I am sure we all have our favorite books or at least favorite scenes in books that completely captivate us. One scene in particular that blows my mind in so many ways is in the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973). Reading the trilogy gives such a different vibe than watching the movies, if you have not read the books, I strongly recommend that you do, especially in light of the fact that The Hobbit is coming out next December. The Lord of the Rings is truly an epic story, enticing the imagination to go to places it has never been. The following excerpt from Return of the King is one of my favorite scenes of all time:
The cloaked man spoke and said: “He is come”
… For it is only in the coming of Aragorn that any hope remains for the sick that lie in the House. Thus spoke Ioreth, wise-woman of Gondor: “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.”
…When the black breath blows and death’s shadow grows and all lights pass, come athelas! Come athelas! Life to the dying in the king’s hand lying!
Then he heals Faramir and this follows:
“Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!” Said Aragorn. “You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.”
“I will, lord,” said Faramir. “For who would lie idle when the king has returned?”
… “King! Did you hear that! What did I say? The hands of a healer, I said.” And soon the word had gone out from the House that the king was indeed come among them, and after war he brought healing; and the news ran through the City.”
… At the doors of the Houses many were already gathered to see Aragorn, and they followed after him; and when at last he had supped, men came and prayed that he would heal their kinsmen or their friends whose lives were in peril through hurt or wound, or who lay under the black shadow. … And word went through the City: ‘The King is come again indeed.”…And when he could labor no more, he cast his cloak about him, and slipped out of the City, and went to his tent just ere dawn and slept for a little. And in the morning the banner of Dol Amroth, a white ship like a swan upon blue water, floated from the Tower, and men looked up and wondered if the coming of the King had been but a dream.”
I love it!!! Why does Frodo always get all of the attention in this epic story? I love Aragorn, the King who has arrived! And yes, “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.” Aragorn is the rightful king and he brings healing to the people. Do you recall that scene in the movies? Probably not. The book makes a huge deal out of it though! “He is come.”
Tolkien was a strong believer in Jesus Christ, but I also know he did not specifically want this story to be a direct allegory of Christianity (as CS Lewis said, every allegory breaks down at some point, that is why it is called an allegory). One cannot help but see the parallels though! The King heals many people beyond number, slips out of the city and sleeps for a little while, and the people wonder if it was reality. Jesus did this all the time, he would heal people beyond number, slip out of the city to pray to the Heavenly Father, and the people would soon wonder if what had happened was actual reality. “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be ever known.” Jesus’ hands are the hands of a healer, he is the rightful King, and he will be ever known. In his own way, Tolkien proclaims the Coming of the King. Amen.
When I first read the Lord of the Rings, I was enthralled by this scene, and as I recount it today, it still gives me shivers down my spine. Tolkien was a literary genius and devout follower of Christ, I pray that you remember this saint of God today, recalling that January 3, 1892 was his birthday.