Maz Learns the Power of the One Ring.
Written by 1079 Life on April 7, 2021
Why The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the perfect Easter Holidays family binge.
Two years ago I was introduced to the wildly fantastical imagination of arguably one of the world’s greatest authors, J. R. R. Tolkien, through Tolkien starring Nicholas Hault and Lily Collins. I went in to the film with the intent of simply reviewing it on-air for The Takeover’s ‘Film Club’ later that week, and half expected I’d sleep through much of it, but walked out intrigued and inspired by a humbly-lived life that has changed the face of literature forever.
Growing up The Lord of the Rings franchise was HUGE but, to be honest, something about fantasy and adventure didn’t appeal to me. Besides, I was brought up in a strict Catholic household and anything involving witches, wizards and magic was a big NO-NO according to my very traditional father.
Now twenty-something and having heard much about the way Tolkien’s Christian faith inspired his writing, I decided – thanks to some encouragement from my partner (a massive LOTR fan himself) – to finally take the plunge. The fact a local cinema was holding a special limited screening of the trilogy made the decision convenient too.
Two decades on from its release, I’m so glad I finally took part in what everyone was so excited about in the early 2000s.
The thing that struck me the most about the films wasn’t Peter Jackson’s incredibly well directed cinematic masterpiece or the fact the world of cinema was forever impacted by these films, but the Christian symbolism I noticed throughout.
If you think about it, and there may be a few #spoilers here if like me until recently, you haven’t seen the films, but there is a lot throughout the trilogy that can obviously be pointed back to Tolkien’s faith.
To start with, it’s clear from the get-go that Tolkien was a bit of an adventure buff, however these adventures weren’t necessarily for fun but to achieve the greater good.
In the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, we are introduced to Frodo Baggins, the enthusiastic but somewhat naïve young man who to me, represents each of us, and society as a whole, played by Elijah Wood. On a mission to right the wrongs of others, Frodo is accompanied by the most loyal friend in the world of film, in my humble opinion, Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin). Later in the trilogy they are joined by Gollum (Andy Serkis).
For me a particularly poignant scene in the trilogy’s final instalment, The Return of the King, involves Frodo, Sam and Gollum. Frodo sees a temptation to surrender to evil although the right decision is standing in front of him. When faced with this greatest of challenges, he is in a position where he can choose to follow the guidance of Sam, who he knows wants what’s best for him, but is instead tempted to trust Gollum, despite Sam’s warnings. In this scene, I see a lot of myself in Frodo, longing to do what’s right with my heart and follow Jesus (ie. Sam), but sometimes surrendering to what seems exciting or new( ie. Gollum).
Ultimately being human allows us to make decisions and learn from them. At times we only learn through these experiences to choose using our hearts and not our heads.
Another theme that spoke to me was the way Tolkien uses Sam to represent the image of Christ in the films. Sam, the merciful friend who lays down his own life for those he loves and who, despite betrayal and hurt, is merciful and loyal.
Watching these films is the perfect way to celebrate all that Easter means to Christians – the greater good, the hard choices, love, forgiveness and laying down one’s life for others, even when they don’t deserve it.
All I can say now is that I wish I’d experienced all that The Lord of the Rings offers many years ago.
Maz is the host of The Takeover, join her Monday to Friday 7pm – 9pm.