September 11 and the Lord of the Rings
by Noelle Hay
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It couldnít have been more timely. Only months after 9/11, when America
craved something self affirming, LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS
(LOTR:FOTR) burst onto the silver screen. Christmas would have been strange
without the needed distraction. America needed the uplifting story of heroism
and good vs. evil. While America and her allies forged ahead with itís war on
evil, a timely epic played in the theaters in these same nations. But no one
needed it more than America herself. The lessons of good vs evil, of reluctant
heroes and bitter tasks, of noble men of lowly birth and a fellowship of races
were eaten up by America like a starving child at a bowl of rice.
There are strange parallels in Americaís favorite movie. An enemy that
seemed intangible, a lone lord of darkness who taunted the small heroes sounded
not unlike the elusive Bin Ladden. Like Saruman, Osama used his words to
influence and attract and corrupt slowly and invasively.
The hero, Frodo, steps reluctantly into his role, glad if he could give up
his burden, but willing to serve if required. In this way Frodo was not unlike
America today, burdened with a seemingly insurmountable task of defeating evil.
Frodo, the child of wealth, was often scorned by his own kindred for his
inheritance. Some may have even blamed his guardian Bilbo, for the burdens left
to him. So too, you can find Americanís who blame history, their own ancestors
and the nation itself for the attacks upon it.
Sam, the simple but courageous gardener from the Shire rises to the occasion
as guardian, protector and moral support of Frodo. He didnít know when he left
the Shire with his master he would be called upon to be a hero. Who expected it
of a hobbit? Of a gardener, no less? So too, many Americanís had to rise to the
occasion. When Todd Beamer, Jeremy Click and Thomas Burnett on flight 93 heard
what had happened in New York, they understood what was happening on their
flight. Who among them could have anticipated that the day they booked a flight
to California they would be called upon to be heros? Like Sam, they went
forward, not knowing if they would live or die, but rising to the occasion
Some blamed man for the continued existence of the One Ring. Some blame
America for Al Quieda.
Frodo went bravely to destroy the ring alone, just as America was prepared
to face the war on terrorism alone. When America found her allies standing
solidly beside her, she wept with joy just as Frodo did when Sam would not be
Is it any wonder that 6 months after 9/11 and 3 months after the release of
LOTR:FOTR that Americans continue their love affair with this movie? In times
of darkness, Americans crave the uplifting. LOTR lifted the hearts of Americans
like no other movie could. Itís release was ironic and necessary in this time
in her history. As Americaís war continues, she will no doubt continue to turn
to Jacksonís adaption of Tolkienís beautiful story of good vs evil.
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Noelle Hay, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.