Monday, August 16, 2004
frodo and the ring
amy from amy loves books has asked for LOTR help as she is not a fan, and an assignment on heroes leaves her needing to brush up on all things hobbit.
i on the other hand am a fan. my copies of the books are in sad shape from their many readings, and my glee was made full at the release of the trilogy on film (and especially on dvd!).
that little hobbit frodo is my hero, he gives me hope, he brings balance and joy to my soul because when faced with the temptation to become gollum he still chose to throw the ring into the fire.
you see i daily face those choices. do i covet my precious, give in to my obsessions, feed that instant need for gratification or do i, like frodo make the choice to crawl to the edge of the fire and release them from my hand?
the way the movie(s) played this out in technicolor was so vivid to me - to watch frodo's eyes widen as they faced the darkness, more gollum-like with every step showed me in wide screen splendor how the fondling of the ring in my own life takes me farther away from the innocence of the shire.
each time frodo gives into temptation life becomes more difficult. he thinks it will be easier, the invisibility of the ring screams safety to him, but the true nature of the ring (addictions) are shown as the wraiths know instantly his location and weaknesses. each time i choose to participate in the numbing effect of my addictions my demons become more real, more intense and more terrifying.
director peter jackson somehow knows about addiction and the slippery slope that comes from giving into them. the picture i chose above is taken from the time frodo is in the pub and is terrified after his first brush with the ring wraiths. his bumbling friends expose him and he thinks there is no alternative but to hide. he drops the ring and it falls onto his finger, innocently. he is invisible. he thinks he is safe. he feels the numbness that comes from this choice. it is good. it makes his fear less noticeable. it becomes the power that controls him every time he is face to face with his emotions.
two other men in the story know the power of the ring. bilbo baggins and smeagol. in the films each are fleshed out into the full effect the ring has played in their lives. bilbo reluctantly leaves the ring with gandalf, he is sad, but knows that he is no longer able to participate in it's temptation. when the ring reappears in his life later he is instantly transformed into the hideousness of craving and lust. it's momentary, and his shame is great. but he is able to walk away.
smeagol is the underlying current of addiction that permeates the whole of the tolkein stories. from the hobbit through to the end of the trilogy we see the full effect that the ring has on this man. his divided soul is shown so tragically in full screen effect as he argues and fights with himself along the road to recover his precious. we watch as this transformation from man to creature spreads across the screen and gives us the ugliest depiction of slavery to desire.
so frodo stands straddled between the shire and mordor. knowing that with the ring still in existence he cannot have one without the other. he will never have home and health again unless he walks that horrible road to rid himself and the world of the ring.
he is wise enough not to go it alone. gollum, for all of his selfish desires is still a guide along that road. and he has friends, many begin the path with him but in the end it is only with the strength, support and devotion of samwise gamgee at his side that he is able to confront each and every temptation and finally rid middle earth of the horror of the ring.
i wish that sam could be my hero, that innocent, deep hearted wonderful friend. but i don't know what it is like to be sam. sam is not influenced by the ring. he cannot understand the depth of desire within frodo, it confuses and angers him. sam is untouched.
frodo is my hero because he is able to face it all and succeeds. i wish there were a mordor to dump my addictions in. i wish there was a place where i could travel, even with threat of orcs and spiders, that i could rid my world of addiction. yet daily i must relinquish that ring. that deep desire to meet my own needs apart from god. daily i must face this quest, this road, these choices. he did it. he made it. he was victorious. frodo is my hero.