Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gandalf and the End of the Journey

I was a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien long before the movies had been thought of. I took my children, who are now 39 and 35, to see the original Hobbit, which was animated. I bought them The Hobbit on cassettes and I read them the stories. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and converted his dear friend and fellow academic partner, C. S. Lewis, to christianity, though he adopted the Protestant Anglicanism. Both espoused in their writing the struggle between right and wrong they felt humanity was constantly engaged in. The Lord of the Rings and Narnia hold deeply Christian tenents, something perhaps agnostics and atheists may be unaware of or choose to overlook. While Lewis was more overt in his Christian message, Tolkien's books are deeply imbued with Christian themes, but he worked hard to bury them deeply so that they would enhance rather than detract from the stories. However, in the scene I have included here, which is my favorite scene in the trilogy movies, there is no denying the depth of spiritual message in Gandalf's words to Merry. I have often wondered and been saddened that there are those who do not believe in God and I have wondered what comforts them in life, which can be so very hard, and what comforts them at the time of their death. As for me, I look forward to the world Gandalf describes, being with my family and friends who have gone before me, and waiting for those yet to come. I feel fortunate to have that comfort.

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