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Posted on 01/17/2010 1:21:58 AM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Old Western Man
The travellers trotted on, and as the sun began to sink towards the White Downs far away on the western horizon they came to Bywater by its wide pool, and there they had their first really painful shock. This was Frodo and Sam's own country, and they found out now that they cared about it more than any other place in the world. Many of the houses that they had known were missing. Some seemed to have been burned down. The pleasant row of old hobbit-holes in the bank in the north side of the Pool were deserted, and their little gardens that used to run down right to the water's edge were rank with weeds. . . . . . And looking with dismay up the road towards Bag End they saw a full chimney of brick in the distance. It was pouring out black smoke into the evening air.
The Great War is over. The Ring of Power has been destroyed. As in Wagner's Ring cycle which is one of its primary analogues, The Lord of the Rings concludes with Middle-earth passing into the hands of the human race. The Dark Lord and his power were destroyed when the ring itself was thrown into the Cracks of Doom in the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie. The Elves of the High Kindred, together with Gandalf the Wizard, take ship at the Grey Havens and pass out of our world. The Shire, the comfortable, rural world of the Hobbits, will no doubt return to some kind of normality, but it has been wrecked during the war and it is difficult to believe, amiable and strong as old Sam Gamgee is, that the Shire will ever be quite the same.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Of interest to Hobbits and modern history fans.
Interesting stuff. I think CS Lewis is right. I think we (as in Western Civilisation) have gained in material prosperity and comfort, but lost the spirituality and sense of unity that underpins everything.
In my opinion, this writer has utterly missed the point of LOTR.
He considers it a story of pessimism and despair. I contend it's a story of hope, of pressing on despite great trials and in the end defeating darkness.
Does the world ever return to what it was before? Of course not.
Does the Shire produce glories comparable to those of Gondor or the ancient elf kingdoms? Nope. Hobbits aren't elves or men. Their desire is for simpler and less strenuous accomplishments.
But Tolkien is very clear that both Gondor and Rohan are revitalized by their victory in the War of the Ring and move together into the future, creating new glories worthy of being at least compared to the past. Gondor in particular has its King return, and the nation is blessed far more than under the degenerate interregnum of the Stewards.
The Shire in many ways becomes better than it was before. Hobbits are no longer ignored by the world, but become among its great heroes.
LOL thanks piasa! :-)
Bump for later reading
Thanks Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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