The Lord of the Rings

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Taylor 1 Gaby Taylor Mr Olszyk Jesus Christ and the New Evangelization 13 Mar 2015 If You Liked It Then You Should Have Put a Ring On It by the Ringwraiths The Lord of the Rings written by J R R Tolkien and made into movies by Peter Jackson is an epic trilogy ultimately about the battle between good and evil It is all centered around a ring known as the Ring of Power With this ring Sauron the ruler of evil has the ability to take over all of Middle earth Gandalf formulates a fellowship of creatures such as dwarves and elves to take this ring back to Mordor where it was created and destroy it However it isn t any of the creatures in this fellowship that can destroy the ring itself A humble hobbit is selected to take the ring back to the origin of evil His journey is not without its struggles of course but then again neither is the Gospel And The Lord of the Rings is a story that subversively represents the Gospel and the history of our faith Just as in Christianity The Lord of the Rings demonstrates that good always conquers evil through sacrifice The first important theme in this work is that good will always defeat evil Tolkien makes it clear that no matter how hopeless the situation gets evil has already lost As Samwise Gamgee says there s some good in this world Mr Frodo and it s worth fighting for Tolkien Christians must continue fighting the battle against evil and sin so that it never has the impression it has won The second important theme in this work is that true love is sacrifice In order for good to beat evil sacrifice is necessary These sacrifices are evident throughout the whole story of The Lord of the Rings as it is throughout the Taylor 2 whole Gospel Tolkien once claimed that The Lord of the Rings began implicitly as a Catholic novel but as it unfolded it became explicitly Catholic Barron As Tolkien discusses this story of good versus evil it soon becomes clear the Gospel was the ultimate inspiration These books and movies are so popular because people believe Tolkien to be an escapist author his work enables its readers to flee from the horrors of modern life to find refuge in a mythical and unreal world Wood 1 However Tolkien was a soldier during World War I so he witnessed suffering and evil first hand This helped him better write about such evil that plagues society today and in turn through this story forces his readers to confront evil to defeat it The characters in this story symbolize characters in the Gospel However there is not one single Christ figure Many of the characters that fight on the side of good embody Christ like characteristics But there are four main characters that strongly represent Christ Frodo Gandalf and Aragorn symbolize the biblical priest prophet and king Barron Christ is the priest prophet and king Frodo is the priest because he must make the sacrifice He must give up his life to save Middle earth Likewise Jesus sacrifices his life for all of humanity Also Frodo doesn t bring a large army to Mordor he sneaks in and can go straight to the heart of darkness to destroy the ring and thus darkness Jesus can wander into our hearts go straight to the darkness and sin die our death and thereby disempower it Next Gandalf is the prophet because he is the character full of wisdom and teaches the others what to do Similarly Christ came and taught his Apostles what to do Also Gandalf battles a great dark figure tumbles down into the abyss He dies and rises as Gandalf the White Before he falls and dies he states that he fights for the shadow of fire Barron This represents the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit fights for good and ultimately Taylor 3 wins Finally Aragorn represents the king Aragorn is both literally the king because of his ancestry and metaphorically the king Aragorn leads the fellowship and is able to make decisions based on what he knows is best Jesus is the king of Heaven and Earth He didn t come in the king like form expected of him rather he came humbly Aragorn is humble in all his actions Also just like Christ Aragorn goes to the realm of the dead and calls them back to fight When Jesus died he descended into Hell as well While Frodo Gandalf and Aragorn all represent Christ in some form so does Samwise Gamgee Sam is the quiet almost sidekick to Frodo But at the end when Frodo must throw the ring in the fire he is ultimately seduced by the ring It is only because of Sam that the ring is destroyed Sam s truly humble nature protects him against the power of the ring Just as there are evil people in the Gospel there are evil characters in this story Sauron represents sin and the devil He is an eye that can see all but the eye lacks substance Similarly sin lacks substance In fact sin is not a thing rather it is a lack of a thing This motif is seen in the other creatures as well Gollum through his own sin became a deformed hobbit He lost the hobbit qualities due to sin The Orcs are deformed elves They were once majestic creatures but chose to sin and therefore lost their beauty Even the Ringwraiths symbolize sin as they are just a cloak with nothing inside All of these evil characters represent sin but they also are reflections of things from this history of Christianity Sauron represents the devil as he fell from goodness The orcs are the fallen angels the demons The Ringwraiths represent our daily temptations They seem like nothing scary but once you give into sin they have a hold of you The cloaks aren t too scary by themselves but once one gives into the power of the ring the Ringwraiths Taylor 4 themselves can locate the ringbearer and take them Finally Gollum represents what we become By falling into sin constantly we as humans lose ourselves The battle between good and evil is at the heart of this story The good must defeat the evil for the sake of Middle earth Similarly Christ had to defeat sin and death for all mankind He did this by allowing the evil of the world to spend itself on him Frodo had to ultimately undertake this sacrifice He had to give up his life in the Shire to travel into the heart of darkness and destroy the object of sin the ring The interesting similarity between the Gospel and The Lord of the Rings is that in each circumstance when evil must be defeated the good side doesn t pick a great warrior or some powerful king They pick the smallest and humblest people a baby in the case of the Gospel or a hobbit in the case of The Lord of the Rings Through their willingness to give themselves away in love this makes them the greatest people And through sacrifice good defeats evil just as God determined in the beginning Both the books and the movies are excellent portrayals of its religious subject matter These books tell the story of the Gospel tell our story But rather than outright repeating the Gospel Tolkien embeds the Gospel as the underlying theme of his book with its deep background and implicit hope A common complaint against people who interpret this work in Christianity is that since it contains no formal religion they are wrong to find any traces of the Gospel in his book However the religious significance arises out of its plot and characters its images and tone its landscape and point of view not from any heavy handed moralizing or preachifying Wood 4 Because of the subversive nature of the work The Lord of the Rings is very popular People all over the world enjoy the movies and British readers still consider the books to be the most popular yet The best part about Taylor 5 this work is that it doesn t say to believe or not believe Rather it tells the story of what it is Christians believe in In today s secular society hiding the message of the Gospel in this mystical and fantastical epic allows the Word to be spread oftentimes without people realizing it Works Cited Barron Fr Robert Fr Robert Barron on The Lord of the Rings Online video clip YouTube YouTube 11 May 2007 Web 05 Mar 2015 J R R Tolkien The Lord of the Rings Ballantine Books New York Copyright 1954 1974 Volume I The Fellowship of the Ring Taylor 6 Volume II The Two Towers Volume III The Return of the King The Lord of the Rings Return of the King Dir Peter Jackson Perf Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen New Line Home Entertainment 2004 DVD The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Dir Peter Jackson Perf Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen New Line Home Entertainment 2001 DVD The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers Dir Peter Jackson Perf Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen New Line Home Entertainment 2003 DVD Wood Ralph C The Gospel According to Tolkien Visions of the Kingdom in Middle Earth Louisville KY Westminster John Knox 2003 Print


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