Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Black Gates of Hell 

I saw the Return of the King for the third time yesterday, and I noticed something new. When the Ring is destroyed and Sauron's realm crumbles, the scene before the Black Gate is remarkably like the classic Orthodox icon of the Resurrection. In that icon, Christ stands victorious above a gaping chasm in the ground, the gates of hell beneath His feet falling into the abyss. In Jackson's rendition of the fall of Sauron, the earth caves open before the armies of the West as the Towers of the Teeth and the Black Gate topple into the abyss.

I don't mean that Jackson et al. intended this resemblance consciously, or even necessarily have seen the icon. But God's inspiration, working through the writings of Tolkien and through the truth of art, can make Truth visible in ways the artists themselves do not understand.

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