“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.” (The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)

live to see such times

Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring expounds Gandalf’s most significant message in the entire trilogy. Earlier in the film, Frodo had expressed his desire for all the evil to have never happened. So when Frodo stopped to consider his long and lonely journey ahead, Gandalf’s words came back to him: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”



We Who Live to See Such Times in the Modern World

Throughout this whole past year, left-leaning voters have whined heavily about USA’s current President Donald Trump for being USA’s current president. They live to see such times demolished and destroyed, never to happen again. They refuse to play fair with the right-leaning thinkers who also live in the country.

But politics are of little concern here in Mary Loves the UK. What concerns us more are the nuclear weapons. Why do people in other countries hate and fight fellow people in neighboring countries? Why do people have an intolerance for anything different?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits would never understand why men fight for power as they do. They live happy lives, growing what they will, taking on only simple troubles. And as elderly men live to see such times, they too begin to wonder why. Or else, they fall completely prey to the fight for power.



Deciding Our Course When We Live to See Such Times

People with strong faith in something greater than themselves normally have better perspective on what to do with their lives. Raised within the church and having read through the Bible, I know several proverbs that speak of men deciding where they shall go, praying and giving thanks for success, and the Lord leading them through it.

Too many people get caught up in the decision on what to do with their lives. Bad economies, terrorist incidents, natural disasters, oncoming wars, and much more can easily lead anyone to wish for better times. They also lead people to make excuses for not using their own, personal time wisely.

To use our best abilities for the best causes, we must first discover our abilities and learn about the most important causes. Faith in God should lead us to the Bible, which speaks greatly on the many ways to worship the Creator and to help each other. Local communities join together to help the poor, the widows, and the orphans. A good paying job could serve a greater purpose. The choice belongs to us.



To Live to See Such Times in Tolkien’s View

J.R.R. Tolkien’s childhood was spent in England, specifically when Germany bombed London to smithereens. Hopefully some biographies on Tolkien will shed some light on whether or not J.R.R. Tolkien took the northern trains during his childhood. For regardless of his situation, it was for certain that the Tolkien family desired to see better times.

Maybe The Lord of the Rings came from this young boy’s faith in something greater. Maybe it came from his traumatic and misplaced childhood during World War I. Whatever the inspiration, J.R.R. Tolkien assuredly inspired many to see what they can do when given difficult times in which to live.



What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings vs. What J.R.R. Tolkien Said

What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings

Who here had the great fortune to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as required reading in high school? I did! But I read the novels and some connected works several more times afterwards. And I realized what teachers say about The Lord of the Rings contradicts what J.R.R. Tolkien said about his masterpieces.



What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings – The Sorrowful Summary

Teachers have probably edited many great, adequate, and poor student summarizations to this 20th century masterpiece. And I cringe to hear the watered-down significance to this work, concerning both the plotline and the linguistics. However, the hastily-written summaries also help to explain the misapplied meaning behind the novels.

A summary from an uninterested literary student may read as follows: The Lord of the Rings is the fight between good and evil. Hobbits, elves, dwarves are on the good side. Orcs, wizards, and men are on the bad side. Some wizards and men can be good. There’s a ring that could destroy the world, so a group fights to destroy the ring. After a lot of fighting and traveling, the good guys win.

Terrible, miserable, and unacceptable! Anyone who writes such a summarization of J.R.R. Tolkien’s painstakingly detailed fantasy-world should fail the class. Yet, please consider, with this example now placed in mind, the wholly inaccurate meaning behind what teachers say about The Lord of the Rings.



What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings – The Made-Up Meaning

The Lord of the Rings symbolizes World War II.”

No! Wrong! Have you read his second edition’s Forward?! J.R.R. Tolkien specifically stated within his 1966 Forward to The Lord of the Rings that his work symbolized something wholly other than World War II (WWII). Don’t believe me? Let me show you:

As for any inner meaning or ‘message’, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the link between it and The Hobbit. The crucial chapter, ‘The Shadow of the Past’, is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

For those who grew up thinking J.R.R. Tolkien intended to symbolize WWII with his Middle Earth, please read the above carefully. This awe-inspiring author simply wrote for his own enjoyment. With the possible exception being….



What Teachers Say About The Lord of the Rings –  The Untold Meaning

Far be it from me to say J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to symbolize God, the Devil, and Everything Inbetween. For this, I myself, at this point in time, struggle to see within the novels. However, based on an additional chapter within the second edition’s Forward, I can see where people draw this conclusion.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about how he had begun forming Middle Earth, and all its rich history, during his childhood. His childhood was war-stricken (from World War I) and desolate (from the London bombings). With so much destruction around him, it’s remarkable to see how this childhood genius made it into something wonderful.

With J.R.R. Tolkien’s text note in mind, I will continue to read The Lord of the Rings and lookout for similarities between his childhood beliefs and his adulthood beliefs compared to the text. Please join me on this journey. And, hopefully, we’ll reach the end before Amazon’s Middle Earth comes to our screens.