Lessons from Frodo

This hobbit defies all odds to take the Ring into the mountains, cast it into the flames of Mount Doom, and forever destroy it. Frodo begins as an innocent and by the end has become wise… at a terrible price. He suffers more than any of his companions, for he carries the burden of Middle-earth. Of all his many virtues, what most stands out is his determination and soft heart.

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Lessons from Faramir

A controversial character because of the discrepancies between the Faramir of the book and the film, the younger son of the Steward of Gondor plays a central role in the last struggle against the forces of evil in Middle-earth. Faramir is the younger and under-appreciated brother of Boromir, a noble warrior. Unlike his brother, Faramir fights not for glory but acceptance in the hope of earning the praise of their father.

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Lessons from Éowyn

Éowyn is a courageous warrior, and one of the key figures in the battle of Minas Tirith. Her triumph lies in slaying the king of the Nazgûl and his fell beast. Despite harboring an unrequited love for Aragorn, she finds happiness with another man, Faramir of Gondor. She has a relentless determination for glory and hopes to end her life in battle. Éowyn is a woman equal to the title “daughter of kings.”

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Lessons from Éomer

Despite his lack of screen time, Éomer has a weighty presence. He feels proud to come from the kingdom of Rohan and challenges Wormtongue’s authority. He trusts Gandalf with his life in returning to Rohan after his banishment and protects his sister’s honor. Because of his cousin’s death, Éomer will inherit Rohan after his uncle’s passing. He will make a fine king, just and wise.

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Lessons from Elrond

There’s no greater impediment in the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen than Elrond, Lord of Imladris and one of the finest warriors in Middle-earth. His severity in attempting to drive them apart paints a bleak picture in the minds of those who cannot acknowledge his greater virtues and accept him as a father attempting to protect his daughter.

Elrond plays a pivotal role in The Lord of the Rings. His forces were among those who forced the dark lord into Mordor. He’s saves Frodo’s life after the hobbit’s near-fatal encounter at Weathertop. He heads the Counsel that appoints the Fellowship to destroy the Ring. His forces help define the War of the Rings in the fight against Sauron.

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Lessons from Denethor

Our first glimpse of this nobleman from Gondor is far from pleasant. He appears briefly in The Two Towers to compliment one son on his recovery of Osgiliath and berate the other for its loss. Denethor is the acting Steward of Gondor. His family undertook its protection after the apparent death of the line of true kings. Denethor’s cruel treatment of Faramir, and his high praise of his elder, favored son Boromir, is a foreshadowing of the events in the final dramatic conclusion. Only when it is too late does he discover the true nature of his heart.

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Lessons from Celeborn

Celeborn is an important figure in Middle-earth. He is the husband of Galadriel, Lady of Light and High Queen of the Elven-race. He is a former warrior wise beyond measure and keen in insight. Devoted to his wife, Celeborn is the ideal of a husband as much as he is a commander.  There is much to learn from this soft-spoken figure who dwells in the background, often dissolving into the shadow of his wife. His importance is not pivotal to destroying the Ring, but of a significant power in a changing world.

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Lessons from Bilbo

Readers familiar with Tolkien’s adventures in Middle-earth know Bilbo from The Hobbit, which that takes place prior to the adventures of Frodo and the Fellowship. It introduces us to Gandalf and Bilbo, two exceptional friends who encourage one another in a grand adventure. The hobbit journeys forth and encounters dragons, trolls, dwarves, mountains of treasure, battles, wolves from the west, and the creature Gollum, from whom he takes the Ring that becomes pivotal in The Lord of the Rings.

Little-assuming the golden band is of any more worth than as a trinket with the power to make the wearer invisible, Bilbo takes it home to Bag End.

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Lessons from Arwen

One of the most controversial characters in the film adaptation, Arwen’s tale comes from Tolkien’s epilogue. Peter Jackson fleshed out her role in the trilogy to create more depth for her character. The audience needed a reason to support her relationship with Aragorn. Through her, we witness the undying quality of sacrificial love to remind us of Christ’s love for us. She is a complex character whose attachment to Aragorn is so strong, she would forsake her father’s wishes and her immortality to remain in Middle-earth in the hope he will return triumphant from battle.

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