Lord of the Rings III


Gondorean Ceremonial Guard protects the dead White Tree of Gondor (Tree of the King)
at Minas Tirith in Hopeful Anticipation of the Return of the King

 

No Pain . . . . . . No Gain
No
Guts . . . . . No Glory
No
Cross . . . . No
Crown

 

Lord of the Rings

Selection of additional comments
compiled from various sources

Kingdom of Gondor

The Kingdom of Gondor is a Declining Kingdom with its Glory Days behind it, much like the declining Kingdom of Israel after the Glory Days of King David.

Gondor was the Second of the Two (2) Great Nations of Men founded in Middle Earth by Elendil after the Downfall of Númenor, the other being Arnor in the North. Gondor was at First Ruled Jointly by Elendil's sons Isildur and Anárion. Both Elendil and Anárion were lost in the Siege of Barad-dûr, and his brother Isildur soon afterwards in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, and so the Kingship of Gondor fell on Anárion's son Meneldil. Thus, the Kings of Gondor were descendants of Anárion through many Generations until the time of Eärnur.

When Eärnur was lost in Minas Morgul in III 2050, the Rule of Gondor was taken up by the King's Steward, Mardil Voronwë; the Death of Eärnur was not certain, and so Mardil and the Stewards who followed him Pledged to Rule 'until the King comes back'. Unlikely though this seemed, it happened almost a Thousand Years later in III 3019 when Aragorn II Elessar, descendant by Right Line of Isildur, Elder Brother of Anárion, reclaimed the Throne of Gondor.

Just as the People of Gondor Hoped for the Return of the King and its Return to Glory, the various Messianic currents in the Old Testament pointed to the coming of a Messiah, i.e. Jesus and the Kingdom which He established:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) God's Promise to the Patriarchs that through them all the Nations of the Earth would be Blessed;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Prediction that the Tribe of Juda would be Supreme among the other Hebrew Tribes until the coming of Him Whom all Nations would Obey;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The strange yet undeniable fact that in the Bible of the Alexandrian Jews, the Septuagint, one finds clearly predicted the Virgin Birth of the Messiah;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Prophecy of Isaiah 53 about the Patient Sufferer, the Servant of the Lord, Who will lay down His Life as a Guilt-Offering for His People's Sins;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Perspectives of the Glorious, Everlasting Kingdom of the House of David

The decline of the Kingdom of Gondor and its Hope for the Return of the King is explained in the following dialogue between Gandalf and Pippin after their confrontation with Denethor in The Return of the King. The similarity with Old Testament Israel is Evident.

 

GANDALF: All had turned to vain ambition. He would use even his grief as a cloak! A thousand years this city has stood and now at the whim of a madman it will fall! And the white tree, the tree of the King will never bloom again.
 
They walk through the courtyard towards the tree.
 
PIPPIN: Why are they still guarding it?
 
GANDALF: They guard it because they have Hope. A faint and fading Hope that one day it will flower. That a king will come and this city will be as it once was before it fell into decay. (The camera shows the city of Minas Tirith) The old wisdom born out of the west was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the old names of their descent (the camera moves around and pans in on the city of Minas Tirith) dearer than the names of their sons. (They walk along the parapet to the end) Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. (camera moves in on Gandalf and Pippin looking out over the city of Minas Tirith) The line of Kings failed. The white tree withered. The rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men.
Pippin moves away from Gandalf looking at the mountains of Mordor and the disturbances that go on there.

 

25th of March
Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

 

* The Annunciation to Mary by God's Messenger, Gabriel -
* Mary's Fiat to God: I am the Hand Maiden of the Lord -
* The Conception of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, in the Womb of Mary, by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

A Prime Example of Mary's Presence in The Lord of the Rings comes close to the End of the Book, after the Ring has been Destroyed and Sauron’s Work Undone. The Ringbearer has Fulfilled his Mission. As Frodo lies in bed recovering from the Ordeal, Gandalf happens to mention the Date on which the World’s Salvation was achieved and the Dark Lord Destroyed. In Gondor, he says:

"The New Year will always now begin upon the Twenty-Fifth of March when Sauron fell, and when you were brought out of the Fire to the King. He has tended you, and now he awaits you. You shall eat and drink with him. When you are ready I will lead you to him".

In our World, March 25th is the Catholic Feast of the Annunciation. It is, of course, exactly Nine (9) Months before Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity, December 25 – itself the Date on which the Fellowship of the Ring is said to have set out from Rivendell. In our World, March 25th is the day when Christ became Incarnate by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Consider these Insightful Words of Saint Alphonsus Liguori regarding the Annunciation:

 

 

 

 

On the Annuciation

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Consider that God allowed Four (4) Thousand Years to pass, after the Transgression of Adam, before He sent His Son upon Earth to Redeem the World. And in the mean time, Oh, what Fatal Darkness Reigned upon the Earth! The True God was not Known or Adored, except in One (1) Small Corner of the World. Idolatry reigned everywhere; so that Devils and Beasts and Stones were Adored as Gods.

But let us Admire in this, the Divine Wisdom: He deferred the Coming of the Redeemer in order to render His Advent more Welcome to Man, in order that the Malice of Sin might be better known, as well as the Necessity of a Remedy and the Grace of the Savior. If Jesus Christ had come into the World immediately after the Fall of Adam, the Greatness of this Favor would have been but Slightly Appreciated. Let us therefore thank the Goodness of God for having sent Us into the World after the Great Work of Redemption was accomplished. Behold, the Happy Time is come which was called the Fullness of Time:

When the Fullness of Time was come, God sent His Son, . . . that He might Redeem them that were under the Law.

 

Now consider the Thousands of Years of Darkness that Reigned on Middle Earth and our Earth except for a small corner of the world, represented by the Shire and Israel. Next consider the Priestly Function of Frodo of the Shire (which we have previously discussed) and the Priestly Function of Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

***

Dec 25th

Mar 25th

Our World

Nativity

Annunciation
(Mary's Yes over-
turns Eve's No)

LOTR

Fellowship
Departs
Rivendell

Power of
Sauron
Destroyed

 

Why then choose March 25th for the Destruction of the Ring? Well, think what the Ring Represents. The Ring of Power exemplifies the Dark Magic of the Corrupted Will, the Assertion of Self in Disobedience to God. It Appears to give Freedom, but its True Function is to Enslave the Wearer to the Fallen Angel. It Corrodes the Human Will of the Wearer, rendering him increasingly "Thin" and Unreal; indeed, its Gift of Invisibility symbolizes this Ability to Destroy all Natural Human Relationships and Identity.

We have previously discussed the Ring as an Anti-sacrament and you could also say the Ring is Sin itself: Tempting and seemingly Harmless, to begin with, Increasingly Hard to give-up and Totally Corrupting in the Long Run. Its Destruction, therefore, is a Type or Figure of the Great Reversal of Sin begun at the Annunciation when Mary welcomed the Word of God into our World. Her Fiat, "Let it be done to me according to Your Word", Overturns the Human Refusal of God’s Will that we call Original Sin. That Sin also resulted in a kind of Invisibility, as Adam hid from the Lord in the Garden of Eden: "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?’" (Genesis 3:9).

 

Light

Another Prime Example in which the Virgin Mary's Presence would be clearly noticed by Catholics in The Lord of the Rings, and it is under the Symbol of Light. Galadriel's parting Gift to Frodo is a Phial containing Light from the Morning Star. As one might expect, from the Key Role this Gift is to play in the story, it is a Highly Symbolic Gesture. Not only does it create a further link between Galadriel and Elbereth the "Star-Kindler", but it also establishes an important connection to the Great Saga of the Silmarils. For the Morning Star, in Tolkien's Cosmos, is the Light shining from the Silmaril bound upon the Brow of Eärendil, the Father of Elrond, after he is sent by the Valar to Sail the Heavens and "Keep watch upon the Ramparts of the Sky" following the Defeat and Exile of Morgoth (First Dark Lord). It is this Light, from an Age before the Sun and Moon, that shines in the Phial that Frodo carries away from Lothlorien, and which aids him in the Conflict with the Giant Spider, Shelob, a Creature of Darkness who is herself a descendant of Ungoliant, the Destroyer of the 'Two Trees'.

Light shining in Darkness, representing the Life, Grace, and Creative Action of God, is a Theme we find in the Prologue of St John’s Gospel, and it is at the very Heart of Tolkien's Writing. To a Catholic such as Tolkien, who believes Mary to be the Universal Mediatrix of that Grace, she is present implicitly wherever her Son is Present; that is, wherever Grace is Present in the World. For Tolkien, then, the Light of the Silmaril, which Beautifies whoever wears it, and which is carried by Frodo into the Darkness of Mordor, is a reminder of the Beauty of the "First Creation" before the Fall, and a Symbolic Anticipation of the New Creation that would begin with the Incarnation. For Catholics, the Virgin Mary has all the Beauty Lost by Eve, the "Mother of the Living", and is therefore the Mother of the World to Come.

To a puzzled non-Christian, who tells him that he has Created a World "in which some sort of faith seems to be everywhere without a visible source, like light from an invisible lamp," Tolkien replies:

Of his own sanity no man can securely judge. If Sanctity inhabits his work or as a pervading light illumines it, then it does not come from him but through him. And neither of you would perceive it in these terms unless it was with you also. Otherwise you would See and Feel nothing, or (if some other Spirit was present) you would be filled with Contempt, Nausea, Hatred. "Leaves out of the elf-country, gah!" "Lembas–dust and ashes, we don’t eat that".

 

The last sentence in the above quote from Tolkien is presented in context from the Movie Script from the Two Towers, which depicts Gollum's Adverse Response to Lembas Bread during the Trek through the Dead Marshes.

Sam: I hate this place, it's too quiet. there‘s been no sight nor sound of a bird for two days.

Gollum: No, no birdses to eat, no crunchable birdses. We are famished, yes! Famished we are, precious!

<Gollum spots a worm and eats it quick. Sam looks disgusted.>

Frodo: Here. <He tosses Gollum a piece of Lembas>

Gollum: What does it eats? Is it tasty? <Gollum tries to eat it, but chokes on it> It tries to chokes us! We cant eats Hobbit food! We must starve!

Gollum also responds Adversely to Galadriel's Parting Gift to Sam of Elven Rope, which is used to Restrain Gollum during the opening scene of the Two Towers:

Gollum: It burns! It burns us! It freezes! Nasty Elves twisted it. Take it off us!

 

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