Laughter and books make life a little easier

Day 17 – Favourite quote from your favourite book

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This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.

*** I suppose this post has some slight spoilers about the ending of Lord of the Rings. ***

If you ask me what my favourite book is, I say “Lord of the Rings” without hesitation. And then I hesitate. Is it really? Really? Out of all those hundreds do I really have a favourite? Often I am not sure and I would rather make a list of favourite books than name a single favourite. But then, when I get to work on the graphics that I love to make so much and I follow the familiar pattern… taking several stills from the movies, layer masking, blurring, sharpening, colourizing, adding textures and finally a quote, usually from the book but sometimes from the movies… then I know from the warmth that I feel that this is my favourite story in the whole world.

There are so many wonderful quotes and moments in the 1,000 pages of The Lord of the Rings. This was one of the hardest choices that I yet had to make in this challenge, but I finally decided on a favourite from all of them. I love these Gandalf-quotes below. (I have no idea where I found this graphic, so I can’t credit it, sorry.)

And I also love this song by Sam which he sung when his life looked at its darkest:

However, my favourite quote is neither of these. It is

“They cannot conquer for ever!”, Frodo Baggins – “Journey to the Cross-roads”, Book IV, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Frodo says this during a brief respite when hope blooms until the darkness of Sauron returns. You can read the relevant passage here. To me, this quote encapsulates one of the themes of Lord of the Rings: staying strong against adversity. As the narrator will later state:

“Frodo raised his head, and then stood up. Despair had not left him, but the weakness had passed. He even smiled grimly, feeling now as clearly as a moment before he had felt the opposite, that what he had to do, he had to do, if he could, and that whether Faramir or Aragorn or Elrond or Galadriel or Gandalf or anyone else ever knew about it was beside the purpose.”

Spoiler alert: {Gandalf knew Frodo was doomed from the moment he accepted the burden of the ring. One way or another, he knew it would be a death sentence. Frodo himself later comes to this conclusion, but he also accepts it.} The task is too great and the risks too high. His success was highly unlikely. {Because Frodo ultimately does fail in his quest}, it only emphasises the courage with which he walked into Mordor. The hope for Frodo was very small, but ultimately, hope is always there. It may be gone for the moment, but evil cannot conquer for ever because the world moves in circles. Hope will ultimately return.

{One of the names given to Frodo by Gandalf wasn’t “Endurance beyond Hope” for nothing.}

Lord of the Rings is not about honour or glory or heroism, but about doing your small part, because even the smallest hobbit can change the world. Because Frodo accepted his fate with courage, he shows that there is true nobility and heroism in this too. This is existentialist fatalism at its very best, but Tolkien also undercuts it again by bringing in the theme of hope. There was always hope in The Lord of the Rings, even when circumstances appeared at their darkest. The environment is, of course, psychotropic and, in this case, hope is symbolised by light. In the quote, in the darkness a ray of sunlight fell through the clouds and it was that which led Frodo to exclaim that the evil in the world cannot conquer for ever. In this, Tolkien brings in a combination of fatalism and hope and I love it. I’m not too fond of fatalism in literature and neither am I too fond of works that preach that you should never lose hope. What if hope gets taken away from you? What if you can find no hope to hold on to? Tolkien answers these questions by saying that you will still find the will to find your way, because you have a duty to do, even if you cannot find the hope that is always there behind it all. I don’t really want to bring religion into this, but I firmly believe that you will always find the strength to go, hopeless or not, because that is the way that God outfits us: strong enough to face the future he plans for us.

 

This one’s mine:

This favourite quote shortly precedes what has to be my favourite chapter of Lord of the Rings: “The Stairs of Cirith Ungol”. It’s a pity they cut this part out of the movie, but at least they included the message in other parts.

 

The great stories always go on.
History ever moves in cycles. Hope will always come again.
And never dismiss the Gollums of the world.

 

Tomorrow’s post is about a book that disappointed me.

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4 responses

  1. This whole post had shivers running up and down my spine, a warmth in my chest, and a lump steadily growing in my throat… and then that last part, which is undoubtedly one of the most poignant and beautiful pieces of literature ever written (and one of my favorite parts in the films) made my misty eyes pool over.

    Gorgeous. You chose perfection. Now it’ll be doubly difficult for me to do this part of the challenge. You’ve already selected the best literature!

    July 15, 2012 at 04:56

    • Aww! *hug* I just love Frodo’s journey! 🙂
      Oh, I’m sure you can think of some more wonderful pieces! I’ll help, if you like. Then we can gush together! 😀

      July 21, 2012 at 00:03

      • It’s a deal! I’ve been hardcore organizing my room and I came up with a bunch of ideas for this challenge through re-shelving my books! 😀

        July 31, 2012 at 03:56

      • Yay! I love gushing about books! Thought we’d probably have to find a better place than these comments…
        I got another idea as well the other day – “Hey, why didn’t I think of this earlier?!” It’s just so typical that I think of it after the challenge is done! 😛

        July 31, 2012 at 19:31

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