Yesterday, I watched the Hobbit Marathon at my local movie theater. That’s right, all three movies in a row. It started at 3:00 in the afternoon and ended at midnight. Not an easy day, but well worth it. Like so many others, I really like the Hobbit.
To me, what I find most appealing about the Hobbit isn’t the exotic setting of Middle Earth. It’s not the orcs, dwarves, elves, Gandalf, Gollum, The Lonely Mountain, Bilbo, or even the ring. It’s something much more profound than anything we see or experience on the screen or read in the book.
It’s the story behind the story.
The real story of the Hobbit is the story about a friendship and not the ones between the characters in the book, but the one between its author, J.R.R. Tolkien, and his friend C.S. Lewis.
It took Tolkien at least seven years to write the Hobbit, probably longer. As he was writing it, he shared chapters with his friend, Lewis. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, loved it and encouraged Tolkien to keep writing and above all to complete it even though Tolkien had doubts. In 1937, after nearly a decade of struggle and great effort, the Hobbit was completed and went to print. This story may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, until Tolkien stated publically that had it not been for Lewis’ friendship and encouragement he never would have completed the Hobbit.
Can you imagine?
All credit must go to Tolkien for an incredible story. After all, he created the world of Middle Earth, spent decades of his life writing something that millions have enjoyed, yet we only have it because his friend encouraged him.
Isn’t it funny how the big things in life often hinge on the little actions of others?
Knowing this, it doesn’t surprise me that, when asked to name the most important character in the Lord of The Rings – the follow up books to the Hobbit, Tolkien would surprise everyone by saying that of course it was Sam, Frodo’s hobbit companion.
Most would have said that it was Aragon, Gandalf, Legolas, or some other powerful and great warrior. But Tolkien explained that had it not been for Sam the quest would have failed. In fact, had Sam not stayed with and encouraged Frodo to push on, to not give up, to even physically carry him when Frodo was unable to go any further, that Middle Earth would have been lost.
In the end it was friendship that saved the day.
We can be lots of things in this world such as a parent, teacher, police officer, principal, and so on. But we should also be a friend and never forget that the simple gift of friendship has the ability to transform the world.