I’m listening to The Return of the King: The Complete Recordings at work, and I’m at the point near the (first) end when Frodo and Sam have just destroyed the ring (with Gollum’s unwitting help) and they’re escaping the flowing lava by standing on a rock, feeling a relieved. With all the events of the story to back up the scene, I think it’s truly moving to see these two regular guys, who together destroyed a great and senseless evil power. I actually see it as a very tragic moment, when two of the world’s great forces are being presented to us via the heightened drama of this point in the story: senseless evil/destruction/chaos on the one hand, and the fortitude and perseverance and good of the common person on the other hand. You can ask all sorts of questions at this point, like if the common person is so good, where is all the evil coming from? Why must the most ordinary and good people sustain such injury and sacrifice to ward off the worst effects of the evil?