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Easter: The Day the World Changed 

01-04-2018

Introduction

I love the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s trilogy has sold millions of copies for decades. It is beloved by generations and has even been translated into several dozen languages. There have been several film adaptations, including the most recent and most famous series released in 2001.

Why do these books hold such appeal? While I cannot speak for everybody, I know some of the reasons I love these books and have reread them numerous times. First, there is the classic struggle of good versus evil, of light versus dark. Second, the main character, the Hobbits, are the quintessential “little guy.” They are small of stature, peaceful by nature and not known to have much use for “adventures.” But it was a few of these “little guys” who brought an end to the great evil power, Sauron. Tolkien himself has said that Hobbits are modelled after “the typical Englishman.” The Lord of the Rings is, then, very much a “David vs Goliath” story.

Another feature that draws people in is the amazing attention to detail on the one hand (Tolkien was a linguist and literally created several complete fantasy languages for the characters in his books!) and the sweeping, epic nature of the story on the other hand. Throughout the trilogy, there are repeated references to events and people from ages gone by in the fictional world of Middle Earth in which the story takes place. It turns out that Sauron, the evil villain in the books, was but a lieutenant of a far greater evil force, Morgoth, thousands of years earlier! So throughout the books, there are reminders of a greater story going on, a much longer story and history behind the tale you are reading.

At one point in the second book, hero Frodo and his best friend Sam are about to sneak into the land of Mordor, the home of Sauron. Their goal is to sneak up to the volcano, Mount Doom, where the “one ring” was forged in order to cast it into the fire and destroy it. Weary from their journey, surrounded by darkness and enemies, Sam reminds Frodo that he has a crystal which contains light from a magical gem from long ago that was part of the story of Morgoth’s defeat. Sam and Frodo talk about the fact that they are part of that greater story stretching back thousands of years. While the characters may enter and leave the stories, the great stories continue on and on. They wonder whether or not their story is one with a happy ending or not. But realizing they are part of that bigger story, realizing that they are following in the footsteps of great heroes of the past, of the heroes of their childhood tales, encourages them and gives them the strength to carry on a bit further.

In another good movie, “Stranger Than Fiction,” Will Ferrell plays and accountant, Harold Crick, who starts to hear a voice in his head. The voice is a woman’s voice and while it doesn’t talk to him, it does narrate events in his life. He comes to realize it isn’t schizophrenia because the voice doesn’t seem to know he is there, that he is listening, and it isn’t talking to him, rather it is describing him with startling accuracy. With the help of a literary professor, Harold Crick realizes he is a character in a famous author’s novel! He is hearing that author as she types out his story! His task, then, becomes to determine if this story is a comedy or a tragedy. The difference being that in a comedy the main character lives happily ever after, but in a tragedy the hero of the story dies. Convinced he is living a tragedy, Crick changes his life, takes risks like starting a relationship, learning to play the guitar and the like. Realizing he is part of a larger story motivates him to live life differently.

 

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Filetype: MP4 - Size: 119.72MB - Duration: 49:14 m