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25 March 2008 @ 10:59 am
Happy March 25th!  
Happy Downfall of Sauron Day! This, in the LOTR-verse in my head, is anniversary 28.

This year finds me in California in the violently beautiful wine country spring. "In every spring," says Bilbo, "there is a different green." The greens assault on all sides here under the wide, dry sky. The oaks are leafing golden and the wildflowers scatter on the hills in blue, purple, white, yellow. The daffodils are fading, the lilacs approaching, the desert ceonothus blooming late and sweet. Paradise could not dredge up more beauty.

And such beauty, the human heart understands, can only exist side-by-side with the savage. This is the season when we murder the god because the flowers must be watered in blood. How funny this year that Easter arrived only two days before DS Day. All these stories are one--not the same story but the shifting leitmotif that echoes across a single tale. The percussion at the end of the Tori Amos's "Professional Widow" has almost the same feel as the end of The Rite of Spring. Maybe Northrop Frye would say they are the same archetype at different points on the musical wheel o' modes.

In every Mad Season, I think different things. This year my thoughts lie with the hated drivers of salvation: with Judas, with Gollum. Perhaps we hate their necessity. Perhaps they are our truest sacrificial lambs, the ones who surrender everything--life, reputation, humanity's good will, their own salvation--because the flowers must be watered. I can't sum it up better than to say, "What you have done will be the saving of everyone. You'll be remembered forever for this." Very nearly my favorite line from Jesus Christ Superstar.

One thing I've always loved about Elvish theology is its unabashed acceptance of the idea that God intended evil. Eru knew Melkor would revolt; every bit of it was part of his plan. And if you can still love God for that--as Ivan Karamazov couldn't--then you love him with something of the unconditionality with which, we are told, he loves you. If you love The Lord of the Rings, says Le Guin, then you love Gollum too, not because he's admirable or likable or redeemed, but simply because he is us. At the Cracks of Doom, there is no difference between Gollum and Frodo except that Gollum has 600 more years of abuse to crush him. I dearly love the brutality of The Lord of the Rings because it's honest. And it teaches humility, which, if pride is the greatest sin, is surely the greatest virtue. The virtue of Sam.
Feeling: gratefulgrateful