Splendor in the Darkest Place

Splendor in the Darkest Place

It’s dark. There’s ash and smoke heavy in the air. My eyes are burning. Lifting my head from the hard, rocky ground and squinting, I see them in the distance.  The pivotal battle, the long-awaited conclusion; the destiny of Middle Earth in the literal balance. I see the hobbit, the battle with darkness consuming him,…

The Most Beautiful Song

The Most Beautiful Song

In the very beginning of Tolkien’s world, before the stories of the great heroes came to pass, the Ainur were created by Ilúvatar. They sang the world into existence in the “Great Music” (The Silmarillion, 3). Ilúvatar instructed them to use the gifts and powers he had given to each in this song, to awaken…

A Star of Hope

A Star of Hope

An exceptionally lovely moment of hope returning unexpectedly is found in The Return of the King, in the chapter “The Land of Shadow.” Frodo and Sam have passed into Mordor, wearily and with great struggle, after a brief respite and replenishment in Ithilien. Sam, keeping up his spirits the best he can, has encouraged Frodo—who…

A Star of Hope

Mad Hope

Hope is manifested in many forms. One moment, hope is presented as a nagging insistence that cannot be dismissed, or perhaps a wild rush of emotion coupled with fear, or maybe a shying away from the notion that it could be too could to be true. Or it might come in its strongest form—the unbridled…

A Star of Hope

Despair or Folly?

Despair? ‘Despair or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.’ How can we dismiss such words from one of the Wise? We can because there was so much at stake. The rediscovery of the One Ring was a great, great burden for…

A Star of Hope

Eucatastrophe: The Ascension of Boromir

The Lord of The Rings is filled with innumerable examples of eucatastrophe. Just as Evil looks to strike the fatal blow, the fate of Middle-earth is saved by a small moment of courage, love, and kindness for friends and home, or extraordinary sacrifice from ordinary folk. The Black is truly mighty in Tolkien’s secondary creation,…