View Single Post
Old 06-01-2002, 06:40 AM   #14
Itinerant Songster
littlemanpoet's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.

Child, you make me think new thoughts. That is a great gift (double meaning). Thank you.

Warning: rambling thoughts. "drive carefully"

I have begun to see more and more of a Celtic influence in Tolkien, due largely to having read Thomas Cahill's book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization", a slightly hyperbolic title. The Celts, before the Vikings, had this urge of westwardness. St. Brendan is the most obvious example. Tolkien's tidal wave dream also plays a large part in this westwardness theme, as he ties it to Numenor/Atlantis (which are not the same as Tol Eressea, but akin). When I read about the Celts of ages ago (and not so long ago) I find that they have, to some degree, the same feel as do Tolkien's Elves.

I bring that up because I think it has a lot to do with Tolkien's consistent intention to have Frodo go into the West. As has been said already on this thread, Frodo was going to go into the West, regardless of how hurt he was. I tend to think that Tolkien had a deep sense that this must be so. Frodo became for Tolkien his Aelfwine character from the Book of Lost Tales; Frodo as a hobbit was akin to the Rohirrim, who are Tolkien's Germanics, his Anglo-Saxons. The British people being a mix of Anglo-Saxon and Celt, it makes sense to me that Frodo, aka Aelfwine, as sensitive and Elf-loving (read for my purpose Celt-loving) as he is, would become somewhat of an Elf himself, as much as could be.

The big question for me is, was this growing Elvishness caused by the trauma of the Ring? In part. Bilbo gets to go, too. Gollum would never have been given the chance, having done evil with the Ring. Bilbo's going into the West actually seems more troublesome to me than Frodo's. Frodo is the only one who suffers to be the Ringbearer against his will, for the sake of others. Bilbo covets it for himself, and perhaps his renunciation is what saves him. The 'fea' of hobbits, humans, and elves, are the same. What happens to Frodo, then, seems to be a straightforward 'sanctification' a shedding of 'the trammels of the flesh' while still alive, such that his fea could be seen clearly by those with eyes to see. So I guess what some call 'elvishness' may not be elvishness per se, except in that Frodo's loosened ties to 'the things of this world' resemble elvishness. (how this just brought me 'de ja vu' I have not the foggiest notion, hmmm... oh well)

Okay, so I've contradicted myself. I guess I can see both things working at the same time and don't see them as mutually exclusive.

I don't have a strong desire for Frodo to stay in the Shire. In all my readings of LotR I have related to both Frodo and Sam more than any other characters. Frodo's farsightedness and dream of 'another faraway place' resonates with me deeply, so I need him to go West over sea. Sam's health and living in the now, while having been deepened by his trials, also resonates deeply with me, and I need him to stay in the Shire. That means that I maintain a split within myself in terms of what I truly desire, which has always been one of the fundamental aspects of my identity. Maybe I'm odd in that way. I doubt it, though. Can anybody else identify with this?
littlemanpoet is offline