Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A true leader

I'd never seen the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring so I rented it. I watched it last night. Having my own copy of the extended version of The Two Towers, I am watching it tonight.

There are two scenes that are quite subtle and very important. One is when Theoden is restored to his right self and all the people, including Aragorn, kneel in deference to Theoden King.

The other scene is with Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Smeagol has a conversation with Gollum and tells Gollum to go away and never come back. In having accepted Frodo as his master and made peace with himself he brings back some coneys which Sam promptly cooks.

What makes these two scenes important is the ability to show deference and to accept differences. In the case of Aragorn, even he kneels when Theoden King is restored. There is no ego in this. He is not threatened in the least by acknowledging Theoden as the king of a people in the land of Rohan even though he, Aragorn, is the heir of Isildur, the king of Gondor to which Rohan owes allegiance. What I see in this is the respect heads of state should have for each other and that it is only through deference that honor is given and allegiance is made. Only those with no conscience, no respect, no humanity would dare expect fealty without first giving honor.

In the scene with Smeagol, Sam, Frodo, and the bunnies is a study in cultural differences and how Frodo acts as a bridge between the two worlds through the medium of pity for Gollum. Sam is as ethnocentric as Gollum in the matter eating preferences. Oddly, I could see an element of the differences between the English and the Japanese in regards to eating fish, whether cooked as fish and chips, or raw as for sushi or sashimi. The importance of pity or compassion as the mitigator of hatred cannot be emphasized enough. Our common humanity is not based on cultural preferences but on the ultimate fate of our lives. Pity stayed Bilbo's hand and in the end, it was Gollum that saved Frodo and all of Middle Earth from Sauron's evil dominion and destruction of all that is good and fair and best in life.