This story also begins twice. First, we see a race of dwarves, great miners & craftsmen. Their love of gold is almost unexplainable. They build their own caves, wherein they live. In the fullness of time, their wealth attracts a dragon. They disperse thereafter, trying to reconquer their old abandoned cities & building new ones. But the king’s children cannot forget; his nephew now mounts an expedition to reconquer that home. He knows it is his fate.
The second beginning is the wizard’s attempt to persuade the halfling to adventure. When he finally explains himself, he says he has a home, which is dear to him – we know also he loves books & adventures. The dwarves no longer have a home, having been invaded & exiled. He will help them, he says, regain their home, if he can. But what if that home can only be won by war?
This is the story of another halfling, uncle to the other famous halfling. He was first of his kind to adventure with a great wizard & noble warriors; to take the magical ring & face a great power. This is a story full of new & old homelands, full of the ruins of crumbled civilization, of omens of the end of all noble things. Except the halflings, who hardly have a history.
The civilized races seem to be replaced by degenerate creatures, which might not look quite as ugly but for the comparison with the beauty which attends the refinement of the arts. But these barbaric creatures also suggest to us that the arts by which man seeks to acquire control are limited. Or rather that the unlimited progress of arts creates powers that are terrifying, perhaps monstrous. But the weapons seem to endure through the ages…
The wizard tries to teach to the democratic halfling some mercy or generosity. He tells him courage requires not taking a life. Why? Because necessity drives all creatures to kill. Anger is rooted in fear of death; courage requires control of anger – turning anger against itself, so to speak, without going insane. The noble must refrain; only kill when they must. Does not that mean necessity still overpowers nobility? Perhaps it makes no difference to the killed; it may ennoble those who hold themselves back. Maybe trust requires this self-restraint. We see that the elves allow the dragons to attack the dwarves: They see necessity; they will only fight for their own home; all to one’s good that strangers die… The dwarves may be weak today, but if they are strong tomorrow, what danger will today’s pity have earned?
The desire to adventure implies the belief, the world is not fundamentally hostile to man.
The new trilogy by Peter Jackson, as enchanting as the previous!