The concepts of hope and courage permeate the tales written by J. R. R. Tolkien through and through. They are vital and, I do not think it will be an exaggeration to say, central to his narratives. There are many examples of how hope and courage make a big difference, help characters achieve almost the impossible and thus influence the course of events dramatically. In this special reflection for Tolkien Reading Day 2021, whose main theme is Hope and Courage, I would like to look at how hope helped Sam Gamgee lead Frodo and himself through the perils of Mordor to the final destination of their deadly quest.
‘And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ (Fellowship of the Ring, p.495 ). The parting gift from Lady Galadriel to Frodo was a small crystal phial filled with the light of Eärendil’s star. Little did the Hobbit know then the potency and power of the gift and how helpful it would be to him and Sam on their dark road.
On their way to Mordor Frodo and Sam encounter various places with a different degree of weirdness to them. However, few of them stand out in the same manner as the Dead Marshes. Lying between the plain of Dagorlad and the Emyn Muil, they become a grave test for the travellers en route to an even darker place.
Reading books where characters go on a quest or an adventure usually have a great appeal to most readers. It is not surprising: travelling to different places, whether in your imagination by means of a book or physically in reality, has always been especially thrilling.
The story of the One Ring ensnaring the wills of even the mightiest and strongest warriors and filling them with lust for power is well-known. Few who encountered it could resist the treacherous nets of the Ring of Power created by Sauron. Still over the course of the narrative we see those characters who manage to escape its allure even finding themselves within the nearest proximity of the Ring. Faramir is one of such characters. Read more
In the Third Age there remained only a few Elvish realms around Middle-earth. They were the places of uttermost beauty and peace as well as among the safest places in the land. In The Lord of the Rings we see Frodo and the company stay a while at Rivendell and Lothlórien – the realms that, among many gifts, brought them spiritual and physical rest, peace of mind and comfort if only for a while.