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Old 10-26-2002, 09:21 AM   #1
Matthew2754
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Tolkien Frodo's Fall?

I haven't done a lot of research on this yet so, don't get mad if it's wrong. But i was wondering what everyone thought. Do you think Frodo would have been able to destroy the ring in ROTK without Gollum's help if he hadn't been stabbed by the Nazgul in FOTR? The "knife in the dark" had an effect on him and I think it had a great shortening effect on the amount of time he could bear the ring. Everyone rips on Frodo for finally succumbing in the end, but I wonder if that knife had a hand in his weakness.
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Old 10-26-2002, 09:44 AM   #2
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Sting

I think that while the knife in the dark did affect Frodo, he would have still given in at the end. It was partly just the amount of time he spent with the ring. Another part was that he felt the dark part of the ring and Sauron more when he was near mount doom. Frodo had already had the ring for a long time, and there was no way to get rid of it without going into the middle of Mordor.
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Old 10-26-2002, 10:37 AM   #3
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That's a good point; I never thought of that. I think it did affect him, and the closer he got to Mount Doom the worse it was. If he hadn't been stabbed, I think there's a good chance he would have been able to. Then again, maybe not, as the pull of the ring was so strong on him. So, I guess I'm saying, who knows?
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Old 10-26-2002, 02:09 PM   #4
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Only Tolkein, thats who knows.
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Old 10-26-2002, 02:49 PM   #5
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Sting

I think he still would have given in at the end, even if he hadn't been stabbed. Why? Because: "The Ring is trying to get back to its master. It wants to be found." The Ring would still have overcome Frodo and used him to get back to Sauron.
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Old 10-26-2002, 04:25 PM   #6
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Sting

I agree with TolkienGurl. It was the Ring at work. It used Frodo, and tortured him while doing so. It was the will of the Ring and of Sauron. Frodo was to weak for such a contest.
The Stabbing in 'A knife in the Dark' is, I think, in no way related to the almost disastrous ending on Mount Doom.
I believe the stabbing was a way to win the Ring back. They did it that way and not in an open attack because there were only five of them, and, I guess, because they were still not in open war with the other lands, and therefore the Nazgul were still a secret known to few. Speed and secrecy were dreadfully important.
Killing Frodo was their purpose. When they knew that he survived it (hardily), and they were faster as ever moving towards Rivendell, they made plans of waylaying them. And they almost succeeded, if not for Glorfindel. If he had not chaised the Ringwraiths from the Last Bridge, I believe Strider could not save the Ring there.

This is how I see things.

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Old 10-26-2002, 04:32 PM   #7
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Sting

The stabbing was only one tiny part of this whole equation. Whether or not Frodo had been stabbed, he was "doomed" to fail. To understand this, you must consider the "real" reason Frodo failed at Mount Doom: the fact that he was a mortal, and inevitably flawed.

Tolkien has told us at least three different places in his Letters that Frodo was in an impossible situation. By definition of who he was, a mortal man with imperfections, he could never succeed in his quest. No finite creature would have been able to throw the Ring into the crack: not Sam, not Aragorn, not even Gandalf in incarnate form. No one within Arda! The stabbing was merely incidental to this.

To put it bluntly, Tolkien believed in the reality of original sin. He perceived man as a finite creature with absolute limitations upon his powers. By going against Sauron, Frodo was in effect taking on all the evils in the world embodied in a single Ring. That meant all the killing, the pettiness, the wars, the jealousy, rage, and darkness you can think of, rolled up in one big bag. It was Tolkien's consistent position that there could be no complete victory over evil until the end of time. Until then, we will only have little victories, puntuated by continuing battles, and numerous defeats.

Listen to Tolkien's words:

Quote:
I do not think that Frodo's was a moral failure. At the last moment the pressure of the Ring would reach its maximum--impossible, I should have said, for any one to resist, certainly after long possession, months of increasing torment, and when starved and exhausted. Frodo had done what he could and spent himself completely (as an instrument of Providence) and had produced a situation in which the object of his quest could be achieved.
The surprising thing is not that Frodo failed to throw away the Ring voluntarily; the surprising thing is that he got as far as he did.

Perhaps, some of this inability to understand Frodo is our own failure to recognize the real nature of most "heroes" in this world. We deceive ourselves into thinking there is some magic wand that will make us morally invincible.

Think of it in contemporary terms. How many of us live a life with no mistakes, no errors, no misteps? Exactly zero. How many times do we come to a critical point or decision in our life and fail to do the right thing? Many, many, and we don't have to do battle directly with the Dark Lord.

Tolkien knew and understood the fatal flaw in mankind. And as much as he loved his little hobbit, he knew that perfection was not possible, and, on his own, Frodo would inevitably fail. It was oly with the intervention of Providence that the quest was able to succeed, a situation made possible by Frodo's show of mercy to Gollum.

The pain of the wound did have some bearing on Frodo's decision to depart to Grey Havens. However, even here, I believe, the real reasons lay deeper. Frodo's own fear that he had failed in his quest, along with the continuing pull of the now destroyed Ring, played as much of a role as the stab wound itself.

[ October 26, 2002: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 10-26-2002, 07:16 PM   #8
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1420!

Well said C7A!! As usual.

I wonder, what about an Elf? Could an Elf throw the ring inot Mount Doom?
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Old 10-26-2002, 08:18 PM   #9
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Sting

Frodo,

No, Elves also were "flawed" creatures (just look at Silm). And remember how Galadriel reacted to the Ring. She turned away from it, but it was a struggle for her.

If Gandalf knew it was too much for him, an Elf would be in even worse shape!

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Old 10-26-2002, 08:56 PM   #10
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Silmaril

after thinking about it a lot, I believe Frodo would have given into the ring anyways, for the same reasons as Child of 7th Age said. BTW, I like the way you explained it, Child.
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Old 10-26-2002, 08:58 PM   #11
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Sting

Go, Sharon! Well said, Child of the 7th Age! I agree. I love that Frodo's whole life and an apparently minor (and strategically foolish) act of kindness (a two-generation act of kindness) actually saved the world, when all his direct heroism and endurance simply pulled the world into a configuration where it COULD be saved.

So, why couldn't the ring be flown over the sea or into the volcano by eagles? Why couldn't an almighty Valar fix everything? Why did Frodo have to suffer, and the ring only be destroyed by a last grace made possible by Frodo's life of mercy and restraint (most unwise by any standard of strategy). Because with any simpler and more simply 'heroic' solution, the later ages would have NO CHANCE dealing with their own shadow, which would arise in QUITE a different form.
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Old 10-27-2002, 03:10 PM   #12
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Sting

Well, I remember reading somewhere that those over the Sea would NOT accept the Ring. It was for those in Middle-earth to deal with.

But I'm sure you already knew that, Nar. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 10-28-2002, 02:16 AM   #13
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Pray take a look at this
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Old 10-28-2002, 07:40 PM   #14
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Sting

wow, Just wanted to say Child of the 7th Age you rock! That was a great answer. Thanks for all the hard work digging up JRRT's quotes. Nothing more to say but I'm not worthy!
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Old 10-29-2002, 08:14 AM   #15
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Sting

Thanks guys. I've been immersed down in the RPG room and haven't gotten back to books. Nar, as far as the eagles go, I think they would have been spotted by Sauron, and regarded as a real threat. Frodo's success lay primarily in his secrecy and deception (a continuation of Bilbo the burglar in reverse) and also in Sauron's low regard for hobbits.

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Old 10-29-2002, 01:59 PM   #16
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Oh yes, I agree, Sharon. Sauron was scanning the skies for exactly that sort of thing-- they'd have been right in Barad-Dur's sightline, you couldn't ask for a more guaranteed disaster! Sauron was certainly Maia enough to compose a successful strategy to derail an eagle before the ring could be destroyed, blasting that eagle with a bolt of fire or something, fell beasts held in reserve, and then the ring would have been all his once again. I liked Birdland's 'eagle-zapper' idea, not to mention the 'hobbit-hotels' and ranger-raid'. Truly, 'there is no end to Sauron's treacheries'. (Birdland's post is in a thread on Eagles , but I've forgotten the exact name ... it was brilliant! Do a search on Eagles.)

Mentioning eagles or saving Valar was actually meant as a rhetorical flight. I feel that the pattern of THIS solution to the problem of Sauron had a larger purpose in making later victories against modern forms of the Great Darkness possible. Like in the 7th age, Child. Sauron fell not because the Valar came back and broke the world again ('Pesky Maia! *Splat!* Missed again. Knocked over the fruit bowl, sorry. Try not to step on the cherries ... Wait, he's buzzing around the counter ... *Swish!* got him! Bother, there went the sugar!') but because pity and mercy, endurance and sacrifice allied to end him. History's a song right? Polyrhythmic, many themes, many voices? So, an alteration in the resolution of a melodic theme in the 3rd age could affect the proper key of the next movement, right? And so on. (ok, ok, music majors please help!)

The effect on Arda that the fourth age began so, with humility, love, sacrifice and grace, would be similar to the effect on Bilbo, that he took so little hurt from the ring because his ownership of it began with pity. The High King didn't win his kingship by conquering anyone, but by offering himself as bait; this affects his kingship, his country, and their idea of where authority comes from. Not to mention the qualities of Hobbits are finally known and recognized throughout Middle earth.
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Old 10-29-2002, 04:57 PM   #17
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Silmaril

Child, that was a beautiful analysis. I tend to agree.

Rather, two questions come to my mind:
"Would Frodo have been able to throw in the ring if he had never put it on?"
"Has any bearer of the ring been able to resist putting it on?" (someone may actually have an answer for this one)

Gandalf told Frodo not to ever put on the ring, but he did. Even after the first frightening experience, he used it several more times. Yes, the wound played a part. Yes, proximity to Mordor was involved. But every character who gains possession of the ring puts it on. Some without knowing what it is. Some knowing but justifying themselves with pragmatic or noble motives, believing they can use it's attributes without absorbing its nature. Perhaps Frodo could have thrown it in alone if he had never worn it. This is further commentary on original sin...even when evil has been identified, even when it's power has been experienced, in Tolkien's view it seems sin is irresistible.
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