Lord of the Rings: Picked Apart

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Lord of
the Rings: Picked Apart

Imagine yourself in a pre-industrial world
full of mystery and magic. Imagine a world full of monsters, demons, and
danger, as well as a world full of friends, fairies, good wizards, and
adventure. In doing so you have just taken your first step onto a vast
world created by author and scholar John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Tolkien
became fascinated by language at an early age during his schooling, in
particularly, the languages of Northern Europe, both ancient and modern.

This affinity for language did not only lead to his profession, but also
his private hobby, the invention of languages. His broad knowledge eventually
led to the development of his opinions about Myth and the importance of
stories. All these various perspectives: language, the heroic tradition,
and Myth, as well as deeply-held beliefs in Catholic Christianity work
together in all of his works. The main elements of Tolkien’s works are

Good versus Evil, characters of Christian and anti-Christian origin, and
the power of imagination.

In Tolkien world, evil is the antithesis
of creativity, and is dependent on destruction and ruin for its basis.

Conversely, goodness is associated with the beauty of creation as well
as the preservation of anything that is created. The symbolic nature of
these two ideologies is represented in the Elven Rings, which symbolize
goodness, and the One Ring, which is wholly evil. A main theme of "The

Hobbit", then, is the struggle within our own free will between good will
and evil. "Early in the (Lord of the Rings) narrative, Frodo recalls that
his uncle Bilbo, especially during his later years, was fond of declaring
that... there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs
were at every doorstep, and every path was it tributary." (Wood, 208)

Bilbo, the main character of "The Hobbit",
often displayed his goodness throughout Tolkien’s novel. One example of
this goodness is when he decides to let the evil and corrupt Gollum live,
out of pity for him, in the dark caves under the mountain. Bilbo could
have easily slain the horrid creature mainly because of the ring, which
he was wearing at that time, gave him the power of invisibility. Instead,
he risked his life to let the Gollum live by quickly jumping past the evil
creature, thereby escaping death of either character. Gandalf, in a later
narrative, lectures Frodo by praising Bilbo’s act of pity upon Gollum.

Gandalf’s words were, "Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and

Mercy; not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded Frodo."

For Gollum, later in the novel, saved Frodo from becoming possessed by
the Ring of power. "Many that live deserves death. And some that die deserve
life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death
in judgement..." (Wood, 208)

Another form of goodness that is displayed
throughout "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" is Bilbo and Frodo’s
actions of self-sacrifice. In "The Hobbit" there are two instances in which
villains caught the dwarves, Bilbo’s fellow adventurers. Instead of fleeing
their enemies, Bilbo risked his life to save the dwarves from the clutches
of evil. One instance of this is when a clan of unusually large spiders
captured Bilbo’s companions and planned to eat them. Bilbo then devised
a plan to distract the spiders away from their victims and then silently
backtracked to his companions. He then cut the dwarves from the sticky
spider webs with which they were tied and, together, they fought their
way to safety. Also, Frodo, in "The Lord of the Rings" was challenged with
the destruction of the all-evil and corrupting One Ring of power. In doing
so, Frodo sacrificed his life. "We should also remember that Frodo’s self-sacrifice
is not only for the defeat of evil; it is also for the good of society,
for the whole community of created beings. This suggests, in turn, that
in the mind of the fantasist, society is worth saving." (Evans, 481)

As opposed to the good deeds and morals
portrayed by Bilbo and his companions, there are many foul and unholy creatures
that lurk in the pages of Tolkien’s works, which commit horrible acts.

One of the most horrid of the acts in "The Hobbit" was the corruption of

Gollum. Gollum was not always the slimy, cave dwelling, dangerous monster
that he became. He was once a Hobbit, not unlike