How Anglo Saxon’s Éarendel Inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil

Eärendil

Eärendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arverenien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in…

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1994)

Clarification for all readers who have yet to read The Silmarillion, including myself, is here required: The character Eärendil, of whom the star of Eärendil was named, appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien Elvish mythology, and received much reference elsewhere for genealogy purposes. Below, I have consolidated the information from three sources, detailing how an Anglo-Saxon poem inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil and all that the character embodied.

When Eärendil First Appeared to J.R.R. Tolkien as Éarendel




In reading Humphrey Carpenter’s biography on J.R.R. Tolkien, I stumbled across a name which rung a familiar tune. The name was Éarendel. Found in the Anglo-Saxon religious poems, entitled the Crist of Cynewulf, Éarendel was the one significant Anglo-Saxon influence of only a spare few Anglo-Saxon influences seen in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. And what Tolkien drew and created from this inspiration formed the significance behind Elrond, Ruler of Rivendell, and all his kindred.

But let me not jump ahead. First, an explanation on how young Ronald Tolkien found this name: It happened during Tolkien’s time spent studying at Oxford University. In-between his lengthy essay writings, he took some time to delve more deeply into “the West Midland dialect in Middle English,” as described in Humphrey Carpenter’s J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography (2000, p. 72). When he read the Cynewulf lines, he felt an awakening, or something more akin to an enlivenment of his inner imaginative being.

Eärendil Origins As Seen in the Meaning Behind Éarendel




The Cynewulf lines contained definite religious context, explaining why Ronald Tolkien interpreted Éarendel as symbolizing John the Baptist, the prophet proclaiming the coming of Jesus Christ. However, as Carpenter discovered from his own research on J.R.R. Tolkien, the up-and-coming scholar and author “believed that ‘Éarendel’ had originally been the name for the star presaging the dawn, that is, Venus” (Biography, 2000, p. 72). To decipher the certain meaning behind the possibly-Germanic-origin name is presumably impossible, as noted in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (2000).

Both interpretation and personal belief scream out the origins behind Tolkien’s Eärendil. Because Eärendil had an Elvish mother and a Mortal father, he would father children who could choose immortality or mortality. An Elf species, such as the half-elf Elrond, that could choose Middle-Earth over the voyage into the immortal land. The clearest example existed in Elrond choosing to voyage to the next land, while his daughter, Arwen, chose mortality to stay behind with Aragorn.

As for Eärendil being exiled to shine brightly as a star, representing to all as a beacon of hope…. Well, I would think the connection to J.R.R. Tolkien’s astronomical belief about Éarendel representing Venus – a star to the earth, for all intent and purposes – to be evident.

How J.R.R. Tolkien Used Eärendil, Seen in a Christian Perspective




For those who haven’t made the connection yet, Éarendel is the same name as Eärendil, only the latter is in the Elvish language. One language, I’ve heard, of the 10 or 12 languages that Tolkien created. Along with creating languages, Tolkien used Christian theology, in an uncommon way, to portray faithful Christians in their walk with God in The Lord of the Rings. An example in mind is Tolkien’s idea of both immortality and mortality being gifts from the One God.

Though J.R.R. Tolkien is known for his devoutness to God, a note in The Letters teased that the idea of mortality being a Godly gift is nothing but ‘bad theology.’ However, in continuing to read this particular letter, the reader learns about how Tolkien desired to show the beauty in Christians staying faithful to God and practicing His Will, while still living on earth.

Then comes the symbolism where Eärendil shines as the brightest star: The star gives Men, Elves, and all the good species hope for a brighter future, free from the slavery to darkness. Much like how John the Baptist gave the hope of Christ to a dying world, enslaved to sin.

Concluding Thoughts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Eärendil




I, too, can appreciate the phonetic beauty in both names, Éarendel and Eärendil. This appreciation led to a discovery on how J.R.R. Tolkien truly tied his epic fantasy to Catholicism, and on how Christians ought to live during their time on earth. But much more symbolism lies in wait, I am sure, of what Christian living ought to look like. And with that, I hope to make deeper connections with the Holy Bible itself.

Please feel free to comment below. This is a study in progress, and all helpful commentary is gladly welcomed. Thank you for reading, and I hope you will join me as the journey through Middle-Earth continues.

Or, start on this journey’s beginning here.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie Screencaps.com.


Bibliography
  1. Humphrey Carpenter J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography. Great Britain: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
  2. Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien The Letter of J.R.R. Tolkien. Great Britain: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings. Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – The Lord of the Rings Backed with Cornerstones

J.R.R. Tolkien's early years




Everyone with even a slight interest in the man behind The Lord of the Rings knows J.R.R. Tolkien became, and remained, a devout Catholic all his life. Don and Author, J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years provide hints as to why he took this scholarly and literary path in life. As to his success in these pursuits, little need be said.

The third book I’ve picked up, to learn more about this great Christian Author, is Humphrey Carpenter’s biography on J.R.R. Tolkien. More questions arose in my mind about the literary giant’s parents, and how their behaviors and decisions influenced J.R.R. Tolkien for the long term. I will detail the most obvious influences, as much for my benefit, as for any young person who has yet to learn about the Most Influential Fantasy Author of this age.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – Why Hobbits Enjoy English Countrysides




Soon after young J.R.R. Tolkien turned four-years-old, his father passed away from rheumatic fever. Therefore, his mother, Mabel Tolkien, was forced to take charge for her two sons, Ronald (as J.R.R. Tolkien was then called) and Hilary. After many months of staying with her family, Mabel finally found an affordable spot in Sarhole, the English countryside.

Author Humphrey Carpenter emphasized the strong impact this move made on J.R.R. Tolkien and his imagination. He went on to describe how young Tolkien and his younger brother would trespass on their neighbors properties, including local farms. Memories from these times must have influenced J.R.R. Tolkien in writing The Fellowship of the Ring. Or, at the very least, it influenced the film makers. Merely consider how Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took joined Frodo and Sam, as they travelled to Rivendell, from the following quote:

An old farmer who once chased Ronald for picking mushrooms was given the nickname ‘the Black Ogre’ by the boys.
~ Humphrey Carpenter, as found in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – How Middle Earth’s Languages Were Born




Ever since Mabel first began to teach her sons, Ronald showed an enthusiastic interest in linguistics. Enthusiasm, and to emphasize an obvious point, GREAT aptitude. Word meanings, as well as word sounds, fascinated Ronald. And he brought this fascination with him to King Edward’s School, where he added on to his Latin, French, and English language skills.

To connect this with The Lord of the Rings requires no effort at all. Everyone who has read the books, and/or seen Peter Jackson’s movies, knows about the Elvish language. The language that J.R.R. Tolkien created himself. And, as I recently learned in my studies about the man, the Elvish language was only one of many. One of 14, was it? I will find out for certain later.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years –  Why The Lord of the Rings Contains Many Christian Values




In my last article about The Lord of the Rings, many readers made the assumption that I assumed Tolkien’s great work lacked in Christian principle and meaning. This is false, for I have read and heard the Holy Bible many times, and I have a fair understanding about what the Christian values are (though, Christian values in regards to Catholicism, and all the meaning behind it, I am completely ignorant of). And, having read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I can see where the values and principles apply.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years ended up containing much family drama, especially in regards to religion and death. Mabel Tolkien and her sister, May Incledon, both decided to become Catholic and receive instruction, around the time Ronald entered his school years. The predominantly Baptist Tolkien relations, and Mabel’s Unitarian father, were outraged. And much funding that Mabel relied on was suddenly cut.

Suffering both from financial hardships and diabetes, Mabel crossed over to be at peace with Our Father in Heaven in year 1904. She left Ronald and Hilary orphaned at the tender ages of 12 and 10. Thus, her passing solidified J.R.R. Tolkien’s love for linguistics and Catholicism, and his love for her and all she did for her children.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Early Years – In Summary




I pray that I have done J.R.R. Tolkien justice, based on what I have written so far. I intend to learn a great man’s mind, and attempt to share what I learn with my peers. My apologies for upsetting many readers with my previous article. It surely was close-minded and presumptive.

Humphrey Carpenter has so far written plainly and comprehensively on J.R.R. Tolkien’s early years, and I can’t wait to read more! I see where humanity’s fallen nature affected the Tolkien family, but what more can we expect from people who walked the earth? I shall not cast the first stone, for I am not without sin.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie Screencaps.com.



Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy Lay Within Myth and an Avid Imagination

origins behind tolkien's fantasy




Please forgive me for the last anecdotal article, as some Facebook Group individual has labeled it. And, allow me to mention some very enlightening information, provided to me from a different Facebook Group individual. An individual with far more advanced research on my blog’s present topic.

The material comes straight from J.R.R. Tolkien. Though the Inkling author wrote this material for over half-a-century, he never finished it. However, thanks to his son, Christopher Tolkien, we can read some about Tolkien’s symbolism as found in his posthumously published work, The Silmarillion.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy: What I Expected




What I expected, really, is irrelevant. For, it merely seemed like an extensively thought-out history of a boy’s imagined fairy-land and people. And, it is. But there is so much more!

Contained within The Silmarillion‘s preface, a letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldman in 1951, there exist the admitted origins behind Tolkien’s Fantasy. And they are not what the average run-of-the-mill Christian is led to believe. Below, I provided two quotes that indicate something surprising about J.R.R. Tolkien and his lifelong work. Something he would later regret, and come to change.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  Written to Trick and Mislead



On the side of mere narrative device, this is, of course, meant to provide beings of the same order of beauty, power, and majesty as the ‘gods’ of higher mythology, which can yet be accepted – well, shall we say baldly, by a mind that believes in the Blessed Trinity.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

Does this written sentence sound devious to anyone other than me? If objects like romanced monsters, like Frankenstein’s monster, were looked down upon as poor literature, then writing about mythological gods definitely would have been considered in a poor light. Did J.R.R. Tolkien understand this when it came to publishing his childhood fantasies?

As far as I have heard, people throughout all the Christian first-world countries began to neglect their Christian backgrounds after the World Wars, especially WWII. And, if people neglected their upbringing in Christian beliefs, then Faith in “the Blessed Trinity” would diminish also. Though I will refrain from discussing it here, I have read some into J.R.R. Tolkien’s love and religious life. How much emotional trauma did he endure to suffer in the trials of his Faith? To seemingly merely appease the Christians in his life?

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  Something Like Sacrilege in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letter



Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing. For one thing its ‘faerie’ is too lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and repetitive. For another and more important thing: it is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

The writer goes on to speak about how modern authors, in writing about allegory and mythology, should avoid ‘real’ modern-day symbology. He even explicitly emphasized to refrain from referring to the Christian religion. Though, pre-Christian, pagan day symbology was perfectly acceptable. Consequentially he used much Norse mythology, linguistic inspiration, and more content from age-old religions.

Outrageous! To thus criticize those who openly share their faith through their writing seems morally wrong to me. And, since Tolkien’s good friend, C.S. Lewis, wrote about what a popular YouTube video called his Jesus Lion in Narnia, then the rift between the most beloved Inkling members is perfectly understood! Whoa, there, calm down, Mary. Tolkien had his fallacies just like everyone else.

Origins Behind Tolkien’s Fantasy:  The Summarization




So, in reading the preface to The Silmarillion, I have learned that J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t base everything in Middle Earth on the Faith and Belief in Christianity. While he may have sought to include more on One True God and His righteousness into his fantasy in later years, the origins behind Tolkien’s fantasy lay in paganism.

Conclusively – oh! One thing more! According to Tolkien in his note to his friend, the Elves more closely resembled the angels. Not necessarily the angels as heard about in the Holy Bible, but angels of Tolkien’s variety. And if Gandalf was an “incarnate angel,” then he served the mythological gods, and not the “‘real’ world” Christian God.

Please don’t come away from this blog post with the impression that our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien now exists in the underworld. I believe he’s finally at peace with our Lord and Savior in Heaven, but it proves an excellent point: We see what we want to see.

Tolkien’s genius still fools some of us simpletons, especially me! But, then again, was God working through Tolkien, to speak to an ever-growing Atheist world about the beauty in the Christian walk? It is said J.R.R. Tolkien believed it to be so, and he proudly carried the torch onward in later years.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie Screencaps.com.



* A large Thank You belongs to those who are continuing to teach me on Tolkien’s inspirations. And I, as the writer, beg for the reader’s patience as I learn about Tolkien’s great worth as both a Christian and an Author.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Debate About Wizards and Angels

Symbolism behind Gandalf

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Background




English 101, a requirement for this particular religious university. An attractive female professor taught the class, barely older than her students, and a complete fantasy nerd. What does she give for her students to research and debate about? Either The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, asking which contains stronger meaning and symbolism.

Students were required to make a five minute speech about their chosen topic, and answer any questions which their fellow students had about their speech.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Set-Up




First day of speech and debate, and a teenager, as sweet and shy as she was tall and lanky, took stage. She influenced nobody. Her audience, whether action-driven The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) fans or geeky, wanna-be-a-wizard Harry Potter fans, already had their minds set. And she was too hesitant and receding to sway anyone.

What did she argue? According to her research, and according to her religious parents and teachers from her high school years, LOTR far outdid Harry Potter in everything good and right. The Boy Who Lived dealt in nothing good, for it developed from Wicca.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Question




I could hardly stomach her judgment on Harry Potter. To say something to bring her down felt like a necessity, not a personal inclination. So, being the even-more hesitant and shy Harry Potter nerd, I posed her the one question that I could think of as a flaw in her argument:

“If anything with wizards and magic is so distasteful and disreputed, then why did J.R.R. Tolkien include wizards in his Middle Earth?” The hesitance in my voice didn’t match the swelling anger in my heart, and I waited with bated breath.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Answer




Miss Tall and Lanky seemed afraid when I raised my hand. But, when she heard my question, some confidence filled her person. Effusing sweetness and gentleness, she answered:

“J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t write in the wizards to represent magic and witchcraft. The wizards actually symbolized God’s angels. Does that make sense?”

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Reality




At the time, I merely mumbled in agreeable understanding, seething in my heart at having failed to defend Harry Potter. But now, having finished the Harry Potter series, and having set it aside for several years, my interest in the Inklings  and their works piqued. C.S. Lewis might have started me in studying theology, but J.R.R. Tolkien and his symbolism now appears in a new light to me.

Miss Tall and Lanky had argued a beautifully true and honest point, regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and his use of symbolism. Her faith at that age allowed her to see it, whereas at that age I was still lost and unable to see. But, please don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at how Gandalf spoke and behaved within the first two chapters in The Fellowship of the Ring.

 Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Strong, Yet Subtle, Meaning




Take the small speech from Gandalf, as he tried to comfort Frodo about holding the One Ring. It’s meaning struck me as plainly as a child throwing her toy at me. But J.R.R. Tolkien explained it in better words in The Fellowship of the Ring:

‘Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.’

Gandalf spoke the above words to Frodo, as Frodo lamented over having hold on the most dangerous thing imaginable. The indication of a stronger, more powerful force is now clear to me, as it had been clear to the other student all those years ago. And its subtlety, based on the alludence to naming the good force, more clearly indicates something real in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world, such as his belief in the holiness in Christ Jesus and His power over all things.

Symbolism Behind Gandalf: The Final Conclusion




Gandalf seemed to represent God’s angels in other ways in these first chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring.  His watching over Frodo’s well-being represents guardianship. His roaming Middle Earth to help find answers to present oddities much represented to me how God’s angels roam the earth to help humanity fight the evil forces. And more examples will appear later in the series showing the symbolism behind Gandalf.

Ultimately, the other student was mostly right in her argument, at least in regards to the symbolism in The Lord of the Rings. Seeing as she had never read Harry Potter, she remained in the dark to that series’s great qualities. But, as my readers and I go through J.R.R. Tolkien’s most popular series, I hope to be able to learn and share more about the hidden meaning behind the text.

Title picture as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, found at Movie Screencaps.com.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits Resembled Men in Decades Past

Tolkien's Hobbits resembled men in decades past



Some will probably roll their eyes at this title. After huffing in annoyance, they will say, “J.R.R. Tolkien incorporated men as men in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hobbits are part of the fantasy.” This is how it seems to them. Those of us who have dwelled a bit longer in Tolkien’s Middle Earth see things differently. For, we see how Tolkien’s Hobbits resembled men in decades past.

But, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at what the author had to say about the matter himself:

It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

How Tolkien’s Hobbits Resembled Men in Decades Past – Prologue



The above quote came from the second page in The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, I could relist all the characteristics Tolkien used to describe the Hobbits, comparing them to mankind’s characteristics. However, that seems redundant. So, I will settle with brief descriptions and outlines from the prologue and first chapter.

Without farmers, mankind would cease to exist. Farmers work hard, love to see things grow, and are skilled with farming equipment. Traveling back through time would reveal how vital growing grains, vegetables, fruits, and animals were to everyone who wished to get by in relative comfort. The average modern American man forgets the farmer’s vitality.  However, Tolkien did not, as can be seen in his garden-loving Hobbits.


Other ways in which Tolkien’s Hobbits resembled men in decades past exist in the various Hobbit races. Though America is quickly turning into the biggest melting pot imaginable, where children are born with fair eastern skin tones and flaming red hair, it did not begin this way. Most of mankind’s recorded history reported various races and cultures amongst the earth’s populations, other than Adam and Eve. Hobbits are the same.

As for the story regarding how Bilbo Baggins acquired the One Ring and all his fame and fortune, that is for another tale. We will explore with Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit in another series. For a quick reminder, merely pick up The Fellowship of the Ring and read the last part in the prologue!

How Tolkien’s Hobbits Resembled Men in Decades Past – Chapter One: A Long-Expected Party



J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits resembled men in decades past (and, to be completely honest, even more so in modern men) in their less desirable qualities, as well. And, when I say less desirable qualities, I mean the sinful nature common to all mankind. For even the Hobbits had some less than admirable characteristics.

Reading through the first chapter brings a certain Hobbit name forefront to the mind when thinking about lesser qualities: The name is Sackville-Bagginses. When Bilbo Baggins told stories about these disliked relatives, there always seemed to exist a strong aura of greed, theft, selfishness, hatred, and discontent. Much like past and current men and women throughout the world.



Oh? Might someone disagree with me about having disagreeable qualities in his or her nature? To each his own faith and religion. As for me, I shall adhere to the belief that everyone will die for their sins, but Christ can save us all if we only believe.

There also existed in the Hobbits a strong sense of xenophobia (i.e. the fear of strangers). Throughout the years, the Hobbits withdrew, slowly but surely, from the Middle Earth’s Men, Elves, Dwarves, and other creatures. They even grew suspicious, doubtful, and presumptuous toward their own Hobbit races. Why did the Sackville-Bagginses distrust and dislike the Brandybucks? I have no clue, other than their being distrustful and dislikable themselves.

How Tolkien’s Hobbits Resembled Men in Decades Past – To Be Continued…



This short article is by no means a comprehensive look at how J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits resembled men in decades past! As the story continues, I along with fellow fans and readers will learn to see how the Hobbits exhibit mannerisms and qualities, both loveable and dislikeable, similar to humans. However, to see the similarities properly, one might need a PalantÍr Stone or the Mirror of Galadriel.

Please continue with me as I move forward through The Lord of the Rings trilogy once more! I shall do my best to read other interpretations and gather all the cohesive thoughts on the beloved books. If you think I’m too off point, please tell me your thoughts in the comments below!


Honesty is the Best Policy – Our Mothers and J.R.R. Tolkien are Agreed

honesty




My first job taught me how to lie. I needed to be “Good” and “Great” when someone asked after me. Honesty was irrelevant to them. Therefore, I learned to say “Good. How about you?” Even on my worst days, I replied positively.

Frodo Baggins, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, must have learned the same lesson. For when Faramir, son of Denethor II, learned about these two hobbits holding the One Ring, he thought of only what his father told him to do. And, though Frodo tried to stop him, the hobbits held their tongues (at first!) about the One Ring’s power. This was a mistake.

Some Background on Why the Hobbits Abstained from Honesty




Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee had already undergone many trials because of the One Ring. And the trials came in many forms. Frodo suffered psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Sam, who chose to stay with Frodo whether Gandalf ordered him to or not, suffered in a different way. He suffered because he saw his friend suffering.

Despite the pain, Frodo and Sam knew they needed to destroy the One Ring. To destroy it at any cost. Gandalf had also warned them against peoples, especially among Orcs, Nazgul, and Men, who would try to take the ring. The steward of Gondor was one such man. He sent out his eldest son, Boromir, to obtain the One Ring.

Everyone in the original Fellowship knew how the One Ring drove Boromir mad, driving him to his death.  Though, no one knew better than Frodo and Sam. For this reason, knowing what the ring did to Men, Frodo and Sam tried to hide the One Ring from Faramir. And when that failed, to at least hide the dishonor that befell Boromir. But, because they hid the truth, Faramir almost suffered the same fate as his brother.

How Honesty Saved Good Men and Hobbits from Harm




Truth has the ability to strike hard and brutal blows to men’s egos, emotions, and intellect. As a result, many people choose to live, and to allow others to live, in ignorance. However, individuals who choose to overcome pain, learn to recognize evil, and fight to obtain righteousness will receive blessings from God.

For example, because Frodo and Sam knew how the One Ring brought men into madness, they withheld information from Faramir. For these two good hobbits failed to recognize the fellow desire for righteousness and peace in Faramir, a good and strong captain. And because Faramir dealt mostly with scathing and manipulative orcs, he didn’t know whether to trust these hobbits from the Shire. All three had fallen into spiritual darkness.



But this did not last. First, Samwise brought the truth to light. Shouting at Faramir, Samwise made known Boromir’s fall into madness when he tried to take the One Ring. He pointed to Frodo’s own  struggles with evil and madness while carrying the ring to its destruction. Soon thereafter, Faramir witnessed Frodo’s struggles when Frodo tried to give the One Ring to the Nazgul.

Faramir had great intelligence, greater than either his father or his brother. Merely hearing about the One Ring’s evil, and seeing Frodo’s struggle, alerted Faramir to the importance in destroying Sauron’s ring. He chose to face his father’s wrath, to risk death in seemingly impossible fighting conditions, and to allow Frodo, Sam, and even Smeagol to carry on into Mordor. He chose the hard road, the painful road, for the sake of righteousness. And it was all because Sam spoke honestly.

Honesty Brings Benefits to Hobbits and Humans Alike




Americans today, and I imagine UK citizens as well, live in a society where hard work and honesty are frequently punished. For greed and avarice drive many wills and many governments into evil practices that give to the lazy and the selfish and take from the honest and the hard workers. Christians have reason to shrug this horrible truth from their shoulders.

God’s Word speaks about rewarding believers who work diligently. And those who pray and ask God for help will receive, as long as their will aligns with God’s will. Therefore, if Christians give their time, love, and money to God, then they don’t need to worry about being able to pay all their bills. For God will provide to those who are faithful.

The same is true for other good things. If Christians desire and ask for peace, God will calm their hearts amidst life’s storms. Because, like Faramir, we must battle for righteousness in a fallen world. Scripture says wars will always exist, without ever ceasing. So, we must wait for Christ Jesus’s return for everlasting peace. But! That does not mean that we cannot fight the good fight, speaking honestly and upholding righteousness, in pursuit of God’s glory filling all the earth!



Reckless Hate Follows Us All – Lessons Learned from The Two Towers

reckless hate

Reckless hate exists in every political party, people group, and family unit. A fact clearly portrayed when the Uruk-hai attacked the Rohan people in Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers. King Theoden, dazed at the amount of death amongst his people, knew the folly and helplessness amongst the peoples of Middle-earth:

What can Men do against such reckless hate?
~ King Theoden of Rohan (The Two Towers, 2002)

Sauron’s Reckless Hate and Men’s Weakness in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth




In this grand utterance, both horrific and true, King Theoden summarized the problem among Middle-earth’s inhabitants. All the various Orcs, Trolls, Nazgul, and Fighting Breeds followed Sauron. This dark lord dominated half of Middle-earth’s creatures, filling them with the desire to kill and squander, but he wanted dominion over all the land. No Man, Hobbit, Elf, Wizard, or Dwarf was safe.

The Elves had their own power, and used their power to resist the evil and flee the land. Wizards chose either good or evil, and Dwarves and Hobbits resisted Sauron so as to keep living as they chose to live. But Men on Middle-earth were easily swayed between the hope for peace and the desire for power. Consequently, they either fell prey to their evil desires, or died trying to fight against them.

What Reckless Hate Symbolized in J.R.R. Tolkien’s World




To put it plainly, J.R.R. Tolkien could have easily been describing two real-life, evil forces when he wrote about the wars between Sauron’s forces and the other peoples in Middle-earth. The first example Tolkien may have used was Germany and Russia in World War I (WWI). The second, Satan and the sinful human nature.

Everyone who has taken high school history knows the atrocities from the World Wars. Though Hitler hadn’t risen to power yet in WWI, his country and Russia behaved just as savagely in fighting for dominion over the other European countries. How Germany bombed London, scaring the citizens and causing them to send their children north, would be enough to cause any English boy to think of Germany as the ultimate evil, domineering force.

I may think too highly about the power behind spiritual enemies, but the devil and the sinful human nature could have certainly influenced Tolkien, as well. Spiritual darkness certainly influences men to war with each other. So, reckless hate could very well describe the constant war, between God and Satan, for human souls. And it is the Christians who stand up and fight the good fight. The unbelievers, filled with hate for what all Christians believe, fight against us.

What To Do About the Reckless Hate in the Real World




Terrorist groups and other violent organizations run around the world, bringing destruction to everything they hate. And American teachers tell us to sit back and “respect their religion.” This makes me seethe with anger. Why? Because no one, since I was a child until now, has ever respected my beliefs as a Christian. My faith receives more hatred and disrespect than any other. So, why must I learn to accept and respect other religions?

Christians are told to live with peace with everyone, as much as they can. Otherwise, as Aragorn said to King Theoden, let us ride out. Let us fight for what we believe in, upholding what is good and right and just. Otherwise, the reckless hate in this world will overrun us, trample us, and kill us. If not literally, then it will certainly kill us figuratively.

J.R.R. Tolkien understood the importance in fighting for a good cause. And while we argue about what the good cause is, we should never fight each other for it. Respect each other and love each other whenever possible. Our beliefs may collide, and we may never learn to accept what someone else believes, but we all should aim for life, and for peace.



Wrong to Despair – The Necessity in Hope and Courage

wrong to despair




Orlando Bloom may have thrilled many women with his baby face and elvish grace, but his line in Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers is what forged its way into my heart: “‘We have trusted you this far. You have not led us astray. Forgive me. I was wrong to despair,'” (The Two Towers, 2002).

This line, derived from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, leads to many thoughts regarding self-discipline, hope, emotional stability, and courage. People throughout all nations, weak and discouraged, scared and troubled, often fall into the pit of despair. Legolas, prince among elves, was just the same.

Wrong to Despair – Why We So Easily Fall Prey to Our Emotions




From what I heard and saw when I worked in the retail business, what I am about to say doesn’t apply to older generations. People aged 80-years and more, as of this month and year, January 2018, often practice a self-discipline unseen in younger and up-and-coming generations. And yes, I do call myself an undisciplined brute. For I know about self-discipline, but fail to practice it.

Therefore, since most people lack in discipline – don’t deny it, for I know I’m not the only one – our every whim and fancy makes itself known. Makes itself obnoxious and obtrusive. And one such unmanageable fancy is the fear of the unknown, and our tendency to despair over it.




Now, don’t scoff at me! People are control freaks in their heart of hearts. They need to know that everything is running, and will continue to run, smoothly and efficiently. And, running according to how they personally think how things ought to run.

If things seem off track, then “The world is coming to an end! Why was I born to such a life?” People get dramatic when they despair. Or, to state it differently, they scare themselves and many people around them because they lack in self-discipline. Hence, it is wrong to despair.

Wrong to Despair – What We Need to Fight Our Cowardly Instincts




Some people run scared. They operate at high-anxiety levels in every task they perform, and sometimes they literally go running and screaming in fear. I am one such individual, and I know others like me. Our fear, anxiety, and omnipresent despair are the natural, human way. But as natural as it may feel, we should fight against the despair which always threatens to overcome us.

Oh, now I’m a know-it-all for knowing how to overcome despair? Well, alright, I’ll give you that. Because I, along with many friends of mine, have undergone many lectures about how God has ultimate control. About how people may hurt us, even kill us, but only God controls our destiny.

Does this help to control my level of despair in critical situations? Yes, it normally does. How? How could mere knowledge about God’s supremacy help to lesson the despair, the hopelessness, and the fear? Because God expects us to take charge in our lives. And if we dedicate our lives to him, living as he would have us live, then God will guide our steps.

Wrong to Despair – What We Can Do Ourselves to Fight the Despair, To Fight the Good Fight




A blog, called Lies Young Women Believe, which I stumbled across in my search for a quote, contained an article on the movie Cinderella (2015). The blogger had perfectually captured the essence in what we need to remember to keep on fighting the good fight. First, we must remember our status as God’s children. We won’t get far without Christ’s help and guidance. But the key ingredient is Courage.

Numerous times throughout the Bible do the prophets encourage God’s people to have Courage. The book of Joshua is a popular example, where a prophet encouraged Joshua to have Courage within the first chapter, and several times thereafter. Why the constant need to remind people to have courage? Because we all so easily fall into the pit of despair!




To push through the tough times, whether a believer or an unbeliever, people need emotional stability. I don’t know how to find this, for personally, I’m a ticking time bomb. But, from what I do know, people have found several solutions to gain this particular strength.

For example, people sometimes need medication to rearrange the chemicals in their brain. Sometimes people need therapy, to share all their problems to a listening ear. And other times, people just need to take the hits, practice a little self-discipline. It all goes around in a vicarious cycle, doesn’t it?

Wrong to Despair – Concluding Thoughts




I feel like a fraud in writing this article. For I have as much self-discipline, courage, and emotional stability as a kid in primary (a.k.a. elementary) school. But, during those rare moments when I somehow manage to practice these disciplines, I realize that they work. I truly can stave off the horror and the despair.

But these rare moments of success belong to God, the Father. Without his supremacy and strength guiding my family and friends, there would be no reason to fight the good fight. So, in this household, we aim to give God control, uphold our emotional IQs, and remember why we walk the Earth.




Legolas had despaired when Aragorn, the man whom he chose to follow, seemed to be fighting a hopeless fight. But, just because death may come, it doesn’t mean we fight without purpose. As Aragorn knew, and as Legolas soon learned, a greater cause beyond ourselves makes our lives worthwhile. And if it’s at stake, then we should devote ourselves to fighting for it.

With faith in the Holy Trinity, we fight this good fight with love. Choosing to show concern and compassion for every person, in every country, at every given moment. Aragorn, Legolas, and all Christians live to worship God, and to love each other as we love ourselves.



“What renown is there in that?” (The Two Towers, 2002)

renown

Screenwriter Peter Jackson barely touched upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Éowyn and her desire for renown. Searching through several blog resources revealed much more information on Éowyn and her quests for glory. Information which I shall discuss in more detail when I come across the underlying story in The Lord of the Rings book series. Until then, allow me to tell you what I’ve found.

What Some Christians First Think When Someone Seeks Renown




Watching the theatrical edition of The Two Towers glosses over Éowyn’s desire for renown. Possibly because of the negative connotation associated with the word. My favorite online dictionary defines renown as fame, glory, distinction, and so forth. Everything that man’s sinful nature desires.

For that is exactly what Christians fight against in their own personal walk with Christ: The desire to make themselves great. One phrase that a New Testament writer described this desire as was Selfish Ambition. Believers need to focus on giving all glory to God, not to themselves. To do God’s will ensures God will guide our steps in life.

Consequently, when a Christian hears this line in the extended edition of The Two Towers (yes, I speak of myself), she balks at her own Selfish Ambition existing in a Tolkien character. Yet, there exists something more astonishing within this beloved series: Éowyn found her renown. And it was considered good.

How Shieldmaiden Éowyn Found Her Renown in Life




The theatrical cuts for The Lord of the Rings leaves out all references to Éowyn’s search for glory. All references other than those connected to Aragorn II, son of Arathorn. But according to Tolkien Gateway , and I must assume to the books which I have forgotten, Éowyn did eventually find her renown. Simply in a different form than she first imagined.

Disgusted at the mere thought of caring for Rohan’s women and children, Éowyn revealed more than was proper to Aragorn, the man whom she loved. However, he knew she would never find satisfaction in a life with him. And he told her so in Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King (2003). Though heartbroken at Aragorn’s refusal to be with her, she still pursued her need for glory.

Thus, when the time came to fight against the evil forces, Éowyn disguised herself and went out with the Rohan men to fight against Mordor. Here she nearly met her death. But, here, she also fought the Witch-king, defending King Théoden from more harm, and earning her title as Lady of the Shield-arm. Then she was at peace, which resulted in her falling in love with Faramir and becoming Lady of Ithilien.

What J.R.R. Tolkien Revealed on His Thoughts of Renown




When J.R.R. Tolkien’s father died, and his mother married a man who practiced Catholicism, J.R.R. Tolkien grew up with the Catholic faith. Therefore, he knew about man’s will to pursue Selfish Ambition. He simply didn’t condemn it. Recognizing the sinful nature as something within every man, he merely told the tale on how it can bring a person to fight when she need not fight.

Aragorn made a point in The Return of the King which resounded with me strongly: The point about how valor often exists without renown. Aragorn said this to Éowyn, telling her, gently and discreetly,  how she would regret joining in union with him. He said this mere minutes before appearing to desert Rohan’s men on the eve of battle. He couldn’t have been more right in what he saw in Rohan’s shieldmaiden. For she rejected him for his misconstrued departure.

And, now, I bid my readers good day. Asking them to conclude their own judgments on whether mankind should pursue personal renown in today’s fallen world. If J.R.R. Tolkien found a way for this human trait to coincide with the good fight, then surely my thoughts on its evil ways must be wrong. Only the Lord knows for certain.



“No Parent Should Have to Bury Their Child.” (The Two Towers, 2002)

bury their child




King Theoden, situated at his son’s graveside, weeping tears of grief, spoke truth for all parents who have had to bury their child: The truth being that no one should have to.

What inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to add this morbid scene to his novel, The Two Towers? King Theoden lost his son to war, but what other events occur to make parents bury their child? Detailed below are all the reasons that may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to include this tearful scene.

To All the Parents Who Have Had to Bury Their Child




Parents have lost their children numerous ways. I personally have known more parents who’ve spoken of deceased children than I care to remember. For, I cannot understand their pain, considering my own childless situation. But the pain is all too real. Their grief and despair being way too strong for mere imagination.

King Theoden, albeit a fictional character, lost his son in battle. Nobility of character ran strongly in his family’s blood, so they saw the need to fight against the evil forces. But knowing this did nothing to ease the pain in the loss. Just as nothing eases the pain for parents in modern day. The following list details some ways children die, whether by carelessness, thoughtlessness, or evil intention, and why their parents grieve:

  • Miscarriage hurts parents who hoped for children.
  • Abortion hurts parents who realized their mistake in having the procedure.
  • Car accidents hurt parents who blame themselves for helpless situations.
  • Murder hurts parents who failed to warn their children about the world.
  • Suicide hurts parents who feel personally responsible.

I refuse to say that parents are always guiltless. For abortion runs rampant in today’s generation, and the women who undergo the procedure are responsible for the loss of human life. But, other than this and domestic violence, parents who bury their child should be pitied more than anyone else. For human life is the most glorious of all God’s gifts.

Why J.R.R. Tolkien Wrote About Parents Who Had to Bury Their Child




It requires little imagination, and only a little information, on why J.R.R. Tolkien would write about King Theoden losing his son to war. For Tolkien lived through, and fought in, both World Wars. Considering how many English and American men lost their lives in battle, Tolkien most assuredly knew many parents who had to bury their child. And sometimes more than one child.

Moreover, J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife had four children. Imagining the loss of one’s own child becomes easier when the individual actually has children. And if friends lost one or more children, then the horror that would come at the thought of losing one’s child would be only natural.

Did J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife bury any of their children? Did they experience miscarriages, or lose their children to war? I will find out the answer to these questions as I continue to learn about C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings. Knowing that these men survived through two World Wars, I would be surprised if all their children did make it through alive.

How to Assist Parents Who’ve Had to Bury Their Child




God is the answer. Always has been, always will be. Every parent whom I’ve known to bury their child has turned to God for comfort and peace. Even women who’ve gone through abortions regret their decision, ask God for forgiveness, and join the church community. I need not say how parents respond to their grief without peace and comfort, for everyone has seen grieving people who speak and act with anger in their hearts.

To everyone who has to bury their child, I recommend watching Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers. Actor Bernard Hill performs magnificently as King Theoden of Rohan, capturing the loss and the pain in his life situation as a king. Because to see an example of someone who continued to fight the good fight, whether a fictional character or an actual person, gives the heart joy. Bernard Hill, acting as the grieving Rohan king, will bring joy.