Friday, December 28, 2012

The Hobbit: One Small Look

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, my comments are about the end of the movie.

Near the end of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” there is a scene in which Bilbo Baggins is reunited with his fellow journeymen after separation in the Goblins’ realm.  Bilbo had just escaped from his entanglement with Gollum, through the use of Gollum’s ring—or “the One Ring.” When Bilbo takes the ring off, he suddenly appears before his friends who are overjoyed to see him again.  During this reunion there is a film shot on which I will focus. As Bilbo is talking, he runs his fingers over his right pocket in which he has concealed the One Ring. The next shot is of Gandalf, who has perhaps noticed Bilbo’s slight change in behavior. At least, that is how the look appeared to me. In Gandalf’s face I see a mix of relief and joy with concern for the change in Bilbo’s character. Gandalf’s eyes convey caution, and rightfully so as Bilbo’s actions will, in part, lead to the resultant epic journey in The Lord of the Rings.

What I see in Gandalf’s eyes is a reflection of how I see the world through a Christian point of view. I see much good in people and cause for great joy. Yet, at the same time, I see the temptation of men and the potential to do great evil. The good and the evil are ever juxtaposed in men.

In the movie, Bilbo has just found the ring. Yet, as we shall see, the ring and the evil it bears, takes its toll on every ring bearer, even Bilbo. The evil that we haul around with us, the flirtations with sin, takes its toll on every one of us. We can grow numb to life. We can lose our “shiny” –that glow of future potential, the excitement for life. In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the character of Frodo depicts this great loss throughout his journey as the bearing of great evil wears him down: physically and spiritually.

As I reflect back upon the year, with its tragedies and triumphs, I cannot help but look out at the world as Gandalf looks at Bilbo Baggins. I rejoice in the great love and good I find in the human community, but this rejoicing is not a superficial happiness; one that is wrapped up in circumstances. Contrarily, my rejoicing is laced with an understanding of the reality of sin. To deeply love a human is to love them knowing these tragedies and triumphs go along with each one. 

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