When people ask me why I like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I stop, think it over, and then eloquently reply, “Because they’re AWESOME!!!”
Yes, it is true, Tolkien’s work is called epic fantasy for good reason. But what makes the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit even more epic is how many of the quotes from the movies are actually very similar to scriptures.
Sometimes the similarity between the Tolkien quote and the scripture is in wording, other times it is just in the concept. But either way, many of these quotes and scriptures teach powerful—and awesome—messages about life.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Evil Does Not Share Power
Let’s start with some LOTR quotes. Saruman, the white wizard, betrays Gandalf and joins with the evil Sauron. But Gandalf tells him that, “There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.”
Sauron is similar to Satan, and Saruman is like one who has strayed towards temptation and evil. But Satan, like Sauron, does not share power with his followers. This is spoken of in Alma 30:60, “and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to @#!*% .”
Our Parents’ Errors are Not Our Own
Aragorn’s ancestor, Isildur, was supposed to destroy the ring, but instead it’s power overcame him and tried to use it for his own purposes. Aragorn fears he will make the same mistake because, “The same blood flows in my veins. The same weakness.”
However, Arwen has told him, “Why do you fear the past? You are Isildur’s heir, not Isildur himself. You are not bound to his fate.” Sound familiar? It should, because Articles of Faith 1:2 reads, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” We aren’t responsible for Adam’s sins just like Aragorn isn’t responsible for Isildur’s.
Death in Judgment
Gandalf and Frodo are speaking of the creature Gollum. Frodo says, “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance,” but Gandalf responds:
Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
The themes of this quote deal with mercy in judgment. It reminds me of Alma 41:14 which reads, “Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually.” Bilbo pitied Gollum, and had mercy in sparing his life. Gandalf advises Frodo that he cannot judge Gollum harshly, because he does not have the authority to judge him.
Purpose In All Things
At one point in their journey, Frodo says “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened,” and Gandalf responds:
So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.
This is a powerful quote, showing that we are all supposed to be here at this place and at this time for a reason, or as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” This quote also speaks of the importance of the choices we make. We know that we have our agency and “are free to choose” (2 Nephi 2:27), and it is our choices that affect our lives and who we are.
Accepting the Challenge
At the Council of Elrond, Frodo makes a choice to go on a dangerous journey and says, “I will take it. I will take the ring to Mordor.” Remind you of anyone? Think Nephi, or specifically 1 Nephi 3:7 when he too must face a difficult journey to Jerusalem, but says, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”
Both Frodo and Nephi chose to go on a journey to a dangerous land. They could have decided to not take the risks and stay were they were safe, but instead, they made a willing sacrifice for the greater good.
You Shall Not Pass!
Who can forget this epic moment when the wizard Gandalf raises his staff and roars at the Balrog, “You shall not pass!” So with all of the “and it came to pass” scriptures, is there one that says, “you shall not pass”? Actually there is. D&C 45:23 says, “And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled” (emphasis added).
Surprisingly, this scripture coincides with the moment in the film, because Gandalf falls away, supposedly to his death. But he returns to finish his work because it is not yet “fulfilled” as the scripture says.
However, there is another moment in the scriptures that reminds me of Gandalf’s confrontation with the Balrog. It is in the Pearl of Great Price, when Moses is confronted with Satan. Just like Gandalf yelled, “You shall not pass!” at the Balrog, Moses says, “Get thee hence, Satan,” and commands, “Depart from me, Satan,” in the name God (Moses 1:16-21).
Weak Things Overcoming the Mighty
Galadriel puts her faith in Frodo when she says, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Earlier in the film, she also states, “For the time will soon come when Hobbits will shape the fortunes of all.”
This is similar to 1 Corinthians 1:27 which reads, “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Hobbits are the smallest, most harmless creatures of Middle Earth, but they are the ones whose choices and actions affect the world.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Never Lose Hope
Despite the hopelessness of their circumstance, Arwen tells her father, Elrond, that, “There is still hope.” In fact, several of the characters state this throughout The Lord of the Rings movies, even in the face of a bleak or impossible situation. No matter what, they hold onto hope. There are several scriptures that teach us the importance of keeping hope in our lives. Ether 12:4 reads:
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith , maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
The scripture 2 Nephi 31:20 also teaches us to have hope saying, “ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope , and a love of God and of all men.” Additionally, Romans 8:24 says that “we are saved by hope.”
Let There Be Light
Gandalf tells Aragorn, “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.” On that day, Gandalf appears with the army of Rohan and they charge down the hill. As they make their attack, the sunlight blinds the Uruk-Hai army they fight against.
Light is a common theme spoken of in The Lord of the Rings movies. Evil seems to spring up from darkness and shadow while goodness and light are often paired together. Frodo’s sword lights up as a warning when Orcs are near, beacons are lit as a message of help, and Galadriel gives Frodo “the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” And he does use it as a light, switching it on by chanting what is basically the elvish equivalent to, “let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
Light and dark, good and evil, it all just shows the opposition in all things. The scriptures teach of light saying, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Alma 26:15 also teaches of the evil of darkness saying, “they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlastinglight, yea, into everlasting salvation.”
It’s Worth Fighting For
Sam gives Frodo some inspiration in a dark moment. He speaks of great stories and how even though the heroes struggled and could have turned back, “they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.” Frodo, feeling hopeless, asks, “What are we holding onto, Sam?” and Sam says, “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo . . . and it’s worth fighting for.”
This quote reminded me of the Title of Liberty that Captain Moroni made in a time of war. The Title of Liberty said, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46:12). I feel this scripture is similar to the quote because it shows the good things in the world we hold on to, we fight for.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Fear Not Death
Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli seek the oathbreakers and approach the entrance of a cave labeled with a warning. They are walking into certain death, but Aragorn says, “I do not fear death,” and strides on in.
Aragorn wasn’t the only one who didn’t fear death. Helaman’s two-thousand striplings warriors didn’t fear death either. “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” (Alma 56:47).
Hearts of Men
The armies of men are about to battle against all the forces of evil that lie in Mordor. Aragorn rallies his troops saying, “A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.”
The scriptures also speak of a day when mens’ courage fails. D&C 45: 26 reads, “And in that day . . . the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them.” But as Aragorn said, “it is not this day.”
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Small and Simple Things
And now onto some Hobbit quotes. Galadriel asks Gandalf why he brought Bilbo Baggins, a small hobbit, on a dangerous journey. Gandalf tells her:
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.
This quote is almost a dead-ringer for Alma 37:6 which reads, “but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”
A Willing Heart
Balin and Thorin speak, and Balin points out how the odds are against their small company of dwarves, the only ones willing to take on a very big, almost impossible, quest. Thorin says, “I would take each and every one of these Dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills. For when I called upon them, they answered. Loyalty. Honor. A willing heart, I can ask no more than that.”
When Thorin speaks of how he called on the Dwarves, it reminded me of D&C 121:40, “many are called, but few are chosen.” Though in this case, it would be more like, “many are called, but few responded.” However, this quote is also similar to D&C 64:34 which reads, “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.”
The Height of his Stature”
It is safe to say that in the beginning of this movie, Thorin judged Bilbo on his size. That doesn’t sound like much coming from a Dwarf, but he judged anyways, believing Bilbo was not meant for this dangerous journey. However, by the end of the movie, Thorin has a change of heart and tells Bilbo, “Did I not say that you would be a burden, that you would not survive in the wild and that you have no place amongst us? Never have I been so wrong in all my life.”
Thorin wasn’t the only one judging people by their size. The prophet Samuel did until 1 Samuel 16:7 when God told him:
Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
And the Lord was talking about David, who would one day become king.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Tauriel encourages Legolas to help her fight against evil. Legolas says, “It is not our fight,” but Tauriel responds:
It is our fight. It will not end here. With every victory this evil will grow. If your father has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide within our walls, live our lives away from the light and let darkness descend. Are we are not part of this world? Tell me, Mellon, when did we let evil become stronger than us?
Tauriel feels overcome by the evil around her, but as Romans 12:21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” She recognized that she needed to fight for good.
There we have it! Of course, there are so many more amazing LOTR and Hobbit quotes and even more amazing scriptures, and who knows how many amazing new quotes similar to scriptures we will find in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.