Themes: Theological, Moral, and Spiritual

Jonah

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EPISODE 42

SPIRITUAL THEME: SPIRITUAL POWER: SPELLS
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 138, slide "The Fog Clears"
  • EPISODE:
    • C2"We have explicitly made the link between the fog and the spells of the barrow wights . . . And it's interesting that the barrow wights' influence, through the fog, seems to be, at least in part, to obscure even the memory of Tom Bombadil's house." (35:46-36:05)
SPIRITUAL THEME: SPIRITUAL POWER: NAMES
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 138, slide "The Fog Clears"
  • EPISODE:
    • C5"You'll notice, of course, the power of Tom Bombadil's name . . . It's the name itself, as Goldberrry implied, as Tom Bombadil implied, that has power . . . Frodo's repetition of the name here is enough to have an impact, not on the barrow wight, but on himself. (38:52-40:01
MORAL THEME: PITY
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 139, slide "A Cheerful Abjuration"
  • EPISODE:
    • F16"Yes, Kyle, I think that Tom could be showing him pity by not sending him to his ultimate doom until the time of the mending of Arda comes. There is still hope. Possibly." (1:39:48-1:40:02)
    • F18"Don't forget the pity. Don't forget the sadness and the pitiableness of the wights . . . They're sorrowful. They're sad as well as horrible. And I think that Tom is not immune to that pity." (1:41:05-1:41:25)
THEOLOGICAL THEME: ESCHATOLOGY (LAST THINGS)
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 139, slide "A Cheerful Abjuration"
  • EPISODE:
    • F18"Gravity asks, 'Is there a place for a wight in a mended world? Would he return?' Well, Gravity, yeah he would, but only if he is mended too . . . The only time when he's going to be permitted to return would be after the mending of the world, and the only condition under which he would return would be if he himself were also mended." (1:40:37-1:41:04)
    • F18"I do think the 'till the world is mended,' that he is implicitly invited to return after the world is mended is saying . . . that he, of course, will be mended as well" (1:42:05-1:42:47)
    • F20"I think he's going to have some company. By the end of the Lord of the Rings, I think we're going to see several others go the way of the barrow wight to barren lands far beyond the mountains, such as Saruman and Sauron. Neither of them is annihilated. But they're going to be wailing with the winds . . . Gandalf doesn't say the Sauron is going to be destroyed. He's going to be reduced to an impotent spirit who's going to go wailing like the winds into the barren lands far beyond the darkness." (1:43:22-1:44:06)
    • F21"The wight looks forward to moment when the Dark Lord lifts his hand over dead sea and withered land. Tom Bombadil, of course, at the end of his song looks forward to Arda remade. He looks forward to the mending of the world, whereas the wight is anticipating the ultimate marring of the world . . . What Tom is suggesting . . . coming back to that note of hope, that note of redemption or, at least, the potential for redemption that we were discussing before seems to be interestingly relevant." (1:44:56-1:46:25)
At the end of this episode (the end of F21) Professor Olsen begins to make a point that he didn't seem to have time to develop. I think his point may have been that Tom Bombadil's vision of the mended world includes pity and the possibility of redemption even for the evilest of creatures.

THEOLOGICAL THEME: EVIL: SADDNESS
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 139, slide "A Cheerful Abjuration"
  • EPISODE:
    • F18"Don't forget the pity. Don't forget the sadness and the pitiableness of the wights . . . They're sorrowful. They're sad as well as horrible. And I think that Tom is not immune to that pity."
THEOLOGICAL THEME: EVIL: DESPAIR
  • TEXT: Chapter 8, p. 139, slide "A Cheerful Abjuration"
  • EPISODE:
    • F21"In a sense, we can already see how the wight is already darker than the darkness, the darkness of its own despair, the darkness of the Dark Lord's own despair . . . His victory will look like the destruction of everything . . . ruling over a dead world." (1:45:12-1:45:37)
 
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