It’s been about ten years since the final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was made. And believe it or not, I just watched it for the first time last week.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to become familiar with the film series. And I must say I loved them.
My husband is a big fan, and so is his mother.
We actually took her to see The Hobbit for her birthday. It was my first encounter with wizards, dwarves, elves, and hobbits on the big screen. I read the book as a child, but the story just didn’t come to life for me. With each turn of a page, the more I wanted to leave the group behind and abandon the entire journey.
But the film made me see it all with different eyes.
Seeing how Bilbo Baggins ended up with the ring that drove once-conscientious men completely mad made me want to see the adventure his cousin Frodo went on to get rid of it.
I watched the movies over four nights.
The creative in me couldn’t help but notice the magnificent landscapes, and the structures ripened by a history conceived in the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien. Not to mention, the intricate detail in each costume.
But the thinker in me saw pieces of wisdom. And there were five that I found to be the easiest to identify:
It’s unhealthy to be obsessed with material things
The ring corrupted the hobbit once known as Sméagol. Although it extended his life, he developed a lust for it, and became a slave to it. It eventually turned him into an unsightly creature named Gollum who referred to the band of metal as his “precious.” He lived life life torn between being the person he loved and the creature he hated.
The desire for power can be very strong, but succumbing to it could mean your demise
The ring was created to give power, and those who were tempted by it were willing to do anything to get it. Boromir tried to take the ring from Frodo, and that led to his death and the division of the Fellowship. Sméagol went as far as to kill his cousin for it when he found it, and he was willing to kill Frodo and Samwise Gamgee for it. His final attempt to get the ring ended with his death at Mount Doom.
There will always be trials and tribulations, friends and foes, when you are trying to reach your next destination
In Frodo’s quest to drop the ring in the fires of Mount Doom, he was always being hunted by people and creatures who wanted the ring. Some were honest in their pursuits, while others like Gollum used the guise of friendship. But the Fellowship was there to look out for him and help him whenever they could. They were true friends. And whether they were with Frodo or trying to find him, they were constantly confronted by enemies on their journey. But in the end, Frodo and the Fellowship made it to Mordor and the mission was completed.
You can never judge a book by its cover
This one is probably the most obvious lesson of them all. This is a film series where the one destined to be the ringbearer and carry out the mission is a hobbit. Hobbits are not tall and strong. They are not limber and light on their feet. They are not skilled in weapons of battle. You would think a few of these qualities would be needed to take down an evil lord. But all Frodo needed was heart, and determination. Not to mention, good friends looking out for him. Perhaps the best friend was the one Gollum referred to as “the fat hobbit,” Samwise Gamgee. He was actually my favorite character in the triliogy. He was the voice of reason. And towards the end of the journey, he managed to rescue Frodo from a tower guarded by two watchers and carry him much of the way to Mount Doom when the power of the ring weakened him.
You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you’re put to the test
The entire journey tested Frodo like he’d never been tested before. He left the green comforts of the Shire and did something he never thought he’d be able to do.
Even though The Lord of the Rings is filled with fantasy, I think these pieces of wisdom reveal some of life’s basic truths. And I don’t think J.R.R. Tolkien would disagree.
“I believe that legends and myth are largely made of truth, and indeed present aspects of it that can only be perceived in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien