. Haldir is a supporting character meant to strengthen Aragorn’s character. While also motivating us specifically.

What Do YOU Think?

Hello Viewers!

I, as you probably know, love to write on the topic of Tolkien’s Middle Earth! So far, I have mostly written about individual characters and the symbolism behind them. Hopefully you have been liking it! But if you would like to hear about other Tolkien-related things, please let me know! You can comment some feedback or ideas. Also, here is a poll you can take if you have a general answer to the question “What [Tolkien related] topics do you want to hear about from me?”

Thank you so much for reading and keeping up with my posts! Honestly, please leave feedback! For those of you who have been, thank you! If you want to critisize, go ahead, but please try to keep it positive! If you don’t keep it positive, your choice. You are entitled to your opinion! Again, thank you all!

Sincerely,

Kenzie Baxter

 

Aragorn: Ranger, Strider, King

Aragorn is much like Gandalf in many ways. Just as Gandalf is symbolic of Christ, Aragorn has his own similarities to our savior as well. Aragorn is a king, just as Christ is to us.

Aragorn first shows up in Bree as what the hobbits think is just Strider. The hobbits are misled by the appearance of Aragorn, just like the apostles didn’t recognize Christ after his resurrection.

Throughout the first part of the journey, the hobbits are suspicious of Aragorn and aren’t sure if they should be trusting him. They had no choice but to follow him to Weathertop. Once they see that they can trust Aragorn when he fights off the Black Riders, they don’t really have the time to see Aragorn for who he is, because they are worried for Frodo. Often when we have trials and worries, we forget to look to Christ, the one who saved us.

When the fellowship go through Moria, after Gandalf fell, Aragorn had to take the place of Gandalf as the leader of their group, which he does humbly. Just like Gandalf did, Aragorn still lets Frodo make the decisions, like we are free to make decisions on earth. At Amon Hen, when Frodo makes the decision to leave on his own is an example of this.

When Boromir is felled by three arrows, Aragorn is the first to make it to him. He stands by him until his last breath, and lets him know that he is forgiven for his actions. Boromir then realizes who Aragorn is, in a sense. He realizes the king Aragorn will be.

Aragorn is an excellent tracker. This shows Aragorn’s knowledge of where he is going in life. He knows his purpose, he is to be king, but he doesn’t flaunt the idea around. He is humble. Christ also knew what his purpose on earth was.

Notice how the first thing Aragorn does is make sure Merry and Pippin are all right. His first priority is the safety of those he was left to watch over. He feels responsible for them and loves them like Christ loves us. Christ’s ultimate goal is our spiritual well-being and safety.

After Aragorn sees that Merry and Pippin are safe, he heads to Edoras with Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas. While he is there, he is able to witness the ways Gandalf handles hard situations. Aragorn steps down from his leadership role and leaves Gandalf to take charge again. We don’t see too many significant actions from Aragorn until he and Gandalf are no longer in company with each other. They sort of combine together to form all the aspects of Christ.

The rallying of the Army of the Dead is one of Aragorn’s most significant roles in the Lord of the Rings. His power of the ghosts shows that he is a part of death and life. Christ was resurrected, his body made perfect, making him part of heaven and earth. He is far more powerful than anything, he simply chooses to teach his people through humility and earthly weakness. Aragorn was a perfect example of power and humility.

Aragorn is also a healer. He was the only one who could heal Eowyn after she was injured so deeply. Christ also has the power of spiritual and physical healing. The physical healing from Aragorn symbolizes the healing Christ did on the earth. Only Christ can remove sin from us. Through Christ, all things are made possible.

When Aragorn finally becomes king is similar to when Christ is resurrected.

You may be thinking, “I thought Gandalf was supposed to symbolize Christ.” Well, he does. But just as Christ used many different parables to teach basically the same principles, Tolkien represented Christ with more than one character. People learn in different ways. That is why there are different parables. What may touch one person, might not affect another. Therefore, there needs to be more than one representation of important things.

Most importantly, we see Aragorn face trial. When Frodo offers Aragorn the ring, he has to resist the temptation to take it. We see Christ experience a similar thing. Satan tries to tempt Christ in any way he can, and Christ is able to resist it. It wasn’t necessarily easy for Christ to resist, or else it wouldn’t have been temptation. He did, however, know his decision beforehand, therefore, he was able to resist when the moment presented itself.

Gandalf is sort of the representation of Christ’s life in sequence, Aragorn is representing Christ’s roles and works on the earth. Aragorn has always been the most noble of all characters, not only out of Tolkien’s characters, but of almost all fantasy novels. Aragorn will always be the one true king.

Eowyn: Tolkien’s Strong Female Character

In Tolkien’s books, Eowyn is almost the only female character with a strong role. Arwen, Galadriel, and Rosie Cotton are few who are only briefly mentioned. Eowyn was described as:

“Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, and thought her fair, fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood.”

Although Aragorn did not love Eowyn the way he loved Arwen, her beauty still affected him. The way she is described is a symbol similar to the night coming to morning. The sun has not yet come up on her role in the story of life. This part of the story in a way foreshadows the importance of Eowyn as a character entwined in a large story affecting every character.

When reflecting on Eowyn as being the only strong female character in the Lord of the Rings, I started to wonder. I wondered if Eowyn could have been inspired by the women that would sneak into the war at the time that Tolkien fought. Maybe he knew personally a girl that had made a lasting impact on the outcome of his experience. Since I don’t know really anything about Tolkien’s time at war, I will leave that as just a thought.

Eowyn represents how even the most beautiful thing on the world is affected by great evil. It pained her so much that it made her want to be rid of it. She defied all that she had grown up to believe. Just imagine for a moment. Eowyn has grown up royalty. Although she doesn’t have her real father, she has her uncle, who actually becomes far more over protective. Without her own parents, the men in her life feel it their responsibility to watch over her and refuse to see that she has grown up.

In a way, we all have this inside us. We all want more than to simply sit and wait, expecting horrible news, not knowing if our loved ones are safe. When we feel like we have been idling away our time, we feel that we need to do something. Especially when our loved ones are off facing trials and hardships.

Eowyn hardly encounters Gandalf, who we know symbolizes Christ. This could mean that her distance from her savior lead her to a near fatal trial. Or it could mean that she went off to discover Christ for herself. To find out who he is to her and what this battle could mean for her should she choose to fight for good, to fight for the good of all.

In Tolkien’s time, women were still seen as the homemakers and mothers (of know purposeful sexist attempt on Tolkien’s part). Because of this war, Eowyn wasn’t able to become what the world thought she should be. And that started making her wonder what her roles in life really were. Was her only purpose really to be a mother? (which is one of the most important roles a woman can have, seeing as it brings God’s children into this world, don’t get me wrong.) If she never became a mother, what was she to do with her life? She decided that going out into the world to discover herself was better than sitting around waiting for it to come to her.

Eowyn shows independence and choice. We were given freedom to choose as a result of God’s plan for us, that means that we all have that freedom, regardless of gender, race, or anything the world says should determine our rights.

Tolkien’s message strikes harder with having one single, large-role, female character. With there being just one, it draws more attention to it. When thinking of the roles of women in the Lord of the Rings, you would automatically turn to Eowyn, thus leading to this message Tolkien left us.

Disregarding gender for a moment, if Eowyn’s character had been a man, it would have lost all the attention deserved and destroyed the purpose of Eowyn’s character. Trying to show the affects of evil to the most beautiful things of this world would not have worked with a male character, simply because men don’t have the natural characteristic of beauty that women do.

Simply stated, Eowyn is one of the most important charcters in Tolkien’s world. She represents so much in the trials of life. When she finally overcomes the trials in her life, she realizes that she had blocked out the love of others simply because she wasn’t sure what love truly was. She realized that she didn’t love Aragorn with a marriage type of love, simply a love like unto our love for Christ. By finally putting that behind her, she was able to see and feel the love that was right in front of her.

Faramir became her true love, and the only way she could find that love was to overcome the trials of life that were stopping her. It is much like Tolkien’s own story. He didn’t marry his wife until he returned from war. War affects all the characters, just like temptations and sin affect each of us. We just need to learn how to overcome them in order to be happy.

The Grey Havens

The Grey Havens is a place, one of the only places, that leads to the ocean. The ocean, because it is the origin of all life, and also because of the mysteries beneath, is symbolic of life and mystery. One could even say it represents the mysteries of life. But, why would Tolkien use the ocean to represent the exit from life? Well, the ocean is the mystery of the beginning of life, and many believe that after death, we will return back to where we came from. Thus the ocean could represent the beginning and end of life.

The journey into the west is symbolic of translation. The city of Enoch in the Old Testament was translated, as was Elijah and few others. Translation meaning going into heaven without separating spirit and body. One of my all time favorite songs is Into the West, sung by Annie Lennox. It is a song about the Grey Havens.

This song literally almost brings me to tears, especially with the video. You can hear it talk about the mysteries of the other side of the sea, or heaven. It says that even though you have been through so much hardship and trial, you don’t have to be afraid, you will be going to a better place, full of joy and rest, no longer worrying about the fears and pains of the world.

I don’t know how, but Peter Jackson did an AMAZING job interpreting the Lord of the Rings. It keeps all the elements of the symbolism and even adds to it, whether it be intentionally or not. The Grey Havens is a beautiful thing, representing the good that comes after evil. Just as the night will soon become day, good will soon overtake evil. It is a beautiful, beautiful analogy that makes me feel that we don’t have to be afraid of the future because it will all end with joy and gladness.

Frodo at the Grey Havens

All those who go into the west may represent the apostasy, when God’s word left the earth. This leaves the thought of the restoration up to us, to decide for ourselves what the restored truth would have been like in Tolkien’s world. Who knows, maybe at one point I might write a short story of my own interpretation, unless of course anyone disagrees and lets me know if it’s a bad idea. I wouldn’t plan to publish, of course, but just as a blog. (Let me know your thoughts about that in the comments if you like!)

Anyhow, the Grey Havens is one of the best parts of the Tolkien world because it shows that Tolkien himself was confident in his future and prepared for the paradise he would come to after his death. It gives us a glimpse into the hopes and faith he had, which is amazing! I hope that we can all find it in us to be joyful about what is to come for us in the future. I sure would like to partake of such happiness!

Also, when Frodo goes into the west, he says goodbye to his friends who are all crying. This is especially comforting for those who have lost loved ones. It shows that, even when we mourn for our loved ones, we can be comforted that they will have endless joy and we will be able to be with them in that joy when it is our time. I don’t want to say I’m excited to die, because that sounds crazy or something, but I do want to say I am excited for the joy that will come from it!

And, now that I sound like I’m preaching or something, I will leave you with a quote:

“The grey-rain curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

The Scouring of the Shire

Many people have never heard of the battle that went on in the heart of the Shire itself, due to the fact that it wasn’t in the movies. In fact, Saruman never died in Isengard, instead, he was let go and eventually made his way to the Shire, where he took over.

When the four Hobbits; Sam, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry, got home after the war ended, they found that the Shire was under new management. Though they didn’t know at the time that Saruman himself was responsible.

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Most of those who know of the Scouring thought that it was a slightly unnecessary, anti-climactic ending to a story. However, when you look at it, it is incredibly symbolic. It shows that even the most pure and homely place can be touched by evil. You aren’t going to be safe simply because you are in your home. Temptation reaches you anywhere you are.

The Shire had always been a place where Frodo and Bilbo were able to relax, with no worries of anything outside of their home. To make things worse, Saruman was staying in Bag End, as if Satan himself was taking up residence in his home. They even chopped down Bilbo’s tree (which could possibly be the tree that grew from the acorn Bilbo picked up from Beorn’s garden. 😉 ).

In the Lord of the Rings movies, the Scouring was represented when Frodo looked into Galadriel’s mirror. Peter Jackson wanted that aspect of evil reaching everywhere by showing the scene with hobbits in shackles.

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When the Hobbits finally discovered that Saruman was the “Chief,” Frodo was going to let Saruman go, despite all the disapproval of all the other Hobbits. Frodo became a benevolent leader, thanks to all the examples around him and the near death experience that defined him. Even though Frodo forgave and let Saruman go, he soon after met the consequences of the things he did.

Frodo showed that forgiveness, even to people who have robbed, killed, and destroyed, is not impossible. We are asked to forgive everyone, and let God forgive whom he will forgive. He is the only one who has the power to judge us, because He knows our hearts and our intentions.

After Frodo said many times more sure than ever, Saruman cursed him for the mercy he gave him, then proceeded to mock Wormtongue and accuse him of murders that Saruman forced him to commit, Wormtongue killed Saruman himself, just like in the movie. And was then shot with an arrow, again like the movie. It shows that if you let the devil rule your life, you can almost never come back. You still have the option of repentance and mercy, but if you become bitter against the devil instead, you are only harming yourself. As I have said many times before, having anger against someone is only hurting you. Plus, Satan wants you to be angry, you are only doing what he wants by hurting others. Then you are dragged down with him.

This scene was a very important aspect in the book, but the movie still did a good job of adding in the messages, even if they didn’t do so in the most accurate way. Either way, they were both told wonderfully.

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