Life Lessons From Mordor: Part 1

What can I say? I love Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the trilogy twice, own all three movies, have sat through all five hours of bonus features (yes I did.)  And its not just because I’m a nerd for wizards and talking trees. And its not just about the sexy elves in their art- nouveau inspired dwellings although I have to admit I want to go to there. I love Lord of the Rings because it is a great story- A story about an average hero- reluctant, fearful, and humble- who, sacrificing everything for the greater good, succeeds against all odds. This is where its at, my friends. And with every great story comes lessons we can apply personally. Lessons I have generously broken down for you. No need to thank me- I’m just very kind. And very bored with Diners Drive-ins and Dives. Seriously, Guy Fieri is going to die if he doesn’t stop eating like this. I am genuinely concerned.

 Life Lessons From Mordor Part 1:

Life Lesson#1: Be careful what you wish for. Bilbo’s troll and dragon stories may sound like quite a hoot when your all snug up in Bag End. But when you’re on the lam with nine Nazgul behind you and the ring of power talking dirty in your pointed ear- not so much. The grass is not necessarily greener in Rivendell. Although it probably is better maintained (darn those beautiful elves!)
Life Lesson #2: Trust your instincts. If that gate-guard at Bree gives you the creeps- trust that instinct. If you sense some monstrous presence lurking just beneath the surface of a mountain lake- trust that instinct. If you notice a wicked gleam in Boromir’s eye every time he looks at you, and the One Ring, and then you again, and then back at the One Ring- trust that instinct!
Life Lesson #3: Resist temptation. Don’t put on the bloody ring! There is no denying the fact that it’s rad to be invisible, I give you that. But is having the lidless, flaming eye of Sauron honed in on you really worth it? Sure, its exhausting to continuously resist temptation. But every time you put that puppy on BAD THINGS HAPPEN. It calls to the Ring Wraiths, and makes you act like a complete a-hole. Just look what it did to Gollum. Each time you give into the will of the ring it makes it that much harder to resist, and before you know it BOOM! You’re telling yourself riddles in the dark, living on raw fish and orcses, at the mercy of a not-so-precious ring from hell. Just don’t.
Life Lesson #4: Establish personal boundaries. Sure, throwing the hygenically-challenged Gollum a fishbone every now and then is what any decent person ought to do. By all means treat him with respect, call him Smeagol, encourage him to invest in a new loin-cloth, accept his awkward gifts gracefully. But for Smaug’s sake don’t TRUST him! The dude has been stocking you covertly since Moria, he’s mad for some evil bling, he refers to himself as “we”. He wants to make a suit out of your skin. Clearly not someone you should let yourself get close to. Clearly someone who has difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Just ask his best friend Deagle. Oh wait- he’s DEAD.

Life Lesson #5: You Can Do It. No, no actually you can’t. At least not without help. The fact is you can only do your best. And if you best means hiking halfway up Mount Doom only to fall into the volcanic ashes like a little girl- weeping in despair because you can’t remember the taste of strawberries, Gandalf understands and he’s not surprised. He had your back when he sent Sam along with you, knowing you’d likely wuss out in the end. But don’t get down on yourself if you totally freak on the precipice of destiny and get your finger gnawed off by a squirrelly half-naked creep. If you did your best- given it your all- fate will take you the rest of the way. Chin up. Gollum has a lot of negative karma headed his way.

Life Lesson #6: No Man Is An Island. In his own gentle and slightly uncomfortable words, “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam.” Nor, it ought to be noted, would Sam have gotten far without his chips. (Hey- hobbits are hungry- don’t judge. You don’t grow a glorious mane of foot-hair without proper nourishment.) Gandalf wouldn’t have gotten far without Shadowfax, lord of all horses. Merry wouldn’t have gotten far without Eowyn- gone- rogue. Frodo and Sam wouldn’t have gotten past the river of molten hot lava without the eagles, who “conveniently” show up AFTER their tedious and life-threatening trek across Middle Earth. (Bless you eagles. Don’t dirty a talon or anything.) The lesson is clear: whether sexy elf or surly dwarf- we’re all part of this world and we need one another.

Life Lesson #7: Its OK to Sing in Public When You’re King. This may only be on the extended version of Return of the King, but not five seconds after his coronation, Aragorn breaks into song. I’m not kidding- its kind of glorious for the first couple stanzas. But it gets a little awkward after that. “So that’s how its going to be in Gondor now, huh? One big happy musical. Great. So glad we defeated Sauron and stuff.” And though his subjects quietly try to avoid eye-contact, its not like they’re going to say anything. I mean, he’s the KING. He’s returned. He can do pretty much whatever he wants including serenading his new subjects in elvish to a tune he’s making up as he goes along. And so could you if your girlfriend was Liv Tyler.

Life Lesson #8: There Is No Going Back. Anyone who has experienced the disillusionment of growing up understands there is no going back to the blissful ignorance of childhood. So while you may once again enjoy the homey comforts of Bag End, that potato soup just doesn’t taste quite the same after the exotic delicacies of Rivendell. And though you’re glad to be back in your own bed, you just don’t sleep as soundly as you did before you were hunted by Ring Wraiths. Even Gandalf’s fireworks seem a little lack-luster after witnessing the shattering of Sauron’s fortress. There’s nothing for it- that’s life sucka. If you want unrealistic “happy” endings watch bologna featuring vegan vampires.