A very embarrassing thing for my husband to admit is that he has a wife who has not read The Lord of the Rings. If you knew my family you’d know this is a shameful thing to admit. To be a Roy is to be a Tolkien fan. Andrew has read almost everything published in his name. My children dress up and act out scenes they’ve spent the day rehearsing. We have Hobbit-themed apparel!
When the movies came out I had no interest whatsoever. I knew nothing about the series. But any book that had that dorky dragon “fantasy” label on its side at the library was not making its way into my library satchel.
Scott watched the movie with a friend when it first came out. We weren’t yet married (wow, was it that long ago!?). He hadn’t read the books at that point either, but he came back in awe. He tried to convince me that I would love the story, and that I had to go see it. I furled my brow, “As if,” I thought. I told you what I thought about the library labels. Dorky.
But I gave in, and we went. And the rest is history.
Scott’s read the entire series to the kids a few times, we’ve listened to the audio stories, watched the movies multiple times, and Scott has the audio-book on Audible. So, I say I’ve never read it, but I kind of feel like I should be given an “honorary” credit.
One question that comes up in the house is, “Who is your favorite character?” Well, there are arguments to be made for different ones. Sam is a selfless, humble hero, and I’m sometimes tempted to make him my first choice. But it always comes down to Aragorn.
Many of the characters are symbols of Christ, but I usually end up thinking of him the most. Aragorn is born with a king’s birthright. He could easily claim the crown, but he forsakes it and lives unknown, a dirty watchman of the roads. What we see of him in the story is a man set on giving himself in service to those put in his care. “If by my life or death I can protect you, I will.”
He gives himself to the weak and the lost. They become a band of misfits, set on a mission to overcome evil by their sacrifice. There is the moment when Frodo offers Aragorn the ring, and all power – a Christ in the desert type of temptation. Aragorn refuses, and goes on about his business of saving the weak.
Sunday, Nov. 25, is the great feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. An epic story like Lord of the Rings, as limited as it might be, gives me such an inspiring picture of Christ as our king. He chooses to be amongst the outcasts, overlooking glory, giving himself in utter selflessness for those he was sent to protect. It’s not a glamorous picture, but it strikes me to the heart.
In 1925, Pope Pius XI instituted the formal feast of Christ the King. The world had gone haywire. He looked and saw the increasing atheism and relativism, the lack of passion in the hearts of Christians. To remind the world of the reality of Christ, who was “given dominion, and glory, and kingship”, and our duty of allegiance, was his goal. “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”
Despite the toted freedom, I see a world in bondage to sin. I see anger, anxiety, loss, and despair. But Christ our King is coming on the clouds, robed in majesty, girded with strength, he who loves us and freed us from our sin by his blood.
He is a King who has made us to be a kingdom, who stops at nothing to save us from that bondage. Our duty is to tear down the false idols within us and to place him back on the throne of our hearts.
Those who succeed will always be the misfits, the outcast, but they will walk in joy toward the kingdom of God. They will be the ones who know liberty, discipline, peace, and harmony.
To quote Gandalf, “Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed.”