December 18, 2006

LOTR: A New Christmas Tradition?

Posted in Pipes, Uncategorized at 12:53 am by a11en

Well, tonight I happened across TNT on the Sat. It turns out that they were playing at least two of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It has prompted this small post. I completely love LOTR and Tolkien’s amazing work. Of course I also love the work of Lewis. But, we’ll talk Tolkien today…

Have you found that reading or viewing the LOTR movies/books has become a new Christmas tradition? Since the movies were out for the past 3 years or so (they weren’t out last year if I remember correctly), I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed the LOTR movies along with having my Christmas Tree up. I received the extended versions each Christmas they came out. I also re-read the books at least twice now. Amazing books after each read. Luckily, the gal who’s quickly stealing my heart away also totally loves the stories. Unfortunately, she has yet to read my nice leather bound copies. Each year I try to shove one in her hand and explain that the books are even better than the movies. I think their size is daunting to her.

It was a bit of a surprise to me that LOTR became a part of my Christmas. Certainly it deals with many topics that a Christian would be interested in, as well as many other non-Christians. Such a wonderful story. Tolkien was a master at his art. Creation of races and languages. It’s a joy to read about how Lewis and Tolkien shared their thoughts on mythology and fantasy. They felt that fantasy stories could be made more “adult” and that it was a shame they were not already. Their work together was an attempt to bring out their loves of the early mythologies and the way those stories were told into readable stories that adults would love. While Lewis didn’t spend most of his adult life creating worlds in which to explore this aspect, he did spend a considerable amount of it doing so, and we find his wonderful works for us to enjoy in his Space Trilogy and Narnia series. [Darnit, I said I was only talking Tolkien, eh?] Lewis and Tolkien were dear friends, however, and often shared each others’ stories and thoughts on them with each other. So, it’s very difficult to separate the two.

I have found in my experience, enjoying LOTR beside the gilt and old world charm of the Christmas tree and it’s baubles, has heightened the joy of this season. Curling up with a book in my lap and a venerable Briar weed in my pipe has brought the warmth of an English library to me during the colder winter months. Imagining the struggle across the land towards Mordor, and the goodness of the small Hobbits… thrown into peril completely unknown, completely out of their thoughts, and how they rise to the occasions required of them, to be a great joy to read. It’s no wonder that this great literature has spawned such a new and strong following. And it’s to Jackson’s credit that a whole knew generation is finding LOTR that might have passed it by- a wonderful making of the books. However, there is so much left out… and to those who have not yet read these fantastic stories, I strongly urge you to do so. Tolkien’s mastership of langauges and story-telling is apparent immediately.

On a more productivity minded note- since some of my readers may be in this mindset more frequently… I find that I am often a “Steward of Gondor”… seeing the battle coming to my door on the plains near my stronghold, I often turn in fear, throw up my hands and start the funeral pyres. Woe is me! Never to accomplish my goal in the face of the onslaught surely to come. That my friends is not what heros are made of. The heros of this wonderful tale are much shorter than you or I, have come from small hobbit-holes that were comfy, and where 2 square breakfasts could be had before Elevenses and Luncheon. Not to mention a never ending supply of Long Bottom Leaf. These 4 adventurers were asked to complete a challenge they didn’t even know the depths of. They rose to that challenge even during horrible peril on the backs of Orcses or beneath the stomachs of Oliphants during battle. Even when they didn’t think they would have what it would take. They didn’t turn from the path that laid out before them. The small and meek accomplished much when asked. In many ways they were better stewards than all the Stewards of Gondor combined. They did it all not knowing what the outcome would be, or where the future would lead.

In many ways, this is our experience in life. We don’t know our futures, or how they will turn out before they arise. We each hold something dear to us, even if it is intangible. The question is, when we see the battles awaiting us, how will we respond? Funeral pyre, or meekness and humility in facing the tasks before us? “Woe is me,” or “maybe I can’t do this, but it must be done.”

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2 Comments »

  1. Brian said,

    I couldnt agree more, LOTr has become a Christmas tradtion for me as well because it makes the movies even better around this time. I watched the first one christmas eve on my way down to florida. Also I love watching the 3rd one on christmas it makes me cry.

  2. a11en said,

    Hey Brian!

    Thanks for stopping by! Tolkien created true masterpieces in his works on LOTR and all of middle-earth. Tolkien also really loved Christmas time. There is a wonderful compilation of the letters he wrote or should I say came across from Father Christmas to his children. They show his amazing imagination, his skill at sketches, and his love for both his family and the season. My wonderful GF purchased this for me last year, and I’ve been enjoying it throughout this season.

    Here’s a link for you (hopefully this works): Letters From Father Christmas (Amazon)

    Wonderful stuff. It’s my honest believe that the new movies will stay classics for an extremely long time, primarily due to the strength of the material they are pulled from. Star Wars lacks this foundation, even though they are also quite good. LOTR is much more of an epic, and truly wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing, Brian! Glad to find I’m not the only one!
    -Allen


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