Thursday, February 20, 2003

Jeff Miller
has an interesting post in which he comments on a certain professor who is trying to press 'children's stories', in which he apparently includes The Lord of the Rings. I'm less of a hawk than many at St. Blog's, but making arguments from a misreading of the Professor annoys me. Mr. Miller's comments are on the money. Appeasement is not really in the vocabulary in The Lord of the Rings . One of my favorite passages occurs when King Théoden of Rohan confronts Saruman after the battle of Helm's Deep. (WARNING: A BIT OF A SPOILER !)

Saruman has been trying to get the King to come over to his side.
" 'But my lord of Rohan, am I to be called a murderer, because valiant man have fallen in battle ? If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. But if I am a murderer on that account, then all the house of Eorl is stained with murder; for they have fought many wars, and have assailed many who defied them. Yet with some they have afterwards made peace, none the worse for being politic. I say, Théoden King : shall we have peace and friendship, you and I ? It is ours to command.'

' We will have peace, ' said Théoden thickly and with an effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly. Théoden held up his hand. 'Yes, we will have peace,' he said in a clear voice, 'we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished-and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold ! Even if your war on me was just-as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired-even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there ? And they hewed Háma's body before the gates of the Hornburg after he was dead. When you hang at a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I have no need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.' "
("The Voice of Saruman", The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien)

This is not to say that the Professor was unaware that war, even if it issues in victory, leaves wounds that are often unable to be healed. (He was, after all, a veteran of WWI who lost some of his closest friends at the front.) Much of the end of The Lord of the Rings shows this. However, he was also aware that in certain situations, peace is simply not an option. The problem is deciding when that type of situation exists.


Post a Comment

<< Home