Culture, Religion

Return of the King

Haftarat Zachor (which is read twice this year here in Jerusalem) + Megillat Esther = The Lord of the Rings. One of them is totally plagiarized.
After winning the war with Sauron, Isildur is supposed to destroy the One Ring. He declines to do this, and as a result, his royal line ends and he is killed in battle, and the Ring continues to cause trouble. Many years later, when the Ring is finally destroyed, Isildur’s distant descendant Aragorn becomes king, and the monarchy is restored.
After winning the war with Amalek, Shaul ben Kish is supposed to kill Agag. He declines to do this, and as a result, his royal line ends and he is (eventually) killed in battle, and Agag’s descendant Haman continues to cause trouble. Many years later, when Haman is finally executed, Shaul’s father’s descendant Mordechai ben Ya’ir ben Shim’i ben Kish (one of the Men of the West, living in exile) becomes second to the king.

7 thoughts on “Return of the King

  1. And not to forget, according to Jewish tradition, the descendant of Esther and the king is Cyrus who ends the exile of the Jews and allows for the restoration of the Temple.
    Also, didn’t you know, Tolkien modeled the dwarves on the Jews (according to his letters).

  2. I suppose, if you take two mythologies that are each rich enough, and shake them together, they will fall into a close fit in any number of ways. For my part, my own fruity, nature-oriented Jewish practice has always seemed more Elvish.
    Also, I don’t know if I’d put “king” and “second to the king” into alignment, considering the high regard for the distinction of the royal line in Gondor (and Israel) — the Return of the King seems to me to be closer in theme to the restoration of the line of David, which in our mythology hasn’t happened yet. Gandalf, in particular, falls neatly into place that way.
    I suppose in any case that, if one seeks an analogue in Middle Earth for one’s spirituality (Jewish or otherwise), it is most likely to be found in the Elves, and an analogue for history in Men, due simply to the nature of Elves and Men in Middle Earth.

  3. On the topic of modern epics and the Purim story, I recently read A Game of Thrones. Does anyone else think the character of Robert Baratheon is modeled on Achashverosh? (He’s even got eunuchs!)

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