Tolkien Reading Day: 10 quotes that show the strength and hope that ultimately defeated Sauron

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Mar 25, 2017, 2:30 PM EDT

In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's "Appendix B: The Tale of Years," J.R.R. Tolkien states March 25, 3019, as the day Sauron was defeated once and for all in Middle-earth.

As a result, every March this day is celebrated as Fall of Sauron Day as well as Tolkien Reading Day, and is the perfect time to commemorate good conquering evil and those in Middle-earth who paved the way for his downfall. That's why in honor of the occasion I've created a list of the most powerful quotes and speeches from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies that illustrate how the heroes of Middle-earth were able to succeed in the face of such tremendous darkness.

These heroes included everyone from humans to elves and hobbits to wizards, and they were able to persevere to the very end thanks to the spirit exemplified in the following bits of dialogue. Here are 10 quotes that show their strength, how they held to hope, and why they were able to rid the world of evil in the end.


"Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things. Everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love." – Gandalf

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey it is just becoming clear that darkness is once again on the rise and there's a meeting between Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf and Saruman where they discuss this and the journey of Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves to the Lonely Mountain. Afterwards, Galadriel and Gandalf share a conversation which leads to Galadriel asking Gandalf "why the Halfling?" Gandalf's response is one worth remembering. It is not just great power that can stand against evil; that alone cannot keep it away, but the choices made in the daily lives of regular people can. Everyone can make a difference in this way and this belief about ordinary people shows one of the strengths of those opposing Sauron. They understand how everyone, even when they might not be the most powerful, can contribute to keeping away the darkness when they are good to each other. Together they are greater than the greatest power.


"If your father has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide within our walls, live our lives away from the light, and let darkness descend. Are we not part of this world? Tell me, mellon. When did we let evil become stronger than us?" – Tauriel

Here in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tauriel gives a great speech to Legolas about the growing evil in the world. She sees that they're witnessing just the beginning of what's going to happen and that if they don't join the fight, all will be lost. They cannot just hide away in their own borders and cut themselves off as the darkness grows. She understands that this won't save them. The rest of the world will fall and so will they. It's those characters like Tauriel, who realize the fight is bigger than any one group and that standing alone means darkness for all, that will ultimately help convince others to join the fight and help unite the lands to stand against evil at last.


"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." – Gandalf

Gandalf shares this iconic conversation with Frodo in the Mines of Moria during The Fellowship of the Ring when the hobbit states he wishes the burden of the ring, and all that has followed, had not found its way to him. The wizard tells him that everyone who lives in times like this wish that, but it's out of their control. They can only decide what to do with the time given to them and Gandalf assures Frodo there is more in the world than just evil. For him, knowing Bilbo was meant to find the ring and Frodo meant to have it is encouraging. So it may be out of their hands that they're in such a time in the first place, but it is not out of their hands to do something about it. Understanding this, that evil is clearly not the only force at work even when things look bleak and that they still have the power of choice to make a difference, gives them the hope needed to continue fighting Sauron.


"Not if we hold true to each other. We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left." – Aragorn

It could have been easy at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring for Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas to give up and just believe they failed. However, Aragorn doesn't let that happen. He reminds them that as long as they are true to each other, all of their efforts have not been in vain and the fellowship has not failed. There is something they can still do for members of their Fellowship, even if it's not Frodo and Sam. They can use all they have to save Merry and Pippin. It's that spirit of fellowship and never giving up that will see them through to the very gate of Mordor.


"An alliance once existed between elves and men. Long ago we fought and died together. We come to honor that allegiance. We are proud to fight alongside men once more." – Haldir

During The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Elrond hears Galadriel's voice relate what's happening to Rohan and Frodo. It leads to a question almost similar to Tauriel's question to Legolas when it comes to what the elves should do. Their time may be over, but do they just forget about the world and let it fall to Sauron? Elrond clearly decides that he won't let Rohan stand-alone against the enemy and sends Haldir with a host of elves to assist Théoden and his people. Upon arriving, Haldir reminds them of the old alliance between their peoples and how the elves are once again proud to fight and die with men. It shows how despite old alliances dwindling, the peoples of Middle-earth are starting to remember how they once united and that what's happening matters to all of them. It's an inspiring moment that marks the start of more alliances being remembered before the end.


"What can men do against such reckless hate?" – Théoden "Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them." – Aragorn

The battle at Helm's Deep in The Two Towers is looking dire at this point. It seems like Saruman's forces might overcome the people of Rohan. Théoden starts to believe they are doomed, doubting that there is anything to be done when there's such hatred turned against them. Aragorn however is not ready to give up yet. He tells Théoden they should go out and face them, not for death and glory like Théoden states but for Rohan and his people. They must stand up to those at their door. Whether or not Gandalf arrives as Aragorn clearly hopes he will, Aragorn knows they cannot stay where they are. Keeping to that spirit of always facing their enemies instead of giving up helps see these heroes to victory in the coming fights.


"That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for." – Sam

Sam and Frodo find themselves in the middle of a battle when Faramir and his men take the hobbits to Osgiliath at the end of The Two Towers. Frodo is saved from the Nazgûl when Sam tackles him, leading to a moment where Frodo draws his sword on his friend. It's a terrifying moment for Frodo, who looks horrified by his actions and exhausted by the ring. He admits he can't do this and Sam's response is this unforgettable speech. Sam acknowledges things are wrong. Two hobbits shouldn't be in the middle of all this, but they are and he compares it to the memorable great stories they've heard, where it may seem like goodness can't return to a world turned so dark but it does. Sam's recent experiences have taught him why those stories were so meaningful to even the youngest kids. The people in them never gave up and never turned back even when they could. They held on to something through it all that kept them going, and when Frodo questions what they're holding onto Sam tells him that there's good worth fighting for. Holding that close can see them through to the end like in the stories, and help bring good back in full force to the world. It's still there, and they just need to believe it no matter the amount of darkness they face. It's a belief that will indeed help them see things through and eventually succeed in bringing light back to Middle-earth.


"What does your heart tell you?" – Aragorn

In The Return of the King, the rest of the Fellowship does not know the fate of Frodo and Sam. They don't know if they're alive or one step closer to defeating Sauron by destroying the One Ring. While it seems like Gandalf is starting to doubt whether the hobbits are succeeding in their journey, Aragorn never does. During their conversation he states how they have to hope and when Gandalf questions whether the hobbits are still moving closer to Mordor, Aragorn asks an essential question. It reminds Gandalf to have hope in the hobbits, his friends, and that they can succeed, even if he still doesn't seem completely convinced. Remembering this gives them a strength that will continue to aid them against Sauron.


"Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise, arise Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered. A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now! Ride now! Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death!" –Théoden

Théoden arrives at Pelennor Fields outside Minas Tirith during The Return of the King and sees a terrifying sight. The massive army of Mordor is laying siege to the city. Before leading his men into the fray, Théoden issues orders and then gives this speech to those assembled. In it he doesn't pull any punches. He admits that people are going to fall and that much blood is going to be spilled. Despite this, they cannot fear the darkness before them and must fight evil even if it means their death. Rohan might not be able to save the city completely, but they're going to do everything they can to help. This is again an example of the enduring spirit that helps the people of Middle-earth face and defeat Sauron.


"A day may come when the courage of men fails. When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day." – Aragorn

Aragorn and an army of men stand before the Black Gate of Mordor towards the end of The Return of the King to try to capture Sauron's attention so that Frodo can have a clearer path to Mount Doom to destroy the ring. As the gate opens and Sauron's forces emerge, Aragorn gives this inspiring speech to his men. He acknowledges the fear they must be feeling, but how the day for them to give into that and abandon each other has not yet come. The end of men is not at hand yet if they stand together and fight for their world. They are stronger than the darkness if they are united and want to save all they love. The rousing words contain a spirit of camaraderie, hope and determination that Sauron could never understand and is key to his downfall.