Happy Sunday Everyone! Let us see what the Galaxy has to offer us today…
One of the things it’s got on tap is a complete reversal – two lines into the post. Despite the title, this is not going to be a Star Wars related post.
It’s going to be a Tolkien-Related Post.
I can’t remember who it was that posted it, but I read a thread on Twitter about how The Lord of the Rings was inherently a sad tale.
I started thinking about that. Not actively, but it was a thought that sat on the back burner, simmering along, until it was ready.
What did I find in that pot? For starters, I realized that I need to step away from the cooking metaphors because I’m making myself hungry. The other thing I realized is that they were right…
From a certain point of view.
The premise behind the thought was that The Lord of the Rings was sad because, ultimately the good things that happen are fleeting.
Everything good – the story says (Not always overtly, though sometimes it’s as subtle as a brick to the head about it) – will fade. Death comes for everyone. In the movies, Elrond spells that out pretty clearly (I’ll get to that in a minute because he clearly illustrates my point). I can’t remember if it does so in the books (which means that I’m due for a re-read) but I do remember that in the appendices at the end of The Return of the King, Tolkien makes a point of noting just how long each member of the fellowship, who stayed behind, lived and when they died. He finished, naturally, with Legolas and my head-canon tells me that he eventually went to the Gray Havens and sailed to Valinor.
Now I’m not anything close to a Tolkien Scholar, but if you look back on his other works, like the Silmarillion, you’ll find that The Lord of the Rings isn’t unique in that thread. There are epic ebbs and flows where the times – both good and bad – come to pass.
Ebbs and flows. Good times come and go.
That’s the way of life, though, isn’t it?
I can just as easily say that bad times come and go. How you feel about it depends on your point of view.
Which brings me back to Elrond.
Elrond – in his attempts to convince Arwen to depart Middle Earth (retreat to a place of Eternal Safety) does a pretty shitty thing. He focuses on the bad. He tells Arwen that even if everything they hope for in their wildest dreams comes to pass, Aragorn will still die in the end – and she’ll be alone. He doesn’t mention the child to come, or the years, upon years of happiness they will have up until Aragorn passes.
It all comes down to a certain point of view. How you see it. Yes, there is struggle and pain, but as Sam Gamgee puts it: “There’s good in the world, Mister Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”
The bad times won’t last and, while it’s easier to focus on what you’ve lost, I think that one can also infer from Tolkien’s stories, that the Good Times as even more special because they are fleeting.
Enjoy them while you can. Hold them in your memory to sustain you when you’re pushing through the cold and dark, and create new memories when you push into the light again.
You can see the Lay of Luthien as a sad tale – it was practically written to be so *or* you can remember that Luthien and Beren were happy together. They had some fantastic adventures (Seriously – they pulled off a heist to snatch a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown) and they spent their lives (Both of them – if you haven’t read it, the Silmarillion is worth the effort) together.
It all comes down to what you choose to focus on and I encourage you to look for the good times and enjoy them while they are here. And when that time is gone and there is struggle, look ahead to the good time to come – for it will.
Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.
I’ll see you on Thursday.
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