If you’ve talked to me about geeky subjects for any amount of time, you know that I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. As a kid, my mom bought me the books and I tore through them at the age of 9. I know, pretty heavy reading for a 9-year-old, right? Well, what can I say? The world that Tolkien created gripped me, and I found that I just couldn’t put his novels down. When the movies started coming out, I was in awe as the story and the world that I had come to know and love came alive before my very eyes.
Within these pages is a poem that many know, but I think few truly grasp the meaning behind it. If you’re familiar with the story of The Lord of the Rings then you know that the subject of the poem is Strider or Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, the true king of Gondor. The poem appears twice in The Fellowship of the Ring. The first is in Gandalf’s letter to Frodo in Bree, and the second at the council of Elrond, recited by Bilbo. The repetition suggests that Tolkien wants us to grasp these words:
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.