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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Do Frodo and Sam meet again?

Melilot Brandybock
The Shire

Jan 9, 8:11pm

Post #1 of 20 (1525 views)
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Do Frodo and Sam meet again? Can't Post

Hello, I need your help,

I’m reading The Lord of the rings to my daughter. We are close to the end, and she will hate that Frodo is leaving Sam behind. A long time ago I read a post where someone told that Sam will eventually join Frodo in the undying lands. Could you tell my if there are any texts from Tolkien where this is mentioned?
I would be grateful for your response.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 9, 8:17pm

Post #2 of 20 (1477 views)
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I think there's a mention in The Grey Havens chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

so if you're nearing the end, you can discuss Frodo's words when you get there!


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 9, 8:53pm

Post #3 of 20 (1471 views)
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Look in the Tales of Years in the Appendices [In reply to] Can't Post

It discusses Sam’s departure from Middle-earth. As far as what he finds, it’s pure conjecture as far as I can tell.


squire
Half-elven


Jan 9, 9:11pm

Post #4 of 20 (1477 views)
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There is a long fan-fic tradition about that [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think Tolkien intended it, though.

As they set out for the Havens, Frodo bequeaths the remainder of his life in Middle-earth to Sam. Sam is meant to enjoy all that Frodo has to forego: marriage, children, honor, service, and art. And when he predicts that, as a Ring-bearer, Sam might eventually seek the Havens, he does not do so as a promise of an eventual reunion, but rather in the sense of a heavenly reward for Sam at the end of a long and rich life. (See VI.9).

In the Appendices 'Tale of Years', we learn that Sam departed for the Havens, and by tradition "passed over Sea, last of the Ring-bearers." But that was in the year 1482, sixty-one years after Frodo's departure. Sam was 99 years old; Frodo, if he was still alive in Elvenhome, would have been 114. Tolkien, in a letter describing the nature of a mortal life in Elvenhome, implies that Frodo was not long for the world due to his wounds both physical and spiritual:
"Frodo was sent or allowed to pass over Sea to heal him – if that could be done, before he died. He would have eventually to 'pass away': no mortal could, or can, abide for ever on earth, or within Time. So he went both to a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and a gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and in greatness, spent still in Time amid the natural beauty of 'Arda Unmarred', the Earth unspoiled by evil.

"Bilbo went too.... His companionship was really necessary for Frodo's sake – it is difficult to imagine a hobbit, even one who had been through Frodo's experiences, being really happy even in an earthly paradise without a companion of his own kind, and Bilbo was the person that Frodo most loved." - Letter 246, bold by squire.

In the context of an immortal land, it's hard to guess what period of time Tolkien had in mind when he says Frodo was given "a while" in a purgatorial setting before dying. But since Bilbo was his companion (not Sam, of course), and Bilbo had very little time left, it's hard to imagine Frodo living alone for the better part of sixty-odd years, pending Sam's eventual arrival. 114 is very old for a hobbit, and I would guess that any 'stretching' of his years due to possession of the Ring for a few decades would be offset by his terrible wounds including the fearful loss of the Ring in the end which (unlike Bilbo) he did not give away voluntarily.

Both of these texts suggest, I think, that Sam may have reached Elvenhome for his own blessed passing in the care of the Elves, but that he did not find Frodo alive when he got there. As I said, this conclusion has been resisted by a very large number of Frodo/Sam fans, and a rich literature exists, I believe, of their imagined reunion in the alternate universe of fan fiction.



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'.
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Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 9, 9:35pm

Post #5 of 20 (1468 views)
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Seems plausible [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Both of these texts suggest, I think, that Sam may have reached Elvenhome for his own blessed passing in the care of the Elves, but that he did not find Frodo alive when he got there. As I said, this conclusion has been resisted by a very large number of Frodo/Sam fans, and a rich literature exists, I believe, of their imagined reunion in the alternate universe of fan fiction.


Of course, Tolkien loved those kinds of endings.

He originally, of course, had Earendil arrive at Tol Eressea only to find that the hosts of the west have already left for Middle Earth, and returning found the battle already won, and Elwing gone (on account of the Kinslaying).

He, at one point, intended for Luthien to die before Beren, leaving the man to wander alone in grief for several more years before passing himself - and indeed would repeat the inverse of the same trick with Aragorn and Arwen.

I find it very plausible that he intended for Sam to go to Valinor never to find Frodo again. Sad, but very much Tolkien.

However, to leave a morsel of optimism, the air of Valinor and the healing capabilities of the Elves must account for something when it comes to prolonging one's life, so maybe...


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 9, 9:39pm)


Cygnus
Lorien


Jan 10, 3:21am

Post #6 of 20 (1448 views)
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Great job [In reply to] Can't Post

This 'ol world needs more parents like you. Keep up the good work.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 10, 8:33am

Post #7 of 20 (1429 views)
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“Tolkien loved those kinds of endings.” [In reply to] Can't Post

“Tolkien loved those kinds of endings.” I agree. Any thoughts on why?

I’ll suggest that one option is:



Quote
“"By now we are supposed to have grasped the plan. Disaster is foreboded. Defeat is the theme. Triumph over the foes of man’s precarious fortress is over, and we approach slowly and reluctantly the inevitable victory of death.”

"The Monsters and the Critics" by J. R. R. Tolkien


Tolkien is discussing his interpretation of Beowulf in that quote, but I wonder whether the same point wouldn’t stand for Tolkien’s own works. His characters are not usually allowed a ‘fairytale’ ending (in the popular sense of a denouement that seems to offer total happiness, rather than the grisly and disturbing endings of some fairytales!) It seems to me that Tolkien is unflinching about not only the costs of victory to the victor, but it’s essential temporaryness, when the hero must eventually fail and die. But meanwhile a hero might, as several characters say, be worth a song.

As a devout Catholic, Tolkien would presumably have believed that in real life a permanent victory was possible, but outside time and not by human agency alone. Aragorn’s partings words to Arwen seem to me to apply something like that to the beyond-death fate of mortals in Middle-earth. But I’m aware that he was cautious about mixing his fiction with specific real-world theology.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 10, 9:30am

Post #8 of 20 (1422 views)
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Well, I think of several reasons [In reply to] Can't Post

First, and quite simply, I think we can say quite bluntly that he was a very pessimistic individual, and that obviously got into his writing. One of my favourite quotes of his:


In Reply To
All human stories are practically only about one thing, aren't they? DEATH.


And surely not only would his experiences in life (including his familial history and the First World War) bolster this disposition of his, but so too would his subject matter: Norse myths are rarely joyful stories; and even a lot of Catholic stories passed down to him through his faith aren't exactly cheerful.

Just as importantly, however, Tolkien was - to no small degree - writing the antithesis of commercial fiction. Not only in how he went against diminutive portrayal of Elves, Dwarves or dragons, but also against narrative and thematic trends.

Where commercial fiction celebrated heroism and reveled in it, Tolkien often provided a criticism of it (The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, The Children of Hurin), where they provided saccharine, happy endings, he provided ones that were either tragic outright, or at least tinged with sadness, and so forth.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 10, 9:33am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 10, 11:34am

Post #9 of 20 (1420 views)
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Tolkien wrote an Epilogue to LotR [In reply to] Can't Post

in which Sam reads from the Red Book to his children, and then has a heart-to-heart with his eldest, Elanor, about the choices of the Elves and the sadness of partings:
Elanor was silent for some time before she spoke again. “I did not understand at first what Celeborn meant when he said goodbye to the King,” she said. “But I think I do now. He knew that Lady Arwen would stay, but that Galadriel would leave him. I think it was very sad for him. And for you dear Sam-dad.” Her hand felt for his, and his brown hand clasped her slender fingers. “For your treasure went too. I am glad Frodo of the Ring saw me, but I wish I could remember seeing him.”

“It was sad, Elanor,” said Sam, kissing her hair. “It was, but it isn't now. For why? Well, for one thing, Mr. Frodo has gone where the Elven light isn't fading; and he deserved his reward. But I have had mine too. I have had lots of treasures. I am a very rich hobbit. And there is one other reason, which I shall whisper to you, a secret I have never told before to no one, nor put in the Book yet. Before he went Mr. Frodo said that my time maybe would come. I can wait. I think maybe we haven't said farewell for good. But I can wait. I have learned that much from the Elves at any rate.” [Unpublished Epilogue to Lord of the Rings, version 2]
Make of that what you will. Sam thinks Frodo hinted that they would meet again across the Sea (after which they would presumably, like Beren and Lúthien, pass beyond the "circles of this world" to the unknown fate of Men - and hobbits). Tolkien didn't include the Epilogue in the published LotR because his editors and pre-publication readers didn't like it (too sentimental, too anticlimactic, spelling too much out, whatever, I don't know). But as far as I know this is a reflection of Tolkien's thinking at the time. And the published Appendices back up this impossible-to-verify "tradition":
“1482 Death of Mistress Rose, wife of Master Samwise, on Mid-year’s Day. On September 22 Master Samwise rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Elanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbairns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Elanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over Sea, last of the Ring-bearers.” [The Tale of Years]


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Jan 10, 11:36am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 10, 11:34am

Post #10 of 20 (1413 views)
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“Go not to the Reading Room for advice...” [In reply to] Can't Post

As Frodo might say, anticipating that we’d say both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Quite aside for an enjoyable conversation about what Tolkien might have intended, I’d say feel free to ask your daughter what she feels happened. If she wants (or really needs) the two to meet again, then maybe it would be unkind to insist on anything different. Naturally you know your daughter best, and so (Gildor like) I won’t presume to advise you...

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 10, 11:42am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 10, 11:52am

Post #11 of 20 (1411 views)
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Link to the Epilogue (link removed) [In reply to] Can't Post

  

Just in case your daughter is interested in hearing more once you get to the end of LotR!

Enjoy the rest of your reading. What a memorable experience for the two of you, and maybe this story of Sam with his own daughter will be a nice way to end!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jan 10, 3:51pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 10, 1:42pm

Post #12 of 20 (1404 views)
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Treasures [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Elanor is right - Frodo was Sam’s treasure. I’m also thinking that there might be no Tolkien theme more recurring than the need to give up your treasure, if that’s necessary for the greater good.

So maybe that’s one way to feel less sorry for Sam - torn in two, he chose the right half. You can in any case read his final line, closing the book, in many ways; from heartbroken to accepting. It’s a great final line, though I sometimes like to try the epilogue’s close (appears as FFH’a footer) instead.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 10, 3:50pm

Post #13 of 20 (1394 views)
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The link goes to copyrighted material [In reply to] Can't Post

so I removed it.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 10, 4:14pm

Post #14 of 20 (1388 views)
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Well I know I'm an old softie... [In reply to] Can't Post

But I read something different into this comparison of Celeborn giving up his "treasure" Galadriel with Sam giving up his. For one thing, real "treasures", like Sting, the mithril coat, or Galadriel's vial, are never given up permanently even if they are temporarily lost. The Ring only seems like a treasure, and giving that up is hard but necessary.

The gist of the Epilogue comparison is that Celeborn will stay in Middle-earth as long as he feels the need, but that he will go over the Sea and be reunited with his wife in the end. I think that's the parallel that's being drawn (of course only expressed as a kind of hope or faith, and not as any kind of certainty) for the time when Sam's links to Middle-earth are over. It's true that no-one including Sam can know if Frodo will still be there, but my impression of Frodo's stay in the Undying Lands is that he will be healed of his wounds and in the end will have the wisdom and strength to die at the time of his own choosing, much like Aragorn. And as we know, time flows differently in Elvish lands, so the time would seem much shorter to Frodo than to Sam. So Frodo could well be waiting for Sam to join him for one last meeting, especially if he meant for Sam to take the hint he gave on the way to the Havens.

After all, Frodo's reply when Sam says he is "torn in two" is not to say that he needs to make a permanent choice of one half - instead he says that Sam will need to be "one and whole for many years". And accordingly Sam spends a lifetime wholeheartedly loving his family and the Shire. But now, at the end of his life, I think the "many years" are over, and Sam's feeling of being torn in two (represented by the sound of the Sea on the shore of Middle-earth that remains always "deep and unstilled" even at his moments of greatest happiness in the Shire) is meant to be cured by a last meeting with Frodo, as Frodo hinted all those years ago.

Tolkien leaves all this as nothing more than a hope on the part of Sam, but Sam's hope is always rewarded, so I'd hate to think that this last hope would turn out to be the one that isn't! ;)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 10, 4:16pm

Post #15 of 20 (1384 views)
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Thanks Entmaiden [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't know that, but I understand that TORn is always careful to respect copyright, so thank you for being so prompt.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 10, 4:19pm

Post #16 of 20 (1386 views)
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I instinctively dig for counter-examples to test out ideas in my mind [In reply to] Can't Post

and when I read

Quote
All human stories are practically only about one thing, aren't they? DEATH.

I thought: "But what about Beren and Luthien having romance and a happy ending?" Then: "Oh, yeah, but they died twice."


Melilot Brandybock
The Shire

Jan 11, 9:09pm

Post #17 of 20 (1313 views)
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This is what I had in mind [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, FarfromHome, this is the text I remembered. I just didn't know the words and where to find it. It's consolating that Tolkien had the idea in mind that Sam could eventually meet Frodo again. Even if we can't say if this really happens or if Tolkien changed his mind again later. If I only could have had such a consolation when I was twelve years old. I felt so sorry reading the end that I reread the whole Lord of the rings a seven times before moving on to other books.

I also like the other ending that you have in your quote.


Melilot Brandybock
The Shire

Jan 11, 9:30pm

Post #18 of 20 (1312 views)
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This is the best part of my day! [In reply to] Can't Post

Within the last five years I've read many books I enjoyed as a child to my daughter. It's a gift that I'm making to both of us: I can share all those storys with her and by reading loud I am forced to read at a low speed and to reflect what the characters have in mind when they're talking. This way I've noticed many details even in the Lord of the Rings that I didn't remember from the last time I read it.


Melilot Brandybock
The Shire

Jan 11, 9:53pm

Post #19 of 20 (1305 views)
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Thanks noWizardme and thanks to all of you! [In reply to] Can't Post

You have all given me interesting thoughts. By the way, I really like Gildor and I think it's a great idea to ask my daughter what she imagines.


Plurmo
Rohan

Jan 17, 6:25am

Post #20 of 20 (1045 views)
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The paradox is [In reply to] Can't Post

that the longer Frodo lives in Elvenhome, the greater the fall he must have had to be allowed to do that.

Sure, Tolkien meant the reader to perceive as much about Frodo's fall as his heart was willing to perceive, so we are never allowed to know what was in Frodo's mind when he claimed the Ring and put it on at the Sammath Naur, only creature to do so since Sauron, and in full knowledge of the binding spell, thanks to Gandalf.

Tolkien did not want to put the young reader through such trial. But the clues are all around, even though it takes an unforgiving reader to see Mandos stamping "eternity, no parole, no mushrooms" in Frodo's admission papers were he meant for the Halls and the slow untangling of his spirit from the voluptas of power.

Personally I see no way Frodo could have been given The Gift with a clean spirit with less than a very, very long stay. And I would start the clock on his recovery by the time of Sam's peaceful death in his company, finally releasing him to become, like Bombadil, master of himself alone.

This being a way of making sense of something intentionally left opened by Tolkien so that the reader could interpret things in accordance to his willingness to accept that in Tolkien's mythology one cannot understate the hero's fall nor assume that his sin would be promptly forgiven because the hero was forced into an impossible situation.

Anyway, LOTR loses much of its immensity when Frodo's fall is understated and yet puts enormous bitter on its sweetness when it is not.

 
 

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