True courage in Tolkien’s stories

True courage in Tolkien’s stories

Through the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there are the recurring themes of good and bad, death and life. Underlying all of those, there is the theme of true courage. Gandalf offers both Bilbo and Frodo wisdom and they hear what he says, because they act on it. You can see this in the following video.

It happens exactly as Gandalf had foreseen. Frodo can’t destroy the ring, because its power has overtaken him, but Gollum, whose life was spared by both Bilbo and Frodo, destroys the ring because of his greed.

Frodo learns about true courage

Frodo shows that he has learned from Gandalf. At the end of the story in the book – this is not in the movie – Frodo offers Saruman a chance to change his ways, which he refuses. Saruman then stabs Frodo but fails to kill him. Again, Frodo offers Saruman mercy. In the end, Saruman is killed by his servant Wormtongue, who is slain by the other hobbits before Frodo can stop this.

I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien.

I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien. The stories do not polarize between good and evil like most movies. Both Galadriel, Gandalf and Frodo are vulnerable to the effects of the raw power of the ring. Despite all the hardship Frodo went through, or maybe because of it, he chooses mercy over revenge. The result is, that evil destroys itself. A beautiful story of true courage.