Once in awhile, a movie comes along that possesses the power to change your life. These movies are rare, and often become a part of us. But even rarer than a movie that can improve our very existence is a trilogy of movies that can do the same.
It’s been nearly fifteen years (gasp!) since we first joined Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, and the rest of The Fellowship on their quest to destroy the Ring of Power, but the lessons that they taught along the way are still as poignant and important as ever. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be uplifted with life lessons that we can learn from The Lord of the Rings.
“If more people valued home above hoarded gold, the world would be a merrier place."
Famous last words. For Thorin Oakenshield, King under the mountain, to go from ordering Bilbo’s death to admiring his values goes to show how important his last words really are.
Thorin’s final message to his burglar is, essentially, a more meaningful version of the common phrase that on our deathbeds, nobody will wish that they had spent more time working. Family, friends, and home are indeed what should matter most to us.
This is why every person on this planet who has even the smallest portion of a soul gets just a little emotional when Bilbo finally returns to The Shire. The sights are familiar, the music feels right, and the lifestyle of the carefree Hobbits is captured so well that you almost feel like you’re there. Home.
The Power of a positive attitude
So, the world around you is falling to bits. Literally, if you fail your task, you will die and the planet is doomed. No big deal right?
While some of us are crippled with the crushing weight of seemingly impossible tasks, there is always a way out. Just ask Samwise the Brave. While journeying to Mordor, Frodo and Sam must survive on the same old Lembas bread every single day. But instead of getting down on himself about having to eat stale food, Sam tells Frodo that “this Elven stuff isn’t bad.”
Even further, when all hope seemed lost and Frodo’s strength was gone on the slopes of Mount Doom, Sam’s positive attitude saves the day again. “I can’t carry [the ring] for you,” he tells Frodo. “But I can carry you.”
Not only is this one of the best scenes in the modern movie era, it also teaches a valuable lesson: Even impossible tasks can be completed by the most unexpected people.
Greed is destructive
One of the most powerful and prevalent lessons throughout the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is that greed can destroy you. Greed is what makes the Ring such a fearsome weapon. From Sauron and Isuldur to Sméagol and Boromir, many have killed or attempted to kill in the name of the Ring.
The scary thing about greed is that it can seem harmless and innocent. But, as with the Ring, the longer we hold on to feelings of greed, the more they take over us and begin to define who we are.
Love requires sacrifice
While the Lord of the Rings novels contain very little in the way of love stories, the movies have plenty. Whether it’s Arwen and Aragorn’s doomed romance, Eowyn’s pining after Aragorn, or even Sam’s lifelong crush on Rosie Cotton, the ardor shared between the characters of Middle-earth shows us that love is not easy. It requires sacrifice, but is always worth it.
Eowyn sought after Aragorn’s affection, but never could feel happy until after the war at Minis Tirith, when she finally met Faramir, another loveless soul. Sam never had the strength to confess his feelings to Rosie until his life had come within inches of ending. And Arwen literally gave her life to be with Aragorn, giving up a chance to sail into the West and be with her people forever.
Now, it’s not likely that any of us will have to give up eternal life for love, but the lesson stays the same either way.
Perseverance pays off
This one pretty much goes without saying, because, after all, The Lord of the Rings is a tale of perseverance. There is hardly a character, good or evil, in any of the films who doesn’t have to endure any kind of hardship. Frodo is the notable example here, but I want to take a different route and focus on a more inspirational character: Gandalf.
Gandalf is the purest example of one who has seen the worst and lived to tell the tale. Well, he’s seen the worst, died, and then lived to tell the tale. Now that’s something. But the entire LOTR series teaches us that with dedication and perseverance, as well as the positive attitude displayed by Samwise, we can do great things.
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