Lessons From “The Lord Of The Rings:” Aragorn And Hope
This article is the conclusion of the 20th Anniversary celebration of the film, “The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”
As the final installment of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Return of the King” is a captivating climax. The stakes are high as Frodo and Samwise have crossed into Mordor with their treacherous guide, Gollum, on their quest to destroy Sauron’s prized weapon: the One Ring.
Sauron unleashed his vast armies against the free peoples of Middle Earth. While the armies of Gondor and Rohan become scattered, weak and outnumbered, they have a weapon of their own whose power was as great as the Ring’s.
Hope is on the rise, thanks primarily to the actions of Aragorn, the long-lost king of Gondor.
While Aragorn emerged to become a noble, sacrificial and inspiring leader, his journey leading up to the events of the final film were dangerous and filled with despair. He lost his mother while still a young man and witnessed the fellowship break under his leadership after Gandalf’s death in Moria. He doubted that Arwen, his love, would wait for him. He was left for dead after a skirmish and had to walk the treacherous Paths of the Dead to summon an army that nearly betrayed him.
All of this was while having the unenviable task of uniting, leading and inspiring the free people against a formidable enemy. Aragorn had more reason than most to give in to darkness and abandon his friends for personal safety.
Yet he did not. Despite everything that he endured, he pressed on courageously with the hope that everything would be made right.
His hopefulness and strength of character are most evident in the final battle of the movie. The remaining forces of Gondor and Rohan mount a desperate assault against the Black Gate in an attempt to draw out Sauron’s forces and clear the path to Mount Doom for Frodo and Samwise. It is a suicide mission; unless the hobbits reach the mountain, the armies of Gondor and Rohan will be engulfed and destroyed by their enemies.
Above all, Aragorn hopes that this task will succeed, and he encourages his men with one of the most invigorating speeches in movie history.
“A day may come when the courage of men fails and we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day…This day we fight! By all you hold dear, on this good earth, I bid you stand, men of the West,” he declared.
From the confines of my living room, Aragorn’s courage makes me feel confident enough to storm the Black Gate with him.
The daring plan works as Frodo destroys the Ring and Sauron is defeated. Aragorn is finally crowned King of Gondor and marries Arwen.
Aragorn’s ceaseless hope is one of the most inspiring themes in the trilogy because his choices do not make sense in light of his circumstances. He willingly surrenders himself for the good of others, regardless of what pain it costs him.
In the Christian life, we often need this sense of hope in our battle against sin and despair. They are enemies even more relentless than the hosts of Mordor, and we need a living example of what it means to hope during suffering.
We need look no further than Jesus, who walked the ultimate path of suffering in his life and death on earth. But what kept him pressing on was the hope he had in his Father’s plan to bring glory to himself and salvation for us.
Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Aragorn’s example provides us with a refreshing taste of what hope can lead us to do. We can face intense suffering, fierce doubt and pursue something that seems impossible to accomplish with confidence.
Ultimately, Jesus is our perfect example of this. If Jesus could hope in his father’s plan in the face of the greatest suffering anyone has experienced, I can hope that Jesus will carry me through the battle against my sin and despair.
John Simmons is the Web Manager. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnSimmonsJr7.