The Siege of Gondor: A Word to Those For Whom Hope Has Gone

“So now at last the City was besieged, enclosed in a ring of foes.” And in the next few pages Tolkien relentlessly builds a picture of hopelessness as the hosts of Mordor begin the assault upon Minas Tirith until he reaches the appalling climax of the winged ride of the Nazgûl.

“Ever they circled above the City, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, at each new cry. At length even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war; but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death.”

And so Tolkien brings us to a dark place once again and, as with Frodo and Sam in Shelob’s Lair, a light will break in that will proclaim that there is no darkness so deep that it cannot be breached. And the words of the one hundred and thirty-ninth psalm come to mind declaring:

If I say surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light  are both alike to thee.

This week’s posting on my blog is dedicated to all those who are in dark places; to all those who see no way to light and life beyond the darkness. It is dedicated to those for whom everything in which they have placed their trust has proved to be a broken reed. They are like the men of Gondor looking out across the Pelennor and seeing no possibility of relief; like the defenders of the city thinking “only of hiding and of crawling and of death”.

In a few days time on this blog I will tell the story of a man whose wife lies, an innocent prisoner in a foreign jail, a pawn in a game played by people of power; a man who cannot reach her or see her. Today I dedicate this piece to him and to his wife. And if you know something of the darkness that the defenders of Gondor know then this is for you as well.

Don’t give up.



10 thoughts on “The Siege of Gondor: A Word to Those For Whom Hope Has Gone

  1. The theme of hope that is so prevalent in LOTR, so many times shining brightest when things are darkest, is one of the greatest lessons it can teach us if we are willing to hear and heed it. I wish more would.

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

    • I agree with you entirely, Anne Marie. I am struck that so many, even among those who profess Christian faith, are so ready to abandon hope. But equally I am encouraged by the thought that when a few people, shaped by the discipline of hope gained through suffering, bear true witness in their lives, then everything is transformed. Tolkien bears witness to this in his story. We must bear witness to this in our time. God bless you too!

  2. Thank you so much for this! It’s such a magnificent reminder that we should not despair no matter what. I’m sure we’ve all been to those dark places with different thickness and depth of gloom around us. It might be so easy to forget about hope and not giving up, but we must all remember that light will follow any darkness.

    • Thank you so much for leaving this comment. I believe that we are living in a time in which people of hope are going to be of huge significance, not just for our own time but for the generations to come. We all need to encourage each other.

  3. I think that it is one of the features of Tolkien’s story telling that wisdom and the hope that people of wisdom have come from the ability to see things from a long term perspective. Gandalf has it, of course. He has been around for a very long time. But Faramir has it too. He is a good student of history.
    I think that the wonderful prayer of St Theresa of Avila is a good place to start.

    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you;
    All things are passing,
    God alone is changeless.
    Patience gains all things.
    Whoever has God lacks nothing.
    God alone suffices.

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