So I have lately started reading The Lord of The Rings trilogy. This isn't the first time for me to to enter Tolkien's world of course; it's so broad and great for a fantasy fan like me to miss it. I've read The Hobbit, I've read parts of Lord of the rings books before, and watched all the movie adaptations of those works. I have even gone through the largely dreaded Silmarillion and read it in full, enjoying it the most of all so far, but that's another story.
Today I want to talk about the book trilogy itself, or LOTR as I will refer to it here. I collected the three books and had them in an honored spot in my book case for a couple of years, but reading them in full always felt like a big decision to make; it felt like a commitment to read such a large and renowned work of literature. I wanted to make sure I had the time and the brains to commit. Well, I didn't make sure of those things since I don't know how to. However, a few days ago, with too much free time at hand, I just reached into the bookshelves and grabbed ' The Fellowship Of The Ring '; I simply started reading it and I'm glad I did, regardless of whether I'll be able to finish all three books right away, or if it's going to take me more years to fulfill this task.
It's not just about the joy of reading a good book - really really good in this case -, but it feels like a whole experience to me. I feel like I'm standing at the door to Tolkien's world, and journeying with Frodo deeper into this world, one chapter at a time. Somehow, the story of Frodo is more relatable to me, I feel like I know him more than even Bilbo Baggins, whose journey I read about first. Maybe it's because I saw the LOTR movies when I was much younger and back in my mind I can still see the innocent face of Frodo's cinematic incarnation while I read about him going through all his adventures on paper.
Now, let's focus on the point of this post. I wanted to share with you the message reaching me from reading this book, the things I feel it's about and what I understand so far. But first, please note that I have not finished reading the book yet, and that I'm not an expert or analyst; I'm just a reader trying to make sense of a big, deep book.
What I feel is that LOTR is, in big part, about unlikely heroes. There are many great heroes within those pages, with lots of strength, powers and wisdom, but the heroes that you may love the most and relate to the most are those without any of the things I just mentioned. They are the ordinary people, the hobbits in this case, who I believe are Tolkien's reflection of the everyday people, the simple humans of the world. Tolkien even referred to himself as a Hobbit in certain occasions.
You've got to love those naive, easy going and food loving folk who stumble into danger simply by losing caution, and stumble out of it by unexpected bravery.
They aren't wise enough to stay out of danger's way, they pump into its face not because they choose to, but because they just can't care too much or too long about precautions, they want to rest, to sleep, to talk, sing and have fun. They simply do what's normal to them. But bravery is also normal to them, not that they don't get frightened easily, oh they do, but from within their fears they do manage acts of instinctive bravery that actually turn things around, that can actually save the day.
I believe that Tolkien was trying to say that you don't have to own special powers or talents to change the world. You can be a half-ling, small and naive, but you can still carry great weights and endure way more than others with so-called powers. Hobbits could bear the ring and handle it way better than kings or even wizards.
That's the strongest message I'm getting so far. Definitely there is a lot more to LOTR than this one message, but it's the one that stands out the most to my eyes. That's actually what I love the most about fantasy, the way it reflects on reality and human nature, the way it draws your attention to things that might be simple in essence, but are so deep and so important too. In case of LOTR, it made me rethink and re-focus on the unlikely heroes that are everywhere around me, to appreciate the simple people more. It also helped me to stop judging myself too hard for not being the strongest or the bravest or the smartest, to believe that it's fine to be just me, and to know that I too can be an unlikely hero someday.
P.S: I would like to mention the amazing art of Breath-art (Jian Guo) who creates amazing visual representations of fantasy and LOTR in particular.