“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“The road goes ever on and on” said Bilbo to Gandalf. “Now far ahead the road has gone” sang Frodo to himself while wandering about the Shire. These words delicately describe the fragile wanting of every hobbit to explore, experience and discover. Yet, that wish remains contained. Mostly, by the greenhouse like conditions of the Shire. Only a handful dared to step further than any hobbit before and… a little bit further.
How could such a world, were the small and courageous triumph over the big and greedy, not inspire entire generations? The evil powers of Tolkien’s world desire power above all other things. They seek to destroy and enslave all other things to get it. And the faith of the world is put into the hands of a couple of hobbits, no taller than a human child. Why? Because they were afraid. Because they were not strong enough. Because they had no powers, no great weapons. Because they dared to take that one little step further. Their journey was long. Their road went far. So far, down from the door where it began…
The Fellowship of the Ring breaks apart at Amon Hen, where they stopped to rest, before completing one and beginning the second, even more perilous part of their journey.. The terrible power of the Ring corrupts one of its members, and the rest are attacked by orcs. From here on Frodo and Sam continue on alone. Two hobbits on a suicide mission in to the heart of Mordor. Two hobbits against a million of orcs. Poor orcs…
But before that they have to pass the ever tricky mountains of Emyn Muil. Long story short – they make it! Straight into the Dead Marshes. Not a lovely place. Not because it’s dead, mostly because it’s marsh-land. Tiresome, dangerous and treacherous to cross. But it serves its purpose and safely leads the brave hobbits to the Black Gates. Here, however, they change their minds and decide to enter Mordor through a “back door”, so to speak. Here I will stop, so not to spoil any more important details, for possible future readers.
As you can guess, it’s not a Sunday afternoon kind of a hike, these two hobbits set out for. They knew that from the day they decided to take it. But did they fully understand it? I doubt it. That is why their determination amazes readers all over the world so much. As most heroes of epic stories they experience one dangerous situation after the other. They lose everything along the way. At one point they even lose hope. Only to regain it with their very last breath of strength.
I only chose this little part, this one line of the entire plot, to share with you one of the most important lessons Tolkien is trying to teach us. “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love. – Gandalf “.
Ordinary courage. Simple people. Greatness in a sunset over the sea, not in the glimmering of a thousand swords. To the people of Middle-Earth this lesson associates with the bravery of hobbits. With that first step Bilbo Baggins took, that was followed by Froddo, out into the world, following the call of an adventure burning deep inside their hearts.
Listen to your heart. Where is it calling you to?