What message does J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy send about government, political unrest, and revolution?
According to a Time Magazine dispatch with the protective byline “A Time Reporter in Tehran,” one Iranian television is playing Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Tolkien’s story to calm the populace. The writer watches the movie with a family, wondering how millions of Iranians will interpret this televised message.
Here’s an excerpt: “[The wizard Gandalf] casts a blinding white light, his face hidden behind a halo. Someone blurts out, “Imam zaman e?!” (Is it the Imam?!) It is a reference, of course, to the white-bearded Ayatullah Khomeini, who is respectfully called Imam Khomeini. But ‘Imam’ is at the same time a title of the Mahdi, a messianic figure that Muslims believe will come to save true believers from powerful evildoers at the time of the apocalypse.” (Via Tim O’Reilly)