Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"The End of All Things"

Did Frodo quote the Apostle Peter (or whoever wrote in his name)?

In 1 Peter 4:7 we read:
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (KJV).

Near the end of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, while Frodo and Sam are at Mount Doom, we read:

"'Yes,' said Frodo.  'But do you remember Gandalf's words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do?  But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring.  The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end.  So let us forgive him!  For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over.  I am glad you are here with me.  Here at the end of all things, Sam'" (926).

And again a little later:

"'I am glad that you are here with me,' said Frodo.  'Here at the end of all things, Sam'" (929).

Was Tolkien drawing on a biblical phrase, or is this just coincidence?  Tolkien's work was indebted to biblical apocalypticism, and I suspect he was consciously drawing on 1 Peter.  Whatever the case, Peter's phrase is potent and memorable.  The film version of the "end of all things" is currently viewable here.  And the song from Howard Shore's Return of the King soundtrack bearing the same name can be listened to here.

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