Thesis Theater: Anne Marie Gazzolo – Nienna, Lady of Pity and Mercy, and the Fall of Sauron

Signum University Thesis Theater
Join us at 1pm on May 28, 2020, for a Thesis Theater with MA student Ann Marie Gazzolo.


Dr. Sara Brown
Sara Brown
Language and Literature Department Chair; M.A. Thesis Coordinator; Lecturer; Preceptor


May 28, 2020 - 1:00 pm EDT


May 28, 2020 - 2:00 pm EDT

Thesis Theater Recording

Event Announcement

On May 28, 2020, at 1pm ET, Signum MA student Anne Marie Gazzolo will present her thesis “Nienna, Lady of Pity and Mercy, and the Fall of Sauron” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Anne Marie’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Sara Brown.

Thesis Abstract

In The Lord of the Rings, the word pity appears 61 times, far more than it does in any other of Tolkien’s works. Mercy appears 11 times. The pity Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam give to Sméagol-Gollum is critical to save Middle-earth from falling under the Shadow, but none of them initially choose it. Faramir is initially reluctant to extend any pity or mercy either, yet Frodo begs him to do so. Gandalf, Galadriel, and Frodo show pity and mercy to Saruman. What stirs the hearts of others in the long history of Middle-earth to extend pity to their enemies? In great part in the events at the end of the Third Age, this comes from Nienna through Gandalf/Olórin. He absorbs her wisdom into his heart and brings her heart with him to Middle-earth. He shows it to the Elves, Aragorn, Faramir, and Frodo, so they also carry her message of pity and mercy with profound effects upon the people and history of Middle-earth.

About the Presenter

Anne Marie Gazzolo is the author of Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in The Lord of the RingsChosen: The Journeys of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, and the companion piece: The Long Way Home, a collection of poems centered about a heroic quest and its aftermath. Two fantasy series anxiously await their turn to come out. Visit her at

About Signum Thesis Theaters

Our graduate students write a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theatre is where they can present their thesis to the Signum community and wider public, enabling them to explain their topic in detail, respond to questions from the audience, and develop their conclusions.