“What renown is there in that?” (The Two Towers, 2002)

renown

Screenwriter Peter Jackson barely touched upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Éowyn and her desire for renown. Searching through several blog resources revealed much more information on Éowyn and her quests for glory. Information which I shall discuss in more detail when I come across the underlying story in The Lord of the Rings book series. Until then, allow me to tell you what I’ve found.



What Some Christians First Think When Someone Seeks Renown

Watching the theatrical edition of The Two Towers glosses over Éowyn’s desire for renown. Possibly because of the negative connotation associated with the word. My favorite online dictionary defines renown as fame, glory, distinction, and so forth. Everything that man’s sinful nature desires.

For that is exactly what Christians fight against in their own personal walk with Christ: The desire to make themselves great. One phrase that a New Testament writer described this desire as was Selfish Ambition. Believers need to focus on giving all glory to God, not to themselves. To do God’s will ensures God will guide our steps in life.

Consequently, when a Christian hears this line in the extended edition of The Two Towers (yes, I speak of myself), she balks at her own Selfish Ambition existing in a Tolkien character. Yet, there exists something more astonishing within this beloved series: Éowyn found her renown. And it was considered good.



How Shieldmaiden Éowyn Found Her Renown in Life

The theatrical cuts for The Lord of the Rings leaves out all references to Éowyn’s search for glory. All references other than those connected to Aragorn II, son of Arathorn. But according to Tolkien Gateway , and I must assume to the books which I have forgotten, Éowyn did eventually find her renown. Simply in a different form than she first imagined.

Disgusted at the mere thought of caring for Rohan’s women and children, Éowyn revealed more than was proper to Aragorn, the man whom she loved. However, he knew she would never find satisfaction in a life with him. And he told her so in Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King (2003). Though heartbroken at Aragorn’s refusal to be with her, she still pursued her need for glory.

Thus, when the time came to fight against the evil forces, Éowyn disguised herself and went out with the Rohan men to fight against Mordor. Here she nearly met her death. But, here, she also fought the Witch-king, defending King Théoden from more harm, and earning her title as Lady of the Shield-arm. Then she was at peace, which resulted in her falling in love with Faramir and becoming Lady of Ithilien.



What J.R.R. Tolkien Revealed on His Thoughts of Renown

When J.R.R. Tolkien’s father died, and his mother married a man who practiced Catholicism, J.R.R. Tolkien grew up with the Catholic faith. Therefore, he knew about man’s will to pursue Selfish Ambition. He simply didn’t condemn it. Recognizing the sinful nature as something within every man, he merely told the tale on how it can bring a person to fight when she need not fight.

Aragorn made a point in The Return of the King which resounded with me strongly: The point about how valor often exists without renown. Aragorn said this to Éowyn, telling her, gently and discreetly,  how she would regret joining in union with him. He said this mere minutes before appearing to desert Rohan’s men on the eve of battle. He couldn’t have been more right in what he saw in Rohan’s shieldmaiden. For she rejected him for his misconstrued departure.

And, now, I bid my readers good day. Asking them to conclude their own judgments on whether mankind should pursue personal renown in today’s fallen world. If J.R.R. Tolkien found a way for this human trait to coincide with the good fight, then surely my thoughts on its evil ways must be wrong. Only the Lord knows for certain.



“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.