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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings: Subject: Edit Log


Sep 9, 9:21pm

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Tolkien's Frodo being an active protagonist, not passive luggage, both the script and the casting of Wood took away another of Frodo's defining characteristics: he was older and wiser than the other hobbits, indeed remarkably wise for any hobbit (and better-educated than any save Bilbo).

We can go round and round about hobbit maturation rates and what they really looked like at thirty-three; but apparent age notwithstanding Frodo was really fifty and had fifty years of life experience. The script made him a naif, and casting a teenager then completely buried book-Frodo's maturity.

Yes, in book-canon Frodo was fifty years old when he left the Shire with the Ring. On the other hand, Bilbo's farewell party also celebrated Frodo's thirty-third birthday and his coming of age. So, in the films Frodo is probably aged no more than thirty-four when he and Sam set out for Rivendell. By Hobbit standards he really was still a young adult, equivalent to one of the Big Folk in their early twenties.

Yes, that's the "going round and round" bit I alluded to, an old argument as hoary as Balrog wings. It starts with a given datum: that once Frodo received the ring on his 33rd birthday he stopped physically aging.

One camp can be called the "evenly stretched lifespan" school; if hobbits live on average to 100 as opposed to the Big Folks' 70, this means that every stage in a hobbit's aging takes 40% longer, which puts hobbit 33 at an equivalent human age of 23.

The other school (which includes Christopher Tolkien) holds that hobbits don't age any more slowly than men, that their average life expectancy is a function of disease resistance, general toughness and a healthy lifestyle; "coming of age" at 33 was (besides being a convenient number for T's "gross" joke), a droll observation by the university professor that young people in their irresponsible twenties wouldn't be considered anything like adults by a society as sensible as the Shire's. (Note that Aragorn, with a life expectancy double that of any hobbit, nonetheless came of age at 21).

Whichever school one adheres to, casting a seventeen-year-old actor (and one who was rather doll-faced even for that age) did nothing but reinforce the notion that Frodo was a complete tyro, wide-eyed and clueless.

(This post was edited by Solicitr on Sep 9, 9:27pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by Solicitr (Rohan) on Sep 9, 9:27pm

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