One of my favorite, most cathartic movie moments of all time is in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. In this film, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee steadily grow in awareness of the burden of the ring. Frodo seems to act based on feeling and intuition while Samwise, as an outsider, has a broader perspective. [aside: I loved the growth of their relationship and the deep bond of friendship between these two (the type of friendship that could never be neatly packaged into the term “bromance”, the type of friendship so common in older literature, so fake and superficial in the current trends), but I’ll save those thoughts for another day.]
In the end, after exhausting setbacks and near misses, Frodo dazedly verbalizes his realization, “I can’t do this, Sam.” Sam then replies with a monologue set with the best soundtrack, the most epic montage, a moment of pure awesomeness:
I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
To which Frodo weakly replies, “What are we holding onto, Sam?”
“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”
I ask myself the same questions Sam poses. I feel small, ineffective, dumb. The world seems so cumbersome, the issues so large, and people so jaded or blind. But what he says is true: a new day will come; the sun will shine clearer; there are new mercies every morning.
What about you? What is good in this world? And what do you think is worth fighting for?