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13 Uplifting Tolkien Quotes for Tolkien Reading Day

We’re living in trying times. Granted, we don’t have a Dark Lord trying to conquer the world, but still. The COVID-19 pandemic is scary. It’s unknown. We don’t know what will happen next—not unlike Frodo or Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Today is Tolkien Reading Day, and I can think of no better time to turn to the author’s Middle-earth stories for some uplifting quotes.

Tolkien Reading Day takes place annually on March 25. Frodo and Sam destroyed the One Ring and defeated Sauron on the 25th of March, hence the date for the event. The Tolkien Society started the tradition in 2003 to encourage the celebration of Tolkien’s life and stories. And we’re celebrating today by highlighting the optimism present in Tolkien’s works. Hold these quotes close and revisit them whenever you need to find a moment of hope and peace.

“Well, you can go on looking forward. There may be many unexpected feasts ahead of you.” – Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
Pippin asks about second breakfast

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Maybe you can’t have what you want this instance. It’s frustrating, I get it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t ever get it.

“For of us is required a blind trust, and a hope without assurance, knowing not what lies before us in a little while.” – The Númenóreans, The Silmarillion

To be alive is to have faith—not necessarily in any particular deity. It’s faith that the world will keep spinning, hope with assurance.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf dispenses wise advice

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We cannot control much around us, but we can (usually) control our own actions and choices. We can determine what we do with our time.

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” – Haldir, The Fellowship of the Ring

The dark places will always be present, but don’t let that keep you from looking for the light.”

“There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” – Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers
Samwise finds the good in the world

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Small kindnesses, simple gestures… there is hope in this world. Cling to it.

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

Don’t worry about the story’s end. Just know that the story will keep going.

“No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Aragon and Arwen make promises

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Step outside of Middle-earth for this one. Tolkien wrote this in a letter to his wife Edith regarding religion, but we can lift it out of that context and apply it more broadly. Hold on the light, no matter what the world throws at you.

“Courage is found in unlikely places.” – Gildor, The Fellowship of the Ring

Don’t hold a picture in your mind of what courage should be. It can come from any source.

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” – Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring
Galadriel waves goodbye

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Define your “it.” Maybe your it is faith, love, Animal Crossing. Whatever that may be, hold it in your hand and by your heart in low times.

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit

Take this as a little lift to wish you well on your journey, whatever it may be.

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
Smaug corners Bilbo

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A story may continue, but all things will end—good or bad.

“Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

Part of a walking song Bilbo taught Frodo, this passage hints at the unknown around the corner. A door may slam in our face and shake a new opportunity loose.

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Keep following the path ahead of you. If it’s unknown (maybe especially then), don’t let it stop you from putting one foot in front of the other and making whatever progress you can. Try to stroll rather than trudge.

Featured Image: New Line Cinema

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. Follow her on Twitter.