Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Four Loves" - The Lord of the Rings

The Theory

In my various film studies, I have created a formula that I like to call: Epic Storytelling and The Four Kinds of Love. Today, I would like to share some examples, but before we get into that, I need to bring in the Greeks.

The Greeks were pretty smart. They used several different words to break up that complex concept that we call "Love". There is only one word for love in the English language, and I think it's a shame, because it's rather overused. We use this poor little piece of vocabulary to express how we feel about the people we hold dearest- but we also throw it around when describing our favorite sandwich or the awesome TV show we saw last night.

I don’t speak Greek, but very often I will refer to the four loves. I find them very useful in describing different relationships, and as most stories revolve around character relationships, I transferred these cool little describers over to my film studies.

After analyzing several different movies, TV shows and series, I've decided the most compelling film works contain elements from each "love". Blend them all together, you just might get an Epic Story. Usually epic stories contain all four, but very often one sort of love is "highlighted" as the center of the story, while the others surround it and balance it out. Here are four works of cinema that I think are prime examples of these loves. I do hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Philla (Brotherly love)
“Lord of the Rings”

Do you know why Philadelphia is called "The city of Brotherly love"? It’s because the name, Philadelphia, comes from the Greek word, Philla- which literally means brotherly love- or friendship love.

Lord of the Rings does a fantastic job of illustrating the power of the often overlooked relationship between buddies.

At the beginning, the fellowship comes together- not because they like each other, but because they have a job to do: destroy the ring. Through that journey, they develop relationships that are extremely strong.

This love builds amazing bridges, between people of different cultures, ages and races.

Think about it, how many stories feature a group of five or more completely different races coming together to defeat evil?

 The friendship between Frodo and Sam is legendary, but actually my favorite philla moments in "Lord of the Rings" come between Legolas and Gimli.

These guys are totally different and at first they have a lot of prejudice towards each other. But by the end of the adventure, they are inseparable and even make plans to continue their friendship by traveling together and sharing more about their respective cultures. 

I totally relate to that. Most of my dearest friends are very different from me in many areas. In fact, I did not like some of those people at all when I first met them. Philla bridges that, and now I treasure those differences.

When I think about the philla relationships in my life, I think of the people I like hanging out with. My buddies. The people who I make effort to see because I feel comfortable in their company- and wonder of wonder, they seem to enjoy mine too!

It might seem like the simplest of the love relationships. But, as with all things, it can grow to great depths.

The Bible says that "He who gives up his life to save his friend, has the greatest love of all". 

That's a high calling!- and one that definitely shows in the friendship between Frodo and Sam. How many friends have such a strong bond that they would sacrifice their lives for the other? It makes me think.. "Am I that sort of friend?"

I’ve started to wonder if I’d be able to ask the people I like “hanging” out with, to go on a dangerous quest with me. Or, on the flip side, If one of my friends asked me to risk my life to help them, would I do it?


  1. Excellent! I really admire how you take two passions (i.e. a passion for film and a passion for Christ) and somehow uniquely, creatively, insightfully combine them.

    1. Thank you! I like to think a lot, and I tend to find myself thinking about film, Christianity, and life. Perhaps it's an odd combination, but I find the concepts fun to explore!