Sunday, 4 October 2009

The prize


Surely this must be one of the best possible images ever conceived to illustrate the folly of an overriding personal ambition. It's another scene from LOTR 3 of course. Gollum (or Smeagol) has regained the Ring, his Precious, at the very heart of Mount Doom. Frodo and Sam were trying to get there, so that the evil Ring could be thrown into the molton lava, the only way to destroy it. But Gollum has bitten off Frodo's finger to recover the Ring, and joyfully gloats over its recapture, oblivious to the fact that he has toppled off into the heart of the volcano and in a second will be consumed. And the Ring itself will be undone.

Can't help thinking that in world history there have been many such rings, and many Gollums. Some things, like peace and knowledge, are worth striving for: they are impersonal; and the entire community can share them. But glittering prizes are not worth killing for.

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