Saturday, August 29, 2009


We spent several days this week watching the Lord of the Rings extended movies. We've gotten hooked into a new (to us) computer game, and having a movie on in the background not only gives us something else to think about, but also (sometimes) helps distract the Infanta, who is otherwise constantly up in my lap wanting to nurse. Call us bad parents for babysitting with movies if you like, we won't deny it, but sometimes a mom has GOT to make some room for herself.

Anyway, I was struck by something. As some of you, my faithful readers, know, Aragorn's milk-name was Elessar, an Elvish word that means 'hope'. The Elvish portions of the dialogue often bounce the word around, one of the most profound moments being the conversation where Elrond gives Aragorn the sword Anduril. I'm paraphrasing here, but Elrond says to Aragorn that he is the hope of Men, and Aragorn replies that he keeps none for himself. Despite this pessimistic remark, Aragorn is consistently Gandalf's voice of optimism. Twice during the films, Gandalf has time to stop and worry about how he's sent Frodo on a fool's errand, and begins to despair of Frodo's chances for success. Both times, however, Aragorn speaks with the voice of hope, and prompts Gandalf to realize that he really does believe it may work, pushing back the threatening despair.

If it wasn't 11:30 at night after a loooong week of juggling a fussing toddler I could probably pull that into a thesis, but it is, so I'll just leave it at that observation. Still, isn't that interesting? What do you all think?

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Aragorn IS the hope of the West. It is his whole purpose in existing up to the point where they actually go to war to restore the king to his throne. People don't know who or where he is, but they believe he exists, and that gives them hope to resist.
Another point where he expresses hope openly to someone is when they are arming the night before the battle of Helm's Deep, when the boy Haleth, son of Hama, tells Aragorn that the men say there is not hope, that they will not live through the night. Aragorn takes his sword, swings it, and tells him "This is a good sword. Haleth, son of Hama, there is always hope." This just after Legolas has also just expressed the fact that they are only 300 against 10,000 and have no hope of winning, whereon Aragorn said,"Then I will die as one of them!" He, too knows there is little chance to succeed, but as a good leader he will not express this to his men. if they believe they will lose, they will lose. The only chance of any success is if they believe there is hope. As with so many of the themes in Tolkein, this is incredibly translatable into every day life, isn't it?
Keep on keeping on. love, mom