things tolkien taught me


–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 4

One thing that is repeated over and over in this book is that despair is as painful and dangerous as any weapon or physical injury. Over and over the characters fight against it as often as any tangible enemy, and they find the strength to fight back because they have hope, no matter how faint, and courage because of that hope.

I love this theme. Despair isn’t always caused by a Ringwraith or a Dark Lord, and maybe it seems like there’s no reason for it at all, but it is still real, and terrible. Sometimes you can’t fight against it all by yourself, and it is overwhelming and unending.

But one thing I have learned–one thing that Tolkien taught me–is that it is not stupid or naive to have hope. That to hold onto it and fight for it, in whatever way that is best for you, is what you must do to hold out against one of the greatest dangers there is.