The Battle of Helm's Deep and Pelennor Fields is happening today

The Mearas


The local theater has been playing older movies because there aren't any new releases right now. I'm thrilled about this. In particular, they ran the Lord of the Rings trilogy, extended editions.

I cannot tell you the amount of excitement I had when I took in those three films again on the big screen, 4+ hours each.

Last week was The Two Towers. As with the previous week, I cried during it. The Battle of Helm's Deep gets me.

I watched the battle on that screen, as the hordes--controlled by an evil puppet master--of destructive anger-and-hate-fueled monsters crashed against the foundations of the Hornburg, destroying and killing and burning. The people inside retreated ever more, giving up a ring or a level as each gate was breached, knowing that on their own, their fight was hopeless. They resisted but doing so knowing the end of that great fortress was near.

And then there was the light in the east, a bright figure on a white horse (Gandalf on Shadowfax) with the horse-lords following, bursting over the hill and rushing down to defeat the evil mobs intent on death and destruction.

We've just seen several months of people huddled in fear inside their home due to a pandemic, just like those people huddled in the fortress and caves. And most recently, I've seen mobs burn, beat, kill, destroy, and in all ways work to tear down the very walls of this nation.

So I cried, for the actual story, and for the striking resemblence.

When we got out of the theater, my friend and I talked about the film. He commented he saw me crying. I paused. "What's going on in this country right now? We're in the Battle of Helm's Deep. And I don't know about you, but I'm eagerly waiting for Jesus to show up on the horizon and rescue his church."

Of course, I knew what was coming in the final film. It wasn't going to end with Helm's Deep.

This week was The Return of the King. (Oh, I sure wish he would.) The Battle of Pelennor Fields also had me in tears. I watched the endless waves of evil crash against the great white city of Gondor, Minas Tirith (is it racist, that it was white?) and I felt like I was, again, watching a metaphor for what craziness is happening in this country right now.

There was a scene where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum (on their way to Shelob's lair while that battle raged elsewhere) pass by the broken statue of a king of Gondor, his head toppled off and replaced by a rock, grafitti, and other desecration. What had been part of Gondor was now in Mordor, and the orcs had done this thing. The darkness had swallowed up parts of the land and the evidence was this destruction.

I'm thinking of all of the toppling of statues we're seeing now, the desire to erase anything with historical ties that no longer fits with our thinking. Toppling, lopping off, and spray painting monuments and statues. 

I remember during the pipeline protest, many of the the protesters would liken themselves to the heros of various films, and say that law enforcement was, for example, like the Storm Troopers. I wonder if these woke mobs we see repeatedly wreaking havoc around the country realize they are the Uruk-Hai, the orcs, the brutes. They are the ones who fight best under a dark cloud of evil and manipulation. They tear down and destroy and light fires and pillage and screech gleefully, cannibalizing their own neighborhoods and cities. They gather mercenary soldiers, who are happy to take the money to add to the numbers, to help them do it.

Tolkien didn't make crude and fumbling obvious analogies to the Bible, but when you read the books (or watch the films) you will see striking theme after theme emerge if you know your Bible. You can't help but see it over and over. The truest story is the one God wrote across all time and revealed in his Word, and there's no getting away from it.

There are two things you ought to be reading right now.

First, your Bible. If you don't have one, get one. This is the time to be reading it, whether you're a believer or not. Read Matthew 24 and 25. Read 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Read the book of Daniel. Read Revelation. Read the book of John.

And then, read The Lord of the Rings.

You will recognize the times we are living in. The urgency. The players. And who ultimately wins. Choose your side carefully. It's an eternal choice.

Comments

  1. I've been having some similar thoughts. There's been a ton of property damage and destruction, but what the mobs have been doing to statuary seems a particularly horrifying subset of that. I think it's because man is made in the image of God, and moving down a (big) step, statuary is made in the image of man, and is also helpless. What we're being shown is what they want to do to helpless people. Lots of them.

    I recently re-read both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, not having read them since I was about, I guess, a seventh-grader (which, I certify, is a very long time ago). And you're right -- that's a worthwhile exercise. On the first reading, as a very young engineer, I had missed a great deal. To the Peter Jackson films, I have a mixed reaction. Granted, film is a different medium, and telling the story onscreen required a modicum of liberties taken with Tolkien's books, but Jackson took more and different liberties than I thought proper. The films are, on the other hand, visually gorgeous, and that's not trivial. When I saw that he was going to somehow squeeze three films out of The Hobbit, I decided not to see them, as the sheer volume of inventiveness required to do that boded ill, in my view.

    Great post!

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    1. The Hobbit films are not my favorite. I did see them, of course, and some of what he put in there he pulled from other books. I do agree with how you describe the films. In their own right, they are amazing. But when you read the books you kind of have this sort of "shucks" moment where you realize how great the original story is and that, while you understand film sometimes has to make changes and adjustments to make it work on screen or in an time frame, there's a kind disappointment. I do so love the LOTR films. I know Christopher Tolkien didn't like them, and I understand why. But I do love them, especially considering where we are with film 20 years later and the kinds of stories being told. Those LOTR films are almost quaint in their good vs. evil heroics.

      But the books. Oh, they really should be read. So good.

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    2. Also, your thoughts on the statues is spot on. I've seen several videos and discussions on the pulling down of historical statues by the mob from various standpoints. The attempted erasure of history and the leaving of empty statuary platforms in town squares around the nation has interesting repercussions.

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