Department of English
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
All that glitters is not Gold is related to the novel, The Fellowship of the Ring; is the first of three volumes in The Lord of the Rings, an epic set in the fictional world of Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings is an entity named Sauron, the Dark Lord, who long ago lost the One Ring that contains much of his power. His overriding desire is to reclaim the Ring and use it to enslave all of Middle-earth.
All that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost;
the old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
a light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
the crownless again shall be king.
The poem is referring to Aragorn, who is the heir of Isildur, and eventually is crowned king. For much of the book, Aragorn is known as Strider. He is a Ranger, a wandering fighter who helps Gandalf to look after the Shire where the Hobbits live, among other tasks. When Frodo the Hobbit and his companions first meet Strider, they are afraid of him. He is an odd, intense, travel-worn character and they are worried that he is their enemy. You can understand their concern as all kinds of robbers and so on could be found on the road. They choose to trust him and he proves to be a very good friend. Eventually they see him as he really is, a great king. In Shakespeare’s original phrase we are being warned not to be taken in by appearances. Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it is good. The traditional method of checking if a gold coin was real is often shown in pirate films. They bite the coin as fakes are usually much softer than real gold coins. I’m not sure how much good it did to their teeth but perhaps it saved them being fooled too often. In the line by Tolkien there is the opposite problem, we may too easily take someone at face value, making...
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