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Back of the Book:
Have you ever wondered why The Lord of the Rings so resonates with your soul? It’s not a coincidence that a tale of good and evil, heroism and sacrifice, friendship and love touches you as intensely as it does. J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t set out to write an allegory, but his faith is woven into his characters and the situations they encounter. Director Peter Jackson set out with no agenda other than to transcribe some of these wonders to the big screen. Little did he know what truths translated from the page to the screen.
Maybe some of the symbolism you’re already familiar with. Gandalf as a Christ figure, for example. But what else can you learn from these tales?
“Watching The Lord of the Rings’ With God” will open your eyes to the symbolism, allegorical aspects, and subtle wonders of Middle-earth in a way you never expected… as you watch the franchise with God at your side.
I wish more young believers would learn from this scene.
Digging around in the bowl for the last of the popcorn, I ask, “Why?”
Consider what it’s about. They discover Éowyn hurt on the battlefield. Even though he’s tired and covered in blood, Aragorn comes in to nurse her and honor her through his service. He does it not for praise but out of duty and love, as a brother would tend a sister.
“He’s not her brother.”
That’s the point. He isn’t, but he makes her into one.
I frown. “I don’t get what you’re driving at.”
So many of my children look at one another not as brothers and sisters in Christ, but as potential soul mates. That’s not what I want. It’s fine to want marriage, but it’s more important to treat one another with selfless kindness. When you enter the church, you become part of a family. So often, you interact with people for one reason—to get something out of it. Your focus shouldn’t be on what you get so much as what you can give.
God indicates the screen. Aragorn has no romantic intentions for Éowyn. He doesn’t mean to woo her. His kindness comes from his heart, not because he’s trying to impress anyone. He genuinely cares about her. He shows love to her in this way not out of any hope for appreciation, but to honor her as a fellow soldier. In doing so, he fills an important role in her life as a friend until Faramir can win over her heart.
“So we should look at others not as our potential future spouses, but as another believer’s future spouse?” I pause. “Wow.”
That does put things into perspective, doesn’t it? If you knew your best friend was going to marry this guy, would you still make out with him? Would you still play with his heart? Would you still let your eyes linger on how nice he looks in those jeans?
I groan. “That’s harsh, man.”
No, it’s just a reminder that everyone you interact with belongs to someone—and they also belong to me.
The Story Behind The Book:
One or two of you might have been “around” long enough to remember when I ran Angels & Elves, a website that explored the Christian symbolism in The Lord of the Rings film series. I loved running that website, when I had the time and desire to do it. (It got me my best friend!) But then the film series ended and for awhile, Middle-earth mania died out. I’d written some 350,000 words on the topic – going through film chapter by film chapter of the extended editions and bringing out things to think about.
All that time and research sat forsaken in a computer folder for a decade, while I wondered what to do with it. Then, The Hobbit brought back interest in Middle-earth and I started wondering… should I resurrect the content? It seemed a shame to waste it. So I threw all the profiles together in one epic file and started to read.
Then the angst started. It was much, much too long and involved to make a book out of it. Making three books out of it was plausible, but I feared it would become “dry reading.” I stripped it down to its essentials, and that lost some of its charm. It “died” emotionally. I tried everything I could think of – and spent almost a year in revision, at first trying to simplify, then to add spirit, then in a year-long daily devotional format.
And then one day, totally frustrated, I sat down and wrote out the first chapter – as a conversation with God. He plunked himself down on the couch beside me, and we started watching it together. My mom had just given me the bad news that Draft #8 (at that point, it felt like Draft #500) sucked. So I sent that chapter to her and thought, “Well, if that fails – I quit, Lord.”
She loved it. So I kept writing. And what was originally 350,000 words of dry notes turned into an intense movie-watching experience with God. When you write nonfiction (even though this seems like fiction at times), particularly about God, He tends to teach you some things. He taught me a lot. He reminded me of all the ways that Middle-earth touches my soul, because in many ways, it’s supposed to. Tolkien might not have intended it to do that, and Peter Jackson didn’t either, but God can insert himself into just about any situation, fiction or otherwise. So if you’re a Christian and a Lord of the Rings fan, I hope you’ll enter.