In preparation for the release of The Hobbit Movie, our family has been watching through the extended editions of Lord of the Rings over the past week or so (works out well with the kids to watch an hour or so a night – it just takes a while!). One of the things that struck me again watching the movie, is that virtue and honor mustn’t sell.
For those that have read the books as well as watched the movie, you will know what I mean. For those that haven’t (that’s ok!), there were a lot of changes in story line and character from the book. One of the key changes is that a lot of characters who show significant honor and virtue in the book no longer do so. And the more you look, the more you find!
The obvious one was always Faramir – in the book, he is completely honorable, but this is broken in the movie with his actions. I personally felt it takes away from the story not having him as honorable as he was in the book – it was almost a dichotomy in the book between Boromir and Faramir – Boromir fell (but through his actions was then redeemed), but Faramir never did, making the right choice, despite the personal consequences.
But there is more. All of the key characters are ‘damaged’. Elrond, who never held his love for his daughter above that of her love for Aragorn. Aragorn, who never thought of letting Arwen go (though it is nowhere near the major story line the movie makes it!). Frodo, who remains honorable to Sam to the end. Even Treebeard and the Ents – who in the book do the right thing, though they know it may be their last action – and that they could stay out of trouble if they wanted, but chose to act. Rather than in the movie where they choose not to – but then only act when faced with the personal effect to them.
So what then? Virtue doesn’t sell (or at least they don’t think it does – Lord of the Rings certainly sells a lot of copies!). The world we live in doesn’t understand honor and virtue, or at best thinks it is ‘boring’.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
But we are called to something else. We are called to be honorable – to honor God, to honor our parents, to honor our spouse, to honor our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to do the right thing – as God commanded – not to do our own thing and then only change our path when we are caught or the effects start to catch up with us. We are called to be pure and holy before God, not to live ‘up’ to the standards of this world.
I guess I wish they had made the movie along the line of the books, rather than corrupt most of the characters! But one thing it does do, is give us a platform to think and talk about these things – to talk about God’s standards, and man’s standards, even if our starting point is Lord of the Rings! I know as a family we sat down and talked about these things, maybe The Hobbit Movie will give you a chance to do the same…