Ethos Education

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Staying on Track

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Assembly Objective:

  • In the midst of challenges and difficulties, how do we find our path through life? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching about ‘forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead’.

Film:

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

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty is essential to the educational goal of developing pupils with ‘rational autonomy’, able to make thoughtful decisions about one’s future.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Pathfinder (game)

Download the Future Pathfinder PowerPoint with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask for a volunteer to take part in a navigational challenge. Bring them to the front and explain that their task is to find their way through the maze. They should select a square to remove to enable them to continue their path through the maze. The target is to reach the exit (whose location they don’t yet know) by removing as few squares as possible. To remove a square, click the mouse on the numbered square on the PowerPoint. Be careful not to click on anything that isn’t a numbered square because that will cause the PowerPoint to end, making the maze and all the squares disappear.
    • The quickest possible solution is to complete the maze by removing 11 of the 19 squares, as follows: 9, 10, 13, 17, 18, 14, 11, 6, 7, 12, 8.
    • Ask the volunteer what made the task hard to accomplish. Ask if it would have been easier if they had known that the exit was in square 8. Thank the volunteer and send them back to their seat with a round of applause.
    • Explain that in today’s assembly we are going to be thinking about what makes it easier for us to find the right path through our lives.

GPS Gone Wrong (something to listen to)

  • Tell the students one or more of the following stories about drivers whose GPS systems didn’t work quite the way they expected. Once you have read as many stories as you have the time or inclination for, explain that in today’s assembly you are going to be thinking about how we find our way through life.
  • A pizza delivery driver in Michigan came unstuck when his GPS directed him across train tracks. His car got stuck, and it wasn’t long before an Amtrak train ploughed through his vehicle, completely writing it off. Fortunately, the 23-year-old driver made it safely out of the car before impact. He even thought to rescue the pizzas he was delivering, although without a car it’s hard to see how he was going to get them there on time.
  • Two British pensioners were enjoying their holiday in Germany, when they got a bit confused by the SatNav. The GPS told them to turn right where there was no road to turn into. The elderly driver didn’t notice the mistake and made the turn anyway, ploughing into the wall of a village church. The car was written off, and a picture was dislodged from the inside of the building. Oh yes, and the church’s foundations were damaged, with repairs costing around 25,000 Euros.
  • An American woman found herself trapped on a golf course after following her SatNav’s instructions and driving into a bunker. Her report to the police explains that her SatNav told her to turn left. This brought her into a cornfield, which she proceeded to drive through in search of the road. Eventually she found herself on the golf course and, like many golfers before her, was unfortunately caught in the sand trap. Definitely an over par round there.
  • Two British criminals were caught out by their GPS. They broke in to ten properties in the space of three months, with the driver dropping the housebreaker off at their intended targets in his work van. Sadly for them, the van’s GPS system diligently recorded their movements, providing the police with enough evidence to gain a conviction. They were each sentenced to seven years in jail.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, 2013, certificate 12).
    • Start time:       0.18.47 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
    • End time:        0.20.40
    • Clip length:     1 minute and 53 seconds
  • The clip starts with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) calling out, ‘Not my horse – I need it.’ It ends with the camera panning over Mirkwood as Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves enter the forest. The last line is Thorin (Richard Armitage) saying, ‘We’ve got one chance to find the hidden door.’
  • The clip shows Gandalf instructing the dwarves to stay on the path through the forest no matter what happens, because if they leave the path they will never find it again.

TALK

Download the Future Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • GPS navigational devices are wonderful. Wherever you are in the world, wherever you need to go, the magic of SatNav takes you through every twist and turn of the way. [If you used Opening Activity: GPS Gone Wrong, refer to it here].
    • It hasn’t always been that way. Here’s a film clip featuring a group of travellers who didn’t have the help of GPS to help them find their way on a journey.
    • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
      • Start time:       0.18.47 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.20.40
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 53 seconds
    • The clip starts with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) calling out, ‘Not my horse – I need it.’ It ends with the camera panning over Mirkwood as Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves enter the forest. The last line is Thorin (Richard Armitage) saying, ‘We’ve got one chance to find the hidden door.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say:
      • ‘In the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield and his party arrive at the borders of the enchanted forest Mirkwood. There Gandalf leaves them, but not before giving them a strict instruction: stay on the path. If they set foot off it, the enchantments in the forest will ensure that they never find it again.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • The dwarves were on a mission and they had to reach the Misty Mountains by a certain date. That forced them to take the risk of going through Mirkwood. Gandalf’s warning, that they must stay on the path or risk being lost forever was a serious one. It was vital that they stayed on the path.
    • We may not face enchanted forests, or hostile wood elves and orcs, but each of us faces the task of finding our way through life. Keeping on the right path is as important for us as it is for Thorin, Bilbo and the others. That’s not to say that there’s no room in life for making mistakes and then getting back on track – there’s no reason why we, unlike Thorin and the dwarves, can’t put ourselves right again once we wander away from the path. Even so, it’s good advice to make sure that we keep on track in our lives in the first place.
    • How do we do this? The Apostle Paul wrote this about how he managed to keep going with the mission that Jesus gave him, to spread the word of Jesus’ resurrection throughout the world:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • ‘I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’ Philippians 3:13-14, New Living Translation.
    • ‘Looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race.’ Paul keeps going by remembering where he is headed. In his case, he’s talking about the prospect of being united with God in heaven – ‘receiving the heavenly prize’ – but whatever your spiritual views and whatever your goal in life is, there’s still a useful principle to guide us.
    • Know where you want to end up, and let that help you keep doing the right things in the meantime. If you want a particular job, you need to work hard at whatever qualifications will get you there. If you want to be good at sport or at a musical instrument, you have to put in the time practising your skills and technique. Whatever it is that you most want out of life, you have to let that guide the decisions you make and the things you do now.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Future Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • GPS devices are wonderful.
    • SatNav takes you through every twist and turn of your route.
    • It hasn’t always been that way.
    • Introduce film clip: travellers who don’t have GPS to help them on their journey.
    • Play the clip from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
      • Start time:       0.18.47 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.20.40
      • Clip length:      1 minute and 53 seconds
    • The clip starts with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) calling out, ‘Not my horse – I need it.’ It ends with the camera panning over Mirkwood as Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves enter the forest. The last line is Thorin (Richard Armitage) saying, ‘We’ve got one chance to find the hidden door.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • The dwarves were on a mission.
      • They knew where they had to get to – the Misty Mountains.
      • That forced them to take a risk.
      • Gandalf warned that if they strayed from the path, they would never find their way again.
    • We don’t face enchanted forests, elves or orcs, but we do have to find our way through life.
      • Staying on the right path is important for us.
      • Unlike Thorin and the dwarves, we can get back on track when we go wrong.
      • Better to avoid going wrong in the first place.
    • Apostle Paul’s account of how he stayed on track:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • ‘I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’ Philippians 3:13-14, New Living Translation.
    • ‘Looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race.’
      • Paul keeps going by remembering where he is headed.
      • For him, that’s Heaven – ‘receiving the heavenly prize’.
      • For us, whatever we choose as our goal in life.
    • Know where you want to end up, and let that guide you in the meantime.
      • If you want a particular job, work hard to get the right qualifications.
      • If you want to be good at sport or a musical instrument, spend time practising.
      • Whatever you most want out of life, let that guide your decisions and actions now.

Photo Copyright for Future Hobbit Smaug PowerPoint: Slide 1 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. / Slide 2 Mark Pokorny, New Line Productions, Inc. / Slide 3 Julian Mason


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for all the ways you guide us in life. Thank you that you don’t want anyone to stray from your path and that you want us to live our lives to the full. Help us to make wise choices in life, and to remember where we are heading as we determine how we are going to get there. Amen.

Reflection

  • Do you have a clear sense of where you want to go in life? If not, how do you make decisions about your future? If someone asked you where you would like to be in ten, twenty or forty years’ time, what would you answer?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Future Pathfinder PowerPoint.
  3. Future Hobbit Smaug Talk PowerPoint.

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