Return of the King

Posted: December 7, 2012 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized

For a few days now we have been preparing to go back to Middle-Earth. We are almost there, we just need to take a quick look at the movie that brought it all together with laughter, tears, battles, oscars and awesomenes. This is it now, the Return of the King and the end of the story.

The problem with talking about the Lord of the Rings series is that we never run out of interesting ideas and parallels; so writing it is never ending. We are all excited with the return to Middle-Earth, and I hope the hype will not diminish the enthusiasm for the Hobbit.

I noticed recently that it has been at least 8 years since I saw the movie, which is quite shocking considering how much I loved it in the first place. There is a serious chance I will revisit it again soon.

Instead of re-watching the movie for this post, I decided I would take a different route: try to remember lasting lessons/impressions that stayed with me after all these years. Things that still resonate in my heart. There are flashes here and there in my memory: the white city, the Nazgul, the Mouth of Sauron, the lights being lit to call Rohan…so many striking visuals. Some moments specifically stayed with me because of interesting ways in which they mimic redemptive aspects of the truer story of the universe.  Here are three of them:

Gandalf and Pippin  – There is a moment in which the battle is raging around Minas Tirith and things are looking bleak. Pippin looks at Gandalf and talks about how the end is near. Gandalf reminds him, that there is no end. He has come back from those shores and he has a lesson about eternal life that will change how Pippin approaches life and battles. Gandalf explains to Pippin that death is just another path, one that we all must take; and when you see what is over there… knowing the end after the end changes how you fight. This is true in LOTR; this is true in the Christian life. We know death is but a moment, and although unnatural, it is within the plan of God and not the end. This knowledge should deeply influence how we pray, fight, worship, love and struggle with sin.

Traitors – One of my favorite OT passages is in 1 Samuel 22 – The cave of Adullam. David, not quite king yet, had to run for his life going to live in a cave, cause mad Saul wanted his skin to adorn the throne room. The interesting thing is that while on that cave, a group of misfits, embittered, angry, indebted people joined him along with his family. Curiously, that band of losers later became known as David’s mighty men!

There is an interesting parallel of that story with the one in ROTK – Aragorn, in order to get an army worthy of defeating Sauron, needs to go through a cave and gather for himself an army of murderers, traitors, all sorts of misfits that can achieve redemption through being untied with the king to be…

That should also remind you of another King, who had to go to a cave for a little while, in order to rise as king and brings with him an army of traitors who through him have paid their debts…

Only providence can get rid of the ring – I remember many (who did not know the story) being mildly upset that Frodo was not able to throw the ring in the fire after all… Had we not been following the little dude for 9 hours by then? All we wanted to see was the final triumph of the unlikely hero, and there he goes, turning evil just like everyone else. I think that is, however, the right way to end such quest. What should that teach us? That even the best among us is not filled only with pure intentions and altruistic motifs. In fact, had it not been for the providential fact that Gollum was still alive and kicking, the ring would not have been destroyed. Indeed, the power of sin is greater than the best of us, and unless there is supernatural intervention in this world, all we can hope for are attempts that stop short of solving with the problem.

Only providence and her champion could deal with sin; none of us is that good.

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