Last week we read about the failure of Númenor and the line of Stewards in Gondor that at its best kept the memory of Númenor and the faithfulness of the House of Elendil alive but eventually came to believe more in the memory than the reality. Memories are safer than realities. You can make of them what you will and your remembering can allow you to keep things as they are and not to change. So it is that we are reminded of Denethor’s words to Gandalf, “I would have things as they were”.
What capacity we all have for self deception! “Things as they were” in Gondor meant a dying land even without the invasion of Mordor. Legolas saw it and said, “The houses are dead, and there is too little here that grows and is glad”. When Denethor wished for things as they were all he really meant was that he would remain in power. What he really mourned was his own loss of control or prestige.
Faramir believes in the reality and so welcomes the king when he returns. At the moment when Gandalf crowns Aragorn, thus fulfilling the mission given to him by the Valar, Faramir cries out, “Behold the King!” He tells his people that the true king stands before them in flesh and blood with wisdom upon his brow, strength and healing in his hands, and a light about him. If any still long for the past then they are commanded to change. This is the kind of change that is meant in the word metanoia in the bible, the word that is usually translated as repentance. A new reality has come and we must change.
Tolkien goes on to tell us how everything does change.
“In his time the City was made more fair than it had ever been, even in the days of its first glory… and all was healed and made good”.
You would think that everyone would be glad to see this change, and I believe that thanks to Faramir’s leadership most people did, but I suspect that some longed for “the good old days” of the ruling Stewards.
When the true king rules everything is healed and becomes fruitful. This is a fundamental principle. In Gondor this means that gardens grew again and children were born and flourished. When King Energy is at work within us then our lives become ordered without being rigid, fruitful without being overgrown and we live and work in a kind of flow, of blessing, both for ourselves and for others.
Moore and Gillette put it this way in their seminal study of the masculine archetypes and psyche, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.
“This is the energy that expresses itself through a man when he takes the necessary financial and psychological steps to ensure that his wife and children prosper. This is the energy that encourages his wife when she decides to go back to school to become a lawyer… This is the energy that expresses itself through you when you are able to keep your cool when everyone else in the meeting is losing theirs… This is the energy that seeks peace and stability, orderly growth and nurturing for all people- and not only for all people but for the environment, the natural world. The King cares for the whole realm and is the steward of nature as well as of human society.”
This is what Aragorn is. It is what Faramir is too. You don’t have to be the boss in order to display King Energy. You can display it in service of another. I have a favourite movie, The Intern, in which a character played by Robert de Niro displays King Energy in lavish quantity as an enabler of others in a very humble role. Try and watch it and you will see what I mean. Actually the one in true authority is always aware of being a servant. In the prayers for the Queen in the Church of England we say this, “that she, knowing whose minister she is, may seek thy honour and glory”. It is only those who know that they are a servant who are able to be trusted with authority over others who can bring life-giving order, fruitfulness and blessing to them.
This week’s image was drawn by Anna Lee
7 thoughts on “The Return of the King”
This is why Aragorn rocks, he has spent all his adult life in humble service, from protecting people as a Ranger, to offering his life (and his death if need be) to a hobbit who is a stranger to him but still he makes this awe-some pledge and means it, to serving and healing the wounded in Gondor, to becoming the great king we all know he will be, because he will remain a servant This is true leadership.
Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂
Yes it is the long hidden years that make Aragorn
It is the long hidden years that make Aragorn the man he becomes. I am struck that when I examine my own hidden years, hidden days, hidden hours, I tend to give them little value. I wait for something that is public and to value that more. Especially I do not value those times when I think that I am losing something. How often Aragorn must have felt that he would always be a wanderer in the wilderness.
Thank you once again for your comments, Anne Marie, and God bless you 😊
Aragorn is all that a leader ought to be, and nothing of what they ought not. I like your point that anyone can display King Energy; it is not limited to a king alone.
It is very important, too, to note that the energy is masculine and not male. It is an important distinction. Masculine energy may be particularly important for the the development of men but not exclude so. The warrior energy that Éowyn expresses makes her the strong woman that Faramir is drawn towards. My desire for my daughters is that they will be strong women who marry strong men in a relationship of equals.
Is Anna Lee related to Stan or Alan?
I came across the artwork on Deviant Art and read the signature on the image. My knowledge ends there.
And congratulations on the roundtable discussion in which you were a part. I have waxed lyrical about it in a comment on Sorina Higgins site and reblogged it on mine.