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Old 05-28-2002, 09:21 AM   #1
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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Tolkien Frodo's Sacrifice

On Memorial Day, as I read about an uncle lost over the Pacific whom I'd never know, I remembered Frodo's words at Grey Havens:

It must be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.
And I couldn't help but recall Frodo's sacrifice, and his decision to sail West.

It is easy to make a list of Frodo's hurts and guilt, based on the book and Tolkien's Letters. But, this doesn't address the central mystery. We never clearly see Frodo's mind, and many questions are left.

Did Frodo's decision to sail West come out of a sense of strength or weakness, and how does this affect our view of him?

Was it a desire for physical, psychological, or spiritual healing? Or simply fate?

One recent essay, linked elsewhere on this site, pointed solely at Frodo's despair, a belief he could not regain his old self so life in the Shire was unbearable. Can we read anything but sadness in this decision?

Or was something else present, something transcending the immediate hurt, which had more to do with Frodo as a prophet and seer--his longing for the Sea and visions of a distant land; his love of Elves, the elven gleam in his eye, even his elven nature; a desire for a different path in life---

And the Ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a green country under a swift sunrise.
How do we fit together all these pieces of such a beloved and complex character?

sharon, the 7th age hobbit

[ May 28, 2002: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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