“Skouries” as in “Isengard” (The Tolkien Analogy)

First things first. For those of you that just moved to this planet, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is the author of the “Lord of the Rings” book trilogy (and some more), upon which the “Lord of the Rings” movie franchise was based. From 2001 till 2003 when all three movies were launched, they grossed to around 3 billion dollars worldwide. The movies are taking place in Middle Earth, a land of fantasy amd magic where a relentless battle takes place among the beings that inhabit it.

In this world, the White Wizard lives, also known as Saruman (enacted by the late Christopher Lee). He resides in the fortress of Isengard, next to which the river Angren is located (also a real river in Uzbekistan). A river that gives life to dense forests that surround Isengard.

Abstract drawing of Isengard

In these forests, among the trees, the Ents live. The Ents are the sheperds of the forest, its guardians. They are a tribe of creatures that resemble trees and are destined to protect the forest. Despite their role, the Ents have been quite idle and they mostly observe rather than act. They have lost their wives and for that reason they see no future in their legacy. On top of that, they are really slow in every aspect, from moving to talking. Really passive.

Drawing of an Ent

During the movie, Saruman switches sides and works with Sauron, a wicked entity, fixated on conquering Middle Earth. By Sauron’s command, Saruman starts building an army of Orc warriors in order to help his new master become the ruler of Middle Earth. To build this army, Saruman needs supplies and raw materials. To this end, a dam is built on Angren river, and the neighbouring forests are cut down so that they can become fuel for the furnaces that will built the Orc weapons. On top of that, the ground below Isengard is excavated so that copper, silver and gold can be mined to be used to equip Sauron’s army.

View of Isengard during the building of the army


While the Orc army is being built, one of the Ents, Treebeard, realizes the size of the environmental damage that’s caused by Saruman as he reached Isengard through the adjacent forest. At that moment, and for the first time in years, he calls the other Ents for help, crying out that “The Ents are going to war”. It’s the first time in the movie that the Ents are actually doing something critical, overcoming their passive nature.

The Ents. At war…!

 In the picture above, the Ents have freed the Angren river and they defeat the Orcs as the river puts out the fires and furnaces and floods the underground mines. In the end, the Ents manage to capture Saruman within his high tower not allowing him to continue his destructive work. In the plot of the movie, this overtaking of Isengard by the Ents was really crucial for the final win against the forces of Sauron.

Why this sudden reminisce of the Lord or the Rings you ask? Well, news in Greece have been re-discussing Skouries for the past few days, and thinking about it, it came to me that there are more than a few analogies between what happened in Skouries and what took place in Isengard.

Analogies, as well as similarities, like the impact of industry on the environment and the destruction  of the natural world for mining purposes. And others, like our apathy in front of environmental injustice, even though we, ourselves are the guardians of the environment. And in contrast to apathy, the action. Action that when it comes, even so late, it’s capable of “washing” all evil away, just like river Angren did.

The “Skouries” case did not sell millions of tickets like Lord of the Rings did. It was not about Wizards, Elves, Orcs or the likes. And it definitely won’t be decided through the use of a magical ring. But on the other hand, it is a story of realization on what matters. A story about a fight of the people to protect nature and along with it, themselves. A story that should serve as an example for everyone.

And as I come to think of it, I realize that it was anything but random that J.R.R. Tolkien told this story through his books. The analogies and similarities between Middle Earth and this Earth, were intended and premeditated. And we should pay close attention to them.

<below you may find a video that depicts the magnitute of the Skouries situation>


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