Ever since the publishing of his renowned trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" in 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien has remained a fixture of enduring, and undying reverence across multiple cannons of English Literature. Spending long days that proved to be countless as they were tireless, to conceive and realize the universe known as Middle Earth, Tolkien spent much of these hours that spanned into the early skirts of dawn in the study. Looking long into linguistics, history, and anthropology to create not only the species of hobbits, wizards, dwarves, and elves, but to invent that of a culture, and a language to go along into the livelihoods, and the lives he gave life to. Inventing three languages to compliment an entire canon of storytelling that remains distinctly his own, J.R.R. Tolkien is not only crediting for reviving the popularity of the fantasy genre, but for serving as an example, and inspiration for many of some of the greatest writers in the modern era. With authors such as George R.R. Martin, the auteur behind "Game of Thrones", frequently citing Tolkien as one of his greatest role models in a matter of style, and deliverance of literary gravitas.
A man of recalcitrant hope, courage, and indomitable compassion enhanced by an introspective melancholy fostered by having lost every single one of his closest friends save but one during the Great War the shook the world as much as the people living in it, Tolkien, through his stories, sought always, to encourage his readers to persevere. To endure. Against all odds. Against the destruction and loss of things, they held most dear. And through it, strive for the belief that a very bright tomorrow full of music, and of laughter lingered still at the end of the dark tunnel that at times, could be far from ideal present.
Here are five quotes delivered by the author the embody this very approach, and belief, that many a reader and writer exposed to his works have sought to make their own:
1. “Not all those who wander are lost.”
As we grow older and venture further into life, it is not uncommon to find that few things do not make sense like they use to. However, just because we have become disillusioned, and perhaps bereft, of what we formerly believed passed for meaning, Tolkien understood that it did not entirely estrange, or set us further back, from discovering what things truly mean.
2. “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
In order to be courageous, one must not shy away from challenges he/she deems to be too overwhelming. But rather, it is the will, the drive to conquer what lies down the darkest, most uncertain road that allows one to emerge all the more confident. With all the more faith that such travails can be overcome.
3. “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
In a world filled with many good people whom we seldom get to appreciate for their goodness simply because their number is too many, there is the odd minority that simply isn't worth a good goddamn. Just like the ones who started WWI over a misplaced sense of pride Tolkien had to fight in and lost a majority of his friends as a result. Many of whom, by all accounts, were good men worth every last damn worth giving.
4. “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
Life is beautiful. A lasting cliche Tolkien would have been among the very last to disagree with. Life is beautiful not because it was wrought beneath a light unwavering and unquenched, but because they also followed a period where the night was allowed to have its due. However, as always is there an opportunity for one to cast a far-reaching shadow during the day, it is in the most consuming, impenetrable darkness, where even the smallest flicker, a spark of light can burn and shine brighter than any light that has shown before it.
5. "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
In a time where the last person who deserves to live currently controls the livelihood of many, this line from "The Fellowship of the Ring" serves as a reminder that while the circumstances that be maybe far from ideal, there may, in fact, be something better that awaits at the end. That a time of seemingly relentless hatred and division is a chance to forge together, and ahead, towards that light that glimmers brighter as the end of the tunnel draws near.
6. "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer."
With great power comes responsibility. Misused and much will be destroyed, with many casts astray -- hurt and broken. However, when used the way it was meant to be used, a day is brought forth where the many tears shed for the sake of sorrow, can be used to wipe away any last despair that stands before our eyes.
7. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Every desired outcome takes time and how we chose to use that time. To bring about a time of unnumbered tears. Or a time made bright by the many smiles that pass us in the streets.
Although Tolkien has since passed beyond this world. Into a realm far greater than his great imagination wrought from much beauty that has been the joy and sorrows passed before even himself, the renowned author leaves behind with us, his works. Works that show us what can become when we chose to hope and to love with a bravery in place that has not yet realized or has forgotten, the courage that can be when one hopes and loves.
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