30 May 2007

Christmas and Return of the King

I suppose I’m not skilled enough in the humanities to be able to appreciate everything in a piece of literature on the first go. The first time I watched Return of the King I was busy appreciating the story (since I hadn’t read it of course), and the visuals and the dialogue. The second time (thank you Ads) was an opportunity to be able to link the experiences of the characters to my own. But it looks like I’ll need a third time for that. You see, instead I was busy linking it to Christianity, a popular topic for Tolkien enthusiasts (though I am not one of them).
One of the climaxes of the film shows Sam reaching for Frodo, telling him not to let go. I hear in the books this never had to happen; Gollum dances badly and lands in a stinkin’ pool of his own death. I believe the change was a service to good film-making. Remember the first movie? Well, here’s two important points (1) Gandalf instructs Sam not to lose/ leave Frodo (sadly, the scriptwriters used those two different words, bad continuity) and (2) Frodo saves Sam in the Anduin banks. There is “reaching and not letting go” there.
These two themes are explored in the ending of the last movie, and done quite well. Sadly, not many people remember the first film very well. Some people even complain that there wasn’t much character development, when it’s really their fault for not paying attention. Anyway. Take note that the ring doesn’t melt immediately. There is a definite longing from Frodo to hang on to the ring, like Gollum did as he plunged. But what kept him hanging on was his love for his own life, the world, and of course Sam. However, he was also “torn in two” (a phrase used later in the movie) and was willing to risk it all for possession of the ring.
Then, he chooses Sam. Then, the ring is destroyed. Not that the two events are linked, but the order is important. He chose Sam even if the ring was still calling to him, and it saved him. Now many scholars choose Frodo as the model of Christ carrying the burden of our sins and making the ultimate sacrifice, but for the movie I’d like to play around a bit and choose Sam as the model. Why? (1) He carried Frodo on his back. This isn’t really the same, as Christ did carry the weight of our sins, but it more of signifies for me the fact that we carry our own sin, guilt, and death as a burden, and Christ is there to help us destroy it, to ease the load by showing us a great love. (2) In the end, we make a choice out of our own free will whether to accept the love or to hang on to the sin the we put so much of ourselves into.
That’s right. Most of the time, when commit a fault, we put effort into making it. And that’s what keeps us holding on. Let’s take a moment to redefine Frodo as the true hero of the story by establishing that he chose his friend (love), to save the Shire (home, paradise), and ultimately his own life instead of giving in to the part of his life that corrupted him but took too much of his soul in the process. “If your right hand causes you to sin…” sound familiar? And look at that, his finger got amputated.
And then, the Ring was destroyed. He could see the Shire again.
Merry Christmas to all!!! If you want to find the meaning in something, here’s the best time to look.

1 comment:

g said...

What a great memories. The Return of the King. Thanks. Your blog is beautiful.