His previous pity for gollum and forgiveness of

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his previous pity [for Gollum] and forgiveness of injury” (Carpenter 234 emphasis original). Like Digory, Frodo’s redeeming qualities save him, for Gollum would never have stolen the Ring if Frodo had killed or abandoned him. However, Frodo receives no big reward or happy ending for helping to destroy the Ring. Instead, he suffers pain from his injuries and an unrelenting weariness that prevents him from fully enjoying his beloved Shire. In the end, he’s allowed to go with the elves to their Undying Lands. This is a great reward, although a sad one since he can no longer enjoy the Shire with his friends. The Great Test For Lewis, the only way good can come about is through fulfillment of the law. In The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe , the children can heal Narnia by sitting on the four thrones—by ruling over Narnia. Aslan obtains his great resurrection in the same novel by following a great law established before the dawn of time. In The Magician’s Nephew , Digory can use the silver apples for good only if he follows Aslan’s directions and the rules written on the wall. Lewis portrays his evil characters, not as reckless rule breakers, but those who believe they are above the law. Their lack of respect for the power of the law and the greatness of the authority to which the law belongs lead them to bring destruction upon themselves. In the same way, Tolkien’s characters must understand that they are following a sort of cosmic plan, one which they can’t swerve from. Those who choose to try to wield the power of the Ring fail because power is not theirs to have. Power belongs to the heroes of the story. It belongs to Gandalf, who falls through the cracks of Moria and fights an evil monster as Gandalf the Grey, and then emerges as the triumphant and powerful Gandalf the White. Power belongs also to Aragorn. He, like Gandalf, refuses the ring and instead walks the Paths of the Dead and emerges to lead his men into battle and to be crowned the rightful king. These characters don’t seek after the Ring, because they have no right to its power. The villains who do chase after the Ring are attempting to break from the cosmic plan, and end up failing. Of
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Temptation and Redemption 9 course, even in their failings they serve to fulfill the great plan, as is demonstrated by the dramatic events at Mount Doom, where Gollum’s fall into the fire can’t be consider mere coincidence. Both Lewis and Tolkien use temptation as a means to test their character’s devotion to a greater power. Lewis’s various temptations provide an opportunity for Aslan to knock down the barrier between himself and fallen characters. Aslan’s acts of mercy lend the redeemed characters new strength. In Tolkien’s work, the temptation of the Ring is a great test through which the natures of his characters are revealed: Gollum’s greed and Boromir’s pride, Sam’s loyalty and Frodo’s innocence and perseverance.
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