Friday Thoughts: Tolkien and War

Good morning! We made it to another weekend! Unless you work on the weekend then I wish you much strength and courage.

On my commute, I have been reading Lord of the Rings. I am happy to say that in six hours worth of riding the train, I have finished The Fellowship of the Ring.

It has been many years since I last read these three books and I am disappointed in myself for this. However, the long wait is over and I am much better for it. I once again walked through the Shire, saw the beauty of Elrond’s home, and felt the terror of the Nine Riders. In the recent news of attacks in England, disappearances of children from around the city, and the poor representation of “heroes” in the world, it is good to have some wholesome things to read.

I have noticed that in the movies, no one quite puts enough weight on the numbers killed. Regardless whether the hero slew them or the villain. In DC’s Man of Steel, an entire city was destroyed but no one mentioned it. Going further back, every single Transformer movie. No one notes it. More recently, in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, Yondu is seen killing an entire crew of a ship and enjoying it.

And the audience laughed.

It was disturbing to hear people enjoying one man and a garbage panda kill hundreds of men. Without warning. Without mercy. Perhaps it was justice because they killed his entire crew. Perhaps it is because Yondu has a black soul*. But was it necessary? Was it needed?

In Tolkien’s story, either the characters note the number of dead. Or the narrator does. From the number of men killed in the defense of Gondor to the number of Urak-Hai slain for control of Helm’s Deep, you can see the cost of war. You can also see why the war was fought. Or why the hero had to fight.

I think that is something we are in danger of losing. That we forget just how horrible war is because of the gory movies we watch or how easy the “hero” takes to killing the enemy. Or why some battles must be fought or why some battles are not worth the fight.

But that is just me. Maybe I am a strange individual who believes in fighting but at the same time wishes to avoid it. Maybe I am strange for wanting to be like Faramir: a warrior and a scholar. But then again, these are my thoughts.

In light of this, I will leave you with this question:

If you fight all the time, are you able to know when you must fight?

*Disclaimer: when I use the word “black” I mean in relations to evil deeds.

A Baggin’s Adventure

Although I am thankful to have a job but at the moment all I am doing is working and sleeping. This is mostly because of the two hours commute– one way.

However, the long commutes do offer me a chance to think. One of the things I thought about was life and its adventures. For some odd reason, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins showed up in my mind.

For those of you who do not know, the Baggins are Hobbits from Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth. Which you should read.

Now Bilbo and Frodo had very different adventures.

Bilbo made the choice to take a risk and step way out of his comfort zone. He found great friends, made enemies, and learn much. Both about the greater world and himself. He returned home with a heavy heart but older. And yes, he suffered the loss of dear friends but they departed as they wished to. Good terms and for the greater good.

Frodo, by contrast, had the choice forced upon him. Although he agreed to take the Ring to Mordor (cue YouTube videos), the ring and circumstances push him towards that decision. Like Bilbo, Frodo made and lost friends along the way. However, their passings were useless. That even the victories of the good guys were costly. From Boromir’s death to the fall of the King of Rohan, the deaths were caused by the ring and those who chose to serve evil.

Even their endings were different.

Bilbo returned home and lived a long life filled with the peaceful celebrations that Hobbits celebrate. Frodo, on the other hand, were empty for the remainder of his life. This was proven by the fact that he was accorded a place in the Undying Lands. If you read the books, all of them, ring bearers were given this gift to become healed from carrying the weight of the One Ring. This means that Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam were all accorded a place in the Undying Lands.

The adventures of Bilbo and Frodo can be examples of the adventures we may have. We can choose to step out of the door and take a chance.

Go and find out more about life, make great friends, become famous, and get filthy, stinky rich off of Trolls.

Or one can have one like Frodo. From one painful situation to the next with no hope or reason. To realize if you even reach your goal, it means the end of you. To struggle through the darkness. To fight because the lives of so many others depend on you.

The funny thing is, you don’t which adventure you will have once you step out. I guess the only way you find out is at the end.

So here is to leaving the safety of the home and heading out of the door.

What to do on a rainy day?

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings and a cup of hot coco
Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. And a cup of coco. Perfect

What do we do on a rainy day? Well, you could do homework, sleep, play in the rain, or read. I tried to do homework and was too distracted.

Then I looked out the window and thought to myself, “I wish I could read.” I laughed then tried to read the words from my textbook. Ten minutes later and I hadn’t gotten past the first paragraph. I wanted to continue on like a good student. I decided not to.

Instead, I curled up in my bed and opened an old favorite of mine: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

This is the work that really got me into Fantasy sci-fi and made me fall in love with writing.

It is my hope that every child (and yes, I am still a child) gets the chance to open a book that changes them as much as this series has changed me.

Now, if you don’t mind. I’m going to go read now.