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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Regarding Dialogue between Gandalf and Frodo

just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 12 2017, 8:52pm

Post #1 of 21 (2926 views)
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Regarding Dialogue between Gandalf and Frodo Can't Post

In Book 1 Chapter 2 , Gandalf says to Frodo that he is not warning him against leaving an address at the post office.

What did he mean by that?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 12 2017, 9:09pm

Post #2 of 21 (2875 views)
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No fair! Trick question. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In Book 1 Chapter 2 , Gandalf says to Frodo that he is not warning him against leaving an address at the post office.

What did he mean by that?


There is no such line of dialogue in The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 2. However, we do have this exchange in Chapter 3 "Three is Company":


Quote
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'

'Don't be absurd!' said Gandalf. 'I am not warning you against leaving an address at the post-office! But you are leaving the Shire--and that should not be known, until you are far away. And you must go, or at least set out, either North, South, West or East--and the direction should certainly not be known.'


Maybe you've forgotten that the Shire does maintain a postal service (the Messenger Service) with the Mayor of Michel Delving serving as the Postmaster. Gandalf is certainly aware of it, and this is what he was referencing.

And please try not to post the same question in multiple forums.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 12 2017, 9:10pm)


just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 12 2017, 9:22pm

Post #3 of 21 (2862 views)
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Awkward first post... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
In Book 1 Chapter 2 , Gandalf says to Frodo that he is not warning him against leaving an address at the post office.

What did he mean by that?


There is no such line of dialogue in The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 2. However, we do have this exchange in Chapter 3 "Three is Company":


Quote
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'

'Don't be absurd!' said Gandalf. 'I am not warning you against leaving an address at the post-office! But you are leaving the Shire--and that should not be known, until you are far away. And you must go, or at least set out, either North, South, West or East--and the direction should certainly not be known.'


Maybe you've forgotten that the Shire does maintain a postal service (the Messenger Service) with the Mayor of Michel Delving serving as the Postmaster. Gandalf is certainly aware of it, and this is what he was referencing.

And please try not to post the same question in multiple forums.

Sorry, I mistakenly posted in the wrong forum but found no way to delete it or anything like that.

And yeah it's Chapter 3. My bad ...

(Won't happen again...EvilEvilEvil)

But, what I really wanted to know is that what does "leaving an address at the post office" mean in that particular situation. Taking literal meaning, what use would it serve?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 12 2017, 9:30pm

Post #4 of 21 (2855 views)
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Gandalf isn't speaking literally. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But, what I really wanted to know is that what does "leaving an address at the post office" mean in that particular situation. Taking literal meaning, what use would it serve?


Of course Gandalf does not think that Frodo would really leave a forwarding address. He says it himself, "Don't be absurd!" He is just reinforcing his warning to Frodo to keep his plans in the deepest secrecy.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 12 2017, 9:39pm

Post #5 of 21 (2849 views)
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Still not getting it [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
But, what I really wanted to know is that what does "leaving an address at the post office" mean in that particular situation. Taking literal meaning, what use would it serve?


Of course, Gandalf does not think that Frodo would really leave a forwarding address. He says it himself, "Don't be absurd!" He is just reinforcing his warning to Frodo to keep his plans in the deepest secrecy.

Sorry, but what is "absurd" in:
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'
I don't think Frodo was getting naiive...


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 12 2017, 10:51pm

Post #6 of 21 (2835 views)
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Gandalf warning Frodo... [In reply to] Can't Post

...The wizard is not just warning Frodo not to reveal where he might be going; he is warning him not to even hint that he might be leaving the Shire at all. Gandalf is simply emphasizing the need for secrecy which eventually leads to the cover-story of Frodo's move to Buckland.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 12 2017, 10:52pm

Post #7 of 21 (2832 views)
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First, they actually DID have addresses. [In reply to] Can't Post

At least in the Shire. Gandalf mentions in his letter left at Bree (Ch. 10) that Frodo's would be "Mr. Frodo Baggins, Bag End, Hobbiton in the Shire". Sam's would be more exacting - "Mr. Samwise Gamgee, No. 3 Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire".


In Reply To
Sorry, but what is "absurd" in:
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'
I don't think Frodo was getting naiive...

And Frodo at that moment didn't know where he was going, just fleeing the Shire. It's mentioned by Gandalf a couple paragraphs later that he advises Frodo to "make for Rivendell".

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 12 2017, 11:24pm

Post #8 of 21 (2828 views)
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Am I close...??? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
At least in the Shire. Gandalf mentions in his letter left at Bree (Ch. 10) that Frodo's would be "Mr. Frodo Baggins, Bag End, Hobbiton in the Shire". Sam's would be more exacting - "Mr. Samwise Gamgee, No. 3 Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire".


In Reply To
Sorry, but what is "absurd" in:
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'
I don't think Frodo was getting naiive...

And Frodo at that moment didn't know where he was going, just fleeing the Shire. It's mentioned by Gandalf a couple paragraphs later that he advises Frodo to "make for Rivendell".

Okay, so Gandalf says not to be absurd because he is not telling Frodo to leave The Shire without a little bit of planning on where he is going...

Correct...???


squire
Half-elven


Nov 12 2017, 11:55pm

Post #9 of 21 (2827 views)
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Yes, Gandalf is quite inconsistent and Frodo is right to be confused. [In reply to] Can't Post

Having sympathetically extended his "you ought to go soon" order to "September, four months from now, is fine", Gandalf opens this next exchange with "In the meanwhile, do take care, and don’t let out any hint of where you are going!" [bold by squire]

Naturally, Frodo protests that he has no idea of where he is going, so "it would be difficult to give that away".

Gandalf's reaction, as Otaku notes, changes the subject. Frodo was not being "absurd" at all; nothing he said meant that he did not yet have a specific destination in mind, for which a forwarding address could be given. But Gandalf is crankily saying he didn't actually mean, don't say where you're going; what he meant to say was, don't say that you're going at all. He adds that, once Frodo has gone and people have noticed his absence from the Shire, it's also important that even then, Frodo should insure that the Shirefolk should have no idea in which direction he was headed -- again, useless advice from Frodo's point of view, as he pathetically reminds the wizard.

Gandalf's confusing messages show just how tense he is about this whole thing. I myself assume that he feels incredibly guilty that he has allowed the Ring to linger undetected this long in the hands of the helpless hobbits, and is projecting that anger and guilt onto Frodo.

Frodo's confession at that point, that he is completely lost and has no idea whatever of where he is supposed to go or what he is supposed to do - aside from leaving the Shire with the Ring, as he resolved at the end of the previous chapter - seems to help Gandalf to chill out, remember that hobbits are in fact quite helpless against Sauron, and actually give some workable advice: head for Rivendell.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 13 2017, 12:24am

Post #10 of 21 (2815 views)
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Almost getting it... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Having sympathetically extended his "you ought to go soon" order to "September, four months from now, is fine", Gandalf opens this next exchange with "In the meanwhile, do take care, and don’t let out any hint of where you are going!" [bold by squire]

Naturally, Frodo protests that he has no idea of where he is going, so "it would be difficult to give that away".

Gandalf's reaction, as Otaku notes, changes the subject. Frodo was not being "absurd" at all; nothing he said meant that he did not yet have a specific destination in mind, for which a forwarding address could be given. But Gandalf is crankily saying he didn't actually mean, don't say where you're going; what he meant to say was, don't say that you're going at all. He adds that, once Frodo has gone and people have noticed his absence from the Shire, it's also important that even then, Frodo should insure that the Shirefolk should have no idea in which direction he was headed -- again, useless advice from Frodo's point of view, as he pathetically reminds the wizard.

Gandalf's confusing messages show just how tense he is about this whole thing. I myself assume that he feels incredibly guilty that he has allowed the Ring to linger undetected this long in the hands of the helpless hobbits, and is projecting that anger and guilt onto Frodo.

Frodo's confession at that point, that he is completely lost and has no idea whatever of where he is supposed to go or what he is supposed to do - aside from leaving the Shire with the Ring, as he resolved at the end of the previous chapter - seems to help Gandalf to chill out, remember that hobbits are in fact quite helpless against Sauron, and actually give some workable advice: head for Rivendell.


Pardon me but could you please explain :

Quote
nothing he said meant that he did not yet have a specific destination in mind, for which a forwarding address could be given



Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 13 2017, 12:51am

Post #11 of 21 (2810 views)
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I think Gandalf's point is simply that [In reply to] Can't Post

 he feels Frodo is taking things a bit too lightly, joking about forwarding addresses when he is in very serious danger. Gandalf is trying to impress on him that this is not like trying to avoid annoying relatives in the Shire, where one might move without leaving a forwarding address and successfully get away from them. Avoiding those who are hunting Frodo for the Ring has to be secrecy on a far greater level, because the consequences of anyone knowing or even guessing where or when he is going could be deadly for him and disastrous to the world. He's sounding vague and a bit cranky because he's trying to get Frodo to take the necessary care without telling him so much that he'll be terrified and panic.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 13 2017, 1:29am

Post #12 of 21 (2811 views)
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Frodo knows where he is going [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Naturally, Frodo protests that he has no idea of where he is going, so "it would be difficult to give that away".

True, but a couple paragraphs earlier he thinks of follwing in Bilbo's footsteps. Later Gandalf suggests Rivendell and Frodo says: 'Very good: I will go east, and I will make for Rivendell. I will take Sam to visit the Elves...'

So it seems Frodo always had in Rivendell in mind before and after leaving the Shire.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




squire
Half-elven


Nov 13 2017, 4:03am

Post #13 of 21 (2790 views)
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It's tricky, because the conversation is between two people who were not on the same wavelength just then. [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is the dialogue:
[Gandalf:] "...do take care, and don’t let out any hint of where you are going!"

‘As for where I am going,’ said Frodo, ‘it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.’

‘Don’t be absurd!’ said Gandalf. ‘I am not warning you against leaving an address at the post-office!'

When I said "nothing [Frodo] said meant that he did not yet have a specific destination in mind, for which a forwarding address could be given", I was trying to point out that Gandalf is belittling an answer that Frodo did not give. Gandalf was the one who first said "where you are going", and Frodo, of course, doesn't know where he is going. He says so to Gandalf: he can't "let out a hint" or "give that away" about something that he knows nothing of. Gandalf's snarky response implies that Frodo said he hasn't quite worked out an itinerary; Frodo did not mean that at all, but was rather responding to Gandalf's own suggestion that he had already worked out "where" he would be going when he set out: Frodo has, literally, no idea ("no clear idea, yet") where that would be.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 13 2017, 10:47am

Post #14 of 21 (2758 views)
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Okay [In reply to] Can't Post

So are you are trying to say that Gandalf had already a destination in mind for Frodo (at the time of conversation) and Frodo had no idea about it (at the time of conversation)???

Or that Frodo already had a destination in mind (at time of conversation) but did not have any idea of in which direction (North East West South) to go...???


(This post was edited by just_a_guy on Nov 13 2017, 10:53am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 13 2017, 2:14pm

Post #15 of 21 (2740 views)
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Is this the best place to jump in? [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the Reading Room, 'just_a_guy'.

I'm not intending to pre-empt squire's response, but this subthread seems the most effective place to put down some thoughts.

As I see it, Frodo's "‘As for where I am going,’ said Frodo, ‘it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.’ " could be the dreaded Shire (English?) understatement: an indirect appeal to Gandalf for advice. Or it could be that Frodo has only now realised himself the truth of what he says to Gandalf moments later:


Quote
‘I have been so taken up with the thoughts of leaving Bag End, and of saying farewell, that I have never even considered the direction,’ said Frodo. ‘For where am I to go? And by what shall I steer? What is to be my quest? Bilbo went to find a treasure, there and back again; but I go to lose one, and not return, as far as I can see.’


I can understand Gandalf's frustration. This isn't the only flippant- seeming objection Frodo has made in a conversation, which started:


Quote
"‘You ought to go quietly, and you ought to go soon,’ said Gandalf. Two or three weeks had passed, and still Frodo made no sign of getting ready to go.

‘I know. But it is difficult to do both,’ he objected. ‘If I just vanish like Bilbo, the tale will be all over the Shire in no time.’

‘Of course you mustn’t vanish!’ said Gandalf. ‘That wouldn’t do at all!"



I think that Gandalf desperately wants Frodo away, in order to make him (and the Ring) harder to find. As he points out, it isn't necessary to have all the details worked out. I think this is balanced by Gandalf's reluctance to give advice - Frodo is 'meant' to have the Ring, and perhaps that means he is uniquely likely to guess what to do with it. perhaps indeed that is right - by insisting upon waiting until September, he exactly co-ordinates with the separate missions of Boromir, Legolas and Gimli to Rivendell, thereby making the Council of Elrond possible.

because I think Gandalf works a lot by instinct, I don't suppose he intended to insist Frodo go to Rivendell (when G suggests it, we read about an epiphany Frodo feels, showing (i think) that Gandalf has indeed worked out what is 'meant' to happen'.:



Quote
"Rivendell!’ said Frodo. ‘Very good: I will go east, and I will make for Rivendell. I will take Sam to visit the Elves; he will be delighted.’ He spoke lightly; but his heart was moved suddenly with a desire to see the house of Elrond Halfelven, and breathe the air of that deep valley where many of the Fair Folk still dwelt in peace."



Whether Frodo had already inwardly decided on Rivendell, I'm not sure. he has decided 'to follow Bilbo' and heading to Rivendell literally achieves this. But, as far as I know, Frodo does not know that Bilbo is there. Certainly it's a reasonable guess for where the elf-literature-obsessed Bilbo might go, and it is a logical way point on the road to to Mordor. Perhaps (as per Bracegirdle, earlier, perhaps) Frodo has at some level already decided on Rivendell, but only consciously realises it when Gandalf suggests it.

Rivendell, The Grey Havens, Lorien or Orthanc are the logical waypoints for Gandalf to suggest - places where Frodo could get help and advice. Rivendell is perhaps the most likely for Frodo to accept, as he's heard Bilbo's stories about it.

Finally: Is it useful to have a literal answer of what a 'forwarding address' is (or was)? I think just_a_guy did ask that, and it has yet to be answered. Post Offices of Tolkien's era could accept an instruction that (say) post for Mr Frodo Baggins, addressed to Bag End, Hobbiton, ought to be sent instead to some new address, from a certain date. The service was still available a few years back - I used it last time I moved house, to save the new occupants of my old house having to send on my post. Quite feasibly Frodo set up such an instruction as part of his 'cover story', arranging for his mail to go to Crickhollow. But clearly a forwarding address of Mr Frodo Baggins, Mount Doom, Mordor (to await arrival) would both be a ridiculous breach of secrecy, even if the Shire post office was capable of international delivery (especially to that country). It seems that post between even Bree and The Shire is a limited affair - Gandalf cannot post his letter to Frodo from Bree and must rely on Butterbur to find someone willing to courier it personally.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 13 2017, 6:04pm

Post #16 of 21 (2707 views)
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The Choices of Mister Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

Realistically, Frodo only had two realistic choices of where to bring the One Ring. North was no good; what would he do, hide at the shore of Lake Nenuial? South to Saruman would have meant traveling hundreds of miles through empty lands on a poorly maintained road with a hazardous river-crossing at Tharbad. And, of course, the White Wizard had fallen to the Shadow (though neither Frodo nor even Gandalf was aware of that).

Frodo could only have taken the Ring West to Círdan in the Grey Havens, or East to Rivendell. Bringing the Ring to the Havens would actually have been a reasonable choice. Chances are good that Círdan might have taken the Ring to Rivendell himself or summoned the White Council to Mithlond. That, though, would have given us a very different story. Imagine the Ring being transported by ship to Gondor, only to be intercepted by a Corsair fleet.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


just_a_guy
The Shire

Nov 13 2017, 8:05pm

Post #17 of 21 (2694 views)
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Hmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay so following conversation

Quote
'As for where I am going,' said Frodo, 'it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.'

'Don't be absurd!' said Gandalf. 'I am not warning you against leaving an address at the post-office! But you are leaving the Shire--and that should not be known, until you are far away. And you must go, or at least set out, either North, South, West or East--and the direction should certainly not be known.'

could be like :

Frodo : As for where I am going, it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.
Gandalf : 'Don't be absurd! I am not just warning you against leaving an address at the post-office! I am warning you against even telling anyone that you are going away.

Right...?


As for this

Quote
Realistically, Frodo only had two realistic choices of where to bring the One Ring. North was no good; what would he do, hide at the shore of Lake Nenuial? South to Saruman would have meant traveling hundreds of miles through empty lands on a poorly maintained road with a hazardous river-crossing at Tharbad. And, of course, the White Wizard had fallen to the Shadow (though neither Frodo nor even Gandalf was aware of that).

Frodo could only have taken the Ring West to Círdan in the Grey Havens, or East to Rivendell. Bringing the Ring to the Havens would actually have been a reasonable choice. Chances are good that Círdan might have taken the Ring to Rivendell himself or summoned the White Council to Mithlond. That, though, would have given us a very different story. Imagine the Ring being transported by ship to Gondor, only to be intercepted by a Corsair fleet.

at least I can't comment on it for I have yet to read much of Tolkien......


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 13 2017, 8:36pm

Post #18 of 21 (2682 views)
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Right [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
could be like :

Frodo : As for where I am going, it would be difficult to give that away, for I have no clear idea myself, yet.
Gandalf : 'Don't be absurd! I am not just warning you against leaving an address at the post-office! I am warning you against even telling anyone that you are going away.

Right...?


I think so. And also I think Gandalf wants Frodo to realise that he must start, even if he can't see exactly how the whole thing will work out.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 13 2017, 8:56pm

Post #19 of 21 (2681 views)
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Short thought [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Whether Frodo had already inwardly decided on Rivendell, I'm not sure. he has decided 'to follow Bilbo' and heading to Rivendell literally achieves this. But, as far as I know, Frodo does not know that Bilbo is there.


It’s true that there are no absolutes given as to whether Frodo knows where Bilbo is, but I’ve always wondered if there might logically be some correspondence between the two. Either written or orally by messenger (wandering Elves, etc.).

They were separated almost exactly seventeen years from Sept. 22, 3001 until Frodo leaves on Sept. 23, 3018. Some simple Elf-delivered messages don’t seem beyond giving thought. Also it doesn’t seem beyond thought that Frodo in one or some of his nighttime wanderings may have come across an Elf or two that knew of Bilbo’s whereabouts. If so Frodo would know where Bilbo was.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 13 2017, 9:12pm

Post #20 of 21 (2674 views)
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That's possible. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's true that there are no absolutes given as to whether Frodo knows where Bilbo is, but I’ve always wondered if there might logically be some correspondence between the two. Either written or orally by messenger (wandering Elves, etc.).

They were separated almost exactly seventeen years from Sept. 22, 3001 until Frodo leaves on Sept. 23, 3018. Some simple Elf-delivered messages don’t seem beyond giving thought. Also it doesn’t seem beyond thought that Frodo in one or some of his nighttime wanderings may have come across an Elf or two that knew of Bilbo’s whereabouts. If so Frodo would know where Bilbo was.


It was equally possible that Dwarves traveling between Erebor and the Blue Mountains might have carried a letter or some other message from Bilbo to Frodo.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 20 2017, 12:04am

Post #21 of 21 (2581 views)
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So when does Frodo decide that he has to go to Mount Doom? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf does say, in the previous chapter that that is the only way to destroy the Ring and to keep it from Sauron's grasp so just wondering about in the Wild isn't much use at all. Rivendell is the only logical place as somewhere to keep the Ring safe at least for a while. And safer than it would be in the Shire at any rate. But at this stage, neither Frodo, nor indeed we the reader do know much about the world outside the Shire. We do know that Sauron is powerful and does desire the Ring greatly. But no one at this stage knows about the Nazgul or how Sauron might get this Ring. Or indeed how Frodo is going to get to Mordor at all. It could be for him or others.

 
 

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