Scribe of the Eldanyárë
- Dec 30, 2001
- Reaction score
In Letter # 191 to Miss J Burn, Tolkien writes...
In a letter to David I Masson written on 12 December 1955, Tolkien writes:If you re-read all the passages dealing with Frodo and the Ring, I think you will see that not only was it quite impossible for him to surrender the Ring, in act or will, especially at its point of maximum power, but that this failure was adumbrated from far back. He was honoured because he accepted the burden voluntarily, and he had then done all that was within his utmost physical and mental strength to do. He (and the Cause) were saved-- by Mercy: by the supreme value and efficacy of Pity and forgiveness of injury.
Corinthians I x. 12-13 may not at first sight seem to fit-- unless 'bearing temptation is taken to mean resisting it while still a free agent in normal command of the will. I will think rather of the mysterious last petitions of the Lord's Prayer: Lead us not into tempation, but deliver us from evil. A petition against something that cannot happen is unmeaning. There exists the possibility of being placed in positions beyond one's power. In which case (as I believe) salvation from ruin will depend upon something apparantly unconnected: the general sanctity (and humility and mercy) of the sacrificial person.
Surely how often "quarter" is given is off the point in a book that breathes Mercy from start to finish: in which the central hero is at last divested of all arms, except his will? "Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive them that tresspass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", are words that occur to me, and of the scene in the Sammath Naur was meant to be a "fairy story" exemplum...."