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*** Shire Discussion: The Shire From Near and Far

oliphaunt
Lorien


Jun 6, 10:11pm

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*** Shire Discussion: The Shire From Near and Far Can't Post

 
This discussion will center around Sam and Frodo, their memories of the Shire, and the reality of returning to the Shire.

Our prior discussion 'Bilbo's Shire/Frodo's Shire' already looked at Bilbo's memories of home during his adventure, his life after coming home to Bag End, and his departure for Rivendell after A Long Expected Party. His memories were primarily about his "nice bright hobbit-hole", not the Shire itself or it's inhabitants. We weren't surprised by his departure, since he never made close friends in the Shire. Other than Frodo, his best relationships were with various nephews and nieces and with the Gaffer and Sam.

Frodo is more attached to the Shire, and to his friends in Hobbiton. Still, he finds fault with the Shire, even as he loves it:

Quote
I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and felt than an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don't feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable; I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again. - The Shadow of the Past


1. Is this a prophecy?

Skipping over the entire middle of their story, we pick up with Frodo and Sam struggling on alone towards Mordor, separated from the strength and companionship of the Fellowship. Sam, restless and uncomfortable during daytime sleep, dreams about the Shire:


Quote
He thought he was back in the Bag End garden looking for something; but he had a heavy pack on his back, which made him stoop. It all seemed very weedy and rank somehow, and thorns and bracken were invading the beds down near the bottom hedge.

'A job of work for me, I can see; but I'm so tired,' he kept on saying. Presently he remembered what he was looking for. 'My pipe!' he said, and with that he woke up.

'Silly!' he said to himself, as he opened his eyes and wondered why he was lying down under the hedge. "It's in your pack all the time!' Then he realized, first that the pipe might be in his pack but he had no leaf, and next that he was hundreds of miles from Bag End -- Journey to the Cross-Roads


2. We've all wakened confused in a strange place, and had unsettling dreams, so it's easy enough to empathize with Sam. Do you think that's all this dream is about, or does it have a deeper message?

Shortly after, Sam tells Frodo: 'where there's life there's hope, as my gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add.'

3. Simple wisdom from the Shire? Is this one of Sam's best weapons as they approach Mordor?

And just after this, Frodo, Sam and Gollum see rays of sun escaping the pall of Mordor and lighting up the head of the stone king at the cross-roads and Frodo exclaims: 'They cannot conquer for ever!'

During the climb to Cirith Ungol. Frodo and Sam realize they are living out part of a 'great tale' continuing from the days of Beren. Frodo reflects that 'Our part will end later - or sooner.' But Sam, undaunted, returns to the Shire in his mind, saying:


Quote
'And then we can have some rest and some sleep,' said Sam. He laughed grimly. 'And I mean just that, Mr. Frodo. I mean plain ordinary rest, and sleep and waking up to a morning's work in the garden. I'm afraid that's all I'm hoping for all the time. All the big important plans are not for my sort. Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And they'll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot"'
'It's saying a lot too much,' said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle Earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. - The Stairs of Cirith Ungol


4. What was Sam sensing? Legolas was able to listen to memories in stones, was Sam able to sense something of this too? Was Frodo aware of anything unusual here?

Frodo, unconscious from Shelob's venom, is captured by Orcs and imprisoned in the tower of Cirith Ungol. Sam enters the tower:


Quote
And then softly, to his own surprise, there at vain end of his long journey and his grief, moved by what thought in his heart he could not tell, Sam began to sing...He murmured old childish tunes out of the Shire, and snatches of Mr. Bilbo's rhymes that came into his mind like fleeting glimpses of the country of his home. And then suddenly new strength rose in him and his voice rang out...

'Come! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!' he said, trying to sound as cheerful as he had when he drew back the curtains at Bag End on a summer's morning -- The Land of Shadow


After their escape wearing orc armor, Frodo and Sam continue the miserable trek towards the heart of Mordor. Frodo voices his growing despair:


Quote
'As I lay in prison, Sam, I tried to remember the Brandywine, and Woody End, and The Water running through the mill at Hobbiton. But I can't see them now' -- The Land of Shadow


5. What causes Frodo's inability to visualize the Shire? Is there any parallel in people who've been through trauma or war?

Finally, even the indomitable Sam begins to lose hope of going home:


Quote
'So that was the job I felt I had to do when I started,' thought Sam: 'to help Mr. Frodo to the last step and then die with him? Well, if that is the job then I must do it. But I would dearly like to see Bywater again, as Rosie Cotton and her brothers, and the Gaffer and Marigold and all. I can't think somehow that Gandalf would have sent Mr. Frodo on the errand, if there hadn't a'been any hope of his ever coming back at all.' -- Mount Doom


6. Ah, Gandalf and his inexplicable fondness for hobbits and the Shire! Would there a'been any hope without Sam for Mr. Frodo?

Still, Sam continues to turn toward the Shire for strength:


Quote
He felt the cool mud about his toes as he paddled in the Pool at Bywater with Jolly Cotton and Tom and Nibs, and their sister Rosie.


And finally, after Gollum's fall into Mt. Doom with the Ring, Frodo and Sam creep as far from the lava flow as possible, and Sam refuses to give up hope:


Quote
'What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven't we? he said. 'I wish I could hear it told!'



And, at last, Sam hears the tale 'of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom', and he exclaims:

Quote
'O great glory and splendor! And all my wishes have come true!' - The Field of Cormallen.


7. Have all his wishes come true? Sam has not yet returned to the Shire nor seen Rosie Cotton. Hyperbole? Or living in the moment?

Frodo appears to know, even before he returns, that he will not be able to stay in the Shire, telling Gandalf:


Quote
'There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?' Gandalf did not answer. -- Homeward Bound


Then, when the four hobbits separate from Gandalf outside of Bree, Merry says:


Quote
'Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.'
'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.' -- Homeward Bound


8. What is Frodo trying to express? That the Shire is unreal to him?


Sam never discussed what he saw in the Mirror of Galadriel , and though he carried her gift, never speculated about the contents. For Sam, returning to the Shire, Rosie was just as he hoped, but the Shire was no longer like the place he remembered. Regardless, Sam deals with changes in the Shire in a plain, practical way:


Quote
'All right, all right!' said Sam. 'That's quite enough. I don't want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead. I hoped to have a rest, but I can see there's work and trouble ahead. Let's sleep and forget it till morning.' -- The Scouring of the Shire


Sam does recognize the changes in the Shire:


Quote
'This is worse that Mordor!' said Sam. 'Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.'


After the demise of Saruman in front of Bag End, Frodo says:


Quote
'The very last stroke. But to think that it should fall here, at the very door of Bag End! Among all my hopes and fears at least I never expected that.'

'I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess,' said Sam gloomily,'And that'll take a lot of time and work.' -- The Scouring of the Shire


Sam finally remembers Galadriel's gift, and is able to complete his work to restore the Shire. He marries patient Rosie, and stays on in Bag End ever after Frodo's departure.

9. Did Sam consciously choose only to harbor happy memories of the Shire?

Frodo never fully recovers, and finally tells Sam he's leaving the Shire:


Quote
'I wish I could go all the way with you to Rivendell, Mr. Frodo, and see Mr. Bilbo,' said Sam. 'And yet the only place I really want to be is here. I am that torn in two.'

'Poor Sam! It will feel like that, I am afraid,' said Frodo. 'But you will be healed. You were meant to be solid and whole, and you will be' -- The Grey Havens



10. Is Frodo's inability to stay in the Shire just a result of his wounds and the burden of the Ring? Or is there something in his essential nature, as with Bilbo, that keeps him from settling? Did changes in the Shire have anything to do with it, or only changes in Frodo? Was he fulfilling his own prophecy?


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 7, 1:21am

Post #2 of 15 (1654 views)
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Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Oliphaunt!

Some answers:

2. Sam's dream: I think in this case, Sam remembering that he had part of what he needed with him was a reminder that he had the resources to help Frodo fulfill his quest, he just needed to believe in himself when times were tough and faith was faint.

3. Simple wisdom from the Shire? Is this one of Sam's best weapons as they approach Mordor?
I would say their best weapons were that they were grounded in the Shire and the best it had to offer: humility, decency, helping friends, doing the right thing. The Ring's easiest targets were ambitious and powerful Men, so hobbits were its toughest targets.

4. What was Sam sensing?
I personally don't think Sam had an extra sensory perception here like Legolas had in Hollin. He was just sensing his surroundings.

5. What causes Frodo's inability to visualize the Shire? Is there any parallel in people who've been through trauma or war?
From what I've read, the answer lies in your 2nd question: trauma & depression make any happy memory fade so while it can be remembered, the memory gives none of its former pleasure.

6. Ah, Gandalf and his inexplicable fondness for hobbits and the Shire! Would there a'been any hope without Sam for Mr. Frodo?
It's impossible for me to conceive of either Frodo or Sam surviving without the other. They both had a role to play, and that was keeping the other going, as well as using their own personal traits to make the best of things and decide the way ahead.

8. What is Frodo trying to express? That the Shire is unreal to him?
Given the sad, painful moments in the book like Theoden's death, I think this realization ranks in the top 10: the Shire has become unreal to Frodo, and the home that he thought would bring him peace and healing will fail to bring either. What was it all for!?!?!?!?!

10. Is Frodo's inability to stay in the Shire just a result of his wounds and the burden of the Ring?
I think in an alternate universe, if an Eagle flew the Ring to Mordor and Sauron was defeated offstage and Frodo never left on any quest, that Frodo would have happily spent his entire life as the Master at Bag End, maybe with a rare trip to see Elves, so yes, the physical and spiritual wounds of his quest left him too wounded for the Shire to heal. Though I always feel like the Shire healed Sam, Merry, and Pippin, but Frodo was a case beyond its graces.

I try to keep this passage in my mind for how far gone Frodo really was by the end in Mordor:


Quote
Gollum and Frodo were locked together. Gollum was tearing at his master, trying to get at the chain and the Ring. This was probably the only thing that could have roused the dying embers of Frodo’s heart and will: an attack, an attempt to wrest his treasure from him by force.



Silvered-glass
Lorien

Jun 8, 5:30pm

Post #3 of 15 (1621 views)
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In Reply To

Quote
I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and felt than an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don't feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable; I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again. - The Shadow of the Past


1. Is this a prophecy?


I think Frodo does have prophetic abilities in the book. This particular case is an ambiguous one, but it sounds like Frodo could be sensing that he will never be able to be at home in the Shire again.


In Reply To

Quote
He thought he was back in the Bag End garden looking for something; but he had a heavy pack on his back, which made him stoop. It all seemed very weedy and rank somehow, and thorns and bracken were invading the beds down near the bottom hedge.

'A job of work for me, I can see; but I'm so tired,' he kept on saying. Presently he remembered what he was looking for. 'My pipe!' he said, and with that he woke up.

'Silly!' he said to himself, as he opened his eyes and wondered why he was lying down under the hedge. "It's in your pack all the time!' Then he realized, first that the pipe might be in his pack but he had no leaf, and next that he was hundreds of miles from Bag End -- Journey to the Cross-Roads


2. We've all wakened confused in a strange place, and had unsettling dreams, so it's easy enough to empathize with Sam. Do you think that's all this dream is about, or does it have a deeper message?


Sam's dream is an intentional call-back to a dream Bilbo has in The Hobbit about searching for something through the rooms of Bag End. I think Bilbo's dream was Bilbo psychically sensing from afar that his disappearance had been noticed by the other hobbits and they were searching for him.

Sam's dream reveals Sam's psychic connections to the garden of Bag End, to Bilbo, and even to Frodo. Sam is sensing that his beloved garden has not been tended properly, and he may also be connecting with the burden Frodo is feeling, something that is beyond Sam's waking senses.


In Reply To
Shortly after, Sam tells Frodo: 'where there's life there's hope, as my gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add.'

3. Simple wisdom from the Shire? Is this one of Sam's best weapons as they approach Mordor?


Rather than pithy sayings, I think the life lessons Sam most benefited from were from were the ones that weren't put into words.


In Reply To
During the climb to Cirith Ungol. Frodo and Sam realize they are living out part of a 'great tale' continuing from the days of Beren. Frodo reflects that 'Our part will end later - or sooner.' But Sam, undaunted, returns to the Shire in his mind, saying:


Quote
'And then we can have some rest and some sleep,' said Sam. He laughed grimly. 'And I mean just that, Mr. Frodo. I mean plain ordinary rest, and sleep and waking up to a morning's work in the garden. I'm afraid that's all I'm hoping for all the time. All the big important plans are not for my sort. Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And they'll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot"'
'It's saying a lot too much,' said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle Earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. - The Stairs of Cirith Ungol


4. What was Sam sensing? Legolas was able to listen to memories in stones, was Sam able to sense something of this too? Was Frodo aware of anything unusual here?


I think Sam has genuine psychic talents and could learn much from the Elves and their way of crafting and gardening. I think Sam was able to make the Elven rope untie itself because he had the innate talent to be able to psychically communicate with the rope. I think Sam and Legolas have similar supernatural perceptions, but Legolas's are much stronger and deeper, probably exceptional for an Elf even, though Legolas doesn't speak much about it. Sam could probably improve his too.


In Reply To

Quote
'As I lay in prison, Sam, I tried to remember the Brandywine, and Woody End, and The Water running through the mill at Hobbiton. But I can't see them now' -- The Land of Shadow


5. What causes Frodo's inability to visualize the Shire? Is there any parallel in people who've been through trauma or war?


I think Frodo's condition has a purely supernatural cause, and this is an aspect of the spiritual oppression he is going through.

The positive angle on this is that if supernatural influence could cause Frodo lose the support of his happy memories, another supernatural power could cure Frodo's PTSD after the end of the story by making the bad memories lose their power.


In Reply To
6. Ah, Gandalf and his inexplicable fondness for hobbits and the Shire! Would there a'been any hope without Sam for Mr. Frodo?


Without Sam, Frodo would have laid down to die long before Sammath Naur.


In Reply To
And, at last, Sam hears the tale 'of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom', and he exclaims:

Quote
'O great glory and splendor! And all my wishes have come true!' - The Field of Cormallen.


7. Have all his wishes come true? Sam has not yet returned to the Shire nor seen Rosie Cotton. Hyperbole? Or living in the moment?


I think Sam trusts for the Shire to still be there when he returns and for Rosie to have been waiting patiently. A different author could have had Rosie find another male hobbit in the meanwhile (a typical modernist twist), but Tolkien instead goes for the much more unexpected route that the Shire has changed while Rosie's feelings have not.


In Reply To


Quote
'Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.'
'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.' -- Homeward Bound


8. What is Frodo trying to express? That the Shire is unreal to him?


I think Frodo has grown and changed so much that he he knows that he is no longer able to settle in the happy and insular Shire mindset, unaffected by the very real outside world and its many terrors. Frodo's former way of thinking has become a dream to him.


In Reply To
9. Did Sam consciously choose only to harbor happy memories of the Shire?


I think Sam is naturally the sort of person that concentrates on the lighter side of things and it contributes to his resilience. Frodo is a different sort and was always more sensitive than the typical hobbit.


In Reply To
10. Is Frodo's inability to stay in the Shire just a result of his wounds and the burden of the Ring? Or is there something in his essential nature, as with Bilbo, that keeps him from settling? Did changes in the Shire have anything to do with it, or only changes in Frodo? Was he fulfilling his own prophecy?


I think it's the changes in Frodo, and if Bilbo had taken the One Ring away with him without being stopped by Gandalf, I think Frodo could have lived his entirely life happily in the Shire and only gone on minor adventures such as visiting Bree and perhaps going even as far as Rivendell.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jun 9, 7:21pm

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Wonderful post. Thank you! Some thoughts: [In reply to] Can't Post

I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again. - The Shadow of the Past

1. Is this a prophecy? I'm sure he didn't think it was, per se; but I wouldn't be surprised if it was in response to a subconscious sort of nudge or a foreshadowing/warning by the Valar. Maybe a hidden effort to make such an unfair task a little less so? But it's also a fairly logical thing to say under the circumstances--but not all that Hobbit-like. Frodo (I think) was always an exception.


Quote
He thought he was back in the Bag End garden looking for something; but he had a heavy pack on his back, which made him stoop. It all seemed very weedy and rank somehow, and thorns and bracken were invading the beds down near the bottom hedge.

'A job of work for me, I can see; but I'm so tired,' he kept on saying. Presently he remembered what he was looking for. 'My pipe!' he said, and with that he woke up.

'Silly!' he said to himself, as he opened his eyes and wondered why he was lying down under the hedge. "It's in your pack all the time!' Then he realized, first that the pipe might be in his pack but he had no leaf, and next that he was hundreds of miles from Bag End -- Journey to the Cross-Roads

2. We've all wakened confused in a strange place, and had unsettling dreams, so it's easy enough to empathize with Sam. Do you think that's all this dream is about, or does it have a deeper message?

I love this passage. It's so very realistic (reminds me of an old commercial where people were anxiously sitting up in bed performing their jobs in their sleep. The bus driver was the best.Laugh) The natural explanation is that his mind was trying to process why he was carrying burdens all over the place in the process of doing an unfamiliar--and to his subconscious, an incomprehensible job, instead of his "real" one which at least part of him knew was succumbing to neglect. I think the deeper message was simply that he carrying Frodo, and thereby Frodo's burden, even though he'd never had it in his hands yet.

Shortly after, Sam tells Frodo: 'where there's life there's hope, as my gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add.'

3. Simple wisdom from the Shire? Is this one of Sam's best weapons as they approach Mordor? Yes!

And then, you mention one of the most moving moments in the book. I can't say more abut that right now.




Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jun 11, 10:48pm

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'It's saying a lot too much,' said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle Earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. - The Stairs of Cirith Ungol

4. What was Sam sensing? Legolas was able to listen to memories in stones, was Sam able to sense something of this too? Was Frodo aware of anything unusual here?
First of all, that laugh is a wonderful moment. Knowing what's to come makes it so very bittersweet.

I don't think there's any indication either way whether Frodo was sensing something. I like to think that for once he wasn't, and was just lost in the moment of laughter.
I think this rare for Sam, almost like he's switching places with Frodo. In some ways, it's very natural for Sam to feel that way in a place that he knows is grim and dangerous. But from what we know later of the Watchers, (and perhaps even Gimli's "Deep they delved us, high they builded us . . ."), I wouldn't be surprised at all if what Sam sensed was to some extent real. I'm just glad they couldn't, apparently, send out any sort of signal to the Dark Lord!


'As I lay in prison, Sam, I tried to remember the Brandywine, and Woody End, and The Water running through the mill at Hobbiton. But I can't see them now' -- The Land of Shadow

5. What causes Frodo's inability to visualize the Shire? Is there any parallel in people who've been through trauma or war?
There very likely could be parallels; but I think in Frodo's case he's being eaten alive by the Ring. Very like, I think, an addiction, where nothing gives much (if any) pleasure but the thing addicted to. Plus, add in the power of the Enemy, and it's truly amazing Frodo has any self-will left at all.

I can't think somehow that Gandalf would have sent Mr. Frodo on the errand, if there hadn't a'been any hope of his ever coming back at all.' -- Mount Doom

6. Ah, Gandalf and his inexplicable fondness for hobbits and the Shire! Would there a'been any hope without Sam for Mr. Frodo? Well, Frodo would have needed some kind of help. I'm not sure he would have made it anywhere near that distance without Sam--but not just his help, but his presence, including his attitude and personality. Two Frodo-types, or two Sam's, or two of any kind would likely have, in a sense, eaten each other up sometime along the way.

Still, Sam continues to turn toward the Shire for strength:
And that's a good chunk of what he transmits to Frodo I think. And his undying inner hope, even if it's shrinking. Plus, just the everyday practicality that keeps Frodo fed and cared for, so he could focus all the energy he had left in simply going ahead.






(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jun 11, 10:49pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 11, 11:13pm

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Very much this [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Well, Frodo would have needed some kind of help. I'm not sure he would have made it anywhere near that distance without Sam--but not just his help, but his presence, including his attitude and personality. Two Frodo-types, or two Sam's, or two of any kind would likely have, in a sense, eaten each other up sometime along the way.

Every re-read I always feel the same gut-level sense that not only was Frodo was meant to take the Ring to Mount Doom, but Sam was meant to go with him, and in the personality dimension, they were each equipped to help the other and propel the quest forward. As you said, two of the same type would have failed, and there's a strong sense of complementarity that kicks in once it's just the two of them across the Anduin, both in practical survival skills and in reinforcing each other's morale.

When one part of me says, "They were up against impossible odds," the other part says "Yeah, but they were meant to succeed as a team." And they did, so, point proven. Wink



(This post was edited by CuriousG on Jun 11, 11:13pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jun 12, 1:39am

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With the opposition [In reply to] Can't Post

scoring the goal for the winning team (not that Gollum was on anybody's team but his own).



noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 12, 5:40pm

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I'm prety sure I remember Ursula Le Guin commenting to the effect that Fodo and Sam are so close as to be almost contrasting aspects of the same character. I expected I could find that in some old post, but no luck.

But I did find this, and still like it very much:

Quote
One sense I get from Frodo after he leaves the Fellowship is a constant struggle to understand his role in the big picture and to figure out 1) what decisions he should make, 2) how much he can trust fate/providence to help them along, and 3) how to hold himself together as he spirals downward, becoming more & more consumed and less & less heroic. His tale is the opposite of Aragorn's, who becomes increasingly regal after Argonath and more of the traditional fantasy hero-warrior-king/heir to the throne, whereas Frodo is increasingly ground down in the direction of Gollum, ultimately a slave to the Ring, a hobbit robbed of his hobbitness and identity. That's why his repetition of Aragorn's mood ("all my choices have proved ill") is a deliberate parallel to Aragorn, who emerges as co-leader of the West with Gandalf for the rest of the book, while Frodo is the leader of the rump end of the Fellowship, meaning Sam + Gollum, then just leading Sam, then at the end succumbing to the Ring and not leading at all, including when the Ring is destroyed (it's Sam who leads them away from the Crack of Doom).

Just as Frodo, through being stabbed by the morgul-knife and having revelations at Galadriel's mirror, has gained insight into the Seen and the Unseen, he's also perceived that there are forces at work in the world that are much bigger than him, using him in some ways, ready to cast him aside in others, and also giving him free space to decide for himself what to do (such as that moment at Amon Hen when he was balanced between Gandalf and Sauron). I think his perception of this greater reality overwhelms him the way it would overwhelm anyone. Sam, by contrast, is ignorant of the bigger cosmos and remains grounded and steadfast. Each needs the other's strengths, fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle, and it takes the synergy of the two to complete the mission.

I think fate threw them together and helped them here and there--fate definitely arranged that oh-so-convenient mutual annihilation of orcs at the tower of Cirith Ungol so Sam could waltz in, and it helped them escape from the orc army when they were captured and mistaken for wayward orc soldiers--but it was sheer free will that made them crawl and starve their way to the Crack of Doom. Fate doesn't get any credit for that.

CuriousG in a disussion of The Taming Of Smeagol


~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jun 14, 1:38am

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The rest! [In reply to] Can't Post

7. Have all his wishes come true? Sam has not yet returned to the Shire nor seen Rosie Cotton. Hyperbole? Or living in the moment?

Frodo appears to know, even before he returns, that he will not be able to stay in the Shire, telling Gandalf:


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'There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?' Gandalf did not answer. -- Homeward Bound

Then, when the four hobbits separate from Gandalf outside of Bree, Merry says:


Quote
'Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.'
'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.' -- Homeward Bound

8. What is Frodo trying to express? That the Shire is unreal to him?


Sam never discussed what he saw in the Mirror of Galadriel , and though he carried her gift, never speculated about the contents. For Sam, returning to the Shire, Rosie was just as he hoped, but the Shire was no longer like the place he remembered. Regardless, Sam deals with changes in the Shire in a plain, practical way:


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'All right, all right!' said Sam. 'That's quite enough. I don't want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead. I hoped to have a rest, but I can see there's work and trouble ahead. Let's sleep and forget it till morning.' -- The Scouring of the Shire

Sam does recognize the changes in the Shire:


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'This is worse that Mordor!' said Sam. 'Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.'

After the demise of Saruman in front of Bag End, Frodo says:


Quote
'The very last stroke. But to think that it should fall here, at the very door of Bag End! Among all my hopes and fears at least I never expected that.'

'I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess,' said Sam gloomily,'And that'll take a lot of time and work.' -- The Scouring of the Shire

Sam finally remembers Galadriel's gift, and is able to complete his work to restore the Shire. He marries patient Rosie, and stays on in Bag End ever after Frodo's departure.

9. Did Sam consciously choose only to harbor happy memories of the Shire? Actually, I'm not sure we're told. But as has been said of visitors to Lorien, no one leaves there unchanged; and Sam has not only been to Lorien, but pretty literally to Hell and back. I think he chooses to live in the context of Shire-happiness; but he wouldn't have spent so much time planting and restoring if he didn't carry the memories of what had happened that made it necessary.
And, he planted an Elven tree. Naughty Sam, bringing the Elves (in a sense) right into the heart of the Shire!

Frodo never fully recovers, and finally tells Sam he's leaving the Shire:


Quote
'I wish I could go all the way with you to Rivendell, Mr. Frodo, and see Mr. Bilbo,' said Sam. 'And yet the only place I really want to be is here. I am that torn in two.'

'Poor Sam! It will feel like that, I am afraid,' said Frodo. 'But you will be healed. You were meant to be solid and whole, and you will be' -- The Grey Havens


10. Is Frodo's inability to stay in the Shire just a result of his wounds and the burden of the Ring? Or is there something in his essential nature, as with Bilbo, that keeps him from settling? Did changes in the Shire have anything to do with it, or only changes in Frodo? Was he fulfilling his own prophecy? Well, Bilbo, even with his more adventurous nature would most likely have lived in the Shire to the end of his days if he hadn't had his adventures. Frodo seems a bit more otherworldly and thoughtful than Bilbo to me, so I think (especially with Bilbo's influence) he might have wandered off on some travels out of the area. But for both of them, it was their respective quests in combination with their essential personalities that made the Shire and uncomfortable place.
But, yes, for Frodo, the Ring, sting, knife, and tooth made it all the more impossible.





Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jun 14, 4:24pm

Post #10 of 15 (1419 views)
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Grounded in the Shire [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes that seems to me to be not just a theme but almost a lesson that winds all the way through the books. I wonder if Tolkien had this in mind: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God [Eru] hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are."

Or, of course in this case, to bring things that are to nought: not just the Ring, but as the after effects, Sauron, Saruman, and all the hosts of Mordor. Pretty good for a couple of three-and-a-half-foot obscure country folk. Smile



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jun 14, 4:24pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 14, 4:46pm

Post #11 of 15 (1413 views)
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Thanks for digging that up [In reply to] Can't Post

Usually what I said in 2016 contradicts what I say in 2024, but once in awhile I stay on track. Smile


Hamfast Gamgee
Tol Eressea

Jun 18, 12:18am

Post #12 of 15 (1057 views)
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One thing which is interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that at the start of the tale is that the thoughts and point of views tend to be Frodo's. It is only at the end of the second book that we hear about Sams memories and his relationships with the Cotton's and Rose etc.


elentari3018
Rohan


Jul 10, 11:52am

Post #13 of 15 (484 views)
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reply to Question 10 [In reply to] Can't Post


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10. Is Frodo's inability to stay in the Shire just a result of his wounds and the burden of the Ring? Or is there something in his essential nature, as with Bilbo, that keeps him from settling? Did changes in the Shire have anything to do with it, or only changes in Frodo? Was he fulfilling his own prophecy? Well, Bilbo, even with his more adventurous nature would most likely have lived in the Shire to the end of his days if he hadn't had his adventures. Frodo seems a bit more otherworldly and thoughtful than Bilbo to me, so I think (especially with Bilbo's influence) he might have wandered off on some travels out of the area. But for both of them, it was their respective quests in combination with their essential personalities that made the Shire and uncomfortable place.
But, yes, for Frodo, the Ring, sting, knife, and tooth made it all the more impossible.

This to me was the most painful part of reading LotR but also one that i expected that the hero will not be able to enjoy the Shire and home once he returned because of all the wounds Frodo had to sustain especially the long burden of the Ring.
To answer the question of Frodo changing, of course he had changed. He had changed the moment that he decided to take on the Quest to "save the folk of the SHire". he did not know if he was meant for such a Quest and in many times during the Quest he wanted to go back but since he did, i think Frodo knew he most likely would not stay in the Shire since he is too wounded and also the Quest changed him to not be a simple hobbit anymore and one that cannot "go back" to how things used to be because of such change.
You see that also with Bilbo- he was a Ring-bearer for so long he eventually also outgrew the Shire and therefore cannot stay either. It is interesting to see Tolkien write both as bachelors with no offspring who could've missed them or told them to stay in the Shire though.
We could also say that Bilbo and Frodo's essential nature and how they're different from the other hobbits from the beginning made them grow out of the Shire and were also chosen to be Ring-bearers because of their otherworld-ness that makes them too changed to stay unlike Merry, Pippin and Sam.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series

"He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings."- Siege of Gondor, RotK


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jul 10, 8:16pm

Post #14 of 15 (471 views)
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I always found it heartbreaking-- [In reply to] Can't Post

and especially in my teens when I read it, kept trying to come up with scenarios where Gandalf or Elrond or someone healed him so he could stay. But even if that had happened, Frodo no longer "fit" in the Shure and I expect he would have left anyway at some point.
And I really like what you said here: "To answer the question of Frodo changing, of course he had changed. He had changed the moment that he decided to take on the Quest to "save the folk of the Shire."



elentari3018
Rohan


Jul 11, 2:57am

Post #15 of 15 (456 views)
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There is fic or conjecture of an alternate timeline of "eucatostrophe" [In reply to] Can't Post

and it did happen for a change of events in Mount Doom but perhaps Tolkien could've used it for an alternate timeline for Frodo?
https://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Eucatastrophe (Tolkien coined this neologism)
I do know that in alternate universe fic we do see Frodo staying in the Shire.
However, given the fact of Tolkien had lived for WWI i do also believe he thinks PTSD does take a toll on veterans of war or traumatic events and Frodo growing apart from the Shire is an effect of all that he has experienced but also because of him being a Ring-bearer.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series

"He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings."- Siege of Gondor, RotK

 
 

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