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Old 01-15-2007, 01:41 PM   #1
Bęthberry
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You really got a hold on me

The Ring appeals to different aspects in people, right? Gandalf fears it as he believes it would appeal to his great sense of pity. Galadriel refuses it as she is aware of her own desires for power. The Ring worked on Gollem's greed for knowledge which he could put to crooked and malicious use. As Gandalf said,

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Shadow of the Past
The ring had given him [Sméagol] power according to his stature.
Yet what was the Ring's draw for Frodo? We are told at Weathertop:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Knife in the Dark
He [Frodo] did not forget the Barrow, nor the message of Gandalf; but something seemed to be compelling him to disregard all warnings, and he longed to yield. Not with the hope of escape, or of doing anything, either good or bad: he simply felt that he must take the Ring and put it on his finger.
What aspect of Frodo's psyche does the Ring use to call to him?
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:13 PM   #2
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Ring

Well, I think the Ring is an "universal-most-evil-thing-trying-to-use-what-best-ways-it-could-to-break-down-the-bearer". You know, it is that kind of thing which would say "I will make you smart enough to rule the market in this city" to a businessman or "I will get you enough power to become a president" to a candidate, or "I will help you to pass the exams" to a student. It plays on the highest desires of the bearer. In Frodo's case, however, it seems that there is no particular reason. Maybe this is just why Frodo was the best for bearing it - he had no hidden desires. The only desire of Frodo I can think of is, to be peace&quiet, the best somewhere in Rivendell with Bilbo. But still it was not so strong desire. In the barrow, the Ring wanted Frodo to put it on under cover of escape. But after having the experience, maybe the Ring knew that Frodo wouldn't put it on out of this reason --- or, and I think, in this particular case (at Weathertop), much like later in Morgul and other times, Frodo put it on just because of the evil will of the Ring (maybe combined with the will of the Nazgul) - just an order: NOW PUT ME ON! There was no temptation behind it: both Frodo and the Ring knew what the other represents, Frodo knew the Ring is evil and had no desire of letting the evil happen, he wouldn't have gained anything from it. There was just that supernatural force, evil will, at that time.

Concerning this point, to enlighten if Frodo actually did have any reasons why put the Ring on, I would mention two other occassions:
1) under the gaze of Galadriel (where, if you remember, everyone of the Company felt as if he's being offered something he desired very much). I'd call this occassion "Galadriel's mind probe aka The One Ring Lite". It was just a test - and also I think just a taste - of what would the Ring offer to the Companions. Frodo was also offered something, as much as anyone else - and I think, this, in his case, was something like "you could return to the Shire and rest there for the rest of your life, no Rings, no rushes". (Note: consider, that if you were the Ring, you'd probably have a hard time to operate with this "lure". The best you could achieve would probably be to get yourself tossed or passed to someone else - which is not so bad, after all, as the next person would probably have more faults than Frodo.)
2) The second, more important. Mount Doom. This is more of a problem. I don't think Frodo here just took the Ring because it finally persuaded him that he could return safely home if he takes it on. I also don't think he took it on because he was exhausted and the Ring finally broke his will in "just put me on" like on Weathertop with no other reason for taking it on. The best reason I can think of is "a blackout of mind" (or "a momentary lapse of reason" ), when all the evil will and pressure and exhaustion actually persuaded Frodo that he of course wants to take the Ring, not to destroy it, and left no place for reasoning. That's all I might have to add, thus far. I'll try to think about it yet.
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:23 PM   #3
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I think Frodo was singularly pure; and he sacrificed his life and being...before he knew what the one ring was, I wonder what was his main desire? To marry? probably not. To be rich? Already was. Maybe to travel, to follow in Bilbo's footsteps...To escape the Shire and to escape mundanity; and later he only uses the ring to escape.

Perhaps his strongest subconscious urge is simply to escape the world? I mean, as long as we're guessing--even to die?

Edit: of course I'm not sure if I believe that that was Tolkien's idea. Perhaps Tolkien himself didn't know.
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:30 PM   #4
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I do also however wonder what the Ring told him at the Cracks of Doom.
We know, as said in the Letters, that probably nobody else in the time of the War of the Ring could have brought the Ring as far as Frodo did, so he does seem to have been the best choice, and as Gandalf hints in UT, The Quest of Erebor, he was also probably chosen for this by Eru, just as Bilbo was meant to find the Ring.
Still, did the Ring have to deceive him in any way in the Sammath Naur, or was the power of the Ring in that place so great that it didn't even need to deceive Frodo?
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:31 PM   #5
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Ring

Would you really throw it in? I mean would you??? It's somehow beautiful and dare I say *gulp* precious! It will get you whatever you want and I mean whatever...
Don't forget - it's yours after all - by right. You've got it. It's yours, so why should you just waste it?

Heck, it's not the "One Ring to rule them ALL" for nothing.

Poor Frodo. He didn't need a 'reason' per se. The ring itself was the reason, the desire, the passion and the fate.
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:35 PM   #6
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I guess I agree. I don't think Frodo was that tempted by the Ring--I think his temptation was probably rather to give it away and run, run, run. At the Cracks of Doom, his mind just finally gave in; he knew he was being deceived--but it just became unbearable.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:12 PM   #7
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It's boring to claim it as another loose end to be tied up, isn't it?

I like Břicho's idea of Frodo's desire to escape. No-good malcontent – The Ring saw that plain as day. It just so happened that, like all no-good malcontents, Frodo fancied being difficult when someone asked him for something.
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:24 PM   #8
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Ho, Eomer has inspired a naughty heretical thought in my mind. Here goes...*lights blue touchpaper and runs*...

Maybe the Ring works on Frodo's wish to hide from danger, on his cowardice?

When ever Frodo puts the ring on he needs to hide. The only times this is not true are when he puts the Ring on at Tom Bombadil's House, and in The Prancing Pony, where he is drunk both on beer and pride at his own song. So yes, maybe it works on his pride too (this could also be half of the case at Mount Doom), but mostly it seems to work on his wish to hide and not face danger.

Is this true of everyone who bears the Ring? They all have the need to be invisible but do they all want to hide?

When Sam wears the Ring he sees himself as a great leader. Gollum wears it to catch food. Bilbo to avoid the neighbours. Isildur to get glory for Gondor. When Frodo wears the Ring he sees into 'another world'.

It's as though the Ring says 'what do you want?' when it's put on. Frodo wants to hide, so that's what he gets.

Then at the end of he wants that ability to hide more than anything and won't give up the Ring. He goes back to The Shire broken and eventually takes the ultimate step into hiding and goes to Valinor.
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:43 PM   #9
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Interesting question. I've thought about this question before.

Just a brief comment first on what Lalwende said about Bilbo:

Quote:
.....Bilbo to avoid the neighbours.
With Bilbo, wasn't it really a question of "tricking" his neighbors? There is, I think, one aspect of Bilbo that qualified him as a "trickster", and I've often thought the Ring encouraged this trait in him. Is it a coincidence that the first thing Bilbo does after picking up the Ring is to engage in a Riddle game? Riddling is bright, witty, humorous, and also deceptive. At what point does the humor of sharp wit, which so many of us enjoy, go beyond the kind hearted to become a weapon?

I don't sense this trickster in Frodo; I do sense it in Bilbo. Frodo seems to be a different case (more later, I hope).

I've spoken with some readers who absolutely can not stand Bilbo for this reason. My own feelings on this are different, but I think the trickster element is definitely there.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:01 AM   #10
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The Ring works on those aspects of it's bearer, which can make the bearer powerful in specific areas, which are already developed by the bearer him- or herself. Another area that plays a part in this is what the bearer desires. The combination of a desire and a specifically developed area seems to be what the Ring looks for in people. The will of (most of) the bearers would be to use this power to do good. Somehow however the Ring corrupts. An interesting question is how it corrupts. We see around us, and in LotR (Saruman), that power corrupts. So... does the Ring directly corrupt peoples minds, or does it indirectly corrupt it's bearers by giving them great powers so that it's really the power that does the corrupting. I think it is the last one, which ofcourse doesn't make the Ring any less dangerous.

For examples I will use two of the people Bethberry names in her opening post.
Gandalf doesn't even want to keep the Ring safe, because the Ring would give him far greater power, and it would apply to his 'pity'. Pity, which he learned long ago from one of the Valiër. Gandalf would, if he did have the Ring, want to do good to the world (out of pity). However, more power brings greater corruption. Gandalf fears himself with the Ring for this reason.
Galadriel admits she wants power, presumably to keep evil at bay and Lothlorien everlasting. Both things she already does with Nenya, but the powers of Nenya aren't great enough anymore. Frodo offers her the Ring. She does not take it. Why? She gives the answer. The power given to her would corrupt her. It would make her a Dark Queen.

It is hard to see in what area it could get to Frodo in that way. Frodo's only desire is to see the Ring destroyed. And he seems to have developed the right areas for it as well, since no one else could have brought the Ring to Mount Doom. The Ring knew this too, ofcourse, and did not try to persuade him to wear It. Except on those occasions that Frodo's first desire was not to destroy the Ring, but to stay hidden for enemies. The Ring took the chances to persuade Frodo to put it on, because Frodo would be better hidden. He would gain power to stay hidden. It was a moment to try to corrupt Frodo, by giving him power.

Secondly the Ring did this at moments that Frodo's enemies were near him. So, Frodo would be corrupted and his enemies had greater chance of finding him. Two strokes in one on those rare occasions. Either the enemy would retreive It an It would go back to Sauron, or Frodo would be corrupted and the Ring would have a job well done.

Ofcourse, this creates the question wether the Ring really wanted to get back to Sauron, or did It only want an evil, corrupted Master?

Greetings,
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayland
Would you really throw it in? I mean would you??? It's somehow beautiful and dare I say *gulp* precious! It will get you whatever you want and I mean whatever...
Don't forget - it's yours after all - by right. You've got it. It's yours, so why should you just waste it?

Heck, it's not the "One Ring to rule them ALL" for nothing.

Poor Frodo. He didn't need a 'reason' per se. The ring itself was the reason, the desire, the passion and the fate.
I can't really agree with this. Frodo just spent a month or so seeing what the Ring did to Gollum. Rationally, I think he knows it would trash him. But this would be the rational side of Frodo. The side of him shaped by the Ring appears to have taken over here.

I would subscribe to the suggestion that his mind went blank and his will finally left him at the end, as he had expended all of that in getting to Mount Doom. But perhaps this doesn't answer the question of how the Ring got to him in the first place. It seems the building effect on Frodo is extraordinarily slow, so in fact he felt the Ring had less to offer him than it did to others (Gollum, for example, was moved immediately to murder Deagol). Whatever weaknesses Frodo had, they were minor, which would explain the length of time needed to possess him completely.

On Weathertop, the suggestion to use the Ring comes from the Nazgul, a contrast with Mount Doom where no one knows he is there...
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:20 PM   #12
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I have been reading these fascinating and contradictory posts from a distance and feel rather delighted that as work kept me away others still pondered the question.

Now, I will have nothing to do with Eomer's wargery--er, roguery--in suggesting a less than heroic motivation for Frodo, a motivation which Lal has expertly exploited.

Rather than focus just on one episode when Frodo wore the Ring, I'd like to consider what we know of Frodo when he wears it. The Ring, like Galadriel's Mirror, gives premonitions of another world.

Sam, for instance, has visions, and when he attempts to free Frodo from the Orcs, he believes that the Ring distorts his senses in these visions. Frodo, we are shown in Weathertop and told later during his recovery in Rivendell, actually sees into the Wraith world.

It is terrifying, as he has a full vision of the Ringwraiths and they of him. Yet he also sees Glorfindel and at Rivendell Gandalf tells Frodo that the elves indeed live in two dimensions at once.

What is this twilight zone that includes both the Dark Lord's minions and the elves, who apparently have their finest, richest, fullest form in this alternate world? The wraith world apparently partakes of some aspects of the immortal world the elves know--perhaps its terrror is that the Riders are there under false and terrible means. We know that Frodo is "Elf friend". Is it his sensitivity to the elves and their world, his openness to other things, which both allows him to carry the Ring as far as he does, and then which ultimately swallows him?

I wish we had more than the words Gandalf speaks to Frodo in Rivendell about the other side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Many Meetings
You were in the gravest peril while you wore the Ring, for then you were half in the wraith-world yourself, and they might have seized you. You could see them, and they could see you.

'I know,' said Frodo, 'they were terrible to behold.. . . .'

. . . .

'The Elves [Gandalf again] may fear the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen to him or serve him. And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. The ydo not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and gainst both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.'

'I thought I saw [Frodo here] a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?'

'Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a hounse of princes. . . . '
So, what is this world which the Ring holds out to Frodo?

I write in haste without much clarity. Sorry. Thanks all for your replies.

PS. I don't think the Nazgul speak to Frodo to put the Ring on at Weathertop. They telepathicly urge him to wait for them when at the Ford, but I think it is the Ring which tempts Frodo at Weathertop.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:28 PM   #13
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Interesting thread here - I don't often come into the Books any more, but this caught my eye...

I think one thing that you have to look at is that the adventure Frodo got wasn't really the adventure he wanted. He wanted Bilbo's sort of adventure: off to find treasure, with home to come back to whenever he wanted, but he knew from the outset that what he effectually faced was exile. For the most part of his journey, Frodo didn't really think he would be coming back - and this, I think, is what the Ring worked on.

Frodo didn't set out to be a hero. He didn't really want to be famous (and I'd say this goes along with the 'hiding' theory that others have presented... Frodo's not very confrontational, he'll run or hide rather than fight - e.g. Boromir - and he doesn't seek out the limelight - remember at the Prancing Pony he felt rather foolish). He wanted adventure, sure, but not the wearing, tiresome, hopeless one he got. The Ring didn't have to actively work on him much, nor did it have much opportunity, since Frodo usually had no desire to wear it; it just had to be there as a constant weight on Frodo's mind - a war of attrition rather than bombarding Frodo's desire to destroy it. He couldn't escape it. Towards the end, all Frodo really wanted was peace of mind - some comfort. Frodo was absolutely worn out by the time he made it to the Cracks of Doom - the Ring might offer something like, If you give in, you don't have to fight it any more, you can have peace.
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot
He couldn't escape it. Towards the end, all Frodo really wanted was peace of mind - some comfort. Frodo was absolutely worn out by the time he made it to the Cracks of Doom - the Ring might offer something like, If you give in, you don't have to fight it any more, you can have peace.
Great! I wanted to say something like this, but I couldn't formulate it. I completely agree with you. This is, in my opinion, why he really put the Ring on in the end. I think also something like this was from time to time happening to him on the road (apart from the moments he really wanted to hide or escape, but this was more at start, when he still didn't have that much experience with what the Ring can do) - the pressure was so big, that it was easier just to give in.
The interesting thing about this is, that where there is no knowledge of trespassing something, there is no temptation: if you look at Bilbo, during his adventure he was putting the Ring on and off with no problem. Of course, it became later something like a habit, or like addiction to smoking: he was not comfortable when he didn't have the Ring with him. But during the adventure - for example in Mirkwood - he had the Ring on for several weeks - some think that it was a month - without putting it off! (in Thranduil's halls) If you consider that it was the Ring of Power which he had... on... for a month...
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