Ethos Education

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Light vs Dark

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Is good more powerful than evil? The Bible teaches that light will shine in the darkness.

Film:

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, 2013, certificate 12) click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The values of Respect and Tolerance lead us to accept people as they are. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept the world as it is. The value of Democracy enables us to co-operate in making the world a better place for everyone.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Opposite Tennis (game)

  • Ask for two volunteers to play opposite tennis. One starts by saying a word, and the other has to say something that is an opposite to it. The first player then has to say a different opposite (no repetition allowed). Play continues until someone fails to come up with a valid word.
  • Here is an example of a changing set of opposites, if you think the students will need help with grasping the concept:
  • Wrong; Right; Left; Taken; Rejected; Chosen.
  • Explain that in the rest of the assembly you are going to be looking at other sets of opposites.

Sporting Rivalries (something to watch)

Download the Good Evil Sporting Rivals PowerPoint with this activity.

  • Click through the PowerPoint and let the students read about three great sporting rivalries. You might want to play an appropriate soundtrack to accompany the PowerPoint. We suggest Be My Enemy by the Waterboys, which is available on the album This is the Sea (EMI, 1990), click here to buy the album online. The PowerPoint will automatically transition through the slides once you start it. Please note that the first slide stays on the screen for 35 seconds, to correspond to the lengthy quieter passage at the start of the track. If you are using a different song, or if you want to move through the slides more quickly for any other reason, click the mouse button to move on at your own pace.
  • The text of the PowerPoint is reproduced below, for your convenience.
  • Great sporting rivals.
  • Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • The rivalry between the world’s two greatest current footballers is just as intense as that between their clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
  • Both are attacking players, with contrasting physiques and temperaments. Ronaldo is tall and strong; Messi short and quick. Ronaldo is brash and egotistical, Messi is quiet and quick to divert praise to his team-mates.
  • Both players missed out to Ricardo Kaka for the 2007 World Player of the Year award. Since then they have dominated the prize. Ronaldo won in 2008, Messi in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, before Ronaldo regained the honour in 2013.
  • Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky.
  • Russia dominated the world of chess in the Cold War years of the ‘60s. Then in 1972 American Bobby Fischer challenged reigning World Champion Boris Spassky.
  • Their series of matches was marked by controversy and disputes, as paranoid Fischer protested about a series of perceived advantages for his opponent. Fischer eventually won by 12½ points to 8½ points.
  • Three years later Fischer refused to defend his title when the World Chess Authority wouldn’t agree to his format for the Championship match. He came out of a secluded retirement to replay Spassky in 1992.
  • Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier.
  • Muhammad Ali is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, but his three fights with Joe Frazier defined both men’s careers.
  • Ali and Frazier first fought in 1971, four years after Ali was stripped of his title for refusing to be drafted for the Vietnam War. Both fighters were undefeated going in to ‘the fight of the century’.
  • Bitter pre-match trash-talk from Ali created a heated atmosphere. Neither man could knock the other out, but Frazier won on a unanimous verdict from the judges.
  • In 1974, after Frazier had lost the title to George Foreman, he fought Ali for a second time. This time Ali was the winner, again by the unanimous judge’s verdict.
  • In 1975, Ali won his title back from Foreman and made three successful defences against other fighters, before agreeing to meet Frazier for a third time.
  • The ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ was a brutal contest, ending when Frazier’s trainer refused to let him resume at the start of the 15th and final round. Ali declared that Frazier was ‘the greatest fighter of all times – after me.’

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, 2013, certificate 12):
    • Start time: 1.39.53 (beginning of chapter 29 of the DVD)
    • End time: 1.43.09
    • Clip length: 3 minutes and 16 seconds
  • The clip begins with Gandalf walking down ruined stone steps. The first line is Gandalf reciting a spell in an indecipherable Middle Earth language. The last line is Gandalf gasping, ‘Sauron’.

  • The clip shows Gandalf confronting the evil power known as the Necromancer. During their struggle, the Necromancer claims, ‘There is no light, Wizard, that can defeat darkness.’


TALK

Download the Good Evil Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Have you ever been in a power cut? Have you ever been in a situation where your world was suddenly plunged into darkness, and there seemed to be nothing you could do to make the darkness go away? When there’s nothing you can do about it, there can be something quite sinister about darkness.
    • We often think to use imagery of light and darkness when we think of good and evil: two mighty powers locked in conflict. Here’s an example from the second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug. Gandalf has been drawn to the ruins at Dol Guldur, trying to discover why evil creatures are spreading into the world of men.
    • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
      • Start time: 1.39.53 (beginning of chapter 29 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.43.09 
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 16 seconds 
    • The clip begins with Gandalf walking down ruined stone steps. The first line is Gandalf reciting a spell in an indecipherable Middle Earth language. The last line is Gandalf gasping, ‘Sauron’.
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘When Gandalf is confronted by the evil being known as the Necromancer, they fight. During the fight, the Necromancer taunts Gandalf, telling him that there is no light that can defeat darkness.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • What was it that the Necromancer said? ‘There is no light, wizard, that can defeat darkness’.
    • Is that right? Is darkness stronger than light? Is it possible that evil can defeat the forces of good?
    • Well, those are two different questions. Let’s take them in order. Is it true that darkness can defeat light? That one’s simple: no. In scientific terms, darkness is the absence of light. As soon as you introduce light to darkness, it’s not dark anymore. A scientist would tell you that not only is the Necromancer wrong, he’s completely wrong – he’s got it entirely the wrong way round. Here’s a more accurate version, from a scientific point of view:
    • [click] There is no darkness, Wizard, that can defeat light. Light wins. Light and darkness are not two equal powers, struggling for supremacy in a fight that either one could win. Light wins. End of.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • So much for light and darkness, now how about good and evil?
    • The Bible uses the imagery of light and darkness when it talks about good and evil. This is what the writer of the gospel of John has to say about Jesus:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5 New Living Translation.
    • John equates Jesus with light. What Jesus brought into the world was a powerful force for good, and we should notice three things that John says about it.
    • [click] First of all, he says it’s for everyone. There aren’t any people who this goodness isn’t for, there aren’t any people for whom it’s not good.
    • [click] Secondly, it shines in the darkness. It breaks in to the bad things in this world and challenges them, showing an alternative, a better way. It makes a difference.
    • [click] Thirdly – and this is where the passage really links up with what we were saying about The Hobbit and about science – the darkness can never extinguish it. Just like darkness can never defeat light, so evil can never defeat good. Hollywood movies like to paint a picture of good and evil as two closely-matched powers [If you used Opening Activity Sporting Rivals, you could refer to some of the rivalries you mentioned at this point]. The forces of good may usually win in the films, but it’s always a close-run thing. That’s not what the Bible tells us about good and evil. Good drives out evil, and always triumphs over it in the end. If good hasn’t won yet, it’s not the end.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Good Evil Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Have you ever been in a power cut?
      • Plunged into darkness.
      • Nothing you could do.
      • Sometimes darkness can feel very sinister.
    • Light and dark imagery often used for good and evil.
      • Example from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
      • Gandalf explores the ruins of Dol Guldur.
    • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
      • Start time: 1.39.53 (beginning of chapter 29 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.43.09 
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 16 seconds 
    • The clip begins with Gandalf walking down ruined stone steps. The first line is Gandalf reciting a spell in an indecipherable Middle Earth language. The last line is Gandalf gasping, ‘Sauron’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • ‘There is no light, wizard, that can defeat darkness’.
      • Is darkness really stronger than light?
      • Is it possible for evil to defeat good?
    • Two questions:
      • Can darkness defeat light? No.
      • Science says darkness is the absence of light.
      • Add light to darkness, and it’s not dark any more.
      • Science says the Necromancer has it the wrong way round.
      • [click] ‘There is no darkness, wizard, that can defeat light’.
      • Light and dark aren’t equal. Light wins. End of.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • How about good and evil?
      • Bible uses light and dark imagery when it talks about good and evil.
      • This is what John’s gospel says about Jesus:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5 New Living Translation.
    • John equates Jesus with light.
      • Jesus brought a powerful source of goodness into the world.
      • Notice three things John tells us about it.
      • [click] it’s for everyone: there’s no one who it isn’t good for.
      • [click] it shines in the darkness: it makes a difference.
      • [click] darkness can never extinguish it: good always wins in the end. If good isn’t winning, it isn’t the end.

RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you that good and evil isn’t an even contest. Thank you that you are so much more powerful than any force of evil, and that you offer your light to all. Help us to live in the promise of your light, and to let you use us to bring that light to others. Amen.

Reflection

What do the words ‘good’ and ‘evil’ mean to you? Would you describe yourself as a good person? Can you think of ways in your life where good and evil are in opposition. What difference does this make to you, and what difference can you make to the conflict between them?


YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, 2013, certificate 12) click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Good Evil Sporting Rivals PowerPoint.
  3. Good Evil Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint.
  4. (Optional) Be My Enemy by the Waterboys, which is available on the album This is the Sea.

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