Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Perseverance

I love this monologue by Sam Gamgee in The Two Towers movie:

Sam: It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo—the ones that really mattered… full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? but in the end, it’s only a passing thing. Even darkness will pass—a new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine all the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you and meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think I do understand—I know now. The folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back. Only they didn’t—they kept going, because they were holding onto something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

And you can watch it here:



This monologue really wields a sort of power which human beings through the ages have brought forth in order to persevere. This talk of courage, of finding good in the midst of evil, of really having hope that there will be a way to succeed, even if it is not clear today and even if it is not clear tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after. We have to keep fighting, because if we give up, if we give in, then we lose not only in the struggle but in our own faith, our own strength. People sometimes forget, this world can have a bright future. We just have to bring it about. And this applies not only to world struggles but also to our own, personal ones. It applies to everything we have to work for, everything that's a fight, a struggle. We just have to believe that the end is there, it's there somewhere in the future, and every small battle we overcome, every bit of writer's block or sleepless night or bureaucracy that we get past is yet one more step closer toward our goal, toward the end, toward the prize.

But...but I have a problem with this. I like this idea, but in those stories Sam refers to - even in his own story - there's always a way to take away the power of evil. Whether it is melting a witch or killing a pirate or breaking a spell or destroying a magic ring. But today, in real life, there is never just one thing that will fix everything else. There is no ring of power to destroy, there are no horcruxes to demolish, there is no spell to break or witch to melt or magic object to find. The world is so much more complex than that. The problems of the world don't have such easy, black and white answers. So how can we fix them? They are like weeds, you start to cut them down from one side and they spring up in new places that you cannot get to. So what is there to do? Why can we not just have a ring of power and be done with it? Why does it always have to be so complex...and how can Sam's speech apply when we don't have the key to destroying evil the way he and Frodo do?

If I seem to be contradictory here, this is because I like to be rather contrary - or maybe it's because I see both sides and don't know which one to take.

7 comments:

Scraps said...

"We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we must rescue ourselves from ourselves." ~ Tom Robbins.

Sometimes the greatest battles must be fought within, and we fight them our whole lives. There is no horcrux, no ring of power...only our own selves to do battle with.

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