Truth wins. Every time.

…And it’s not always a spectacular battle.

from The Two Towers movie

These are the lessons I have been learning over the past few months from my friend’s J.R.R. Tolkien lecture class and my own conversations with a wise mentor-figure.

Actually, this is something God has been working on in me for a while now; I can even remember some mention of it in Brussels, but it’s really been hitting me full force these past few months:


First of all, you should know, that I love The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s world in general.
Secondly, I believe that it is very spiritual, and I can find parallels and ideas in it, though Tolkien leaves it open for each person to find what they will.

That being said, there is a lot of talk about the idea of “truth” in The Lord of the Rings.

Let’s look at The Two Towers for instance.
In the story, King Theoden is corrupted by the evil wizard Saruman through his servant Wormtongue.
Key points:
-The voice of Saruman is seductive in order to deceive you.
-His servant Wormtongue twists your reality to make everything dark and hopeless.
-Gandalf, however, simply speaks the truth, and Saruman’s power is broken.

In the movie, there is a climactic confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman, who appears to be possessing King Theoden. The two wizards battle it out and Saruman shouts as he is cast from the king and back into his dark hall in Orthanc.

In the book, however, there is no big confrontation. Gandalf simply points out the truth to Theoden, and it changes him and heals him:

“Not all is dark. Take courage, Lord of the Mark; for better help you will not find. No counsel have I to give to those that despair. Yet counsel I could give, and words I could speak to you. Will you hear them? … I bid you come before your doors and look abroad. Too long have you sat in the shadows and trusted to twisted tales and crooked promptings.”

Gandalf then takes Theoden outside.
“Now, lord,” said Gandalf, ” Look upon your land! Breathe the free air again!”
“It is not so dark here,” said Theoden.
“No,” said Gandalf, “Nor does age lie so heavily on your shoulders as some would have you think. Cast aside your prop!”
From the king’s hand the black staff fell clattering on the stones. He drew himself up, slowly, as a man that is stiff from long bending over some dull toil. Now tall and straight he stood, and his eyes were blue as he looked into the opening sky.
“Dark have been my dreams of late, ” he said, “but i feel as one new-awakened.”

– The King of the Golden Hall, The Two Towers

Truth wins. And it wasn’t a spetacular battle between good and evil. It was simply truth.

Another example of this occurs when Saruman’s land has been destroyed and he is imprisoned in his tower. When the company comes to him, he tries to entrance them with his voice, but Gandalf does not let that happen. Firstly, he laughs, and the spell is broken.

Next, he destroys Saruman’s power, not by issuing commands, but by statements of fact:

He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. “Saruman, your staff is broken.” There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman’s hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf’s feet.
-The Voice of Saruman, The Two Towers

Gandalf doesn’t defeat Saruman in a big fight or even an argument. He simply declares the fact that Saruman has no power and that his staff is broken, and it breaks, and he crawls away, unable to sway anyone with his lies.

There are many other examples, and perhaps I will come back to them later, but those are two to ponder about. :)

Speak truths to yourself. Do not let the lies deceive you.
Truth wins. Every time.


2 thoughts on “Truth wins. Every time.

  1. Your first example is one of my favorite scenes in all of Tolkien. I think one of the things the movie misses in its ‘possession’ of Theoden is the fact that Saruman’s (and by extension Wormtongue’s) power is based on persuasion, utilizing truth in a twisted form in half truths which lead the doubtful slowly astray. It is no magic of a moment but the work of patiently grinding someone down. Gandalf confronts this glamour by pure, unadulterated truth, in its entirety…by hope and endurance and encouragement, demonstrating the joy to be found in the ignored, but difficult, path which though fraught with dangers may lead to ultimate joy.

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