For this Feature Friday I want to highlight Stephen Winter’s work. He is writing beautiful little essays that highlight, as the blog is titled, “Wisdom from the Lord of the Rings.” I am reading LOTR with my son, and we have just rejoined Sam and Frodo on their long trek to Mordor. While I could highlight just about any of his blogs, this brand new one on what Frodo shows us about the gift of laughter is a great way to begin the weekend. It also makes a strong entry point to Stephen’s engaging and sensitive look at this Tolkien masterpiece.
Frodo has come at last to the Morannon, the Black Gate of Mordor, with its mighty watch-towers. “Stony-faced they were, with dark window-holes staring north and east and west, and each window was full of sleepless eyes.”. He has come with no idea of how he is to go any further and only his sense of duty can impel him to to try to go on. All he can foresee is his own death and the failure of his mission but he stands with his face “grim and set, but resolute,” and his eyes are clear. Sam never had much hope in the affair but, as Tolkien tells us, “being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed,” and even as he reaches the end he can still die beside his master and so know that his life has not been without meaning.
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