I read a post today which discussed heroes giving noble speeches to hearten people, and whether that’s effective today. When I commented, I cited King Théoden’s speech in The Return of the King, little knowing how much I would need that speech five minutes later. While I thought of the stirring speech from the 2003 movie directed by Peter Jackson, what’s below is from the book by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!
I always loved that speech, because Théoden and his army rode toward a battle none was sure he would survive. But they went anyway.
I think about that speech now, as I contemplate an emailed rejection I just received. I wasn’t going to post today. I was going to huddle in a ball in the corner. Yet I felt that I need to write this while the feelings are fresh and raw, not just for myself, but for anyone who has been rejected and now wanders lost in the fog of confusion and “what next?”
Some days writing seems like a battle I’m not sure I’ll win. Maybe like me, you start to second-guess yourself, thinking, Am I a total loser? If that’s you today, look at Théoden’s speech. I don’t know exactly why I get totally pumped when I read those words or hear them in the movie. This is an example of persuasion, spoken by a man who wasn’t content to hang about his halls while his army swept into battle. He went with them.
People tell you that rejection is par for the course. Yeah, it is. It hurts, because you’re left reeling. Others tell you to get up and try again, but you feel like a newborn foal standing on shaky legs. That’s how I feel right now.
Is that you today? I don’t have words of wisdom. I just have that speech—those gorgeous words of Tolkien. And I take heart. And I cry. And I scream:
Fell deeds awake . . . a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
And I go into battle once more.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King. New York: Ballantine Books, 1955, 1965. Copyright renewed 1983 by Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H. R. Tolkien, John F. R. Tolkien and Priscilla M. A. R. Tolkien. Print. 123.