My son, an even bigger fan of The Lord of the Rings than I, bought me this book for my birthday. An incredibly thoughtful gift, he's going to make someone a great boyfriend some day. Walking with Frodo by Sarah Arthur is a devotional that aims to show how J.R.R. Tolkien's Christian faith influenced his writing of The Lord of the Rings. Before I go any further, let me just state that you do NOT need to be a Christian to read this book (as long as you are open to viewing the Bible as, if nothing else, a literary work), but you absolutely must be familiar with the The Lord of the Rings books or the movies.
"With his usual shrewdness, Tolkien puts a mirror in front of our faces, forcing us to look at our true selves." ~ Walking with Frodo
While examining the forces of good vs. evil in The Lord of the Rings, the author connects moments in our own lives to reflect on these forces. Designed to be broken down into nine one-week personal study guides, Arthur demonstrates opposing choices in life such as Pride vs. Humility, Deceit vs. Honesty, and Despair vs. Hope. For example, in the week devoted to studying Betrayal vs. Loyalty, we study the conflicting personas of Gollum (who is compared to Judas) and recall how Sam was loyal to Frodo above all else (as was the disciple Peter to Jesus).
Others are compared to Biblical figures as well. Gandalf and Elrond are our spiritual leaders and teachers. It is they who inspect our motives. The Hobbits signify humility, Aragorn a symbol of servanthood, and the Balrog represents Satan. And, just who, may you ask is God? Oh, that was the best one. I don't want to spoil it ALL for you, but here's a hint.
"We've seen evidence that all our choices, though murky and difficult now, have significance in the great battle between darkness and light........We can trust that in the darkest hour, when all seems hopeless, help 'unlooked for' is on its way." ~ Walking with Frodo
I recommend this book to fans of Tolkien who want to delve deeper into the likely influences of his writings. Arthur gives relatable situations to define the choices we all must make at some point in our lives, ties them into The Lord of the Rings characters and plot, and then incorporates parallel bible references. I can think of no greater novel than The Lord of the Rings to analyze for the discussion and comparison of good vs. evil attributes. Walking with Frodo is a well-organized and easily understood look at Tolkien and his most beloved story.
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