"Renewed shall be blade that was broken" - Meaning in Lord Of The Rings

Meaning from Stories Nov 03, 2019
Renewed shall be blade that was broken

The above line comes from one of the most well-known stories of XX and XXI centuries. J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings brought it's readers not only entertainment but also richness of symbolism and ties to the ancient wisdom.

For most people it may be just fairy tale story about good fighting evil. Pretty black and white premise with some good characters, adventure and great battles. Movie adaptation brought these things to the wider audience. And many who watched the movies, but haven't red books may treat it as another blockbuster. For some, however, it is far more than this.

Both the books and movies contain things from which we can learn and by which we can even grow as individuals. Tolkien's sequel to the Hobbit is much more mature and meaning heavy than standard fairy tale, or in that case the Hobbit itself.

Much of this meaning that is hidden in these works is applicable to today's state of our culture and civilization.

So what meaning we can bring from Lord of the Rings now? First of all, let's examine meaning itself. Let us look at the above line as talking about meaning that was lost for humanity, but is to be renewed. The full poem, Strider's Riddle, paints us a picture of regaining meaning in our lives and culture.

Let's examine in full the Strider's Riddle :

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Full poem gives us image of forgotten good, beauty and truth that lie hidden, waiting to grow and bloom again. The world of Lord Of The Rings stands at brink of being taken  over by evil forces. Forces that want to exploit and control different peoples of Middle-Earth. Old kingdoms are in ruin. People don't remember better times. But the strong roots of the olden days survived and bring hope that what once was, can be brought again. And people can find grater meaning.

Our world today is in many ways in similar situation. The old ways are forgotten and discarded. Lack of meaning pervades the culture. Civilization sucks individuals more and more into dependence on sensual stimulation it brings. Despite great material comfort, mentally people suffer greatly than ever before. But in the midst of all of this people seem to slowly wake up from inertia they were in.

Let's examine more closely the lines of the poem to see some parallels.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;

These lines metaphorically tell us about present state of things. Our culture is filled with shiny stuff, that unfortunately don't have much more to offer. Beneath glimmer of today's arts, music, movies, modern worldviews, very often we find nothing valuable. Anything that brings meaning into our lives. And thing that do are not that attractive to some, because they don't shine. But true gold doesn't have to shine to have value. This shows us to look for values beyond things that look attractive only at the surface, but go deeper.

In addition many people seem to be lost in today's world, looking for meaning, wandering aimlessly. But not everyone is lost. And we can look for those individuals they can lead us from meaninglessness into understanding and wisdom.

The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

This line tell us that not everything from the past is doomed to die and disappear. That there is value in ancient wisdom and that it cannot be entirely wiped out. There is no need of disregarding it. In fact it is the only hope for people that want to fight feeling of voidness in their lives.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

The second verse clearly brings us hope for the future. We can recover old meaning from the ashes. Meaning can be brought back into our lives and it can stand proudly as true king.

Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash
Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash