When I’m sick, I listen to the BBC dramatization of Lord of the Rings. I’ve listened to it so many times, I can fall asleep and wake up later and not miss anything. So, as is my tradition, I started listening again when I felt terrible after getting my COVID booster shot on December 31, and I’ve listened on and off in free moments since then.
When I was younger, I always wished the story ended with Aragorn getting crowned. I wanted the happy ending, with no baggage or lingering pain. It bothered me that Frodo wasn’t happy after getting rid of the ring, that the Shire was damaged, that the elves’ magic had to fade away, and that in the end Frodo and Bilbo and all the elves had to leave Middle Earth. It’s not how I wanted the story to end! Where’s the unalloyed triumph and happiness?