Wednesday, September 9, 2009


After a weekend at home for Labor Day, I was driving back to school listening to my ipod. Of course I'm tired of the over-430 hours of music I own, so I was brainstorming what else I could listen to. Then I remembered some podcasts I had downloaded at the beginning of the summer.

Okay, I'm not the most intellectual podcaster. My podcasts consist of Rhett and Link, MuggleCast (the Harry Potter Podcast), and Secrets of the Lord of the Rings. My more nobler podcasts are short stories by classic authors and NPR's talk of the nation. Okay, I've listened to the latter twice.

At first I chose the short stories and listened to a few by Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and H.G. Welles. I was drawn to the Secrets of Lord of the Rings podcast, but the first time I tried listening to it, the man speaking spent the first 15 minutes describing his walk through the gamer version of The Shire and Bilbo's house. I decided to give it a second chance and listened to the one titled "Tom Bombadil" and that brings me to the subject and reason of this post.

Tom Bombadil is first featured in the Fellowship of the Ring in the Lord of the Ring series by Tolkien. (PLEASE before you disregard this as a nerdy analyzation of a character, know that I will describe Tom Bombadil just to preface what conclusions I have come to because of his character.) Throughout Tokien's trilogy, different characters refer to Tom by different names, but all have around the same meaning- the Eldest. Some say the oldest being on earth, some say ancient, etc. Tom also puts on the ring and nothing happens to him, he makes it disappear and brings it back, and he also can still see Frodo with it on. The podcast explained that Tom is such a carefree person, and that he cares only for peace and not for power, the ring has absolutely no effect on him. It also answered the question I had asked, "why didn't Tom carry the ring?" he was too carefree with it. It had no meaning to him so he probably wouldn't understand the grave task, and either lose the ring or not care who got it.

But nonetheless, Tom remains a mystery. Where'd he come from? Why is he so carefree? Why do the trees and the rest of nature listen to him? The thought crossed my mind that to Tolkien, this could be the God figure. But i came to the conclusion that Tolkien, though his stories have Christian themes, is different from C.S. Lewis. There isn't a black-and-white God figure. There isn't even a black-and-white good and evil except the ring/it's maker is evil and destroying it is good. But Frodo, he's supposed to destroy it, but even in the end he can't really do it. Gollum is evil, but he has Smeagol which was his once-good side. Gandalf the grey dies and comes back to life as Gandalf the white but even he can't take the ring because he knows it will use him for evil.

I think in our culture, we used to like things black and white, especially in dealing with good and evil (superman, james bond, action movies in general, etc.) but even in relationships, it's always guy gets girl. But our culture is shifting. We no longer like the black and white. Movies like The Dark Knight make Batman neither good nor evil. The movie He's Just Not That In to You took relationships to that grey area.

I think people like these more because it's closer to truth than black and white. Nothing is truly good except for God. There's a definite evil, but rarely do we run into something or someone that is truly evil. Good and evil are intertwined in this life. So I think Tolkien got it right. Evil is in this world, and it's wrapped up in everything. But there's also light, and glimpses of God in that light. God can be seen through the sacrifice a person makes for someone, or He can be seen through a gentle, peaceful mind of another.

I saw a movie today where there were nine parts that functioned on their own, but together they formed something beautiful. I guess it could be seen like the Church, and how each person has a role to make up the entire Church. but God is also like this, that goodness inside each of us, that act that we do that someone else notices was a little piece of Love itself, and one day, we're going to see those pieces together, and all that Love combined and it's going to be overwhelming in a beautiful way.

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