The Tolkien Road

A podcast about Middle-earth and all things Tolkien.

0110 – The Lord of the Rings – Bk4 – Ch9 – Shelob’s Lair

Concerning “Shelob’s Lair”, from a stifling stench to a salvific starlight…

    • The Lair – 10:00
    • The Phial – 16:30
    • The Hobbits Escape – 28:00
    • Shelob’s Story – 34:00
    • Sam vs. Gollum – 43:30
    • Haiku / Correspondence – 47:00

Originally released: 6/5/2017.

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One Response

  1. Hey John and Greta!

    Let me start off by saying I LOATHE spiders. I have killed so many and yet even more abound. I feel its a laughing matter for them. They are probably thinking, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” (copyright to Obi-Wan Kenobi). With that being said, I love the characters Ungoliant/Shelob. How ironic is that??

    I have a good reason though for admiring Tolkien’s vision that represents pure evil and doom. That is, without severe darkness there is no value/gratitude for the light that overcomes it. Let me explain what I mean here..

    Ungoliant is the original demonic spirit who takes the form of a monstrous spider. She is described as having an ever-growing hunger for light. Devouring any and all light she could find was her sole purpose. If you stop to think about that for a second, its much deeper than most people realize at first glance. Her origin is unknown except that she came from the darkness that lied in Arda before the coming of the Children of Illuvatar. It’s not coincidence that something born out of darkness craves/hates the light. As a matter of fact, it is exactly what evil will do every time. Go light a candle in a completely empty/dark room with no windows and you will notice how our eyes focus directly on the flame and what radiance it gives off. All the darkness available surrounds the candle, but cannot extinguish it. It paints a picture of beauty for me. Darkness cannot stand the light, because it can never triumph over it.

    Ungoliant and Shelob are perfect examples of how evil will react when divine light is present. Evil wants to consume/extinguish any remnant of it so as to remain in complete darkness. It is portrayed throughout the chapter when Sam and Frodo are trapped in Torech Ungol. Shelob is watching them, following them and curious as to what danger may lie ahead. When the light of Eärendil is called upon, she can no longer stand the site of this luminous star that pierces the dark.

    As a follower of Christ, this theme speaks volumes to me. Whether its global wars, a pandemic, or plain everyday evil, I do not have to be afraid. Trusting and having faith in the unseen may seem ridiculous to some, but it is that same faith that brings peace and hope when nothing else will or can. There will always be darkness on this side of Heaven, but Christ overcame the world and in him, now I can too. Its encouraging to know that HIS radiant light will restore this broken world and redeem it for HIS glory.

    I love how Tolkien created so many different characters/creatures in his works that represent evil. There is so much depth and I know his faith had a massive impact on his writing and the stories he told. Its a cool experience when you read something you love, and find a unique connection that speaks to you. I’m sure it would make him happy knowing others have found spiritual parallels in his works, even though they were not written openly for that. Allegorically or not, it’s what has always stood out to me when reading about these demonic spider figures.

    Sorry for this dissertation, but what better place to express how Tolkien’s works have made an impact on me than with other Roadsters 🙂

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