The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - 2001
Age-appropriateness: Frequent/violent battle scenes. Scary images and themes. Some tobacco use.
Overview: In a powerful tale of friendship and sacrifice, a Fellowship is formed to support Frodo as he accepts the mission to destroy a powerful ring that represents all of the evil in the world. This good vs. evil adventure story has plenty of Christian symbolism.
Themes: friendship, adventure, good vs. evil, power, control, curiosity, meekness, diversity, resilience, hope, greed, sacrifice, temptation
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Friendship and teamwork. What’s the best team you’ve ever been a part of? What made it so great?
The Fellowship of the Ring is a group of nine companions from various regions of Middle-Earth. With all of Middle-Earth in danger, people had to come together and unite in order to fight against the evil of Mordor. The Fellowship was made up of different people from different places, so they didn’t always get along. Yet, they were united for a purpose bigger than any of them. God created us to be in relationship with others. When we band together with others, we can accomplish something great.
2. Resilience. What will you decide to do with the time given to you? How will you spend your life to ensure you make a difference?
Gandalf tells Frodo, “many that live deserve death, and many that die deserve life.” Frodo eventually says, “I wish this never happened.” Gandalf replies, “So do all who see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide with the time that is given to us.” Life is often unfair. Bad things happen to good people, because we live in a broken world.
3. Sacrifice. How much must someone love you if they were willing to sacrifice their life for you?
Gandalf and Boromir sacrificed themselves so that they could protect their friends. Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself so that He could save all of the people that He loved, as well. Jesus gave up His life on the cross so that the sins of the entire world could be paid for, and everyone would have the chance to live forever in heaven with God.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
2. The Fellowship of the Ring is a group of nine companions from various regions of Middle-Earth. With all of Middle-Earth in danger, people had to come together and unite in order to fight against the evil of Mordor. The Fellowship was made up of different people from different places, so they didn’t always get along. Yet, they were united for a purpose bigger than any of them. God created us to be in relationship with others. When we band together with others, we can accomplish something great. What’s the best team you’ve ever been a part of? What made it so great?
3. One ring was made to control all other rings. Isildur had the chance to destroy the ring and wipe out evil forever, but “the hearts of men are easily corrupted.” Jeremiah 17:9 says "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Have you ever realized how deceitful your heart is? When has your heart tricked you into thinking you wanted something, but it actually was something that was bad for you?
4. The ring was found by the most unlikely creature, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Hobbits would go on to shape the fortunes of all people. When Jesus was born, lots of people were unimpressed. After all, how could the Son of God enter the world in such a messy and broken way? He was born in a barn in a small town to a teenage, unmarried girl. One skeptic of Jesus even asked the question, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Jesus had a humble upbringing, much like the hobbits. What do you think was most surprising about the way Jesus entered the world?
5. Elrond is delightfully surprised at Frodo’s resilience. For merely being a Hobbit, it’s surprising that Frodo has come this far without giving in to the evil within the ring. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and challenges. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” How resilient are you? How can you increase your resilience?
6. Arwen chooses a mortal life so that she can be with Aragorn. She gives up some of her rights as an Elf so that she can express her love to the person that has her heart. Jesus chose to do something similar, out of His love for people. Jesus “gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:7a). How much must Jesus love you, that He would give up some of His privileges in heaven to save you?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:01 During the introduction of the movie, the rings of power were distributed to the various groups of beings. Men were given nine rings. It was said that men desired power above all else. The Bible warns us against seeking power above all things. In 1 Corinthians 2:5, Paul says he relies only on the power of the Holy Spirit and he says, "I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” How can you trust the power of God instead of seeking power for yourself?
:09 Frodo explains that before Gandalf, the wizard, came into town, hobbits weren’t known for anything extraordinary and never went on any adventures. In a lot of ways, hobbits are meek creatures. Meekness is “being patient and gentle, even when treated unfairly.” Matthew 5:5 says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” How often would you describe yourself as meek?
:25 Bilbo leaves the ring to his nephew, Frodo Baggins. After celebrating his 111th birthday, Bilbo decides to leave town and leave the ring entrusted to Frodo. After Jesus came back to life on Easter Sunday, he spent some time with his disciples before ascending back into heaven. Jesus entrusted His followers with the very message of the gospel. He relied on the disciples to share the good news of the Gospel so that the entire world might start following Jesus one day. How can you take the good news of Jesus and share it with your friends?
:34 Frodo accepts the mission to get the ring out of the Shire. Gandalf cannot handle the ring himself, as it would lead to terrible results. Frodo is frightened, but he does what must be done. Have you ever embarked on an adventure, even though it was scary?
:50 The Hobbits escape the Black Rider and flee to the town of Bree. While there, Frodo changes his name and pretends to be someone else so that he can stay out of trouble. Have you ever had to run away from trouble?
:57 Strider explains the Nazgul/Ringwraiths. He explains how they were once men who were overtaken by their greed. Their greed eventually led them to fall into darkness. Greed is having a selfish desire for money and toys. The Bible says that making money the most important thing in your life is a worthless cause. "Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Is there any area of your life where you are greedy?
1:12 Arwen protects a sick Frodo from the Ringwraiths. She races to get him to her father, whom she knows can heal him. She says a type of “prayer”, asking for grace to be given to him. She hopes that Frodo will be saved. A man named Jeremiah once told God, "O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!” Only God has the ability to truly heal us from our sin and save us. Grace is getting something you don’t deserve. What would it mean for “grace” to be given to you?
1:23 Elrond explains that men are weak, preferring to pursue power over doing the right thing. He specifically mentions how men had a chance to destroy the ring, but “evil was allowed to endure.” Evil things don’t come from God, but there are times when God allows evil to occur. Why do you think God allows evil to exist?
1:30 A secret Council gathers to create the Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir wanted to use the ring’s power to fight Sauron. Elrond explains that the ring must be destroyed. What strategy would you use to try to destroy the ring? What would be the best way to make that happen?
1:39 Boromir acknowledges that it’s “strange to have such fear and doubt over such small a thing.” He recognizes that the ring is so small, yet it is very corruptible and deceptive. Men often have a knack for being deceived over “small” things; things that don’t really matter in the long run. Have you ever been caught up in chasing after something that actually wasn’t all that important?
1:50 Gandalf tells Frodo, “many that live deserve death, and many that die deserve life.” Frodo eventually says, “I wish this never happened.” Gandalf replies, “So do all who see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide with the time that is given to us.” Life is often unfair. Bad things happen to good people, because we live in a broken world. What will you decide to do with the time given to you? How will you spend your life to ensure you make a difference?
2:01 After Frodo survives getting stabbed by the cave troll, Gandalf exclaims, “I think there’s more to this hobbit than meets the eye.” Have you ever been underwhelmed by someone that you meet, just because of the way they looked? Is it fair to judge someone before you meet them?
2:10 Gandalf sacrifices himself so that the Fellowship could escape the Balrog. Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself so that He could save all of the people that He loved, as well. Jesus gave up His life on the cross so that the sins of the entire world could be paid for, and everyone would have the chance to live forever in heaven with God. How much must Jesus love you, if He was willing to give up His life for you?
2:23 Galadriel tells Frodo, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” No matter how small you are, God can use you to make a big difference in the world. How might God use you to make a difference?
2:32 Boromir tries to take the ring from Frodo. He was tempted by it’s power and almost hurt his friend in the process. A temptation is a desire to do something wrong or unwise. What are some of the biggest temptations in your life?
2:44 Boromir dies trying to protect the rest of the Fellowship. Read the article on How to Talk to Your Child About Death/Grieving.