Last week I finally went with my family to see the third “Hobbit” movie- the Battle of Five armies. I am not a film critic (nor do I ever desire to be one), but I had a thoroughly good time. While the movie was nearly two and a half hours long, it never felt like it was dragging.
Walking out of the cinema, I felt just a little bit better for watching that film. I found myself walking out just a little bit taller and feeling just a little more alive.
Maybe it was watching Bard defend his family, or perhaps it was Thorin wrestling with the dark urges of Dragon Fever, or maybe it was the armies clashing in a battle of good and evil. For some reason I departed with the fantasy that there was some greater saga which I was a part of.
And then I reached my car, turned the key, and slipped back into the daily grind.
As I drove away I couldn’t help but feeling just a little like a Bilbo who had never been Good Morning’d by a wizard, who had never been swept along by a troop of dwarves, who had never had Adventures.
Certainly, such a life would have been comfortable- this Bilbo would never have had to face trolls, goblins or dragons. He never would have had to endure hunger, cold, and danger. He never would have had to watch friends die.
Then again, he never would have had such friendships at all.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s works are in my mind the pinnacle of High Fantasy, and I have reason to believe these stories contain elements that all of us can empathize with. However at the end of the day they are just fantasies that attempt to drain an ocean of longing for a life or purpose greater than what we now have.
As a Christian, I do know that there is a Greater Story that God has been unfolding since the beginning of time itself. And yet, from my comfortable chair in my little “Bag End” in Bothell, it seems like an ever-distant mountain that’s too far away to be completely real.
I suppose I’m still looking for my Wizard and troop of dwarves.