Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Similarities between Maldon and LOTR

So I may not be very original but...I really liked the quote near the end of "The Battle of Maldon" where that man says, "'Thought must be the harder, heart be the keener, mind must be the greater, while our strength lessens.'" This applies not only to the hopelessness felt by many of the Englishmen fighting at Maldon, but also to Lord of the Rings in general. This makes me think especially of Frodo and Sam struggling across Gorgoroth near the end of their journey. They haven't eaten, they barely have water, and their strength is basically gone. But they still press on. Their minds are greater than their bodies, just as the warriors in the Battle of Maldon keep fighting despite the fall of their lord and assured defeat. Tolkien, just like the anonymous poet of "Maldon," seems to get a lot of inspiration from this theme of "mind over matter" and pressing on through hopelessness.

1 comment:

Luthien said...

I agree with you! When I read that part of the text, I immediately felt like it had just come from the mouth of Gandalf or Elrond.

I think it's interesting that while the people of Middle-earth and the people of England have this similar philosophy, the Englishmen lose their battle and the people of Middle-earth win theirs. It makes the story of the battle of Maldon so much the more poignant, especially since it was, of course, a real-life event. On the other hand, it's awesome to escape into the world of Middle-earth and feel overjoyed at the victory found there in the midst of absolute hopelessness - though the story is, of course, fictional.