In his newest movie The Last Witch Hunter, Vin Diesel plays a character who was given immortality after he killed a witch. Centuries later, he is the last of his kind, his wife and children are long gone and he is roaming the modern world alone killing every witch in his path. His one wish is to be reunited with his family in the afterlife, but due to his immortality, this is not possible. Is immortality a terrible curse, or does he really just need to cheer up and put his big boy pants on?
Inspired by Tolkien
This is not the first time we see the topic of immortality up for debate. Author (and all-father) J.R.R. Tolkien brought this up for discussion in his book The Silmarillion. In the book, mortality is described as "the Gift of Men." Unlike the immortal elves, all men must die, but it is something they are grateful for. The elves have to stay alive until the world ends, and they come to envy humans as the centuries go by.
In a recent interview, Vin Diesel reveals he was inspired by Tolkien and The Silmarillion when filming The Last Witch Hunter.
“I pulled a lot from Tolkien on this. I mean, when you really look at Tolkien, when you really look at his secondary universes, if you distill it down to the one thing that’s probably the most important, the thing that he himself as a author was exploring, he was exploring death. Producing a film about immortality, I’m gonna go to previous works that have dealt with immortality, and done it right. The Silmarillion was probably one of the first fantasy pieces that played with immortality that wasn’t straight up deity mythology. As an author, he’s playing with immortality in this really cool way. Tolkien proposes that mortality is a gift. Immortality isn’t a gift, it’s the mortality that’s the gift. And which is something that we were kind of close to and I was able to kind of factor into our mythology.”
Immortality seems like a lonely path to walk, and I for sure would pick mortality if I ever had the choice. Besides, it usually doesn't go well for those who seek it. Lord Voldemort is a great example of this. After his defeat, his soul was forever trapped in limbo, unable to move on or become a ghost. I'm pretty sure he would consider mortality a gift after a few centuries of that.
Want to know more about The Witch Hunter? Why not check out the trailer!