Indiana Jones and the Hunt for the Sacred Oct02

Indiana Jones and the Hunt for the Sacred...

Though Indiana Jones often hunts objects of religious significance and experiences supernatural events, he is skeptical of faith. Instead of believing in a higher power, he sees God as a fabled being. The Ark of the Covenant, which Indiana pursues in Raiders of the Lost Ark, is sacred to him not because of its connection to God, but because of its archaeological significance. As he tells his friend Marcus, “I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus-pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance; you’re talking about the bogeyman.” Like Indiana, we all have entities we hold sacred—possessions, individuals, memories, places. For me, that includes my faith. For Indiana Jones, it’s academic pursuits, studying history, and knowledge. There’s no room for “fanciful” stories of faith. And judging by the broken relationships he leaves behind—Marion, Marion’s father, and his own father—there’s little room for anything else either. I don’t want to spend my whole life waiting. But as he matures, Indiana’s actions demonstrate there’s far more to him than he would like others to believe, than perhaps he would like to believe about himself. He disputes the existence of God, but begs Marion to close her eyes when the Ark is opened, believing in its powers in the moment of most danger. He has an estranged relationship with his father, but goes to the ends of the earth to rescue him, risking his life many times through challenges related to faith. He’s a solitary man, only concerned with his own needs, but liberates a village of children, along with Willie and Short-Round, instead of placing his own safety first. Indiana’s deeds betray him—he’s not the selfish image he projects. I’m similar to Indiana in some ways, opposite in others. In my...

Galadriel and the Long Defeat Apr27

Galadriel and the Long Defeat...

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. Those are Galadriel’s words at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. I recently re-watched it and, as with every re-watching, something new struck me. First, how awesome it is that the first voice in a movie dominated by men is a woman’s. And, second, that it is actually incredibly fitting for Galadriel to be the narrator, to fill the audience in on all the events that have contributed to the Ring’s birth and rule. A Brief Portrait Not much of Galadriel’s story is told in The Lord of the Rings. For that, readers have to dig into The Silmarillion, several volumes of The History of Middle-earth, and a few of Tolkien’s letters (there’s also a good summary of her life here. Some of the main details: Galadriel was born in Valinor (Tolkien’s word was “awoke”). Her father was Finarfin, youngest of the three sons of High King Finwë.  She defended her mother’s people of Alqualondë against Fëanor and his sons during the First Kinslaying. She made the incredibly difficult journey over the Helcaraxë (the Grinding Ice) into Middle-earth. She settled in Doriath, where she met Celeborn and learned the mystical arts from Queen Melian. She survived the fall of every Elven kingdom in the First Age. During the Second Age, she and Celeborn lived in in Lindon, then Eregion (where the Rings were forged) and then Lindórinand, which became Lothlórien. She is the keeper of one of the Three Rings, Nenya. There are two reasons why I mention these details. One, it is important to know just...