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Lord Of The Ring Of Fire

By the way, halfway through The Return of the King I figured out that the entire Lord of the Rings saga is an allegory for pregnancy.

Seriously, check it out. You got your Frodo and your Sam, trudging to the Crack of Doom, right? And that's about as apt a description for pregnancy as you're likely to find: nine months of trudging to Mordor. (Fun fact: "trudging to Mordor" was euphemism they used on I Love Lucy before they could say "pregnant" on the air!)

But only one person is the appointed bearer. And that poor sap has to carry the burden the entire way, a burden that just gets heavier and heavier as the weeks wear on. The bearer gets increasingly tired and cranky as they approach their destination -- and who can blame them? Their good-for-nothing companion doesn't do anything useful, except flit about and say things like "jeeze, I wish I could carry the burden for a while!" and occasionally fight off an enormous spider and/or fetch chocolate ice cream.

But as bad as the journey is, it's the ending that truly sucks: the agony of carrying the burden is nothing compared to letting it go. The bearer gets all, like, "I can't do it, it's impossible!" and the companion stands around heming and hawing and lamely asserting "sure you can!" And then, out of nowhere, a creepy-looking bald-headed creature comes onto the scene.

Skeptical? Further corroboration!

  • At the end of pregnancy, women endure "The Ring of Fire"; the climax in The Return of the King involves The Ring and fire. I mean, what could be more obvious? (Note: I'm not going to describe the Ring of Fire here for a variety of reasons, #1 being that the more times I type the phrase "Ring of Fire" the more likely I am to get that Johnny Cash song indelibly stuck in my head. So if you want to know what it is, Google it or get yourself knocked up.)
  • The One Ring causes the bearer great discomfort; according to The Queen, having a small person inside of you perpetually kicking your kidney is also something of an inconvenience.
  • When people see the One Ring they feel an almost irresistible urge to reach out and grab it; likewise, strangers in the supermarket are seemingly compelled to reach out and touch The Queen's belly.
  • One of the side-effects of carrying the One Ring is that the bearer does not age; one the side effects of being pregnant is that your hair stops falling out. No, for real. The Queen currently has a head of hair so big that it would make women from Texas burn with envy.
  • I am pretty much the spitting image of Viggo Mortensen. Case closed!
(For those of you who have lost track: the due date is February 21st.)

Posted on January 09, 2004 to The Squirrelly


For heaven's sake DO NOT google "Burning Ring Of Fire" if you've just eaten. Dear God that is graphic!

Very funny though, and the comparison between you and an image of a spitting Viggo Mortensen is spot on.

Posted by: Duane on January 10, 2004 4:46 PM

Hey! Feb. 21 is the date of my own illustrious birth, so I'll be cheering you on. Best of luck to you both--and if you need an account of what the first month is like, check out my friend Ben's weblog, Randomly Humming.

Posted by: Ferra on January 10, 2004 4:51 PM

So, wait, does that mean the "The Shire" is the bliss of love and the joy of sex, and that "Mt. Doom" is the horrible truth of parenthood? Are you sure that's what you think?

Posted by: Squidocto on January 10, 2004 7:30 PM

She isn't all demented and home birthing or anything crazy like that, is she?

Posted by: dayment on January 10, 2004 8:34 PM

I've seen this movie! My wife just got her first supermarket palming last week. WTF

Posted by: greg.org on January 10, 2004 10:41 PM

Squidocto: Mt Doom = 0-1; Scouring of the Shire = terrible twos; peacetime in the Shire = 4-7; Frodo sails to the Grey Havens = kids shunt mum and dad into a retirement home.

Posted by: Rory on January 11, 2004 3:57 AM

There is no other place to put this so I'll say thanks for the 'Friend to Canada' tag here.

I was in San Diego for a week after Christmas and it is totally driving me nuts that while it's actually too cold in this woeful hinterland to even go for a walk, that there are people there, as I write this, having a cofffee, outdoors, in shorts.

So if you truly want to be a friend to Canada please invade us. Presumably crossing the border will be a lot easier after that given there would no longer be a border. Failing that consider adopting a Canadian, even if it's just for the winter.

Thanks again.

Posted by: toronto on January 11, 2004 9:58 AM

Not having ever been married to a pregnant woman, but having spent far too much time with Freudian analysis of literature, I have to wonder what Aragorn's "broken sword" represents in this pregnancy allegory you suggest.

I've always kinda suspected that the Ring would be a complement to the phallic imagery of sword and gun that's so commonly teased out by Freudian tools (heh, "tools"), but having Gollum bite off Frodo's finger is just a little too excessive in that light. For me, at least.

But then I guess, like you imply, it's just a warning of what horrible things might happen once you've reached the endpoint.

Posted by: Eric on January 11, 2004 11:16 AM

Don't forget the "fireworks" show preceding the actual ring-bearing...

Posted by: spygeek on January 11, 2004 7:30 PM

Speaking as someone whose own Queen gave birth three weeks ago - I nearly died laughing. Seriously, I was lauging so hard the wife looked over and wanted to know what was going on. Priceless, absolutely priceless!

Posted by: ParticleJam on January 11, 2004 7:56 PM

Yeah, but waiting until *afterwards* for the wedding is *so* tacky ...

Posted by: *** Dave on January 11, 2004 8:16 PM

Be sure to bring pillows to the delivery, Sam. Also, don't go to Mt. Doom so early that they make you circle around it for an hour before you can actually get to the fire part.

Oh, and apparently an epidural is way better than losing a finger. Just be sure to get the IV started in time.

Posted by: New Father on January 11, 2004 9:02 PM

One difference: after being relieved of the burden and living to write about it for a while, Frodo got to leave Middle Earth with Gandalf and the elves. If the ROTK/OOTQ allegory were complete, he'd have had to maintain a growing lump of lava-drooling igneous rock for 22 years first, while Sam spent his time fishing and bellowing for elevensies.

(But an otherwise brilliant point!)

(Note: OOTQ = Ordeal of the Queen).

Posted by: David Vincenti on January 12, 2004 7:32 AM

I think you need to pay more attention to the role of Gollum in your allegorical reading. I'm thinking that he's the most attentive but least effective obstetrician ever. He sneaks around, attempts to induce premature birth by murdering the parents before the child comes to term, makes these vomiting-hairball noises and performs the operation with a bite. And why would you choose an obstetrician who wears a little loincloth? Wouldn't you prefer a Heathcliff Huxtable sort, with nice sweaters and all? Frodo should have consulted with a few more ob-gyns before going with the little vomiting loincloth guy.

Posted by: palinode on January 12, 2004 12:41 PM

I went down, down, down...

Posted by: Jason on January 12, 2004 2:57 PM

I love it!

Complete with gumming through the cord!

Thank you.

Posted by: glamsith on January 13, 2004 12:04 PM

If you want to make the pregancy easier, remark constantly about how large the Queen looks. That ALWAYS helps. Your emergancy room will thank you...

Posted by: boomratt on January 13, 2004 6:15 PM

Oh, dear. I didn't want to know that Matt! Thanks! I was all ready to skip those pre-natal classes too.

Epidural. Tell the Queen: Ep-i-dur-al.

On Gollum: I think the 'bald creature' is supposed to be the baby, right? It's a squealing bald creature--but the big difference is that you cry for joy at its presence. Yes, I do think the big problem with the analogy/allegory or what have you is what you get at the end--apparently, Frodo had time to rest up and write a book.

Posted by: Miel on January 14, 2004 8:25 PM

Surely a side note to pregnancy, but something that needs mentioning: you now find yourself forever in the service of Gollum. The movie doesn't tell us that.

Posted by: Keith on January 18, 2004 9:07 AM

That is GENIUS.

Had me chuckling up to the point of 'creepy looking bald headed creature', and I laughed through the rest...

Posted by: Stuart on January 20, 2004 9:36 AM

Oh, yes, I see what Stuart means. This is so funny that it gives me the creeps.

Posted by: Karen on January 21, 2004 3:55 AM

so I guess by good for nothing companion you mean the man in the relationship? I think you have too much time on your hands when you start thinking up mess like this. Nobody but Tolkien knows what it might mean so dont even speculate.

Posted by: maybach on January 23, 2004 6:28 AM

"The bearer gets all, like, "I can't do it, it's impossible!" and the companion stands around heming and hawing and lamely asserting "sure you can!"

Oh, yes!

Though, I honestly couldn't have done it without my cheering companion. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl on January 27, 2004 11:12 AM

i think we can never say what Tolkien meant... The question is rather subjective, and there's no truth about it.

Posted by: Troll on February 17, 2004 3:03 PM

For the two of you who stated that we don't know what Tolkien was thinking when he wrote this, and that we shouldn't speculate, you really should relax. The guy who wrote this was just having a bit of fun by making a whimsical comparison, and at the same time, bringing laughter to other people. He in no way meant that this was a proven fact that he had worked on and researched. Just take it at face value, please, and try and relax and have fun.

Posted by: Linette on February 26, 2004 8:47 PM

nothing in his book is supposed to be an allegory. stop digging!

"I dislike Allegory - the conscious and intentional allegory - yet any attempt to explain the purport of myth or fairytale must use allegorical language."
J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by: 9964821658 on March 4, 2004 9:18 AM