Let me count the ways for you.
If you’ve spent any time around me at all–either in person or virtually–you probably have a pretty good idea that The Lord of the Rings is my love language. (my friend Halicue uses that term to describe her tarot work, and I love that!) The books AND the movies…it’s hard to describe just how much this story means to me.
But I’m gonna try. Because to get to know me is to see how deep that love goes. If you’re rolling your eyes at the idea of this and anything ‘fantasy’ makes you want to gouge your own eyes out, please bear with me, indulge me, and read on….you might just be pleasantly surprised by what you learn!
Counting (some of) the Ways I Love LOTR
- OK, I DO love all things fantastical and magical. And even though I know in reality, living in a castle was dingy, drafty and probably quite unpleasant, I’ve ALWAYS been enchanted by them. There aren’t any castles in Lord of the Rings, per se, but definitely magical cities and strongholds and ethereal woodland places. I also know being any kind of royal was probably a royal pain in the ass, but my little girl love of all of that never quite grew up… and I like pretending.
- The characters. Yes, there are wizards, Dwarves, Elves and crazy monsters, but Tolkien’s incredible writing and character development takes a lot of the ‘fantastical’ out of them, and has you relating to them in a very personable way. You can sympathize with Treebeard, the walking and talking (Beech? Oak?) tree, and his frustration with urban and techno sprawl. You can realize that, like the immortal Elf Legolas, things we do and say can live on forever after we’re gone. You can be inspired by Gimli the dwarf, to be yourself, unapologetically. Even Sauron, the evil lidless eye that just kind of hangs around in the sky staring at everyone, stirring things up for the fun of it and making things miserable; he can remind you that you’re always going to have to deal with that person in your family or your workplace that makes you feel awkward and is, quite frankly, kind of a dick.
- The timeless wisdom. At its core, this is a story of going up against immense odds to rid the world of evil, yet never giving up hope. And knowing that in order to do such a thing, there is so much more to that task than just coming up with a well thought-out plan. There are many pieces to the puzzle. Although this story was first published in 1954, everything you learn and experience throughout it applies to who we are and what is happening today with the world and our own personal struggles.
- The strong men who cry and the beautiful women who kick ass. Seriously! The men in this story are brave and glorious and fighting warriors, to be sure; but they cry when they feel despair, and they hold the hand of a fellow friend in support. And the women! These elevated women of privilege could easily sit back and watch from afar in their beautiful gowns, and no one would expect more of them. But no, they are out fighting for and with their men, not for their own glory, but for the good of all.
- We all make a difference. When you look back at the story as a whole, things would not have turned out the way they did if it weren’t for each and every person or being that was involved–even in a ‘negative’ way. Each person had a way of thinking or doing things that may seem small at the time, but have a huge impact. And you never know how things will be, even if they turn out ‘wrong’…the end result may still be absolutely right. I love thinking about that.
- The Fellowship. This is such a good reminder–who is in your Fellowship? This group of nine go-save-the-world characters that consisted of men, a Dwarf, an Elf, a Wizard and some Hobbits all had their own part to play, and when put together on this quest, they were unstoppable. Not only did they each have their strength and purpose for doing so, but everything they did always kept their Fellowship at the forefront. They counted on each other for support in every way possible. And who wouldn’t want a friend like Sam by your side, carrying you up the mountainside when you can’t get up there yourself? That’s some true friendship goals; both as the receiver and the giver.
- The lessons. Like I mentioned above, the characters themselves are very complicated and multi-dimensional, and they have so much to teach us. Aragorn’s story is so much about facing up to and accepting your strengths, and therefore your calling, and then leading with service. Frodo and the other Hobbits remind us that just because we feel small doesn’t mean we don’t have a very important, very big part to play. We can be scared to death and not know what the hell we are doing, but put one (hairy) foot in front of the other and figure it out along the way. We see how relationships can be very complicated and we can form our opinion about someone, but we have no idea what’s really going with them behind the scenes that has made them the way they are.
- And SO MANY more.
Well my friends, this post could go on for pages…if you weren’t a fan before, I hope this gives you a bit of an understanding around my fan-girling, and perhaps a new appreciation for this incredible work.
The books and films are a bit different, and I love things about them both.
And what does my deep love for all things Lord of the Rings do for me?
- It connects me to my childlike love of things that seem magical and full of unknown possibility.
- With all of its lessons, it inspires me to wonder how other people think, and why they do what they do, and the way the intricacies of this thing we call life all work together.
- It encourages me to work with my strengths, to bring people in my life that can add their own strengths to where mine falter, and to never give up hope.
- It all at once opens up my world, but also provides me with a comfortable escape where the characters in this world are predictably always who they are; no passive aggressiveness or ‘Minnesota Nice’ to be found.
- It reminds me that everything I go through are things that people have gone through since the dawn of time. I’m not alone.
What do you have in your life right now that speaks your love language? (you can have more than one! I do!) Have you ever thought about why that is? What it says about you? I believe that’s important to think about, as you do the essential work of learning about and growing yourself.
And it’s important to share with others, so they can get to know what lights your fire. That’s how we connect at a truly soul-inspiring level.
(ok, so maybe movie Aragorn and Legolas light my fire for other reasons as well, but that’s a whole different post. heh.)