Food for Thought from J.R.R. Tolkien for a Thursday

‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy!

–J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books 2012 reissue of the 1954 original), p. 302 (emphasis mine)


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Eschatology, Notable & Quotable, Theology

2 comments on “Food for Thought from J.R.R. Tolkien for a Thursday

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, Kendall.

    I don’t know what may have prompted you to select that marvelous excerpt, but I suspect that it’s timely for many readers. There are many possible reasons why some of us might be tempted to despair, but one of the things we admire in the great saints is their heroic sanctity. And one of the chief virtues often displayed by leading characters in Tolkien’s epic tale is a brave heroism that holds firm even when all hope seems gone. It’s a quality shown not only by Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo, but even by Sam. On the other hand, it is their lapsing into despair that causes the downfall of Saruman and Denethor.

    David Handy+

  2. episcoanglican says:

    I just re-read these great books and that was one of many passages that struck me afresh. Thanks for posting it.