"The Lord of The Rings" Lovers discussion

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Connecting it to religion > Is Gandalf Jesus?

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message 1: by Aoibheann, Lady of Lorian (new)

Aoibheann | 12 comments Mod
Almost everyone who has thought about this subject says "yes". I think he is in SOME parts of the story. The sacrificing part, definatly.


Kristy I thought so when I first started reading the book. But as I got further in, I'd say no...for the reasons of him not being able to see all things clearly or know ahead of time what would happen. Jesus does know and does see.


Aquanetta (frightening) | 5 comments I think that the act of Jesus alters throughout the story.


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments Kristy wrote: "I thought so when I first started reading the book. But as I got further in, I'd say no...for the reasons of him not being able to see all things clearly or know ahead of time what would happen. Je..."

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)

I don't think that Gandalf couldn't be Jesus just because he dosen't know what is going to happen.


Annie | 39 comments he seems like the Jesus character in the movie.


Redwallcrazy- My God is Healer, Awesome in Power! (redwallcrazybigKOTfan) | 17 comments i'm kinda neutral about it, y'know.


Queen Susan the Gentle (highqueensusanofcairparavel) | 143 comments And in the first one when he disappeared in Moria, he returned in the second movie as the White.


Keamy Loken (keamymayloken) | 96 comments There are some parts where Gandalf does feel that way.
To me a better representation of Jesus is Sam. A faithful friend always there for you, he can't take your burdan from you but he can lighten your load like he said in the movie "I can't carry it for you! But I can carry you!" I don't mean to be rude about my opinions this is just what I think:D


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments I never thought of that, and your right Sam is like Jesus. I think a lot of the character are like God or Jesus.


Keamy Loken (keamymayloken) | 96 comments True:)
Gotta love Sam though.


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments Yeah, he has the best line in the movie and the book.

"Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for."

That's like my favorite!


message 13: by Keamy (last edited Oct 15, 2010 11:56AM) (new)

Keamy Loken (keamymayloken) | 96 comments That one was awesome!:) but my favorite was this one.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/q...
It should be the first one...the one that starts with Sam::)


Queen Susan the Gentle (highqueensusanofcairparavel) | 143 comments I love that part! Sam is so optimistic....


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments Yeah, he is great!


Queen Susan the Gentle (highqueensusanofcairparavel) | 143 comments He also is very uplifting. Sometimes you've gotta realize how much of a part the hobbits play.


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments If there weren't hobbits there wouldn't be a book or a movie.


Annie | 39 comments Sam rocks! with out him there wouldn't even be such a thing as LOTR :P


Queen Susan the Gentle (highqueensusanofcairparavel) | 143 comments He is such a true friend. Just think, Frodo wouldn't have gotten very far without him.


Annie | 39 comments Frodo would be no more.


Queen Susan the Gentle (highqueensusanofcairparavel) | 143 comments Correcto. Sam is the kind of friend I'd like.


Annie | 39 comments don't we all need a friend like him?


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments Ditto, to everything you girls just said. :D


Ebster Davis | 11 comments To me, Frodo is a bigger representation of Jesus then Gandalf. But it is interesting how the different characters are types of Christ in some way.
Frodo kind of represents the passion/sacrifice of Christ
Sam represents The Comforter
Gandalf represents the resurrection
Aragon represents the second comming


Ephraim (Tallerine7) | 242 comments Hmmmmmmm..... I think it's hard to place the chatchtars in the bible, because (Please no offence is ment in this next statment.) I think they were never ment to portray jesus paul etc.


Keamy Loken (keamymayloken) | 96 comments I like that idea Ebster! They each represent a certain part. I never thought of it that way.


Ebster Davis | 11 comments Ephraim wrote: "Hmmmmmmm..... I think it's hard to place the chatchtars in the bible, because (Please no offence is ment in this next statment.) I think they were never ment to portray jesus paul etc."

I see your point, LOTR is not supposed to be a direct allegory at all and saying that one character is analogus to Christ or Paul probably isn't an accurate assesment of the character's role in the story.

I don't think anyone in LOTR is Middle earth's "Christ", but I do like to think that they represent Christ-like attributes because "Types of Christ" are found throughout literature.


message 31: by Cody (last edited Jan 21, 2011 04:27PM) (new)

Cody (Rolinor) | 262 comments Middle earth already has a technical god and christ figure (I thought I said that already) but Tolkien intentionally put allegories to the christian religion threw out his works.


Ephraim (Tallerine7) | 242 comments Ah. Never knew that.


message 33: by Valentina (last edited Jan 23, 2011 03:19AM) (new)

Valentina (Melethiel) | 1 comments Foreword to The Lord of the Rings.
"I should like to say something here with reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, (...)"
"As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches (...)"
"Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.
An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous."


Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments Tolkien's saga of good and evil is a fundamentally Christian work. And fundamental is the key word. Rather than deliver an allegory with a clear Christ figure and thinly veiled religious exhortations, Tolkien worked for fourteen years on what he called his "true myth": a story that ushers readers into a pre-Christian world yet subtly conveys essential truths of the Christian faith. Consider this excerpt from a letter Tolkien wrote in 1953:

"The Lord of the Rings is, of course, a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism." ~J. R. R. Tolkien


message 35: by Ebster (last edited Jan 24, 2011 01:55PM) (new)

Ebster Davis | 11 comments Allegory as opposed to Applicability is the biggest difference between Tolkien's LOTR and another author, and Tolkien peer: C.S Lewis' Narnia series.
Lewis' Narrative voice was, for me, almost overbearing, he practically tells you what to think about every character and situation that presents itself.
Tolkien embedded each of his characters with traits-both good and bad. Providing us with the opportunity to decide the ultimate value of those characteristics for ourselves.

The discussion name for this group discussion is a bit...misleading. Gandalf is not Jesus in the context of the story. However, the discussion name grabs our (at least "My") attention because I can see why people might relate him to The Christ. It opens the subject of what caracteristic's of Gandalf are Christ-like (and I think that's a worthy thing to discuss even if you don't happen to share the Christian faith)

Because I am an internet freak. (and it is my winter break at college) I want to share this, on the subject of Applicability vs. Allegory.
http://www.doubleedgedpublishing.com/...

"Each reader takes what he or she needs from the story, and that is exactly how Tolkien intended. In other words, his story is applicable."


message 36: by Elizabeth (last edited Jan 25, 2011 04:11PM) (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) | 485 comments I think what you're trying to say is that the books displayed good parallels, but couldn't be called allegories persay- the article you linked to said,

"In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.
Lewis, it is obvious who the lion, Aslan, represents: the “Lion of Judah,” i.e. Christ, or at the least a Christ-like archetype. The Witch, also, is an obvious symbol of the dark side of Paganism. While characters of Pagan myths are shown in both sides of the war, it is easy to tell which “pagans” are the good ones and which are the bad ones. Lewis’s tale is an obvious pro-Christian allegory."


If you've done any studying about Narnia, you'll find that Lewis himself repeatedly denied that the books were direct allegories. He said, "You are mistaken when you think that everything in the books “represents” something in this world. Things do that in The Pilgrim’s Progress but I’m not writing in that way. I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our world by a Lion in Narnia': I said ‘Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.’ If you think about it, you will see that it is quite a different thing. So the answer to your first two questions is that Reepicheep and Nick-i-brick don’t, in that sense, represent anyone. But of course anyone in our world who devotes his whole life to seeking Heaven will be like Reepicheep, and anyone who wants some worldly thing so badly that he is ready to use wicked means to get it will be likely to behave like Nickabrick." - Lewis, May 29 1954.

In the same way, Tolkien wrote his books as religious works (like he said in the quote above) but without direct allegories. I guess the actual question that this thread asks is fundamentally wrong: "Is Gandalf Jesus?" No. Gandalf is Gandalf. But does Gandalf look like Jesus? Does he act like Jesus, die like Him? - Yes, there are many parallels that we can find throughout the Lord of the Rings books.

One more thing- authors pour themselves into their books. If they are Christians, you'll find that their characters end up acting like Christians, displaying the characteristics of Christ, etc. If they're atheists, you'll find that their stories are lacking Christian parallels. - Hence Lewis and Tolkien BOTH have Christian elements in their stories- they were Christians.


Ebster Davis | 11 comments I agree that they both wrote about Christian principles and conveyed truths of the gospel utilizing fantasy as a medium.

But there are many differences in the style execution of that end.

Gandalf, like Aslan, is "immortal" and sacrifices his life to save others. And both guide the main character(s) (Frodo, the Pevensies) on their journey.

The entire context of Narnia is synonymous with our life on earth (complete with representations of different categories of people we might meet in life). It is truely an allegory. That doesn't mean it is applicable, but it does mean that it can only be understood in a certain context. The character of Aslan an only be understood of you already know the character of Christ. Tolkien's work isn't as rigid as that.

The sacrifices Gandalf gave were not exclusive to him, and it was not his sacrifice that "saved" middle earth, it was Frodo's.

This separation makes the story more "applicable" because it isn't tied to any one historical or scripture event. It rather conveys the universal values and virtues found in scripture, even for people who are not familiar with them.


Eric Novak (ericnovak) | 7 comments Ebster, I think we can agree that Lord of the Rings didn't have one savior figure, but Gandalf certainly showed the closest resemblance in his death and apparent resurrection.

This discussion isn't really about Narnia, but you keep pulling it into the mix and since I've studied Narnia much more than Lord of the Rings, I can easily see where your assumptions are going astray.

I think you need to define "allegory," and "parallel"- you bandy the first term about without really knowing what it means. Definitions from Princeton:

Allegory: An expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor

Parallel: Something having the property of being analogous to something else.

The definitions seem mostly the same, but they are actually worlds apart. When a book is written as an allegory, the author is sitting down and saying, "Lets see how I can clone this character and apply it within my own story." When a book is written without an allegory, it's simply the reader saying, "Oh look, this character in the book relates to this character outside the book." Allegory is the authors intention, while parallel is the readers prerogative.

Like Elizabeth quoted (and you seemed to miss) Lewis himself said, "You are mistaken when you think that everything in the books “represents” something in this world. Things do that in The Pilgrim’s Progress but I’m not writing in that way. I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our world by a Lion in Narnia': I said ‘Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.’ If you think about it, you will see that it is quite a different thing."

Lewis insisted in many of his writings that the Narnia books were *NOT* allegories. The books are loved by many people, including those who were not religious. In fact, if you look around the internet, you'll find that there are non-christians who never saw the parallels between Aslan and Jesus, but rather recognized him as a leader figure much like a king. If the books were only for Christian audiences, they would have never been so widely accepted.

On the other hand, you say, "Lewis' Narrative voice was, for me, almost overbearing, he practically tells you what to think about every character and situation that presents itself." You're correct that this is only for you- Lewis' writing style leaves almost everything up to the imagination of the reader. Your imagination must just be a bit small... (No offense).


Ebster Davis | 11 comments I beg to differ. Aslan is a "Clone" so to speak. And Narnia is, overall, a "Clone" of our world in the moral and Christian sense.

Lewis intended Aslan to be the saviour. Tolkien did not intend that for Gandalf. Lewis intended his world to be represetative of ours, Tolkien did not.

Lewis use of the story does fall under allegory as your post describes.

I'm simply using Lewis work to point out why I don't think Gandalf is the "Christ figure" in the same way Aslan was.

Adding "(no offense)" to the end of your comment does not take way an instult. It's ok for people to disagree, but being derogatory and making assumptions about the imagination of someone you don't know just insults you as well.


Eric Novak (ericnovak) | 7 comments Well I'm glad that you can override what the author himself has said. After all, you know more about the books than Lewis did. He only wrote them. ;)


Ebster Davis | 11 comments We're going to have to agree to disagree about the interpretation on this one. Like I said before, insults and condescending behavior are not needed. I can't help but think that the attitude you display in your posts are a reflection of your maturity level (or lack there of)

I wish you the best,


WWJD


Eric Novak (ericnovak) | 7 comments I do apologize for my sparring- I'm too used to using it in debate. This discussion really doesn't have anything to do with maturity level, though- It's got everything to do with logic, reading what the author has said about his work, rather than sticking to your own interpretation of his materials. Anyhow, great talking to you- have a nice night :)

-Eric


Ephraim (Tallerine7) | 242 comments The way is see it, is that none repersent god or jesus. But mabey they are followers. Like lets say frodo is any Christian. And he on a journey to fufill one of gods wishes. And say the fellowship,gandalf,and any other people who meets are apsolstls, helping him through this journey.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think that the act of Christanity is showed in the books. However, I will do more research.


DONE IT:

http://www.godweb.org/lordoftherings.htm


Nathaniel Westmoure (westmoure) Cody wrote: "Middle earth already has a technical god and christ figure (I thought I said that already) but Tolkien intentionally put allegories to the christian religion threw out his works."

Ilùvatar the creator is the god of Middle earth


Celine -Are You My Mummy? Doctor Who Fan- (ZeeLazyBum) | 62 comments What about all of the company representing Jesus?


Nathaniel Westmoure (westmoure) Tolkien never meant for his books to be allegorical so none of his charries are supposed to be any biblical people.


Celine -Are You My Mummy? Doctor Who Fan- (ZeeLazyBum) | 62 comments I know that. I have said that before. But what if you thought of all the company as representing Jesus. And he also said that it was in the freedom of the reader to interperate the book


message 49: by Dbvpslayer (last edited Jul 20, 2011 09:58AM) (new)

Dbvpslayer | 13 comments Tolkien is adamant about his dislike of allegory, therefore we can easily conclude that if Gandalf is like Jesus, we should not think that Tolkien was intending it. I never saw Gandalf as a Jesus figure. Other than having a beard and walking a lot, I don't see any unique similarities between the two.

Jesus is more known for his humility than anything else; Gandalf openly brags of his own superiority over other beings and routinely chastises Merry, Pippin, dwarfs, men, and Morogth's creations for their stupidity.

There's the similarity between the resurrection of Gandalf and Jesus, but wait - there isn't. Gandalf didn't die. The movie makes it seem as though he simply died and his spirit flew back to his body, but that's not how it was detailed in the book. In the Tolkien mythos, when Istari, Gandalf's race, "die" they don't really die. They, and their bodies, are sent back to Aman. Once any Istari are back in Aman, they are then given another task by the Gods. Now, if a man, a dwarf, a hobbit, or an elf, had been sent back to Middle-Earth after they had died, that might be a similarity to Jesus since Jesus was also inhabiting a mortal body. But within the context of Tolkien's mythos, that's not much of a comparison because Gandalf is immortal. By that line of thinking, you could say that Morgoth is like Jesus.

The sacrifice of Gandalf shows very little to me as well. Why, of all the mythical sacrifices we have to choose from, is Jesus' sacrifice the creme de la creme? Why do we not consider Gandalf's sacrifice to be parallel to the sacrifices of ALL the gods of Asgard, Prometheus, or the daily sacrifices he saw from his friends in the Great War? Even then, in the Tolkien mythos, the notion of sacrifice is not such a rarity. Every member of the fellowship swears to sacrifice themselves, if need be, to safeguard Frodo and two of them do it. Why is it then that Gandalf's sacrifice can only be tied to the supposed greatest sacrifice in all the world's existence?

What does Gandalf's return as the white have to do with Jesus? Does that then mean that Saruman was the savior when he was the white? Were Jesus' robes turned white after he was resurrected?

If you want to say Gandalf is like Jesus, sure. But I think you also need to admit to yourself that those are your intentions: not Tolkien's. Many of the acts and characteristics of Gandalf can be tied to countless mythological; real life, historcial figures; and modern day, real people. So to pick Jesus out of the almost, limitless amount of options for your comparison to Gadalf seems a bit far fetched. If you ask me, the best option is Merlin, but I don't want to sound too crazy.


Celine -Are You My Mummy? Doctor Who Fan- (ZeeLazyBum) | 62 comments I'm not saying he is exactly like jesus he is not. none of te character are exactly like someone from the bible at all. They have characteristics. I knowntolkien greatly diiked allogry I have read his books many times and his authors note along with it. He never mention it to have any real meaning but for a story teller to try his hand on a really long story. But he was a Christian and it would have been hard for him to entirely keep out what he believed in. But he did it so subtly that you can entirely over look it. Interpretation of what yu read with any book is left up to the reader. It is not an allegory. You can't place a biblical character to any character of the book because they are never exactly alike. I wasn't saying gandalf was Jesus I said that the whole company had characteristics of jesus


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