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The lesson of The Fellowship of the Ring

One of the worst parts of tragedy is the idea of ‘what if.’

Racking your brain with ideas of how else the situation could’ve turned out, what you could’ve said differently, acted and reacted a different way. The idea of circumventing regret with your own self confidence, can be hard to do.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” part one of the fantasy trilogy released between 2001 and 2003, tackled this concept.

A quick recap; this film takes place in the fictional place of middle-earth where heroes fight against the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.

In Fellowship, a hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood) is tasked with carrying a magical ring to a place where it can be destroyed, which is the only way they can defeat Sauron once and for all. Through this ordeal, he and his friends face danger and heartbreak. While traveling through the Dwarven Mines of Moria, he expresses his regrets and his friend Gandalf (Ian Mckellen) comforts him.

“I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish that none of this had happened,” said Frodo.
“So do all who live to see such times,” said Gandalf. “But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

After this profound moment, they continue through the mines and on their journey. Although Frodo goes through a tremendous amount of trauma, the words of Gandalf inspired him.

Seeing this scene as a child is an experience that has stuck with me over the years.

During the worst times of my life, I’ve kept in mind the hopeful anecdote that the wizard spoke of.

In an interview with Esquire, Wood talks about the themes he found while filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“At the core of it, it’s the story about literally the smallest person in the world being capable of changing, of affecting real change, and I think that message is universal,” he said. “Everybody can relate to that on some level.”

The world has often made me feel like the smallest person, a forgotten and downtrodden child that’ll never be taken seriously by the adults surrounding him. I know this is something that many of my peers have dealt with too.

We all need a reminder that no matter how small we feel, we can make a difference. While we may be faced with the infinite possibilities of the future, we must trust ourselves to make the right choices with the time given to us.

I suppose that is what makes this film so special. In the face of danger, each hero pushes through and does what they feel is right. There’s comfort in knowing that we all have the power to make the right choices in life, disregarding the ‘what if’ and regrets that may plague us.

Gandalf comforting Frodo within the darkness of the Mines of Moria.
Gandalf comforting Frodo within the darkness of the Mines of Moria. Photo credit: Noah Garcia

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