Bravery and The Lord of the Rings

As I said yesterday, I got into a bit of a long-winded bravery rant when I sat down to write a review of LOTR, so I decided to do the shortened version for the review, and share that bravery bit today.

I read the books before I watched the movies, but the movies stole my heart.  When I finished them, I wrote this post about what made me love the story so much.  That is still the basic reason for my infinite adoration of the Lord of the Rings, but in this post I'm going to talk about bravery in LOTR.

 As I've said before, the definition of bravery I love most is ordinary people doing big, beautiful, sometimes scary things because they believe those things are right and need to be done.  In Lord of the Rings, the hobbits are arguably the most ordinary in Middle Earth – they stay in the Shire, are generally afraid of the outside world, and know little accurate information about it.  And yet it is a hobbit who saves the world from Sauron – who saves all the big, brave men like Aragorn, the kingdoms of men like Theoden, the women like Eowyn.  Ordinary people doing big, scary things because they need to be done.

One could say that the Lord of the Rings is a story about bravery.  And yet, Frodo Baggins wasn't brave in the beginning, or even by the end.  He wasn't brave when he first met the Black Riders, or first slipped the ring on his finger, or had to be carried up Mount Doom by Sam.  At least, he wasn't brave like Captain America brave.  He was the quiet sort of brave, the kind that you usually can't see until you look back.  Until the mission's all done and you understand what just happened.  One kind of bravery isn't more brave than another.  Bravery is the courage to do the right thing, even when you're scared to death.  For some people, that looks like bravery.  For others, it looks like scared-to-death.

Then there are others, like Aragorn, who just exude bravery.  Aragorn makes others around him feel brave.  For him, doing what needs to be done means leading an army up to the Black Gate in order to create a diversion for Frodo and Sam and getting surrounded in a matter of minutes.  Bravery for Aragorn meant accepting the sword of his ancestors and becoming a part of the group that would help in destroying the ring forever.  Bravery for him meant going up against things that looked impossible and inspiring those around him to do the same.

Bravery for Sam meant being brave for Frodo when courage was a distant memory.  It meant fighting for Frodo when Frodo wouldn't.  For Sam, bravery meant killing a spider, carrying Frodo up Mount Doom, staying with him from the beginning to the end, and never giving up.  Sam's sort of bravery was the behind-the-scenes kind, but the bravery that won the war.

Theoden's bravery looked like sacrifice, but it also looked like caution.  Caution because he wouldn't risk the lives of his people.  Sacrifice when he gave his life trying to protect theirs.

Eowyn's bravery was loud.  Her sort of brave spat words in the face of Wormtongue.  Her bravery thundered across the plain in a sea of men, to fight where she had no place, but where she knew she had to be.  Her bravery stood before the Nazgul, daring him to challenge her.  Her bravery won the heart of an equally brave man.

The Lord of the Rings is about many things: right and wrong, good conquering evil, heroes, ordinary people, bravery.  It's about fear and courage, weakness and strength, justice and mercy, love and hatred.  It's about sacrifice, wisdom, strength, quiet courage, beauty, true love.  Bravery is only one very small facet of Tolkien's web of lessons woven throughout the Lord of the Rings.  It's one that inspires me, though, and hopefully inspired you.  There are countless more examples of the bravery displayed in Middle Earth – I haven't attempted to cover them all.

There are so many themes worth exploring in Lord of the Rings; bravery is just one that I'm inspired by right now.  Lord of the Rings is one of those series you can read/watch many times and each time something else stands out.  I love that about classics – they're so timeless.

And that wraps up my book reviews/book talks for this month!  Next week I'll be sharing some roundups, Christmas music and favorite movies/shows.  I hope been enjoying classics month as much as I have!  Thanks for reading!  xo, Ella          

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