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Welcome, friend! Relax & rest awhile, if you please. I'm an ordinary girl, a follower of Christ, mama to Gabriel, & wife to Evan. Here in this little space of the online world, I share all manner of bookish things, including full content reviews, writerly snippets, encouragement for everyday life, and a whole collection of names & their meanings.

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Book Review [Walking With Frodo]

Walking With Frodo
A devotional journey through the Lord of the Rings.
Sarah Arthur

[description from Goodreads]
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings epic tale has long captivated readers with its parallels to biblical truth.  And now, "Walking with Frodo" looks at the biblical themes found in the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The 18 devotions pair vices and virtues (deception vs. honesty, light vs. darkness, good vs. evil) displayed by characters in The Lord of the Ringsand bring to light what the Bible has to say.  A must-have for longtime and new series fans.


Okay.  If you do not know already, I am a HUGE movie freak.  (Probably more than I should be. . . heheh)  I am always up-to-date on the newest upcoming films, usually know the names of the actors, can tell you where they were born and how old they are, and am fluent in movie quotes.  

So, when I saw this book on the bargain shelf at Lifeway, I had to get it!

And I loved it!

From start to finish, you travel a journey that focuses on vices and virtues--betrayal vs. loyalty, bondage vs. freedom--coupled with examples from the books and movies of The Lord of the Rings.  Mrs. Arthur brings to light how the characters of J.R.R.Tolkien seem to represent beings in our world.  For instance, the Balrog, Master of Fire and Shadows, represents our great Enemy, Satan. 

"Whatever the murky history of his past, Satan is real.  He specializes in absorbing light, in casting shadows, and in generating great vacuums of fear and spiritual blindness. . ." (pgs. 8, Part 1)

In each part, a lesson is learned.

"This is the lesson of the Balrog from deep within the heart of Moria:"

You are small.
Your foe is big.

Each lesson is supported by Scripture.  For the one above, it was Ephesians 6:12, which was also the theme verse for my church's drama, Lucifer's Lies:  "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens."

Opposite of the Balrog stands our fierce and mighty hero, Gandalf the Grey, who in this instance personifies Jesus Himself, as the Warrior of Light.  The lesson to be learned through courage of Gandalf is this:

You are small.
Your foe is big.
But your God is bigger still.

I believe I say this every time I review a good book: that I could go on and on sharing with you how good it was!  However, for your sake, I shall attempt to bring this to a conclusion.  Just to give you a clue as to which character stands for what, because I would surely wish to know if I were you, here is a quick list of familiar characters and what they stand for:

Week 1: Choosing Darkness or Light
Darkness  =  the Balrog
Light  =  Gandalf the Grey

Week 2:  Choosing Pride or Humility
Pride  =  Sauron
Humility  =  Frodo Baggins

Week 3:  Choosing Corruption or Integrity
Corruption  =  Boromir and Denethor, Stewards of Gondor
Integrity  =  Faramir, brother of Boromir

Week 4:  Choosing Betrayal or Loyalty
Betrayal  =  Gollum
Loyalty  =  Samwise Gamgee

Week 5:  Choosing Disunity or Forgiveness
Disunity  =  the Orcs, slaves of Sauron
Forgiveness  =  Legolas and Gimli, sworn to eternal friendship

Week 6:  Choosing Deceit or Honesty
Deceit  =  Wormtongue
Honesty  =  Éomer, nephew of King Théoden

Week 7:  Choosing Bondage or Freedom
Bondage  =  Théoden, King of Rohan
Freedom  =  Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, niece of Théoden

Week 8:  Choosing Control or Servanthood
Control  =  Saruman
Servanthood  =  Aragorn, true King of Gondor

Week 9:  Choosing Despair or Hope
Despair  =  the Nine Kings, the Ringwraiths
Hope  =  the Eagles

You must know it is incredibly difficult for me to keep these reviews brief.  My fingers seem to be twitching with the urge to just rewrite the whole book in my words. . . Not gonna happen, but still. . .  ;D

All in all, in my opinion, this devotional is a great read.  I would definitely recommend to anyone who thinks of themselves as part of the LotR fandom.  Wonderful book for family devotions and/or young readers who have just discovered Tolkien's works.

Sarah Arthur has other books using films and novels as a focus point, including Walking With Bilbo: A devotional journey through Tolkien's The Hobbit; Dating Mr. Darcy: the Smart Girl's Guide to Sensible Romance; and Walking Through the Wardrobe: A Devotional Quest into the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--all of which I would like to read sometime.  =]  We'll see.

In the meantime, I would recommend this for ages:  8+ 
(Personally, I don't believe it needs an age group.  This would be perfectly fine to use as a family devotional, with kids of all ages, depending on the length of their attention span, and whether or not the parents have actually allowed them to watch the films. . .  Each chapter is brief, with 6-7 pages at the most, and discussion questions at the end.)

My rating:

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To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

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