Behold, I have completed yet another journey through The Lord of the Rings. It offered the usual fears and joys and tears and thrills, along with the occasional stretch of tedium (it does have them, you know; adds to the verisimilitude).
By some odd function of my aging mind, the passage that stays with me most this time around is this one at the end, where Gaffer Gamgee greets Frodo on his return from the Crack of Doom and the end of the Age:
‘Good evening, Mr. Baggins!’ he said. ‘Glad indeed am I to see you safe back. But I’ve a bone to pick with you, in a manner o’ speaking, if I may make so bold. You didn’t never ought to have a’ sold Bag End, as I always said. That’s what started all the mischief. And while you’ve been trapassing in foreign parts, chasing Black Men up mountains from what my Sam says, though what for he don’t make clear, they’ve been and dug up Bagshot Row and ruined my taters!’
That’s an exquisite moment. I’ve never been a veteran, but I’ll bet any man who’s been in combat has had moments like that.
It’s annoying that the old folks at home don’t understand what you’ve done or what you’ve been through.
But there must also be a sense that it’s good that this is so. That they don’t understand means you’ve done your job. This provincial ignorance is one of the things you risked all to protect.
Addendum: I just had a thought. They strove in The Hobbit movies to make the characters more “diverse.” They should have cast some east Asians as elves. They’d have made great elves.