Cruel Caradhras has been satisfied. The Company has been routed. On this episode of Secret Fire Podcast we make our way to the Gates of Moria and begin a journey in the dark as we examine book II, chapter 4 of the Lord Of The Rings.
A Journey In The Dark
It has been several weeks since the previous episode, and this is such a significant chapter – with many weighty themes – that this episode is longer than usual. The Christian themes are especially important. Particularly in light of the chapter title: A Journey In The Dark.
First, consider Pippin. In Rivendell he insisted on being included in the Company, saying that if he were not permitted to accompany his friends then Elrond had better send him back to the Shire tied in a sack! Now, after experiencing cold, hunger, and near death on Caradhras, Pippin realizes that Elrond was correct: he did not understand, nor could he imagine, what peril was in store.
Remember Lot’s Wife
After taking another mouthful of the miruvor of Rivendell, and the Company had eaten, Gandalf called a council. They certainly would not continue travelling that night. But where should they go after they rest?
‘We still have our journey and our errand before us,’ answered Gandalf. ‘We have no choice but to go on, or to return to Rivendell.’
Pippin’s face brightened visibly at the mere mention of return to Rivendell
The Lord of the Rings: One Volume, p. 295
A Pliable Hobbit
Pippin longs to return to the safety, ease, and comfort of the Last Homely House. Who could blame him! This is not the adventure he thought it would be. He is in peril: cold, hungry, nearly crushed by a mountain… and who knows what dangers lay ahead? Pippin wants to go back.
So, too, did many followers of Christ Jesus in the first century. He promised them difficult times. They would be persecuted from all sides by family, friends, and religious leaders. The Jewish converts were thrown out of their synagogues – which meant they were cut off from society and everything they had ever known. They were outcasts, hunted from town to town, beaten, fed to wild beasts, crucified, burned at the stake, and much more besides.
Jesus never said that it would be easy. On the contrary, He told His disciples that if they were to follow Him they must take up their own crosses, and that to forsake Him and return to their old life would cost them eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven.
Luke 9:62 (NASB)
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 17:32-33 (NASB)
Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Rivendell: The City Of Destruction
Pippin reminds us of Pliable in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Pliable loved the words of Christian and was happy to accompany him on the journey. “Well said,” he kept replying to Christian’s descriptions of the good things he was promised. Yet, when they both fell into the Slough of Despond, Pliable was all too quick to go back to the City of Destruction. Pippin, likewise, desires to go back to Rivendell – also the City of Destruction. Listen to the words of Gandalf:
If we go back now, then the Ring must remain there: we shall not be able to set out again. Then sooner or later Rivendell will be besieged, and after a brief and bitter time it will be destroyed.
The Lord of the Rings: One Volume, p. 295
The Bards Are Back
Marc Gunn and Andrew McKee have reformed the Brobdingnagian Bards! And to celebrate we played a track off their album Real Men Wear Kilts titled “Health To The Company.” It is the perfect song for when you take a mouthful of the miruvor of Rivendell – which is, after all, a picture of the Eucharist.
Listeners know that we love The Bards, and so should you. Visit their website to find out how you can gain access to private broadcasts and shows. And tell them Secret Fire Podcast sent you.
- The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, by Robert Foster
- Christianity in Lord of the Rings, by Peter Kreeft
- The Fellowship of the Ring Audiobook read by Rob Inglis
- The Lord of the Rings 1981 Radio Dramatization by BBC
What stood out to you in A Journey In The Dark Pt. 1? Let us know in the comments below.
On The Secret Fire Podcast we travel chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book through J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth viewing it through Christian lenses. We invite you to join us each week as we continue the adventure on the Arkenstone server in Lord Of The Rings Online.
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