STRENGTH OF HOBBITS

People are turning to “The Lord of the Rings” for solace after Donald Trump’s win

Obsession
2016
Obsession
2016

There is never a bad time to heed the wise words of one Samwise Gamgee, Hobbit of the Shire. Though he is diminutive in size, his words are far-reaching enough to comfort those reeling in the aftermath of a shocking presidential election—and that’s probably why his rousing speech from the second of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies is being shared widely online today.

“How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened?” the character, played by Sean Astin, says to his friend and fellow Hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), when all hope looks lost on their quest. “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.”

The scene from The Two Towers was at the top of Reddit’s movies section today, as those reeling from the news of Republican Donald Trump’s surprise election victory apparently identify with Frodo, who’s succumbing to the burden of carrying the One Ring and has just been attacked by a malevolent hooded character riding a terrifying dragon-like beast. (The speech was written just for the film and does not appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels.)

“Sam’s speech is one of my favorite in the series, and one I think a lot of people need to hear right now,” the user who submitted the scene, fullforce098, wrote. Thousands of users have since commented.

Tolkien himself said Sam, not Frodo, was the “chief hero” of the trilogy, and based the character on soldiers he knew fighting in the trenches for the British army in World War I.

In moments of crisis, we need art, of all kinds. We don’t need it to deny reality or avoid confronting problems—in fact, it’s the opposite. Art can inspire us to move forward.

Astin (who supported Clinton in the election) shared the scene on Facebook in June after the Orlando nightclub shooting. It received renewed attention after Trump was elected, and is now being shared all over Facebook.

Yesterday, in her concession speech, Hillary Clinton expressed a similar message to the American people. “Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart,” she said. “For there are more seasons to come, and there is more work to do.”

Samwise’s pep talk is not the only moment from The Lord of the Rings that’s helping to comfort people around the world:

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