Not all who wander are lost. March 31, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Aragorn, JRR Tolkien, not all those who wander are lost, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings
Silence Dogood here. “Not all who wander are lost” has taken on a life of its own as a motto, message, and reminder for our day. I have a silver bracelet with this line engraved on it, and often wear it, perhaps as a corollary to the bumper sticker on our faithful old VW Golf, “Boldly going nowhere.”
But the danger with catchphrases like this is that they become detached from their originators and their context. In the case of “not all who wander are lost,” the phrase originated with J.R.R. Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf writes it of the nondescript ranger Strider, who later turns out to be Aragorn, the King of Middle Earth. In context, it reads:
“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.”
A great deal more profound than just the one line, don’t you think?
On the other hand, the advantage of reducing a complex thought to a one-liner is that then everyone can interpret it for themselves. Or as our friend Ben, a fan of the phrase, would say, “My thoughts often wander, but my mind is not yet lost.”
Of course, like the original phrase, this is open to interpretation.
‘Til next time,