In THE HOBBIT, Bilbo Baggins has enough courage for the whole unexpected party, but Bofur the Dwarf has to encourage him in order to ignite it. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.
For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
- 00:04:24 – Movie Discussion
- 00:16:44 – Christian Themes in THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
- 00:52:46 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
- 01:07:02 – Well-mannered Frivolity
- 01:15:24 – Lightning Round
- 01:19:45 – Upcoming
The Hobbit? More Like the Heretic
The word heretic may not be as popular as it once was in previous centuries of church history. It is, however, still a strong word and not to be used flippantly. According to Oxford Press, the word heretic means “a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.” In the context of the Christian faith, what is “generally accepted” is that Christ wants his followers to be loving and compassionate toward others – especially those who we consider enemies. A heretic, then, would be anyone who is not loving and compassionate toward others. Funny how that works.
The prologue to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gives us two clear pictures of heretics. These examples manifest themselves in Thorin Oakenshield, the King under the Mountain of Erebor, and Thranduil, the Elvenking of Mirkwood. The Dwarves refused to give the Elves something that was originally theirs. The Elves respond by ignoring the Dwarves after Smaug desolates their mountain and leaves them homeless. It’s a rivalry that continues throughout the trilogy; we do not see a resolution to this conflict until Battle of the Five Armies.
Thankfully, Thorin’s tunnel vision doesn’t trickle down to the rest of his followers. Some of the Dwarves are actually quite graceful. Bofur, in particular, has the special gift of encouragement, and he knows when to share it. Bofur tries to encourage Bilbo from leaving the group, but the heartfelt exchange isn’t enough to stop the Hobbit from going on his way. The cave collapsing – THAT’s enough to stop him, but not Bofur’s encouragement.
Simple Acts of Kindness and Love
Even if they don’t change Bilbo’s mind at that moment, Bofur’s words aren’t wasted. I honestly don’t know anyone whose mind ever changed that quickly, so props to good storytelling reflecting real life. Bofur merely waters a seed that is already in Bilbo. Hobbits are known to be at first resilient and at last compassionate and sympathetic. Dr. Richard Beck of Abilene Christian University believes Gandalf says it best when Galadriel questions his decision to include the “halfling” on this quest:
“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.”
Bilbo’s aptitude for bravery, sympathy, and compassion, although inherent to Hobbits, needed encouragement. Bofur is able to fan that flame and inspire Bilbo to risk his life to save Thorin’s life. And in that crucial moment, Bilbo’s act of bravery inspires the rest of the Dwarves to stand up to Azog’s forces. Bilbo’s resilience is contagious, and it spreads throughout the whole company.
Key Texts from The Hobbit
Let these passages be your guide as you watch The Hobbit with friends and family on your double-decker couch.
Ephesians 2:14 NLT: For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
Bofur brings peace to Bilbo, and that peace encourages – stirs, invigorates, puts the fire back into – Bilbo. Jesus instilled that same kind of peace into his disciples and then even further to the Gentiles that heard His message from them. Still today, we can find peace in the Christ’s love for us as it was gloriously shown on the cross and through His resurrection. If we even think we’re willing to die on any other hill than that, we run the risk of becoming heretical like Thorin and Thranduil.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NET: So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Bilbo’s small act of kindness and love is powerful enough to save Thorin’s life and inspire the other Dwarves to join in the fight against Azog. We, too, can find our courage and strength in the God that is made of love and so calls us to love others like He loves us. And in that love, while we may not change the world in one fell swoop, we can certainly do what needs to be done in that moment and then hopefully inspire someone else to do the right thing, too.
“Loving ‘everybody’ is easy because that’s a concept. Loving those right in front of you is hard, because they are reality. Do the hard thing.” — Patrick Mead
Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.
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