Dear friends, Anne Marie has been a regular reader of and commentator on my blog for some time now. I read her first book on The Lord of the Rings, “Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the Rings” with much pleasure and she has now published her second book, “Chosen”.
Details on how to buy both of these can be found below but before you get there I hope that you will enjoy this short excerpt from “Chosen” that she has sent me and that it will leave you wanting to read more.
Frodo desires to bring an end to the Ring. But after he hears only the fires in faraway Mordor can do this, he no longer wishes to be the one to do it. He does not consider himself cut out for such a dangerous undertaking. “Why was I chosen?” (LotR I:2, 60).
Gandalf replies he does not know, but he confirms the decision was deliberately made. “Despite this emphasis on fate, however, free will does play a significant part in Tolkien’s novel. Frodo is perhaps the ideal Ring-bearer, as his strength of character enables him to accept his fated role, yet also to retain a sense of free will in the face of the powerful, corrupting influence of the Ring” (Gardner et al. 82).
The wizard vehemently rejects Frodo’s plea to take the Ring in his stead. Twice he begs the hobbit not to entice him with its power. He knows he is not strong to withstand the test if he actually became a Ring-bearer. He pledges his support to its ordained Bearer. The decision to accept this appointment rests on the hobbit’s shoulders and heart alone, but this assurance of aid makes Gandalf “the messenger of the actual grace bestowed upon the hobbit . . .” (Wagner, “Sacramentum,” 84). The wizard brings up two important, recurring themes: “One is that there is a benevolent force at work that opposes the power of evil, and that everyone has a role to play in its grand design. The other is that individuals should not be forced to do anything – even to follow their roles in the grand scheme of things” (Pienciak 74).
As Frodo ponders his choice, his active imagination presents a fearful picture. The fireplace becomes Mount Doom and envelops his whole world until Gandalf’s voice recalls him. He announces he will remain the Ring’s guardian, whatever the cost to himself.
Here is the first glimmering of his Chosen status . . . a free will accepting, not a challenge, but a Calling. Although he does not yet fully understand the impact of this decision for himself, he understands the importance, the need for it, for others.
It is a moment of supreme faith. And trust. Trust freely given – not coerced – despite what may come of it. (Wagner, “Sacramentum” 82; emphasis in original)
Gardner, Patrick, et al. SparkNotes: The Lord of the Rings. Spark Publishing, 2002.
Pienciak, Anne M. Barron’s Book Notes: J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Barron’s Educational Series, 1986.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin, 1965-66.
Wagner, Constance G. J. “Sacramentum Midgard: Frodo as Sacrament to Middle-earth.” Silver Leaves . . . from the White Tree of Hope, issue 4, 2012, 83-87.
Anne Marie Gazzolo is the author of Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the Rings, Chosen: The Journeys of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, and the forthcoming companion piece: The Long Way Home, a collection of poems centered about a heroic quest and its aftermath. Two fantasy series and another book about lessons from Middle-earth anxiously await their turn to come out. Visit her at annemariegazzolo.com.