Tag Archives: The Lord of the Rings

New “Lord of the Rings” TV Show: We Can’t Just Leave Well Enough Alone

It’s recently been confirmed that Amazon will be producing a TV series based on The Lord of the Rings, and it’s already been guaranteed for five seasons even though nothing has actually been shot yet, so we don’t even know how good it is. The promising thing is that they aren’t planning on retelling the events of LotR (or I suppose it could be considered a bad thing if you were hoping to finally get some Bombadil in your life); they’re going to focus on the material in the appendices. That part sounds really fascinating, and I want to be excited for that except…well…you all saw what happened to The Hobbit.

In spite of my misgivings about The Hobbit, it just feels weird to think of seeing Middle-Earth through the eyes of someone other than Peter Jackson. The man has a lot of passion for Tolkien’s work, which I can respect. Yes, he’s one of the people pitching ideas for the new show, but there’s no guarantee they’ll choose him, and that makes me sad.

In times like this, I just have to remind myself that we still have the books, and nothing can ever take that away from us.

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Boromir and Faramir: The Sinner and the Saint

I have a confession to make–I have never liked Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. I always thought he was stubborn and arrogant; it’s all Gondor all the time with him, and he refused to listen to Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn when they kept telling him that in no uncertain terms can they ever use the Ring. I mean, sure, he redeems himself by sacrificing himself to protect Merry and Pippin, but up until that point I’m always, “Why’d we have to bring him again?” Contrawise, I have always loved Faramir from the very first time I read the books. Unlike his older brother, Faramir is not so single-mindedly focused on saving Gondor that he fails to see the big picture, and he actually listens when people tell him the Ring is mucho no bueno (in the books anyway. Don’t get me started on the movies). And the fact that he was never even tempted to use the Ring even when it was three feet in front of him just floored me the first time I read that. Clearly Faramir got all of the awesomeness in the family.

Yet to my surprise, there are people out there–quite a few people–who don’t like Faramir for that very reason! They say he’s too perfect, and that they can’t relate to him because of it. They find Boromir more relatable because of his fallen nature. This upset me at first–why would you prefer the jerky brother over the non-jerky brother?–but over time I began to see a certain logic behind the preference. However, Faramir still plays an important role that I think too many people overlook.

Several years ago, I had a chance to listen to a talk given by Joseph Pearce on the Catholic aspects of The Lord of the Rings, and he was the one who first drew my attention to the parallel of Boromir as a sinner and Faramir as a saint. Boromir had a fallen nature he had to overcome, but Faramir had already overcome that nature (probably because of all the stuff Denethor put him through). So in a sense I can see why more people would like Boromir; we all have fallen natures we have to overcome. But all sinners are called to become saints. Boromir is who we are, but Faramir is who we are supposed to become.

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May the Force be with You in Middle-Earth

It’s Star Wars Day, and I figured I’d do something a little different by going into the similarities between Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. It’s kind of a running joke in my family that Star Wars is really just The Lord of the Rings in space, and here I shall prove it to the world. Some of these may seem fairly obvious; others may be completely bonkers, but all should be entertaining.

Luke Skywalker = Frodo Baggins

Frodo and Luke

 

Ordinary guy (but with famous relatives) living a pretty ordinary life suddenly finds himself in the middle of a plot that could destroy the world.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader = Bilbo Baggins

Darth Vader and Bilbo

First in the family to have epic adventures, is temporarily under the influence of the Dark Lord but fights off the influence and becomes one with the Force/sails to the Grey Havens.

Obi-Wan Kenobi = Gandalf

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gandalf

The man responsible for seeing both generations off on their respective adventures–also dies and comes back in a more powerful form.

Emperor Palpatine = Sauron

Emperor Palpatine and Sauron

Do I really need to explain this one?

Han Solo = Aragorn

Han Solo and Aragorn

Ruffian who turns out to be a hero.

Princess Leia = Arwen

Princess Leia and Arwen

A princess who always has a plan and is not afraid to make sacrifices for the people closest to her no matter what the personal cost.

C-3PO and R2-D2 = Legolas and Gimli

C-3PO and R2-D2 and Legolas and Gimli

Best friends who are always bickering.

Lando Calrissian = Eomer

Lando Calrissian and Eomer

The friend who shows up in Part II and is crucial to helping win the battle in Part III.

Count Dooku = Saruman

Count Dooku and Saruman

Former good guy who turned traitor. Bonus points for both parts being played by Christopher Lee.

Yoda = Gollum

Yoda and Gollum

Odd-looking creature with a weird speech pattern who shows our hero the way to complete his quest.

I know, I know, I couldn’t find parallels for all of the LotR characters (which makes me sad because I would love to know who Eowyn and Sam are analogous to), but I think these are pretty accurate, nonetheless–and funny, too, which was the whole point behind this post.

Happy Star Wars Day!

 

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Good Friday and the Ring of Power

Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified for our sins, and if you know anything about Tolkien, you probably know that it is also the anniversary of the day when Frodo and Sam made it to Mount Doom and destroyed the Ring. It was never a coincidence that Tolkien chose March 25 for this important date in Middle-Earth history (just as it was no coincidence that he chose December 25 as the date the Fellowship set out from Rivendell).

You see, there is a very old tradition that states that the original Good Friday took place on March 25. I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether or not that tradition is accurate, but the important point is that there is a good chance Tolkien had heard of it, him being Catholic and all. Making the day when the power of the Ring is forever broken the same day as when Christ broke the power of sin and death would have been an extremely powerful parallel for a story already rich with Catholic symbols and parallels (there’s a brief mention of Original Sin–“It was fitting that Isildur’s heir should labor to repair Isildur’s fault”–lembas means “life-bread” or “bread of life”, which is a common title for the Eucharist, etc.).

Of course, March 25 is also the Feast of the Annunciation, which is more commonly known, so it’s also possible that Tolkien chose that date for the Ring’s destruction to honor the Annunciation, in which case I have officially lost my mind. But even if I am wrong about why he used March 25, it is still a fascinating parallel to ponder.

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Tolkien Week: The Tales That Really Mattered

It seems hard to believe that Tolkien Week is over already–we need at least two weeks. Or maybe a celebration that’s held twice a year.

Either way, it seemed apropos to end Tolkien Week on a high note–a reminder of why, at its core, The Lord of the Rings is one of the Tales That Really Mattered.

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Tolkien Week is upon Us!

Yes, it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year again, a week-long celebration of all things Tolkien! Once more we set off down the road that leads to adventure, mayhem, and sacrifice and learn more about friendship, love, and what it truly means to be a hero.

Just beyond the far horizon
Lies a waiting world, unknown.
Like the dawn its beauty beckons
With a wonder all its own.

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Probably the Most Awesome Middle-Earth Thing I’ve Ever Learned

Remember back in October when I was pondering the importance of Men in Middle-Earth and wondered if the Incarnation was supposed to have happened since Middle-Earth was supposed to be an older version of our world? Well, I found my answer.

It was. It totally was going to happen.

In the tenth volume of The History of Middle-Earth, titled Morgoth’s Ring, there’s a section called “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”; it’s a conversation between the Elven king Finrod Fegalund and the human lore master Andreth on the differences between Elves and Men (mainly immortality vs. death). During the course of the conversation, Andreth mentioned a prophecy passed down among the humans that Eru (the Middle-Earth name for God) would enter Ea (one of their names for Earth) to save his Children. This was the first time Finrod had heard of this prophecy, and both he and Andreth were confused as to how Eru could enter Ea in the first place.

But did you see that part? Eru was going to enter Ea and save his children. The Incarnation was totally going to happen, folks. Of course, there are more questions now–was He still going to be human? (Probably yes, since Men were the first ones to learn about it.) Would the effects of the Redemption (however it would be achieved here) apply to Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits, too, or only to Men? Are we going to shoehorn Ents in here, too? Is it possible that one of the tasks of the Blue Wizards, in addition to battling Sauron in the Eastern countries, was to prepare those countries for Eru’s coming? Could I overthink this any more?

As far as I know, Tolkien never got as far as actually writing the Incarnation into the rest of the Middle-Earth legendarium, but just the fact that it was slated to be in there is, in my completely unimportant nerdy Catholic fangirl opinion, pretty awesome.

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