My husband was a big Tolkien fan and it was really he who insisted that I should write a book connecting the Christian aspects of The Lord of the Rings to people’s every day lives. I’m glad I followed my husband’s advice at the time he gave it, because he is no longer here it offer it. Though The Road Goes Ever On – A Christian Journey Through the Lord of the Rings will never reach the heights of say, Joseph Pearce’s books on the same themes, they do aspire to reach readers who want to look deeper and connect the here and now with the yearnings that touches The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit readers.
Initially I did not want to see The Lord of the Rings movies because I was afraid that they would spoil the book. I was wrong. They enhanced the story for me. I was just as inspired by the movies as I was by the books. But when it came to The Hobbit I was keenly disappointed. It seemed that everything which could be changed was. At the time the first Hobbit movie came out, John was losing his eyesight, so it was difficult for him to really see and enjoy the movie. Still, he wanted to and he really tried. By the time the second movie came along, he was suffering a great deal but the inspiration of the stories meant a lot to him, and he insisted on taking us all out to see the second Hobbit movie even though it had snowed and he was in a lot of pain. Such is the force of a good story. Sadly, it was the last conscious thing John ever did. He went to sleep that night and never woke up.
As my kids and I consider whether to see this third Hobbit movie, they decided they’d like to see the extended version of the second. It had been rather hard to really see it last time. So we watched it and when my daughter asked what I thought, I had to admit that Peter Jackson knows how to produce an action-packed movie – but it was Tolkien who knew how to tell an inspiring story. The less of Tolkien in the movie, the less inspiring it becomes for me. Sadly, the whole last hour felt more like a Peter Jackson nightmare rather than a “glimpse of the eternal truth that is with God…” (Tolkien)
In reality, it was the connection that John felt with Tolkien and the world of Middle-earth which moved him to do the nearly impossible – take his suffering body and his family to get, he hoped, one last glimpse of a story he loved. As I ponder the whole movie scene, I have to wonder what we allow ourselves to be inspired by. The book and the movie are meant to portray something larger than a single human experience – they draw us into the universal human event. But really, what inspires me now, is not so much a movie or a book – but those who dare to see with eyes of love.