Sunday, December 10, 2006

a new horizon

Saturday, I decided to tackle a rather large pile of mending. So I popped in Lord of the Rings and started my work (I am pleased to say that I finished the whole pile). When it comes to the point in the movie where Sam stops and stands for awhile and then says "One more step and I will be further home than I've ever been." I was given pause.

So I got out one of hubby's various copies of the book to see how Tolkein wrote the scene.

"The road goes on for ever,' said Pippin; 'but I can't without a rest. It is high time for lunch.' He sat down on the bank at the side of the road and looked away east ino the haze, beyond which lay the River, and the very end of the Shire in which he had spent all his life. Sam stood by him. His round eyes were wide open - for he was looking across lands he had never seen to a new horizon...Frodo was silent. He too was gazing eastward along the road, as if he had never seen it before. Suddenly he spoke, aloud but as if to himself, saying slowly:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Earlier, when leaving The Shire, Frodo tells the other hobbits Bilbo's thoughts on 'The Road': "He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. 'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,' he used to say. 'You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'".

Isn't good to know that someone has gone before and is waiting for us?


  1. Anonymous12:39 AM

    We've just watched all three LOTR DVDs and I loved them, which is strange because I fell asleep the first time. Maybe it's because I watched them with an open mind rather than pre-decided to be bored by them.

    These quotes remind me of something our Pastor quoted on Sunday....[oh brain fails me]...'When Jesus says "follow me" he doesn't say to where'...then the quote goes on to say (something along the lines of) that we should accept this in faith and not start with whys and wherefores and supposings but accept the journey with all its sorrow and joys to go where the Lord leads.

    I am so keen to read LOTR now, our Assistant Pastor told me there is so much missed out in the film (characters and character development, etc). (and, lol, I knew all about the broken sword of Narsil, thanks to least I sounded reasonably knowledgeable ;))

  2. Sarah,

    It was that same day that I relayed to hubby some of our discussions here (in blogoland) about Tolkein and Lewis. I think in part because someone at book club had mentioned how Lewis's non-story-books were hard to read and I had never found them so - but I digress.

    What I was trying to respond to was the comment by your Assistant Pastor. Simply because I was struck by something that was said by Cate Blanchett in the narration at the beginning of the movie. The prologue makes a statement something to the effect that "Then something happened that the Ring did not intend, it was picked up by the most unlikely of creatures" which was of course Bilbo and it is mentioned often how these little people (the hobbits) have sturdier stuff in them than imagined and how they were the least likely to accomplish what was necessary and yet they did (as did a woman - Galadriel)...this is so true to the books - (really considering the scope and nature of the undertaking - for the most part they did a remarkable job being faithful to the heart of Tolkein's work if not to a literal translation of it). This I think reveals the depth of Tolkein's belief - because are we humans not the most unlikely of creatures to receive salvation?

    Which leads me to another debate surrounding the book by those hardcore junkies such as my husband. There are those who say (and I fully sympathize with this position) that Sam is really the true hero and protaganist of the story and not Frodo. Given Tolkein's hate of allegory and his strong Christian thematics just the same (I find it remarkable that a Christian could write fantasy and not go at it from an allegorical standpoint) I think there is a great deal of potential in this idea.

    It recalls something a former pastor once said about the story of Jacob and his sons and their Journey to Egypt via the story of Joseph. He said that it isn't the story of upright Joseph (who it is said is the only person in the Bible who doesn't have some negative commentary made on them - but I think Daniel is in that category too but then - I digress). It is the story of Judah and how the Lord preserved the line of Jesus inspite of the obvious failings and unfaithfulness of those he chose to be the ancestor's of Christ. It is about God's faithfulness not about Joseph's goodness (good and faithful though he was). I latched onto that suggestion and when I consider the Bible especially the stories of those who were ancestors of Jesus (which I love because they were a sorry lot of sinners and losers) and find that when you look at it through that perspective the greatness of God's work and the depth of his mercy is overwhelming.

    Which is perhaps why when I heard that people felt is really a story about Sam - I latched onto it.

    I will be interested to see what you dig out of LOTR.


  3. Anonymous5:31 AM

    You know I was thinking about that when I was watching the film, Sam really was the one who showed real love (in a Christian sense), so forgiving of Froddo's 'evil' moments because of the ring's influence and so distrusting of Gollum (which was well founded) and so protecting of Froddo too. Although when Sam did briefly hold the ring he became just as influenced by its evil as Froddo struggled with. (sorry for the bad grammar).

    I was also interested in Faramir's allowing Froddo and Sam to escape and offered his life as a forfeit for theirs...thinking in a Christian sense.

    Tolkien did say (I came across this quote by accident the other day) "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Christian work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." I know that the wizards n' stuff will put some Christian readers off, but for me it is a fantasy to make of it what I will, to enjoy for it's hidden meanings and to giggle at the Ents - why do talking trees really not exist??

    Anyhoo, I shall certainly share my thoughts when I read LOTR. I'm ploughing through the Moonstone at the moment and it's slow going (and the plot sounded so exciting too - cursed Indian diamond, etc...perhaps it will improve!)

    Also, thinking about the Biblical characters our Pastor mentioned David recently. He is the most revered of Israel's kings by the Jews and yet he was a man of many sins (Bathsheba, etc). However, he always acknowledged his sin before God and repented "against you O God and you alone have I sinned". We will never be perfect, we are only allowed into Heaven because of Jesus' perfection, our job is simply to acknowledge our sinfulness and unworthiness and to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives...then the journey (if we will yield) is in his hands.

    TTFN. Sarah

  4. Sarah,

    They do Faramir a great disservice in the movies he is much better in the books...he has what I would call a truly 'noble' character.

    You Pastor and Assistant Pastor sound great...I hope you love your Pastors as much as I love mine...ooh and pray for them...

  5. Sarah,

    Isn't it reassuring to know that a person designated in the Bible "As a man after God's own heart" was so flawed and sinful? I often think it was David's willingness to always return whole-heartedly that is one of the greatest signs of his heart...we will sin but to resign it with love and sorrow and no resentment at having to resign it is a huge thing...God knows we will sin, He loves us, and I think He aches with the desire to show us His mercy and grace and to forgive us all but we often refuse to allow Him to do so.

    I think it falls into an idea I've encountered several times in different places - all we can ask of God is already there - He is just waiting for us to ask - He could give it to us without the asking but He wants a relationship with us...I think in away forgiveness is the same...God could forgive us without our asking but He wants to enter into a personal relationship with us and that is not possible unless we step forward and fall on our knees and talk to Him.

  6. BTW you should go through the Bible and read the stories of each of the women mentioned in Jesus' ancestoral log in Matthew and follow all the cross-references - it is the most encouraging and beautiful thing to do (assuming you haven't done it)...

  7. Geesh, Sarah, that was a lot maybe we should just email... :)

  8. I haven't anything to add to the Tolkien discussion above but I did want to say, that yes it is emmensely comforting to know someone has gone on before.