November 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm #60039
So. How do you all feel about the ending of LOTRs? I don’t mean the part when Frodo leaves and everyone cries. I mean the whole Shire conflict after they destroyed Mordor.
Part of me appreciates it because it’s realistic. Not all the messes in the world are cleaned up after the bad guy falls. Another part of me doesn’t like it because the main conflict has already been resolved. Frodo and the rest defeated the worst villain out there. A few little issues in the Shire won’t phase them. Therefore, why should readers worry about them?
Opinions? Things I’m missing?
(Note: This is kinda a repost from a different forum, so there are already some good replies if you want to read them below and join the conversation! :D)November 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm #60040
@selah-chelyah says: Okay, so I have never actually read the LOTR, but I have to say thanks for asking anyway… It seems sometimes that the LOTR and Narnia, etc… are held as the great standards with no issues. So… thanks for daring to question them! Just had to say that!
@sarah-inkdragon says: I honestly like it, because it shows that we shouldn’t be ignorant to the state of the world just because we’re living comfortable lives, and we as Christians shouldn’t ignore evil because it will come back and bite us when we least expect it. That’s my two cents. XD
Hmm, thanks for bringing this up.
Personally, I think it’s realistic, and I also think that Tolkien was thinking of his own experience as a soldier in WW1 and as a civilian during WW2. For everyone involved, the end of the war (or the Fall of Sauron) was not really the end of the war. They came back to homes that had been destroyed, both physically and emotionally and that’s reflected in the scouring of the Shire.
I also think that Tolkien didn’t mean us to feel worried for Frodo and Co. I think he wanted us to feel dismayed and horrified that the war had destroyed even the Shire. We’ve been expecting the Shire to be safe, as it always has been and I think that the fact that Saruman corrupts it shows its fragility.
So, that’s my scattered, fragmented thoughts
November 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm #60043
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Gabrielle Pollack.
@selah-chelyah Makes for good conversation. 😉
@sarah-inkdragon Thank you for sharing! 😀 I hadn’t thought about it in that way. I’m not sure I see what you’re saying, but there may be an allegorical element to the end :).
@Seekjustice Ah! I appreciated the ending for being realistic, but I never saw it the way you described it. I agree that Tolkien wanted us to be sad and horrified, which was my reaction when that part of the book was read to me. It absolutely makes sense that he would portray his own wartime experiences through LOTR and that his purpose wasn’t really to make us worry. *grins* I just love when stuff clicks.
I think he fashioned the end of the Hobbit like that, too. When Bilbo returns to see all his stuff being sold, I think it stands as a metaphor. It shows readers that Bilbo was forever changed by what he experienced (and so was his home, though in a more temporary way). I think Tolkien shows this change well when he carries it over to the start of LOTR and shows that Bilbo never lost his memories of the mountains. *sniffs* So much bittersweetness.
I think I would be more inclined to include an ending like that of the Hobbit in my stories than that of LOTR. I think it is important for your character’s journey to change them for good, but I think there are other ways to show the consequences of an adventure than adding a second climax (like friends not coming back, beloved places being destroyed, permanent maiming etc). But I think for his purpose, Tolkien did a marvelous job with the LOTR’s end.
You guys have any more thoughts?November 17, 2018 at 2:32 pm #60055Daeus Lamb@daeus-lamb
@gabrielle While I appreciate the themes of the shire conflict and love seeing Frodo and company confidently taking on any evil (’cause it’s all child play compared to Mordor), I do think Tolkien could have had an overall greater effect by ending the story shortly after the destruction of the ring. Aftermath is a great theme to address, but I prefer how Sanderson handled it in The Well of Ascension where it became its own plot, not just a run-on epilogue.
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢November 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm #60107
Okay… so… WOOHOO!!! *gets really hyped* Someone dared to challenge The LOTR… *draws sword*
Anyway… yeah… It’s a legit question. When reading the books, I had a preconceived idea of how it would end, because I’d seen the movies first. And because of that, I think I love the books all the more. But it also meant I had trouble dealing with how it ended, at first:
I draw a comfort from the fact that even in healing, things won’t be the same. When we get back to “normal life” it’s a different story. But things got better… because cleansing happened. The Shire still held a sickness in it that was revealed when “Sharky” came. He let them come out of the shadows as fallen beings, who needed a light otherwise they were no better than the orcs. But there were some still that held the light that had been given them, only they needed leaders. And those leaders came back, having left as little kids, and come back as warriors.
In the end, I would say the messes were cleaned up. But when cleansing happens it’s not pleasant. There’s hardship, there’s pain, there’s anger, there are deep scars left behind. Then then what happens? Seeds are planted. Things become beautiful again, in a weathered and aged kind of way, but also in a new age of growth, where the king is on his throne protecting those around.
Tolkien gave us a gift that is not given in most of literature. He gave us pain… he showed us the healing… but it didn’t end where it started. It ended in a time of recovery from enslavement. And that’s a dark time. There was finally time to mourn, there was mental space to, there was safety in it. And that doesn’t look pretty either. But he gave us the gift of showing comfort in it. He showed us that it’s okay. Not that it’s the same, and that we will be the same people… but that there’s growth, and in the pain and sorrow, beauty grows.
Tolkien let us know that it’s okay. And yeah… it’s sad… but it’s so powerful. I don’t agree that it would have had an overall greater effect if what Daeus said happened. It would have been a different story, and maybe more pleasant. But no, not greater. Adventures of pain and toil are not something we go on to come out the same… war is no heroes tale… war is real… and if we are to ignore what it puts us through, even though the cleansing can bring great beauty, there will be scars. And no… it wasn’t just about Sam and Frodo coming back to confidently take on evil… It was about bringing the cleanse to it’s full extent. It was about showing even the darkest corners of darkness, and no matter how small they be, how hard it will effect us.
But even so we can have peace… because in all the darkness… lemme rephrase that… with all the darkness being exposed to the light, and thus becoming light: we have a home… a place to mourn.
How else would you ask Tolkien to show that? It wouldn’t do just to end it after the destruction. No… for how many times do we complete the adventure only to come back to perfect peace? We don’t, not until the very end.
I can tell you from personal experience, that any form of war takes something from us. And it’s something that we must get back. It won’t just be sitting there for us.
Tolkien’s ending was beautiful, and I would have it no other way. Cleansing happened… and it was painful… but it resulted in peace. What happened next, after the last line of the book? They still had families to build… Sam was back.
Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!November 17, 2018 at 7:25 pm #60162
Oh my gracious goodness. Dear girl, you had me ready to run in with an elvish blade at the title of this thread!!
Well, I have to agree with @wordsmith over @daeus-lamb (I have got to quit agreeing with @wordsmith on everything… Wait, no I just remembered. The Hobbit.). When I read the last bit of TROTK, I was sitting in my bed listening to The Last Goodbye. When I reached the last page, I sat stunned and could not close the book for several minutes. I had just blown my brain reading those books, they were just amazing. I had only seen TFOTR at this time, and I had read the book before seeing it, so I had enough to get my feet wet, but I didn’t have anything to compare it to.
I personally think that the way it ends with evil touching the Shire, I think it really does have something to add. I feel that in a way, if it was “they all returned to the Shire, and lived happily ever after.” It would cause loss to the story. I mean, look at the many people that LOTR has affected (and BTW, @wordsmith, how you described the themes in LOTR was beautiful, that did a good job summing up the biggest reason I love LOTR). We are walking examples of people whose lives would be different without reading LOTR. I have not lost the wonder that I felt when I sat feeling like I had been knocked to the floor after finishing LOTR (I sung Into the West about three times today, plus a few more LOTR songs). My point is, if we are so affected by LOTR, how could the characters be the same after the journey of LOTR. In The Hobbit Bilbo goes back home, but he is not the same. Even though his story has a “happily ever after”, in the beginning of LOTR, we see how he is different from the stuffy hobbit he used to be. Frodo, in a way, was broken by LOTR. I feel that in a way, the brokenness of the Shire perhaps reflects Frodo’s brokenness. The world is changed, and I think that the Shire being changed has a way of adding the final blow that makes us really resonate with Frodo leaving. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I do think that the brokenness of the Shire put a final blow on my heart when I read it (especially how Bilbo’s tree was cut down/Sam planting a new one). It prepared me to say goodbye and call it complete.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by EricaWordsmith.
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!November 17, 2018 at 7:27 pm #60164
Please forgive the weird italics, I’m having trouble figuring out the updated way this is set up. *Facepalm*
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!November 17, 2018 at 10:56 pm #60213
Ah! Yes… good thoughts.
Also… it’s okay that we agree about so much… we are the Wordsmith’s after all.
Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!November 17, 2018 at 11:30 pm #60214
That is why this place is so fun right? Where the people who get into the details of Tolkien can speak and muse? Much fun indeed, I can only do this in real life ever so often (and I only have one friend who actually knows enough [more than me]) to make it scholarly.
True, it’s just getting too cloned when @wordsmith #1 says something and then @ericawordsmith #2 echos it all. ;P
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!November 18, 2018 at 12:32 am #60218
Haha… there are few people in real life who would have such discussions with me… but at the same time, my replies will be far better placed if I’m able to write them out.
Well… I guess that’s true. But then again if I agree I would merely be cloning what you said, thus I say: It is not cloning! Merely one using his or her congnative functions to a point of agreeing with the other. Cloning implies a no variation. But I can tell you even though what we say may look the same, we came there there by different paths… Bearing different rings (how could I not?).
Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!November 18, 2018 at 2:32 am #60226
I was a little bit in a hurry last time I responded, so I’ll go more into depth now. XD
So in the end, the Shire is pretty much turned into a mini-domain of Saruman’s, and he’s corrupted some of the hobbits, killed others, imprisoned some others, and turned the once beautiful land into an industrial wasteland, basically.
In the beginning of the Lotr series, the Shire is shown to be a safe, happy place full of joy, kindness, and very little spite/anger/hatred between hobbits(there is some, but nothing on the level near the rest of the world). It’s pretty much portrayed as an ideal home, and this idea is solidified throughout the series as the hobbits in the company frequently reminisce about the niceties of the Shire and how much they wished to return home at times.
The Shire is literally the physical embodiment if comfort. To me, it symbolizes the comfortable life of Christians today, how we seem to live separated from the world’s problems and not really giving any interest in the world, as long as we’re comfortable in our little homes and churches.
The hobbits that dared venture outside the Shire are like missionaries, venturing to save the world and shine a light in the darkness–or a literal light in the darkness, like Galadriel’s gift to Frodo. They venture outside comfort, to unknown and dangerous places where they can no longer afford to be ignorant or unwilling to learn the world’s dark secrets, and they are suddenly thrust from absolute comfort to strife and terror.
In turn, when they return home after successfully destroying the ring and effectively saving the world, they find the Shire–the home and comfort they know and love–in chaos and destruction. The hobbits that had not dared to venture outside the Shire and learn the true state of the world had been attacked suddenly and swiftly, and so shattered. Saruman took over, and destroyed the comfort and safety they loved.
In the same way, if we Christians continue to live as we have been in comfort and false happiness, we will be taken by Satan and shattered. We were called to change the world, not to live comfortably. If we remain ignorant or unwilling to learn the problems that are destroying the world around us, we will be destroyed with it.
To put it simply, the Shire to me signifies the modern Christian life–comfort, safety, and ignorant certainty. And the destruction of the Shire? That signifies the doom that will surely come for most Christians if they do not realize that raising a hand one day in church is not what saves them–doing, understanding, and complying to the will of God, believing in Jesus Christ, and obeying his commands to tell the world are what saves us. (Note–I’m not saying that works are what save us, that’s a whole other topic–what I’m saying is that I don’t believe that you can be saved and then go back to sin and remain saved. It’s a daily walk with Christ that makes you saved, not raising a hand and praying once.)
So there’s my two cents, in extended version. XD
"A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."
- C. S. LewisNovember 18, 2018 at 7:21 pm #60277Chelsea R.H.@seekjustice
Seeing as Tolkien was so adamently against allegory in all its forms, I’m always wary of weaving allegories into his tales, but I love what you said and it serves as a fantastic illustration if nothing else. I’d never really thought about it from that angle at all 🙂
(And your last point, the preacher yesterday in church said “We don’t do good works to get saved. We do good works because we are saved” and I thought that was a good way of putting it 😀 )
Mahalo keia huiʻanaNovember 18, 2018 at 9:48 pm #60286
Why thank you. Psychological and theoretical debates are my hobby.;)
Yes, Tolkien was a little bit prejudiced against allegory. XD I love his use of symbolism though, and how he wove it so masterfully into the story so it’s still easy to find, but so subtle that it’s not glaring in your face like many modern Christian novels are.
As for it being allegory–I don’t even know if this was intentionally written into Tolkien’s novels to symbolize Christianity or not, so I can’t say if he meant it as allegory or symbolism or simply a hidden theme–but I can agree with you and say that regardless of what he meant or intended, it is a good illustration. XD Maybe he meant it to symbolize the horrors of war, or the fate of ignorant people, or even the cruelty of man, but either way, it is a great illustration to take from.
"A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."
- C. S. LewisNovember 18, 2018 at 11:31 pm #60296
I only have one, and I know a LOT of people. They are definitely few and far between.
True, I also can explain things a lot better through writing (I don’t say something dumb and have to take a fifteen minute rabbit trail to explain how I meant what I just said).
Ha HA!! Great job, that was funny. You got that one. (Maybe I should take back the saying something dumb and having to explain thing back). Well, seeing as there is only One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, that suggestion might have a couple of cracks in it. However… My friend (the amazing Tolkien one) gave me an Evenstar necklace about a week ago. If somebody followed me around with a camera, it would catch me in all these Frodo style poses admiring the way it sparkles…
May I second the applause of what you said!! That was excellent!!! I absolutely love the comparison that you drew between the Shire and Christianity!! I absolutely loved it!!! I have a sadness within me for Christian young people who are apathetic about their faith. They are like the Shire with no guard about them, and when “Sharky” comes, they fall. They are just not salt and light. If I could hope for one outcome of my writings, it would be that Christian young people like me would take their faith seriously and become passionate about the kingdom of God.
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!November 19, 2018 at 1:28 am #60326
Why thank you. 😉 You are most kind. I love analyzing Tolkien’s work, because I seem to find a new angle or depth of symbolizm every time I look at something. XD
As for modern Christianity… sometimes I do not even know if it bears the right to carry the word “Christian” anymore. It’s become nothing more than another religion, and it both saddens and slightly enrages me. I cannot bear to see the ignorance of people who call themselves Christians sometimes, and I wish I could take them by the throat and shake some sense into them. (Yes, I have a temper. XD) Ignorance or unwillingness to learn or understand something that is undeniably true and right and just is something that I as a person cannot understand and dislike immensely. I don’t understand why someone would not want to know what is wrong and what is right, and I do not understand people that try to blend the two to find “their own truth”. There is only one truth, and you cannot bend it by sheer pathetic human will, no matter how much you hate it. The type of people that are so infatuated with themselves and their religion are people that… I cannot stand them. Some days I wish I could climb to the top of building and shout at them.
I, however, am not gifted with the gift of speech to talk to the people and preach the Gospel, so instead, I must write. And I can only hope that somewhere, some one can be inspired or made curious by my writings. That’s all I ask.
(This was a bit of a rant, but oh well. *shrug* XD)
"A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."
- C. S. Lewis
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