But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir [LotR p359

He understood that the evil in Middle-earth would only be overcome by people willing to lay down their lives.

This theme of selflessness in the main heroes of Middle-earth is carried throughout and echoes yet another truth of Christian life; through the darkness of suffering will come victory and greater light.

This is shown in the character of Aragorn, who through trial and years of separation wins the love he desires and inherits his Kingship, a renewed Kingdom. Aragorn meets Arwen when he is 20 years and waits 60 years until he can marry her. [Numenoreans have a life span 3 times that of mortal men]

Elrond requests that he be worthy of Arwen. Aragorn 'runs the great race' in the fight against evil. Gandalf warns him; "...do not stumble now..." Aragorn plainly understood his path and choice in life. This is clearly related when speaking with Galadriel regarding Arwen, "...only through darkness shall I come to it." [LotR p.365] [LotR p.580]

Others:

Theoden is another who lays down his life in coming to the aid of the people of Minas Tirith. He remains faithful to the old alliance between Rohan and Gondor and understands that he may well die in doing so.

Merry also risks death in helping Eowyn destroy the Witch King, Pippin helps save the life of Faramir, and Arwen sacrifices her immortality to be with Aragorn and bring him joy.

Tolkien excels in ennobling his most simple and humble characters. Selflessness is promoted as a true path to happiness and the rewards for sacrifice are clearly evident. The Lord of the Rings is most certainly a lesson in selfless love.

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