The Lord of the Rings and Hope… Why 20 Years Later it Matters Today of All Days

50% of my earnings from this post still go to The Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance until at least Sept. 4th. But…

I would ask if you have money to donate then donate it to other causes. Whether it be mental health associations of your choice, BLM, Women’s Rights Foundations, or LGBTQ Foundations. Here is where you make the decision to donate to whatever foundation you want to. Just donate.

Affiliate links to amazon and 100% of all affiliate link sales earnings that I receive that pay for something related to Lord of The Rings will go to a combination of BLM, Women’s Rights Foundations, and LGBTQ Foundations.

Edited over the course of a couple days until the verdict from the Derek Chauvin trial was rendered.

There are many things I have forgotten in life. Of course, many things I’ve remembered as well. Yet what I do remember I tend to remember in little bite sizes. Pieces of memories that once, seemingly long ago, I could remember like the back of my hand. Yet there are those scattered flash bulb memories we have that capture our mind and hold it like the moth you catch in your home flying closer and closer to the light bulb or television. One such memory for me is when I went to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at some theater in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Having read the books with my mom at some point in the near past I was excited as all get out to see the story I had become enraptured with begin on screen. I remember standing in line to get into the theater. I have little pictures in my mind of the ticket booth where we picked up our access key to get into the movie. I remember that the theater was at a small mall in town. Yet sitting here and writing this out I can barely remember the experience of watching the film. When it comes to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone my vivid experience is of my mom turning the page to the chapter where you find out Quirrell is the villain and not Snape.

No I don’t remember much of actually watching the first Harry Potter film in theaters. All my vivid memories of watching Harry Potter films came at a later date and much further into that series. What I remember most about that night was seeing an old man with a beard quite like Professor Dumbledore’s coming up over a rocky ridge in the mountains. In hindsight I can’t help but think of the grand score that was playing over that old man and the rest of the individuals walking towards me on screen.

“I think most of us can remember when we first discovered The Lord of the Rings.”

Me? I was wrapped by the trailer that I saw playing but had no idea what it was. That is until my dad blurted out, loudly, “their making The Lord of the Rings?”

Which piqued my curiosity. And… 20 years later having seen the series of films at least twice over the actual number of years that have come in between my first inkling of knowledge that it existed I’m struggling. Read a few of my early blog posts or just read the top of the page and you’ll see what my struggles are. My struggle with my mental illness, and hell, any struggle that I have at all, brings me back time and again to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

My introduction to the story that has touched many “through the films [and] through the books,” which left the “feeling of being transported so completely to a world beyond our own” that I can’t forget, well… It began with that first, grand, teaser trailer. My journey to how I feel about the films now is very long with many ups and downs in between that first time I had ever heard of it and the next viewing I am going to start tonight. I believe everyone should view the films. Why?

Because both the books and the films serve as “one of the great stories of our time, not only because it serves as well-written escapism, but also because it touches on something deeper, something essential.” In fact “exploring Tolkien’s world was not just interesting. It was not even just fascinating. It was sheer joy. For [those who experienced the story] we knew that here we had touched truth. [These books and films were] a homecoming.” They “broke our hearts. Here was a world that was real, in fact, more real, more solid than the one we left behind when we opened the [cover] of [the] books” or started the films.

Which sounds almost hyperbolic to anyone who hasn’t seen or read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, correct? But I’m telling you its true.

For me, the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films represents and emphasizes “what drives us through hardship and suffering, and that, ultimately, is the belief that no matter how bad things get there is no darkness greater than the light, there is always hope.” They show on a grand scale the battle between good and evil. How that battle is fought by everybody everywhere simply in our own personal existence. Not only through the trials and tribulations we experience from the outside world, but from our own inner conflict between the good and bad we may do, say, and act upon. The films show how power can corrupt even the best of hearts and how even when we have done wrong, or less than we are capable of doing or being, we can find redemption.

Right now, redemption has started in the form of a just verdict being rendered. A verdict that has not let George Floyd’s murderer walk free. Redemption comes through a long and perilous journey to the good, right, and true sentiments that are shared by movements like Black Lives Matter and the fight for racial equality in general. The same for the fight for equal rights for men and women alike, and also with the fight for rights of the LGBTQ community.

I truly believe that this series of films and the books they were based on’s themes can help anybody in any struggle they are dealing with. The themes can, at the least, embolden and fortify ones understanding to never, ever give up hope in the fight for equality in our world. I believe through understanding and holding dear the themes of the film we can help humanity as a whole to overcome the evil within it that can be seen all over in our world today.

As I can tend to do. I’ll give you an out. Not the out you want, but the one undeserved. If you’re here and you don’t for some reason care for the groups I claim should feel emboldened by the Lord of the Rings trilogy, yet like the Lord of the Rings movies I would say watch these videos. But, also, ask yourself a couple questions. In what world are the forces of good the ones who fight for a lack of empathy?

“Power is limited to itself; it knows force, pride, and selfishness, but not gentleness, humility, and empathy. It knows how to take, but not how to sacrifice. And here we find a glimmer, [hopefully a summer,] of hope; an unexpected advantage, but only if were brave enough to use it. Only if we have the courage to do what is right.”

Or you can watch the movies on HBO Max.

HBO Max: Stream TV & Movies

They may be a bit long, but I promise they are worth a watch if you have any interest in The Lord of the Rings.

Now where was I? Oh, yes, what I was trying to do is prove how what may seem like hyperbolic claims of what the story of the Lord of the Rings can accomplish is in actuality a very true statement.

You see the Lord of the Rings story is quite simple if you break it down. I mean really simple. A group of nine companions must take an evil ring to a volcano in the middle of enemy territory and drop the ring into the volcano to destroy it. Yet, three three hour films later you may feel physically and emotionally exhausted.

That is because the story, filled with exciting, dread inducing, action packed, suspenseful, and heartbreaking scenes and moments; is as perilous a journey as any that has ever been told. Does a perilous journey where the task we need to accomplish sound familiar to you? Because it does to me. In an innumerable amount of ways.

Part of what was so great about the films adapted from the books was that “Peter Jackson understood the mythological essence of Tolkien’s work, approaching it not as whimsical fantasy, but as actual history.” He used “New Zealand’s natural beauty to give Middle-Earth the strong sense of place that makes it feel both otherworldly as we ll as intimately familiar, and by composing a vast soundtrack that uses musical leitmotifs to enrich the various cultural histories and ground us further into the world as one [as if it] actually” existed. These “elements have since become inseparable from Tolkien’s work, and perhaps even vital to understanding it in its fullness.”

While Peter Jackson had a lot on his hands adapting the works of Tolkien on to the screen. What was there all along that keeps us coming back to both the books and the films, or, maybe, I shouldn’t speak for everybody here; what keeps me returning is the fact that the Lord of the Rings story is one that fulfills the ideals I both value and want to live up to.

I hope that I can show the courage to do the right thing for not only myself but for other people who are like me who deal with psychotic illnesses. Not only for those who deal with psychotic illnesses or mental illnesses in general, but also all those who struggle through the journey of life because of what is unjust and wrong in this world. So, in my case, I write these blog posts to hopefully show more within myself than the mere fact I deal with illness that have. I speak of problems facing others besides me (I need to do more). I hope to one day become notable enough, through this or through screenwriting, to be able to symbolize what many of us dealing with psychotic illnesses know to be true. We are more than what we may be labeled as.

George Floyd was labeled as well. Because he used substances that are illegal and such is the law that the police were able to treat him in such a manner that today, although his murderer is in jail, George Floyd does not get to see the wonderfully cathartic emotions of so many. A celebration in some senses of some sense of victory in such a vast amount of peril and defeat. Unjust actions taken by those in positions of power much of the time all over the place. It is a step in the right direction. Yet it comes at such a cost.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy shows a story where characters act in the manner I and many others want to act (valiantly, heroically) going through struggles harder than I may imagine myself actually having to go through. And… In the end… They achieve their goal and defeat evil. Doing so in the midst of times and situations the seemed hopeless.

Thus, I feel hope when I watch the film knowing that somebody can do it. Even if it’s a fictional character overcoming astronomical odds it is inspiring to see. I see the events that transpire and I see the end result is a victory for the forces of good. Yet, we are all both good and evil. We are not one or the other. We can stray from one to the other very easily, very quickly. Which can be a terrifying thought. Yet as long as we fight to stay on the side of good then we are doing something right, aren’t we?

The ring of power in the Lord of the Rings trilogy represents evil. Yet, also it represents all that achieve only for themselves. The character Sauron, who created the ring, created it to rule for his own sake and his selfish wants. He would not want virtue or valor, no honor, he would just want obedience to his will. Sauron and the ring are powerful, yes. Yet, power “is limited to itself; it knows force, pride, and selfishness, but not gentleness, humility, and empathy. It knows how to take, but not how to sacrifice.”

Gentleness, humility, and empathy. Those descriptive words do not sound like the causes that go against Black Lives Matter, or the fight for equality between both men and women, or the LGBTQ communities fight for their rights. In fact these communities, cultures, races, sexes, genders, all of them, show more courage in their daily lives than many may understand. Whether they fight for not only their beliefs, but the right thing to do, or whether they are simply dealing with the struggle that should not have to come with living their daily lives.

“There is hope for goodness, for courage, and for brotherhood. There is hope that our friends will not abandon us in the face of great evil, that they remain true when all hope seems to be lost.” The fellowship become friends through their journeys around Middle-Earth. And… “They can face evil as long as there remains love and [that] friendship between them, and such qualites are not about taking, they’re about giving.

Having the courage to love and show compassion to those that are different from you takes a lot of giving and is vital to all of these groups getting to the place in the world that they deserve to be. They were vital through the course of the Lord of the Rings trilogies story. Tree’s, elfs, men, hobbits, dwarfs all had to work together to defeat the source of evil in the world. If we keep the goal in mind of doing the right thing for ourselves and others maybe, just maybe we have a chance for the victory that was achieved in the Lord of the Rings story someday.

For now though, the story must be about one thing. That would be justice. The way I remember my initial introduction to the Lord of the Rings trilogy is how we must remember the story of George Floyd. The murder of a man. The use of a position of power over others to, furthermore, use a powerful tactic which may, and did, end in the death of an individual. Both the stories of Derek Chauvin and his crimes and the story of George Floyd his life and his death. (It would be wise to do of Chauvin’s experience too).

Stories are so important to the way we view the world. Myth even more so. Lord of the Rings was a mythological story that touched so many in the world because it let us feel, for once, that one day we could finally achieve that lofty, seemingly impossible goal, of ridding the world of evil.

I have no idea what this moment, in reality, feels like to anybody else, but for me it feels like this moment in the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring.

For reference this is the part of the journey where everyone has come together and now they are heading out on their main mission.

As I saw the verdict of Derek Chauvin being read on CNN I thought of this scene. As if we are taking the very first steps on our journey towards true equality. Yet it may feel like this to some:

This is the end of the line, where evil is defeated in the land of Middle-Earth.

And… I can’t say it’s wrong to feel either way. It would make sense that for many hearing that Derek Chauvin was convicted of all the charges put forth in his direction to feel that it is a large victory. It is. But it is not the first and it most definitely will not be the last “battle” that we fight.

The fight is never over. Yet, even if we will always have to fight for what is right. We should cherish and never forget both the terrible crimes committed that brought us to come on the journey to rid ourselves of what does not fit in this world, evil; and the amazing feelings we may feel today, and hopefully, in future days when we achieve even loftier heights.

When all oppressed people are able to live fully free and equal.

In this world where all are equal.

All quotes are from the Like Stories of Old channel’s videos.

Edit: this may seem like an odd source to dispute my words, but I believe it’s good and necessary. Although I would rebut some of the way they are speaking with the idea that even if there’s no hope you never give it up.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dan-le-batard-show-with-stugotz/id934820588#episodeGuid=c5d81156-a0c1-11eb-995b-474cf4c3e499

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy Giftset (Extended & Theatrical)(4K Ultra HD + Digital)

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