Avid readers know how efficacious novels can be on feelings. Novels give readers an intimate insight into the protagonist’s world and the emotions they experience.
There are also strong links between vigorous fiction readers and increasing empathy, in turn, helping readers to cultivate stronger relationships outside these fictional pages.
Good fiction illustrates what true love and real relationships look like. And few have done it better than J.R.R.Tolkien.
In Lord Of The Rings (LOTR), we witnessed an auspicious insight into the transcendence of characters and the powerful impact of loving relationships. Shown no more clear than the two Hobbits Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee.
Through-out the trilogy you see a lucid transformation, particularly in Samwise, and that’s who I am going to refer back to throughout this read.
Watching Samwise transcend you get to witness what true love is, and the faculties it can manifest from an individual.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Laozi
1. True love transforms you as an individual.
It’s not a coincidence that one of the first scenes in lotr is filmed in slow motion — simultaneously capturing the face of Samwise for the first time — whilst narrated by Frodo: “Hobbits share a real love for things that grow.” The scene is emphasizing the potential findings we may discover throughout the trilogy between Samwise’s relation to love and his growth.
As the trilogy progressed the personality of Samwise transcended. His love for Frodo transformed him. To protect Frodo, he was forced the grow as an individual. He turned out to be one of the real heroes of the story, it was his love and commitment to Frodo that facilitated him in doing so.
His transcendence conveys what real love can do to a person.
Before their Journey began to destroy the ring of power Samwise was relatively reserved and timid. He was reluctant when taking his first steps out of the realms that he knew. But the loyalty and love he possessed led him to the most feared place in middle-earth. He even lacked the confidence to ask Rosie Cotton for a dance – yet after his quest was complete he was soon quick to marry her.
He also turned into a Hobbit to be feared, he verbally and physically protecting Frodo even in the certainty of death. He discovered his true abilities, he was not only given the name: “Samwise the Brave”, but he also received the recognition that “Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam”
Love reveals your potential and facilitates growth.
Love isn’t just about finding somebody who brings pleasure and distraction either physically or mentally. Love is a journey of exploration. Not only is it a process of insight into others, but it’s an insight into yourself. Love is like a meditative exercise – it’s self-discovery.
The power of love facilitates growth, it can give you the courage and strength to become all that you can be. A true relationship emanates this. Your partner should not only make you feel more courageous, but they should also motivate and support you in your ambitions to fulfill your potential.
Love results in you becoming better self-aware, it also tests your strengths and highlights your weaknesses.
2. Love has the power to manifest the strongest acts of empathy.
Fighting against your own emotions is onerous. Samwise sacrificed his own emotions in a time of hardship, he illustrated empathy in its purest form by placing himself in Frodo’s shoes. And again it was love that was the driving force behind this.
Samwise witnessed more than others what the ring of power could do to somebody, nonetheless than to his best friend(Frodo). It’s safe to say Frodo Baggins became a completely different Hobbit, the quest he was on resulted in him becoming seduced and emotionally manipulated by the ring.
Samwise had to endure hardship and neglect from the person he cared for most. And due to the dark power that now possessed Frodo, he turned his back on Samwise by terminating their companionship. The creature “Gollum” also played his part in manipulating Frodo. “He’s poisoned you against me”, said Samwise.
But he still didn’t turn his back on Frodo, he never gave up. He did quite the opposite, saving his life again, as well as concealing the ring of power from the enemy. And all this was after Frodo almost stabbed him days before.
Now, this is not me saying you haven’t found true love before you’ve been rejected or almost stabbed.
But what I am saying, however, is that true love looks like this;
Sacrificing one’s own emotions in certain times been able to fit yourself into somebody else’s shoes and see that the world is less black and white than you may think, it’s having the empathy to understand that actions you’ve endured maybe as a result of something that you’ve yet failed to understand, it’s accepting external forces bring hardship and adversity — which create a bumpy ride.
Love teaches you to hold on and weather these perils. Love is also accepting vulnerability in times of hardship, sometimes it’s putting others before you – for a possible greater good further down the line.
For example, healthy relationships need both partners to be able to put themselves in each other shoes from time to time, they need to see the world through each other’s filters and not just their own. So that they can fulfill each other’s needs and validate each other’s emotions.
Samwise was treated with little respect, but he knew that Frodo wasn’t himself, and managed to overlook his temporary change in character. It’s love that gave him the willpower to surrender to moments of hardship, and stay by Frodo until the quest was complete – no matter how unfairly he was treated.
Life is impermanent, always has, and always will be. But real love still lingers, even underneath all the commotion in the world.
3. True love has a ripple effect.
Samwise’s devotion for Frodo, as well as his commitment and integrity to fulfill a promise he made to the wizard Gandalf, had an almost incalculable ripple effect.
Samwise was the unsung hero, he was responsible for the demolishing of the ring of power and dissipation of evil for good.
This resulted in lives been saved, it resulted in the union between old enemies, it resulted in peace and prosperity, it also facilitated other relationships to manifest in the film, included his own married with Rosey Cotton.
These fictional events teach us that;
Real love has a knock-on effect, maybe further than the eye can see. Because all meaningful actions have a ripple effect.
Real love looks like; creating memorable experiences and opportunities not only for yourself but for others, it bridges gaps and brings people together, it denies bitterness & hatefulness and manifests companionship, unity, and peace.
Love is the foundation for; therapeutic relationships, strong cultures, and has no equal for manifesting meaning in life.
Love renders the world a harmonious place.
Previously published on medium
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: by Andres Iga on Unsplash