The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series is considered the greatest fantasy series ever written. It bubbles over with themes that grow out of the author's devout Christian faith. While Peter Jackson's film trilogy doesn't capture all of the depth or charm found in the books, they do provide a launching point to discuss themes important to believers. The central story features Frodo Baggins, a good-natured hobbit thrust into a grand adventure to destroy the ring of doom in order to free Middle-earth from domination by the forces of evil. He encounters many challenges along the way, including the addictive allure of the ring itself. In the end, Frodo and his faithful companion, Sam overcome overwhelming obstacles to fulfill their part in a grand story. Find episodes from Kurt Bruner's podcast about Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Frodo's friend, the wizard Gandalf, possesses magical powers used to protect and defend justice. What kind of being does Gandalf seem to reflect from the real world? (See "A" below)
Possessing the ring for an extended period of time turned a hobbit named Smeagol into a pitiable, obsessed Gollum. It begins to have similar influence on Bilbo Baggins and on Frodo. What kind of influences in our world does the ring seem to reflect? (See "B" below)
The world of Middle-earth seems to be a dark, ominous place. But there are moments of delightful relief and heroic self-sacrifice. How do both fit a Christian view of reality? (See "C" below)
THINK ABOUT IT:
A) Tolkien created the wizards of Middle-earth as supernatural beings similar to angels in the real world. Of course, we can't see angels - but they possess powers and must submit the use of those powers to the authority of the good Creator (as does Gandalf) or submit them to the evil rebel (like Saruman).
B) The ring of power shows the de-humanizing influence of submitting ourselves to anything other than God - be it drugs, alcohol, power, sex, or any number of alluring vices. Read I Corinthians 6:12 to discover why we must guard ourselves against such addictive influences.
C) Christianity is not naive when it comes to evil. We recognize that we live in a world dominated by dark forces serving God's enemy - the devil. But we also find hope in the redemptive power of Christ's sacrifice. (See Romans 6:23)
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