I have no idea what it is about The Lord of the Rings books, but whatever it is, I cannot bring myself for to finish reading them. I have tried to get through The Fellowship of the Ring numerous times now, and each time I have given up after reaching Tom Bombadil. This probably wouldn’t be a problem for me if just skipped past him—which I guess I’ll try to do after writing this post—but dear Tom has been a giant roadblock in my reading experience since I first attempted these books ten years ago.
This is also endlessly frustrating, because I actually like just about everything else in the story. As such, since I can’t read the books, and I can only marathon the movies so many times before they get old, I turned to good old fashioned fanfiction to get my LotR fill.
Last week Lady Geek Girl talked about the way fate and free will tend to be ‘in a relationship and it’s complicated’ in popular fiction.
This week I’m also going to talk about free will, but I’m going to take a different track—I’m going to look at the intersection of free will and personal responsibility.
What exactly do I mean? Well, people have free will. They can do whatever they want. But if it’s within their power to do the right thing, even if it will have unpleasant consequences, do they have a responsibility to do the right thing? Or is it morally acceptable to say, “no, I’m washing my hands of this”? I think that there has to be a balance. In fiction, choosing of one’s own free will has a particular weight and importance.
Before this becomes a Philosophy 101 debate, let me give you some examples to show you what I mean.