It’s spring break. Last Friday, my son and a friend decided to do a movie marathon of The Lord of The Rings trilogy. One of his friends had never seen it. I can’t remember if my son had seen it all the way through, either. I know he hadn’t seen the extended versions. I didn’t get to watch the whole thing. I had work I had to do and then my dogs were sick and I had to go to the vet and so on and so forth. I did get to see some of it, though and I was rather nostalgic. The movie came out more than fifteen years ago and I remember how amazing and powerful an impact it had on imaginations everywhere, on movie making, and on our culture. That was the first movie, and as each was released, it seemed to have an even stronger, more powerful impact.
Among the SF/F communities, it was this extraordinary vision come to life in a way we had never experienced before. It was no cheesy or all about the CGI. It was about strength, honor, choices, and hope. It was real characters in dreadful situations. The watching of heroes being made and broken beneath weights no one should have to bear. And Aragorn–a king in the making. A soul of strength and doubt and humility.
The movies were inspiring on a lot of fronts. I think it’s appropriate to watch it now in a world that is struggling so hard against itself. With so much fear, and worry and such dire enemies. Who are those enemies? Too many are ourselves. Our fears that turn us into monsters or traitors. Denethor, Gollum, Boromir, the nazgul–absolute power corrupts. There are those who give up. Those who refuse to fight. Those who lose themselves.
The stories, the movies and the books, are a view into ourselves and what we can hope to be and what we may become–good and bad. It’s a reminder that it’s never a good time to quit in the battle against darkness–in whatever shape it takes.
Like many songs, or smells, it took me back to my own past. Took me back to 2001 and what I was doing. In fact, the initial movie is one year older than my son. I often listen to the music, but find it bittersweet, remembering that while so much was won, so much was lost, and some things happen that can’t be recovered from. That true leaders walk in the trenches and sacrifice more than most others.
It reminds me that stories are important and feed our souls. That telling stories of courage and grace are worthwhile. That reading them teaches my heart things. That evil is insidious and often knocks on the door looking like something better than it is.
“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.”