“No Parent Should Have to Bury Their Child.” (The Two Towers, 2002)

bury their child

King Theoden, situated at his son’s graveside, weeping tears of grief, spoke truth for all parents who have had to bury their child: The truth being that no one should have to.

What inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to add this morbid scene to his novel, The Two Towers? King Theoden lost his son to war, but what other events occur to make parents bury their child? Detailed below are all the reasons that may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to include this tearful scene.

To All the Parents Who Have Had to Bury Their Child

Parents have lost their children numerous ways. I personally have known more parents who’ve spoken of deceased children than I care to remember. For, I cannot understand their pain, considering my own childless situation. But the pain is all too real. Their grief and despair being way too strong for mere imagination.

King Theoden, albeit a fictional character, lost his son in battle. Nobility of character ran strongly in his family’s blood, so they saw the need to fight against the evil forces. But knowing this did nothing to ease the pain in the loss. Just as nothing eases the pain for parents in modern day. The following list details some ways children die, whether by carelessness, thoughtlessness, or evil intention, and why their parents grieve:

  • Miscarriage hurts parents who hoped for children.
  • Abortion hurts parents who realized their mistake in having the procedure.
  • Car accidents hurt parents who blame themselves for helpless situations.
  • Murder hurts parents who failed to warn their children about the world.
  • Suicide hurts parents who feel personally responsible.

I refuse to say that parents are always guiltless. For abortion runs rampant in today’s generation, and the women who undergo the procedure are responsible for the loss of human life. But, other than this and domestic violence, parents who bury their child should be pitied more than anyone else. For human life is the most glorious of all God’s gifts.

Why J.R.R. Tolkien Wrote About Parents Who Had to Bury Their Child

It requires little imagination, and only a little information, on why J.R.R. Tolkien would write about King Theoden losing his son to war. For Tolkien lived through, and fought in, both World Wars. Considering how many English and American men lost their lives in battle, Tolkien most assuredly knew many parents who had to bury their child. And sometimes more than one child.

Moreover, J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife had four children. Imagining the loss of one’s own child becomes easier when the individual actually has children. And if friends lost one or more children, then the horror that would come at the thought of losing one’s child would be only natural.

Did J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife bury any of their children? Did they experience miscarriages, or lose their children to war? I will find out the answer to these questions as I continue to learn about C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings. Knowing that these men survived through two World Wars, I would be surprised if all their children did make it through alive.

How to Assist Parents Who’ve Had to Bury Their Child

God is the answer. Always has been, always will be. Every parent whom I’ve known to bury their child has turned to God for comfort and peace. Even women who’ve gone through abortions regret their decision, ask God for forgiveness, and join the church community. I need not say how parents respond to their grief without peace and comfort, for everyone has seen grieving people who speak and act with anger in their hearts.

To everyone who has to bury their child, I recommend watching Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers. Actor Bernard Hill performs magnificently as King Theoden of Rohan, capturing the loss and the pain in his life situation as a king. Because to see an example of someone who continued to fight the good fight, whether a fictional character or an actual person, gives the heart joy. Bernard Hill, acting as the grieving Rohan king, will bring joy.

Some Evil Drives Every Will, from Murderous Orc to Sinful Man

some evil

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis assuredly sat and thought together based on the similarities in their written works. And, in this case, Director, Screenwriter, and Producer Peter Jackson must have also thought along the same lines when scripting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers.  Half the thought was about some evil fighting against the good in all their written works. And we must find the reason why.

How Aragorn Recognized “Some Evil” in the Creatures Which He Hunted

Peter Jackson’s second installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, started with Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. The creature following them since The Fellowship of the Ring, named Gollum, trailed close on their heels at this point. Causing Frodo and Sam to confront the evil and deformed creature head-on.

After this encounter with an evil-based character, the film panned over to the Uruk-hai. These debased, human-sized orcs tortured Merry and Pippin, showing their moral lacking and cruel thought patterns. When they sensed Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli on their trail, they sped up, determined to steal away the hobbits.

The three hunters filled the screen, Aragorn II, son of Arathorn, leading the way. He bent down, listened to the land’s reverberations, and updated the others on the Uruk-hai. Dejected at learning how the Uruk-hai had picked up their scent, Aragorn remarked on something ominous. Something dark, dangerous, and all-too-true:

There’s something strange at work here. Some evil gives speed to these creatures. Sets its will against us.

~ Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn II, son of Arathorn,
in Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers

How “Some Evil” Based J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in Reality

Remember the boss who gave your raise and promotion to someone else, after you toiled so hard without complaint? Or, how about the sibling-in-laws who refuse to acknowledge you as family? And those un-Christlike church members, how they judge your faith and refuse to treat you like a loving brother or sister-in-Christ? “Some evil” inspired them all.

Evil, which manifests itself in countless forms, serves as the antithesis to God and his goodness. Writers write stories about good and evil because good and evil have such a strong presence in, what people most commonly refer to as, “the real world.” For the real world consists of much more than what we can see or hear. Forces unknown and unseen rule the real world, and we should be afraid.

What J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Peter Jackson Know About “Some Evil” Influence

I don’t intend to start a debate on whether people are inherently good or bad. For I realize some people want to think people are good, some people think people are bad, and yet other people think people are either good or bad.

Personally, I believe when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they introduced a spiritual strand in people that corrupts us and makes us bad. But none of this changes the undeniable evil, existent in the universe.

C.S. Lewis wrote many novels about the existent evil within the known universe. One such novel is The Screwtape Letters, in which Lewis took time to describe how the evil forces, known as demons, influence fallible and easily misled humans. A human-based reality also depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world.

Aragorn knew “some evil” led the Uruk-hai, for the orcs exhibited little intelligence or teamwork when left to their own devices. And “some evil” meant Saruman, Sauron’s ally.

“Wait a minute. Saruman was an actual character in the books and movies, not some spiritual force,” one might say. “There is no relation to C.S. Lewis’s demons.”

Wrong! Though I might have hesitated to say J.R.R. Tolkien refrained from any Christian symbolism in his work before, I’ve changed my mind now. Several scenes and script lines in The Two Towers forced me to rethink my stance.

For, as I’ve heard, the wizards in Middle-earth represented more than simple magic. According to God-fearing Tolkien fans, the wizards represented God’s angels. Making Saruman a fallen angel, a forbidding demon in control.

How “Some Evil” Translates Into the Christian Life in the Real World

So, if C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien agreed on evil forces affecting life-and-blood creatures, whether human or orc, then there must exist an omniscient good power. This good power is God, known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who knows just a little bit about these two men know about their great faith. If you don’t know, please just check up on that. It’s an eyeopener to see the expanse of their belief.

The people groups who worked as teams in The Two Towers represent the persecuted Christians in the real world. We lazy, laid-back Christians in today’s America don’t hardly compare to the persecuted Christians in the World Wars and every war following.

But, like the Christian people in past wars, the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings stood and fought together. They pursued the right path, no matter how hard. They stuck to their beliefs.

Therefore, if you believe in God, and you can recognize evil actions and thoughts, then I encourage you to fight. To battle against the evil that attacks from every imaginable force. Nothing greater exists than to do God’s will.

J.R.R. Tolkien recognized this, as did C.S. Lewis, and as Peter Jackson portrayed it in The Lord of the Rings. And if you’re looking at what good there is to fight for, then start with looking at what the Fellowship fought for in The Lord of the Rings.

Demons in Plain Sight – Rebecca’s Story

The first chapter to a C.S. Lewis inspired story about one young woman, named Rebecca, and her interactions with an evil spiritual force, parading around as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed man.

Chapter One

Severed hands upon her chest grew thick, dirty yellow nails and dug into her flesh. They ripped through her torso, exposing her heart, lungs, and stomach.

Hot, boiling acid bubbled up from her stomach. It burned potently, destroying flesh and intestines as it overflowed into her body.

The severed hands had disappeared, but she could feel someone. A gleeful enemy. A spirit that was all too happy as she lay dying.

* * * * *

Rebecca’s eyelids opened in a flash. She could still feel the acid in her body. Though, her flesh remained intact. It was nothing but heartburn from eating pizza too late last night. She slowly released the sheets from her tight grasp.

Her surroundings confused her, and she struggled to remember where she was. A snore to her left alerted her to Daisy, her friend. Then Rebecca began to remember last night’s events.

She shifted in the motel’s queen-sized bed, and her head exploded with pain. Oh, of course, she had too much to drink last night, as well. Putting her hands on either side of her head, she leaned forward and tried not to vomit from the nausea.

Daisy had stopped her last night from spending the night with the Swede. At least, she thought he was Swedish, maybe German, or Norwegian. She didn’t care. He was hot, and she wanted him.

Now, Daisy hadn’t stopped her last night for any religious issue, nor for any feminist garbage. She had merely dumped her stomach’s contents all over the guy. Making Rebecca drag her to a place to stay for the night while the guy cleaned up.

With this memory in mind, Rebecca picked up a down pillow and forcefully threw it at Daisy. The sleeping young woman moaned on impact, but didn’t wake up. Making Rebecca glower at her.

Slowly rising from the bed, she stretched her arms above her head. Her hungover headache throbbed ten times greater. She needed coffee, in a bad way. Did the motel have any continental breakfast? She decided to find out before she cleaned up for the day.

* * * * *

Whatever motel they had chosen, it was a nice one. Expensive too, more than likely. However, she went ahead and grabbed one of the fluffy, white robes and wrapped it around her. If the hotel host and hostess didn’t want their guests running around in robes, then they shouldn’t have supplied them.

With the room’s key in the robe’s pocket, she unlocked the four locks and let the room’s door slam shut behind her. She hoped it hurt Daisy’s head more than her own.

The halls were wide, just like every other place in the area. Victorian red carpeting on the floors, extravagantly embellished designs on the walls, and chandeliers on the ceiling all gave Rebecca the impression that she belonged here.

She actually grew up in one of Brooklyn’s poor neighborhoods. And God knew the trouble she experienced there…and created. But, in her mind, she knew she would rise to higher classes. Maybe that’s why she and Daisy ended up there.

She found the continental breakfast in an oversized room near the front lobby. Walking into the room, she stopped and smirked. Taking in the same extravagant designs as the halls and smelling the sweet and hearty breakfast foods at the buffet table made her giddy. Making her almost forget her headache.

People milled around the coffee maker. But there was enough to go around. Grabbing a white, porcelain mug, Rebecca poured herself some French roast. Then she turned around to find a seat.

There were mostly men in the breakfast room. Rebecca relaxed a little. The men seemed somewhat pleased to see her, their wives would have probably given her dirty looks. The thought made her smile.

Blowing on her coffee, she strolled to the center tables, and she stopped. She said a mild curse under her breath as some coffee spilled over her fingers. But he acted like he didn’t notice.

It was the same guy, the Swede. His blue eyes, dark and deep, were on her. A blush crept into her cheeks as she noticed him check out her every curve and sway. He seemed interested in her too. But what was he doing here?

Uneasiness filled her. Thoughts of him following her to this motel played in her mind. After all, she couldn’t even remember fully how she had got here. And she had yet to remember the motel’s name.

“Hello, Rebecca. Did you sleep well?” he said. He chuckled, a deep-throated, bass laugh. It wasn’t menacing, but it wasn’t friendly either.

She decided to play it casual. “Didn’t expect to see you here. I guess I didn’t notice what happened once my friend and I left the nightclub. You seem to have cleaned up fine.” Without an invitation, she settled herself at his table on the seat opposite.

“I always clean up well,” he said. He gave her a closed-lip smile, a dark twinkle in his eye. Then his expression turned to mimic her casual attitude. “I spend enough time here to know the laundromat’s location and how much change to have on me to use it.”

The expression in his eye had made Rebecca recoil. Ignoring it, she moved on and said, “So, you use it often then?” Rebecca wondered if he vacationed here often. Maybe he frequently stayed at this motel?

“Whenever I find myself here,” he said. His eyes flickered around the room, then settled on her. The tight-lipped smile returned, but without words.

An awkward smile of her own crossed her lips. He was toying with her, she realized. She sipped her coffee, slightly burning her tongue. “And after you cleaned up this time, you went back to find the girl with her vomiting friend. Because you just hadn’t had enough.”

Rebecca didn’t like being toyed with. Whenever she felt like someone was, she challenged the person. Making him uncomfortable as he made her uncomfortable.

But the Swede remained undisturbed, his expression blank. “Yes, I followed you and Daisy here,” he said, his tone flat and steady.

Anxiety hit, and her heartbeats tripled in speed. Had she voiced her worry out loud? He had to be teasing, she told herself. He was merely smart enough to catch her innuendo.

She remembered which city she resided in, and calmed herself. No real creep could afford to stay at a place like this. She wondered if her own credit card even had enough credit leftover to afford this little sleepover.

Men filled the tables around them. The men in business suits talked finance, the retirees talked about stage shows and fishing, and the college kids focused on the food. Everyone seemed at ease around this blue-eyed, blonde man. If anything, they seemed jealous of him.

However easy the men around her seemed, Rebecca decided the time had come for her to take her coffee and leave. Maybe Daisy was awake. Maybe she shouldn’t have left Daisy alone in the room in the first place.

Excusing herself, she turned her back on him as quickly as a ‘casual’ attitude would allow her to. Her dream began to come back to her, piece by piece. Unlike last night, the Swede had given her a foreboding impression. Much like the gleeful enemy in her dream.

C.S. Lewis on the Church Body – How Demons Influence Us to See Each Other

Church body

Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like “the body of Christ” and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people the next pew contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy’s side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below, is a fool. Provided that any of the neighbours sing out of tune, or have shoes that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.
~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Common Phrases Heard Within the Church Body

Everyone within the church body, when they are being honest with others and themselves, can admit to having judgmental thoughts about their brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes these thoughts, when not shared in secret with bosom buddies, are shared in public. Sometimes even to the judged individual’s face. Examples of these nasty comments are listed below:

  • “Ouch, my ears! Is that guy trying to sing? We really need to go to a church where we can get some good tunes.”
  • “She looks like she’s from the 80’s. And he has sideburns down to his chin. Why can’t this church catch up to the times and show a little style? It’s so old fashioned and outdated.”
  • “OMG. Is she still eating? She shouldn’t be eating that. I mean, seriously, what a glutton. Does she even care if the homeless are fed?”
  • “The preacher thinks he knows everything. He probably hates us because we don’t believe everything he preaches. Imagine if he knew what we did the other night, ha!”
  • “Am I the only person who does anything good around here? Why can’t people help the poor minorities, abused women, and starving animals like I do?”

Do I return such judgmental thoughts, especially when someone makes them about my loved ones or me? Yes, I do! I’m just as hypocritical as the next church body member! Does that mean Christianity proves itself to be a false religion, creating only strife and discord? No, not in the slightest. But don’t believe me. Believe the God-inspired layman named Clive Staples Lewis.

Screwtape’s Instructions to the Demon-in-Training Regarding the Church Body

Quoted above is the big shot demon, named Screwtape, in C.S. Lewis’s novel, The Screwtape LettersAlbeit this paragraph portion showed up in only the second chapter, C.S. Lewis managed to pin a major struggle within the church body. A struggle that has separated church body members since the beginning of time: How church members compare their faith to other people’s faith.

Let’s use an example to clarify what C.S. Lewis wrote in the portion above:

Fred lives in a small town and works at the local bakery. Because he enjoys baked goods so much, his weight far, far exceeds what the BMI scale states as healthy. Unbeknownst to most people who enter his bakery, Fred reads Scripture every morning and night, prays everyday, gives food to the metropolitan homeless shelter, and serves in several positions at the local First Baptist Church. Paula doesn’t know any of this about Fred.

Paula recently accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She had been hungry for many years, and she always struggled to keep a roof over her head. Wishing to learn more about her faith and serve with fellow Christians, she stopped by at the town’s First Baptist Church to hear a sermon. During the sermon, she spotted Fred.

Fred was hard to miss. Due to his size, he breathed heavily and loudly. He also had a tendency to fidget, which made his chair squeak. When the pastor made a joke, Fred laughed loudly. But, despite Fred’s joviality and kindness in greeting those around him, Paula was disgusted.

For when Paula looked at Fred, she saw an obese man who did nothing but draw attention to himself. To her, his size indicated he had a poor work ethic ,and he had struggled very little in his life. It was a very long and pampered life, from the looks of it. She hated Fred. He seemed to represent everything she ever wanted, but was always being denied, because of people like him.

All who knew Fred, loved Fred. But people, who have only recently come to the faith, can see nothing beyond their own personal struggles. C.S. Lewis knew this. He also believed demons help influence the new believers to think in these ways. Let’s not mistake what makes a believer a new believer: Someone who enters the faith, proclaiming to know and love God, but never growing closer to God and maturing in Christ, will always be a new believer. C.S. Lewis recognized a new believer’s vulnerability to the devil’s lies, regarding all areas of life and belief.

Remaining Strong in the Church Body

Please don’t think that I have a final solution to this problem! Other than with the countless prayers and daily readings I try to maintain for my own faith, I’m incapable of maintaining pure thoughts toward anyone, let alone my fellow believers in Christ. Even when I pray, I find my thoughts turning scornful and judgmental. But, I have hope. Just as everyone who struggles as I do has hope.

The one, true God knows how His followers struggle. For Christians only have righteousness through Christ. So, when believers neglect God and fall and fail, they can always turn back toward God and find forgiveness. To take action against humanity’s propensity to judge each other, probably the best course of action, other than prayer, is to remember our need to love each other.

Love is an action. Our feelings sometimes contradict how we should behave toward someone, hence why we must choose love and respect. Even toward people we disagree with. So, whether you love or hate your church body, Christians need to recognize all people fall short of the glory of God. And this applies to all people.

Therefore, the next time you see someone in a negative light, reconsider how God sees this person. Christians and nonbelievers alike are God’s children. So, if someone in your own church’s body seems to exemplify the very things that you’ve grown to hate, reconsider whether you see the person correctly. Or if God can justify your hate.