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-   -   Did Frodo REALLY volunteer to Bear the Ring? (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=18915)

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 01:43 AM

Did Frodo REALLY volunteer to Bear the Ring?
 
Did Frodo really volunteer for the Quest, as if truly he could have been 'self-sacrificing' when he got up at the Council of Elrond.

I don't buy it. I never have, down deep. I mistrusted Frodo in Rivendell, from the beginning. Am I being too hard on Frodo? :) Or Am I being wise? :eek:

what do you guys think and why?

Andsigil 07-08-2015 03:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700491)
I don't buy it. I never have, down deep. I mistrusted Frodo in Rivendell, from the beginning. Am I being too hard on Frodo? :) Or Am I being wise?

I never really thought about it. His intentions seemed good, considering what he endured en-route to Orodruin.

In any event, if a person does the right thing for the wrong reasons, they're still doing the right thing.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 03:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andsigil (Post 700492)
I never really thought about it. His intentions seemed good, considering what he endured en-route to Orodruin.

In any event, if a person does the right thing for the wrong reasons, they're still doing the right thing.

Hey there :)

I dunno.....how can you do anything on-track for any 'right' thing, when you don't even know you're 'off track', especially when in the brewing underlayers Frodo had been chatting with Nazgul, and was then left with a bit of 'fading' in his arm in Rivendell (Gandalf spotted it at the bedside). All seemed a bit 'wraith-ish' at the time, I remember. He was having trouble keeping the ring off his finger by the time he left the Shire. He was already well on the way to 'creepy' by Rivendell.

I don't quite know what to make of Frodo offering the Ring to Galadriel. And running off to Mordor on his own. It all just felt wrong (as in, great story, but it had undertones of 'o-oh, Frodo's wraith-ising again).....

I reckon he didn't want to part with his 'Precious' by Rivendell, and so 'offered' to go on the Quest, and as said in the Silmarillion (narrative) about Sauron after the War of Wrath, that Sauron '....lied even unto himself....' in falsely pleading for Mercy from the Valar. The Bad Boi of LotR then goes to the local Brand Name Elvish clothing store, dons some nice smelling Elvish aftershave (wait, they don't shave) and becomes Annatar "Lord of Gifts".

Lord.....of ha? Gifts? Lord of them.... It was weirdo creepy and somehow seemed just the same as Frodo in the Meeting at Rivendell. Does anyone know what I mean when I say "it all Stank (c.f. stank) of Vanity?:):)

Nerwen 07-08-2015 03:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700491)
Did Frodo really volunteer for the Quest, as if truly he could have been 'self-sacrificing' when he got up at the Council of Elrond.

I don't buy it. I never have, down deep. I mistrusted Frodo in Rivendell, from the beginning. Am I being too hard on Frodo? :) Or Am I being wise? :eek:

what do you guys think and why?

I'm not really sure what you're getting at, Ivriniel.

If you have some Evil!Frodo theory that he had no intention of doing the right thing but was planning a nefarious double-cross (or something)- well, you need to come up with actual evidence. (I know I keep saying this kind of thing, but it does seem to me that people at times almost forget that fictional characters- or places, or things- cannot have a "real" existence independent of anything written about them- i.e. they are not historical). Besides, motives aside, the fact is that he *did* volunteer, according to the text of "The Lord of the Rings".

Tolkien does of course famously play with the "translator conceit", implying that there *is* a "real" version out there- but, again, a conceit is all it is. Now, if your theory is that Frodo falsified the account of what happened at the Council in the Red Book in order to make himself look better, then you need to show some reason why you think we're meant to infer this.

And if neither of those is what you were getting at, I apologise for wasting your time- but I do also think you could be a bit clearer.;)
Edit: x'd with Andsigil and Ivriniel.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700495)
I'm not really sure what you're getting at, Ivriniel.

If you have some Evil!Frodo theory that he had no intention of doing the right thing but was planning a nefarious double-cross (or something)- well, you need to come up with actual evidence. (I know I keep saying this kind of thing, but it does seem to me that people at times almost forget that fictional characters- or places, or things- cannot have a "real" existence independent of anything written about them- i.e. they are not historical). Besides, motives aside, the fact is that he *did* volunteer, according to the text of "The Lord of the Rings".

Tolkien does of course famously play with the "translator conceit", implying that there *is* a "real" version out there- but, again, a conceit is all it is. Now, if your theory is that Frodo falsified the account of what happened at the Council in the Red Book in order to make himself look better, then you need to show some reason why you think we're meant to infer this.

And if neither of those is what you were getting at, I apologise for wasting your time- but I do also think you could be a bit clearer.;)

Hi Nerwen :) I'm gunna wait a little bit before rolling out the trolleys with quotes n evidence.....I wanna wait to see what people reckon first.

Nerwen 07-08-2015 04:01 AM

Okay, so you did mean what I suggested.

So, what I said, then. All you have there is how it (the scene in Rivendell) "feels" to you, and that is purely subjective. It does not "feel" like that to me, for example.

X'd with Ivriniel again.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700495)
...snip-->Tolkien does of course famously play with the "translator conceit", implying that there *is* a "real" version out there- but, again, a conceit is all it is. Now, if your theory is that Frodo falsified the account of what happened at the Council in the Red Book in order to make himself look better, then you need to show some reason why you think we're meant to infer this.

And if neither of those is what you were getting at, I apologise for wasting your time- but I do also think you could be a bit clearer.;)
Edit: x'd with Andsigil and Ivriniel.

That's really interesting materials........I really love the context- or narrative- or positioning of where you're going. I'm going to ponder this one...

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700497)
Okay, so you did mean what I suggested.

So, what I said, then. All you have there is how it (the scene in Rivendell) "feels" to you, and that is purely subjective. It does not "feel" like that to me, for example.

X'd with Ivriniel again.

....bring it!!!! :) hahaha it's good stuff. I've got a truck load more, but I wanna wait to see how people sit with it. Can up or down the ante on lots of themes....as happens.

Frodo has a metaphysical Stench that can be smelled at the far ends of the Universe.

Nerwen 07-08-2015 04:12 AM

You have "quotes n evidence" that Frodo was planning a double-cross at that time?
Really?

I'd certainly be intererested to hear what they are, but I will say now that- as with the "Arkensil" case, I believe this come under the "extraordinary claims" principle. That is, your evidence had better be *good*.;)

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700500)
You have "quotes n evidence" that Frodo was planning a double-cross at that time?
Really?

I'd certainly be intererested to hear what they are, but I will say now that- as with the "Arkensil" case, I believe this come under the "extraordinary claims" principle. That is, your evidence had better be *good*.;)

hahaha erm, maybe from the Black Silmarilian (if I can find an English version anywhere - know one?). Otherwise, all my materials are inferential, context-dependent analyses of the mythology, with some juxtapositioning. There are facets from the mythology, all the way through, in fact of characters I can integrate into prose to elucidate the point.

the basic point: Frodo was "...lying even unto himself..." at The Council of Elrond, and that by the time the 'Precious' word or actual conscious manifestations of Sauronic perversion had begun to express themselves (certainly, by the time we're at the Emyn Muil), already, significant changes had occurred....

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:20 AM

It was well already "too late" for Frodo, by Rivendell. Without Cosmic Intervention (Deus Ex Machina) he was already corrupted and Sauronic purpose fulfilled.

The outcome of TA was an Intervention-Eru that saved Middle Earth, vanquished Sauron (are we sure that Palanir got wrecked at Barad Dur?) and all would have been lost-WITHOUT Eru intervening. Frodo failed by Rivendell

Nerwen 07-08-2015 04:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700501)
hahaha erm, maybe from the Black Silmarilian (if I can find an English version anywhere - know one?). Otherwise, all my materials are inferential, context-dependent analyses of the mythology, with some juxtapositioning. There are facets from the mythology, all the way through, in fact of characters I can integrate into prose to elucidate the point.

the basic point: Frodo was "...lying even unto himself..." at The Council of Elrond, and that by the time the 'Precious' word or actual conscious manifestations of Sauronic had begun to express themselves (certainly, by the time we're at the Emyn Muil), already, significant changes had occurred....

But, hang on, are you putting this forward as an actual theory, or just your own personal "head-canon"? Because what you're describing here certainly sounds more like what I would call head-canon-level "evidence".

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700503)
But, hang-on, are you putting this forward as a actual theory, or just your own personal "head-canon"? Because what you're describing here certainly sounds more like what I would call head-canon-level "evidence".

Well-canon will certainly contribute direct matters and particular features. There are, for example, exact quotations, dialogues, and characterisations as Tolkien or his son has put them. And certainly 'letters' from Tolkien, and of course, the other Tomes, and I find that it's the mismatch in materials that sometimes means there's room to extend canon - only by inference - and certainly never 'in concrete'.

As for the basic theme - it certainly is Canon, I'd have thought, to quote Sauron as having '...lied even unto himself...' before The Herald of Manwe at the start of the TA. This, of course, must mean that Sauron has insight about how the Mind (with a Fea) can deceive, conceal, equivocate, and veil inner motivations. I'd have imagined that he crafted the Rings with that exact knowledge, in part to guide.

After all, Ash Nagz Durbataluk - and even Celebrimbor was deceived. We see a strong theme in the narrative about Noldorin Vanity (and indeed, the more I ponder the works, the greater is it apparent to me that Vanity of Elves, of Maia, of Men, of Valar, was always the confounding and ruin of Works of Arda. For example, consider Aule and his fashioning of the Dwarves, an act of Conceit (Vanity) (upper case), only in part, as was both the Making and Coveting of the Silmarils. Yet, Eru (as I've said in another post) spares even craftings borne of Vanity. Where Love guides - and Aule certainly did misconceive of Eru's intentions for the Firstborn, yet his creations were spared, and imbued with Fea (or the Dwarvish equivalent. Do they go to Mandos?)

And so - we see the paradox of Vanity again and again. The Vanity of devising even things that Preserve (Narya Nenya Vilya), tho for Love, were yet governed by Sauronic expansion, and territoriality over the Metaphysical...

Frodo's claim at Rivendell stank of Vanity-greatly.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 04:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700504)
Frodo's claim at Rivendell stank of Vanity-greatly.

Really Frodo? You reckon you can march on into Mordor, and chuck the thing away, when you couldn't keep it off your finger on Amon Sul, and look at you with Bilbo, ready to gore the guy who took you in, for asking just to look at your pretty 'Precious'. You reckon you can just blare out at Council and stomp your foot and stake your claim--even amongst The Last High King (ish) of the Noldor in Middle Earth!

V-A-N-I-T-Y

Seriously, Frodo. You're "...lying even unto himself...". Very quick was he to 'spot' avarice in others, such as in Boromir. Very much the 'who wants My Precious' don't you think. And poor Sam in Cirith Ungol. Seriously Frodo, that was beyond mean, beyond creepy, and cruel. Sauronically cruel, indeed.

"...lying even unto himself..." were I sam, by then I'd have been absolutely terrified for it was very clear Frodo had failed.

The only exception I can see in the narrative, is his attempt to Gift the Ring to Galadriel. I'm not sure what to make of that.

Nerwen 07-08-2015 04:52 AM

But so far this has all been about your feelings and subjective impressions. If you can make a proper case, again I'd be interested to hear it.:Merisu:

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 05:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700506)
But so far this has all been about your feelings and subjective impressions. If you can make a proper case, again I'd be interested to hear it.:Merisu:

The Quest (as we all well do know) was only ever to get the Ring to Orodruin. Gandalf and several have conceded that. I'm sure you're familiar with the text and citations, and I'm sure you are also familiar with Silmarillion's take on Vanity and how it implicate Morgoth's judgment, Feanor's and implications for Noldoring Vanity in the Kinslaying. The Doom of Mandos in its Decree exiles the Noldor for their....Vanity.

So - bearing that in mind. I'll inquire - what was it, that was withheld from the reader, that, obviously, Galadriel, Gandalf, Elrond, and I will add Elessar knew. Each have given their Foresight about the Quest and Frodo's plight. What was it they expected to Intercede to assist, given Frodo had been subverted by the Ring a very long time ago.

We have precedent.--by juxtaposition.

Cirdan challenged Annatar in Lindon. He was one of the Eldar yet with the power of Discernment that somehow exceeded that of Galadriel, Elrond and Celebrimbor. For Lindon was the last.....realm, SA to stand of the Elves (and Imladris). It would have fallen, but for timely arrival of the Numenoreans.

There is a 'blinding' of Foresight that Tolkien builds into ***ALL*** his characters, by measure. Only some (e.g. Aragorn's Mother, what's her name) was nigh free, as was Gandalf (who saw Frodo getting 'invisible' at Elrond's house of healing). And Aragorn. Mostly. Sort of. Or rather, 'I own mine and name it and so, doubt'.

It was this that, I would argue, saved Aragorn from himself. Doubt.

--THEY ALL KNEW--Frodo was creepi-fying. :) They let it go ahead. Why?

Nerwen 07-08-2015 05:10 AM

That's all very interesting, but no, I don't see that it constitutes that "proper case" or "good evidence" that I was talking about.

Again, is all this just meant as your own alternative-reading/head-canon, or are you serious?

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 05:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700508)
That's all very interesting, but no, I don't see that it constitutes that "proper case" or "good evidence" that I was talking about.

Again, is all this just meant as your own alternative-reading/head-canon, or are you serious?

What's your position on Frodo's psychological constitution, it's degree of failure by Rivendell, and its capacity to self-reflect honestly, given what he did to Bilbo?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Nerwen 07-08-2015 05:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700510)
What's your position on Frodo's psychological constitution, it's degree of failure by Rivendell, and its capacity to self-reflect honestly, given what he did to Bilbo?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

You flatter me, but I believe my own thoughts are largely irrelevant at present and should wait until you've had a chance to present this case and evidence of yours.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 05:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700511)
You flatter me, but I believe my own thoughts are largely irrelevant at present and should wait until you've had a chance to present this case and evidence of yours.

It's not flattery, Nerwen, it's just wanting a conversation, actually.

I've put a lot of information out already. It's important to wait to let others speak, first, and enjoy having an opinion. It's certainly not all about me, and I'd value your input.

Nerwen 07-08-2015 06:03 AM

Okay, well then: I think the Ring had gained a measure of influence over him by that point; I do not think this means that he intended to betray the others or that he was only acting out of vanity.

That's about all I can say at this stage.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 700513)
Okay, well then: I think the Ring had gained a measure of influence over him by that point; I do not think this means that he intended to betray the others or that he was only acting out of vanity.

That's about all I can say at this stage.

"Intended" is your point. And, so without intention, there cannot be vanity, or Vanity.

Interesting, thank you for offering :)

@all

This then opens up the area of conscious versus unconscious mind. I'd be curious to hear what people thought about this, as it's going into psychology. Still, that's okay, because Tolkien was, certainly, a master of understanding about some basic psychological processes, and I believe his experiences of war underscored how he developed the percipience.

who "...lied even unto himself..." - those who do, I'm sure sometimes are not aware that they are. Or - must - not be aware, at least for a term. Wasn't that the point. Even Sauron had the capacity to '...lie even unto himself...' and believe his own bs when pleading for Mercy. For his....Vanity.

I think Frodo's Vanity was very apparent at his footstomping moment in the Council of Elrond.

A second question comes up for me from Nerwen's point:

For those beings whose core underlying being did (not) 'select' the Ring, or claim it in Greed or Vanity of Avarice - how much protection did that afford Frodo? And was that the basic reason that at the Sammath Naur, by 'fate', "Eru" or 'Lady Luck", he used The Ring to Command Sméagol on the upward march to the Sammath Naur, which saved the world. "If you claim the Ring, you will becast yourself into the Sammath Naur". Interesting choice of words, don't you think?

Galadriel55 07-08-2015 10:26 AM

I want to direct your attention to Frodo's thoughts and behaviour beyond this point. Certainly, we see that the Ring has a hold on him. But also, we see Frodo's immense struggle against its power and against the temptation to leave the burden to others. During his trudge with Sam from Anduin, you can see how almost every step is done with the thought of "I must". If you want quotes, there's certainly more than one occasion when he utters either that, or "I ought to" (don't have LOTR with me, so can't give a proper reference, but they're there). Who forced him to go on that weary journey when there were none but his best friend to see? Why did he not just pull a Gollum and hide in some cave with his Precious? Maybe because his motivation was that of duty, an obligation to finish what was started to prevent the destruction of his world, of doing the right thing - and not of keeping the Ring for himself. Frodo wasn't entirely expecting the quest to succeed - especially not automatically. In fact, I believe he even expressed his doubt during the Council, and on several occasions after that. He did not take the Ring because he thought he could complete the quest, but because he saw it as his duty - he saw that none of the others would take it, and if he did not do it then they would bicker until Sauron came knocking, and someone had to take it and try. His intent, as far as we can read from LOTR, is to do the right thing and resist the temptation to do the easy thing. He never thinks he can succeed better than others - he hardly thinks he can succeed at all, and he wishes someone else would do the job so that he can go back home. So when you discuss your theory, please keep in mind those things about Frodo's motives that are stated or seen in the books.

Pervinca Took 07-08-2015 11:36 AM

No, I don't see any vanity at all. Well, not of that kind. He felt an overwhelming desire NOT to go on the quest. He referred to it as a "hopeless journey" to Pippin, quite openly. He saw it as a kind of long-awaited doom that he hoped he might not have to suffer. He wanted the cup to pass, but it didn't, and no-one offered an alternative.

He broke down and wept in despair that his quest would be 'in vain' not long before Shelob's Lair. He must have known, increasingly, that he couldn't destroy the Ring. He was even seriously worried he wouldn't get to Mount Doom in the first place. But the Wise were intent upon sending him to Mount Doom anyway. He wasn't going to defy the wisest people in Middle-earth ... but also, Gandalf had said "I will always help you. I will help you bear this burden, as long as it is yours to bear." So even though Gandalf had not at that point mentioned accompanying him, I think he expected more guidance along the way. Don't forget that he was willing to lean on the guidance of Gandalf and Aragorn, and did not expect to lose them ... it says that partly because of this, he spent as much of his time in Rivendell as possible with Bilbo. The Fellowship members are not finally decided until a week before they set out, but Gandalf has said he thinks he will go.

Regarding going through Moria, Frodo says "I do not wish to go. But neither do I wish to refuse the advice of Gandalf." He had a deep trust in Gandalf, as did Sam. As long as he was around, somehow the impossible seemed possible, perhaps?

My gut feeling has always been that Frodo was completely honest and very sincere. His refusal to destroy the Ring knocked me for six when I was 12, and I remained knocked for six for many years. But eventually I completely accepted - on a gut level, and not just because Tolkien had said so - that asking him to resist the Ring at Mount Doom was asking the impossible.

Obviously for him to destroy it was impossible anyway - we saw that at the hearth at Bag End. But *resist* it - resist claiming it - he did. Until the very last. I disagree with Tolkien's choice of pronoun over this. He says in one letter 'He did not endure to the end.' I believe he *did* endure to the end. It was *at* the end that he couldn't endure/resist any more.

Frodo having ulterior motives - I mean seriously, evil motives in bearing the Ring - can work hilariously in parody, I have found. ;) But nowhere else.

Pitchwife 07-08-2015 02:42 PM

Hey, Ivriniel, didn't you say you'd grown more lenient to Frodo over the years? What new devilry is this?:eek:

I'll give you that Frodo already was unable to let go of the Ring in Rivendell, and probably knew it, and that was part of his motivation for volunteering to bear it - if he couldn't bear to give it up anyway, he might as well volunteer to be the Bearer; and the Ring, which was trying to return to its Maker, sort of happily went along with it, as it already had a hold on him. But I think that at this time Frodo's will and the will of the Ring were still separate and striving with each other, and it would be a long time until they were fused to the extent we see at Sammath Naur.

He still wanted it destroyed, I think, although he can't have been under any illusions about his own ability to destroy it; but he trusted Gandalf's counsel and had estel that, if he only took it to the mountain some way of destroying it would present itself - at whatever cost to himself.

(Gandalf and Elrond were quite aware of all this, I think, and part of the reason Elrond agreed so readily that this task was appointed for Frodo was he realized they couldn't take the Ring from Frodo except by force, which would break him.)

It's also pretty obvious that his incipient 'fading' hadn't been completely undone by Elrond's healing powers - not undone, but transformed, which may have been the only way to heal him, by diverting its tendency from wraithishness to, shall we say, faerishness? These are Gandalf's words when he observes it:
Quote:

Originally Posted by LotR Book II, Many Meetings
'He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.'

A figure of light 'on the other side', like Frodo himself had seen Glorfindel at the ford, only less bright because he was, after all, mortal - that's what Frodo was becoming in my eyes. Not of dark. I'll trust Gandalf's wisdom on this.

The strongest argument against him being corrupted IMO is that he was still capable of pity and mercy, as shown in his treatment of Gollum; and I think the scene in Rivendell when he makes as if to strike Bilbo has something to do with it. For the Ring didn't totally deceive him here, I think, What he saw is the part of Bilbo which still coveted the Precious - the little Gollum in Bilbo, or Bilbo-as-Gollum; and at the same time he became aware how far he himself had already come that way, of his own ability to become Gollum. And that, IMO, is where "He deserves death" began to turn into 'Spare as I hope to be spared'.

But then there's that scene near Mount Doom where Frodo dominates Gollum and threatens him with the fire. For here Sam, made receptive even by the short time he bore the Ring himself, sees Frodo as he is 'on the other side':
Quote:

Originally Posted by LotR Book VI, Mount Doom
a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire. Out of the fire, there spoke a commanding voice

OK, there seems to be something creepy going on here, something very creepy. For here are Frodo, "robed in white" (which I can't help associating with the "clear light" Gandalf spoke of), and the Ring, the wheel of fire, but it's the Ring that speaks for both of them.

But Frodo's robes are still white, not dark or grey as the Nazgûl's were; and I just remembered that the martyrs are clad in white robes in Revelation 6:11, as Tolkien undoubtedly knew. We know Frodo didn't expect to survive if the One went into the Fire, he told Sam as much, and I read the white robe as a sign that part of him was still prepared to sacrifice himself at that point. True, he buckled soon after, but to succumb to an overwhelming force is not corruption. We're not judged by success or failure, only by the purity of our service - who said that again?

Pervinca Took 07-08-2015 02:57 PM

I always felt that Frodo could still have let the Ring go in Rivendell, (although I'm not saying it would have been easy). Remember:

'Then the Ring belongs to you, and not to me at all!'

I know there is that scene with Bilbo ... but he does get as far as showing him the Ring - and he doesn't strike him, even if he does feel a wish to at one point.

I think he'd have been able to do it at that point, with Gandalf's help. Much is said of Bilbo being able to give up the Ring, and how remarkable that was, but he'd never have managed it without all Gandalf's help, as Gandalf himself says.

Also not sure I'd agree that Gandalf and Elrond think it will break Frodo to take the Ring from him. Gandalf said in Bag End that he could not make Frodo *destroy* the Ring, except by force, which would break his mind. I do not believe that it would have been impossible to persuade him to give up the Ring at that point. I think that point comes much later: 'I'm almost in its power now. I couldn't give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad.'

jallanite 07-08-2015 03:01 PM

Frodo could have refused the quest when Gandalf first, temporarily, laid it on him. He did not refuse, and he did not accept it because he thought he could better, temporarily, bear the Ring with more success than anyone else. He did it because he knew no-one who was obviously better suited when even Gandalf refused the task. And someone had to take on the job at once.

I see no signs of vanity in the description of Frodo’s thoughts or words at that time. Frodo’s wish is that Gandalf may find someone more suitable to take over the task in his place.

At the Council of Elrond, it is not Frodo who first offers himself, but Bilbo. The offer is first refused by Gandalf, and seemingly Elrond and the others in authority agree. Bilbo admits, “I don’t suppose I have the strength or luck left to deal with the Ring.”

Those present at the Council sit long in silent thought, Frodo among them.
… A great dread fell on him, as if he was waiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain in peace by Bilbo’s side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.

   ‘I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.’
Elrond accepts Frodo’s offer to bear the Ring, and Elrond also says:
But it is a heavy burden. So heavy that none could lay it on another. I do not lay it on you. But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right.
In Letters of J.R. R. Tolkien, letter 246, Tolkien spends over 7 pages mostly related to this subject. Tollkien writes in part:
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. His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honour; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: his failure was redressed.
Tolkien continues for two more paragraphs, which you may read, ending this argument with:
I do not myself see that the breaking of his mind was any more a moral failure than the breaking of his body would have been – say, by being strangled by Gollum, or crushed by a falling rock.
I think that Ivriniel is indeed being too hard on Frodo, referring to all sorts of proofs of his thesis, but then mostly not providing those proofs.

Nerwen keeps asking for Ivriniel’s supposed evidence but Ivriniel just doesn’t present it. Galadriel55 gives a wonderful essay referring to Frodo’s actual thoughts from the text, despite not having her LotR with her. Pervinca Took indicates clearly that Frodo is generally not consumed with vanity.

Pervinca Took 07-08-2015 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700505)
Really Frodo? You reckon you can march on into Mordor, and chuck the thing away, when you couldn't keep it off your finger on Amon Sul, and look at you with Bilbo, ready to gore the guy who took you in, for asking just to look at your pretty 'Precious'. You reckon you can just blare out at Council and stomp your foot and stake your claim--even amongst The Last High King (ish) of the Noldor in Middle Earth!

No, I don't think he reckons anything of the kind. And the Ring tempts people to do horrible things and gives distorted visions. Good people, not yet under serious duress, don't act upon those influences. Frodo doesn't.

Seriously, Frodo. You're "...lying even unto himself...". Very quick was he to 'spot' avarice in others, such as in Boromir. Very much the 'who wants My Precious' don't you think.

There are the beginnings of this, perhaps. But it isn't the whole story. Not by a very long shot. He is under oath - the only member of the Fellowship who is - not to give the Ring up, nor indeed to let any other handle it, save in gravest need. And Boromir *was* getting Ring-crazed - Frodo's instincts were exactly right! I remember someone once posting (on another board, I think) - that at Parth Galen they were virtually shouting Get out of there, Frodo! He's obviously completely lost it! (or words to that effect).

And poor Sam in Cirith Ungol. Seriously Frodo, that was beyond mean, beyond creepy, and cruel. Sauronically cruel, indeed.

There's a reason Frodo is described as *aghast* just after he does this. He's utterly appalled with himself for what he's just said to Sam, and as shocked as I think I can safely say a lot of readers are. But cruelty implies malice of forethought. I don't think that is present.

He has been bearing the increasing weight of the Ring for days, virtually without complaint, and it has been wearing him down, mentally and physically. He's exhausted. He's almost crushed by the responsibility he is carrying. He's walking into enemy territory, most likely terrified of capture and torture - and then, lo and behold - after facing the terror of the eyes in the tunnel and losing consciousness, he wakes up not knowing where the hell he is - he's stripped, humiliated and interrogated by orcs who tell him all the delightful torment he's in for when he gets to Lugburz. And the Ring is gone. And he's sick and still half-bemused from spider-venom. And the Ring gives him a hideously real vision of Sam as an orc.

I think all that might make the gentlest of souls just a trifle edgy.

From Pitchwife:

It's also pretty obvious that his incipient 'fading' hadn't been completely undone by Elrond's healing powers - not undone, but transformed, which may have been the only way to heal him, by diverting its tendency from wraithishness to, shall we say, faerishness?

I've often wondered about the relationship between the 'fading' from the Morgul splinter and the 'elvish' light in Frodo. This is an interesting theory.

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 05:55 PM

@Galadriel, yes :) there has to be something in this about Duty and the language of 'oughts' and 'musts' as very interwoven with indications of Frodo's bearing at vital points in the narrative. I'd have to agree with you about that.

I imagine the horror and hopelessness of having--even moments--of not completing the Quest must have been a very powerful influence over Frodo's thinking, yet to pursue the Quest in any case was what he did. I'm not sure, exactly, how that kind of hopelessness would have impacted his private realm of thinking and we don't see much of any of that for characters. It's dialogical, primarily, in how language shares ideas in the tomes.

@Pitchwife, yes :) I must agree with you about being too hard on Frodo. :) In fact, I did it, in part, to play 'devil's advocate' to elicit some debate. I'm reminded by reading your post of 'how' far I went at times into slam-dunking Frodo between reads of the books, only to re-discover that the story is not as dire as it got placed in the memory banks.

Yes - Gandalf did, at Elrond's position a *very* unusual take on the transparency thing. It's so very interesting, that one, and one that you never forget, after 25 reads or so of the trilogy, it remains one of the bright points in the mind. It has seemed to me that Elrond "Elf-fea-ised" the wound and made Bilbo 'a little like the Fading Eldar', or something? I've wondered if that was our first hint in the novel that Frodo and Bilbo were going to set sail for Valinor, ultimately. And yes, Frodo did remain replete with compassion, right throughout, for the greater part, and a 'schitz or two' maketh not a Ringwraith -

@Pervrinca, yes, I must say I see your points. There certainly are indications that Frodo could let the Ring go at that point. In fact, there's an argument, as seems to imply, that being chased by the Nine, hunted and having faced Wargs, a Balrog (that must have made the body fill with dread), etc, that he'd have really not wanted the burden at all.

@Jallante

That's great materials from Letters. I'm just looking through Letters myself, and was hoping someone would quote from them. Seems to me that there's hints in the materials, as you rightly point out that Frodo was.....

Muchly appreciated everyone

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 06:13 PM

From Letters, it seems to me that Tolkien's hero in Frodo was one that had a broken 'mind' not 'body' because of war. With crushing weight upon the mind borne because of a malevolent invasive influence that literally strips or something or violates mind, flesh and Spirit.

Quote:

....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. His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honour; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: his failure was redressed.
This is interesting. How was his failure addressed, I wonder? By what intervention or on what Terms?

I'm wondering about a little something else as well. The 'white robes' effect on Orodruin - could equally have a 'line of effect' to Elrond (did Elrond 'imbue' just a wee little Elvish-ness INTO Frodo as a final added deterrent to wraith-isation. Yes, Frodo was getting pretty creepy at times and 'white' can also be either of Spectral White of the Necromantic --OR-- Valinorean kind. Random thought

One of the reasons I was wary of Frodo, at Elrond's was because Frodo spoke as though it were 'not' him. That was a dissociation of will, I often wondered, an unconscious motivation to keep the Ring.

I wonder for this debate, if it's always 'two truths' point to the same ali.gnment, somehow in argument. If one accepts that the Ring creates a 'split' in the Mind's Eye or a Splinter (ergo Star Wars Splinter of the Mind's Eye), then, of course, we are always going to have dual motivational systems at work for any bearer.

So - the presence of concurrent motivations - to Vanity/Greed/Lust - and to Duty/Valour/Self-Sacrifice/Love and Preservation of Others seems entirely possible.

Galadriel55 07-08-2015 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pitchwife (Post 700529)
We're not judged by success or failure, only by the purity of our service - who said that again?

Greenie did. :D

Ivriniel 07-08-2015 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Galadriel55 (Post 700535)
Greenie did. :D

hahahaha

Pervinca Took 07-09-2015 03:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pitchwife (Post 700529)
We're not judged by success or failure, only by the purity of our service - who said that again?

Was Pitchwife quoting Greenie, then? And by Greenie do you mean A Little Green?

Pitchwife 07-09-2015 04:13 PM

Well, I had another source in mind, but that works too.:D
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700534)
From Letters, it seems to me that Tolkien's hero in Frodo was one that had a broken 'mind' not 'body' because of war. With crushing weight upon the mind borne because of a malevolent invasive influence that literally strips or something or violates mind, flesh and Spirit.

And (that's the insidious part) an influence that had the power to make him miss it, long for it even after its source had been destroyed:
Quote:

Originally Posted by LotR Book VI, The Grey Havens
On the thirteenth of that month Farmer Cotton found Frodo lying on his bed; he was clutching a white gem that hung on a chain about his neck and he seemed half in a dream.
'It is gone forever', he said, 'and now all is dark and empty.'

We know what 'it' is, don't we? And to Frodo, all seems 'dark and empty' without it. Even knowing what it has done to him, and what it would have done to the world. That's not Lust and Greed, that's addiction and just being unable to help it. Violation isn't too strong a word for what he suffered.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700534)
This is interesting. How was his failure addressed, I wonder? By what intervention or on what Terms?

Hm, I've got to confess I've never been never been too enthusiastic about the assumption that the finger of Eru pushed Gollum over the brink. It's just not necessary IMO - I mean, given all we know of Gollum's character it's natural he'd be so enraptured about regaining the Precious he wouldn't mind his steps and stumble.

There are some interesting What-If-scenarios to be explored here. What if Sméagol had truly repented before leading Frodo to Shelob's Lair and been present at Sammath Naur? I remember Tolkien speculating somewhere (?) that he might have taken the Ring and jumped into the fire of his free will, sacrificing himself for Frodo.

But he could only do that because Frodo had mercy and left him alive. What if there had been no Gollum at Sammath Naur (supposing they would have gut so far without him)? I suppose it would have fallen to Sam to see to the Ring's destruction, and I've read a fan fiction exploring this scenario which ends with Sam hurling himself and Frodo into the fire with the Ring. A grim ending, but about the only alternative.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700534)
I'm wondering about a little something else as well. The 'white robes' effect on Orodruin - could equally have a 'line of effect' to Elrond (did Elrond 'imbue' just a wee little Elvish-ness INTO Frodo as a final added deterrent to wraith-isation. Yes, Frodo was getting pretty creepy at times and 'white' can also be either of Spectral White of the Necromantic --OR-- Valinorean kind. Random thought

Not going to lie, when I wrote that above I had a moment of "Wait, weren't the Nazgûl robed in white under their cloaks? Crap!" *checks* "Ah, no, they're grey." *sigh of relief* (Grey seems to be the colour of the Otherworld with Tolkien - grey robes of the Ringwraiths, twilight of the wraith world - but also elven cloaks and boats and rope.)

About 'Spectral White', I was going to find a little cherry for you and looking for any mention of whiteness in Galadriel's "All shall love me and despair" scene (inspired by the White Lady whose ghost has haunted the European subconscious for a long time - ancestral memories of the Sorceress of Dwimordene?;)), but no such luck - it's only after she has rejected the Ring that she's described as "a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white". But I digress.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700534)
One of the reasons I was wary of Frodo, at Elrond's was because Frodo spoke as though it were 'not' him. That was a dissociation of will, I often wondered, an unconscious motivation to keep the Ring.

I wonder for this debate, if it's always 'two truths' point to the same ali.gnment, somehow in argument. If one accepts that the Ring creates a 'split' in the Mind's Eye or a Splinter (ergo Star Wars Splinter of the Mind's Eye), then, of course, we are always going to have dual motivational systems at work for any bearer.

Without seeing the need to drag Star Wars into this (I read that novel way back when but remember nothing of it), I agree, and you have to admire the way Tolkien presents this ambiguity:
Quote:

Originally Posted by LotR Book II, The Council of Elrond
A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken.

(realizing he was 'meant' to do this)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ibid.
An overwhelming longing to rest and remain with peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart.

(retarding moment, hoping to be spared)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ibid.
At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words,

(driven to volunteer in spite of himself by the voice of conscience)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ibid.
as if some other will was using his small voice.

A lot hinges on the 'as if' here - was it another will that spoke through him or not? And if it was, which will could that have been but the will of the Ring itself?

Interesting and challenging thread by the way. Makes me regret I repped you on the Riddles thread so I can't for this one. And one more thing: outside of Werewolf games it's perfectly OK to edit your latest post to add stuff that has come to mind afterwards. No need for double or triple posting.:)

(PS.- Pervinca: Yes, Greenie = A Little Green, but I was quoting from Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.)

jallanite 07-09-2015 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ivriniel (Post 700534)
How was his failure addressed, I wonder? By what intervention or on what Terms?

Tolkien writes redressed, not addressed. See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/redressed for what the word means. Read the following two paragraphs to answer your question.

Quote:

I'm wondering about a little something else as well. The 'white robes' effect on Orodruin - could equally have a 'line of effect' to Elrond (did Elrond 'imbue' just a wee little Elvish-ness INTO Frodo as a final added deterrent to wraith-isation. Yes, Frodo was getting pretty creepy at times and 'white' can also be either of Spectral White of the Necromantic --OR-- Valinorean kind. Random thought
So, tell us what this means. How does the white robe seen by Sam have any ‘line of effect’ to Elrond’s surgery? Your random thought seems to me not worth considering.

Quote:

IOne of the reasons I was wary of Frodo, at Elrond's was because Frodo spoke as though it were 'not' him. That was a dissociation of will, I often wondered, an unconscious motivation to keep the Ring.
It may have been an unconscious motivation, or maybe not. Nerwen, in particular, was at you in more than one post to reveal your sources. But you didn’t. I guess because you can’t. You only babbled about the Banning of the Noldor and other tales supposed to have mostly occurred thousands of years before the War of the Ring, and used terms like precedent and juxtaposition which don’t prove anything. By your methods you could equally prove that since Jack the Ripper was a murderer in Victorian London that almost all his contemporaries in London were murderers.

Quote:

I wonder for this debate, if it's always 'two truths' point to the same ali.gnment, somehow in argument. If one accepts that the Ring creates a 'split' in the Mind's Eye or a Splinter (ergo Star Wars Splinter of the Mind's Eye), then, of course, we are always going to have dual motivational systems at work for any bearer.
If “we are always going to have dual motivational systems at work for any bearer”, then show where Sam is badly affected. Sam, in the book, has only a brief temptation to use the Ring for Power, but quickly shakes it off.

Quote:

So - the presence of concurrent motivations - to Vanity/Greed/Lust - and to Duty/Valour/Self-Sacrifice/Love and Preservation of Others seems entirely possible.
Yes, of course. But seems entirely possible is a rather weak conclusion. It also seems entirely possible that Frodo, until the end, was mostly faithful to the quest he had undertaken. True, when Frodo offers to give the Ring up to Galadriel he fails his quest, or would have done so, if Galadriel had accepted his offer and Frodo had then been able to carry it out.

Nerwen 07-10-2015 02:12 AM

jallanite, I'd appreciate it if you'd tone down the (seeming) hostility. It's only a discussion thread, in the end. That said, I do share many of your concerns, especially this-
Quote:

Originally Posted by jallanite (Post 700580)
It may have been an unconscious motivation, or maybe not. Nerwen, in particular, was at you in more than one post to reveal your sources. But you didn’t. I guess because you can’t. You only babbled about the Banning of the Noldor and other tales supposed to have mostly occurred thousands of years before the War of the Ring, and used terms like precedent and juxtaposition which don’t prove anything. By your methods you could equally prove that since Jack the Ripper was a murderer in Victorian London that almost all his contemporaries in London were murderers.

Indeed. Look, Ivriniel, this was a very interesting thread, and I certainly don't wish to discourage you from raising discussion topics. It's just that I want to say now that I'm really not terribly keen on the way you went about it this time. If you were falsely claiming to have a "truck load" of evidence you didn't really have, just to get us going or something, well, I honestly think that's a bit much. And if, on the other hand, the talk of "stenches" and "foot-stomping" and word-associations and the "precedent" set by other incidents in the "Legendarium", and so forth *was* your evidence, then we've got a real problem, because- to put it bluntly- as an argument most of that simply fails to make sense on a basic level.

Sorry if this sounds like I'm picking on you. Well, I am, actually, but I'd do it to anyone. It's nothing personal.:)

jallanite 07-10-2015 06:17 PM

Nerwen, I am indeed hostile to this thread, as defined by Ivriniel, and your post shows, to me, just as much hostility, though I greatly admire the manner in which you post. I wish I had your ability.

No one who has responded agrees with Ivriniel. And all the responses seem to me to be very reasonable. Yes, Frodo, in accepting the quest, could be unconscionably influenced by the Ring. Or he might not.

But where else does Frodo show concurrent motivations, if he does? That ought to be what Ivriniel tries to show, but Ivriniel does not. I had always assumed that Frodo’s almost transparency in Rivendell was a side-effect of the Morgul-knife fragment that Frodo had carried in his body so long, but Ivriniel imagines instead that it is a result of Elrond’s surgery, but does not explain what motivation Ivriniel attributes to Elrond if it was.

Is Ivriniel merely a poor arguer, or is Ivriniel a troll? It doesn’t matter to me as I am going to cease to feed Ivriniel.

Mithadan 07-10-2015 07:42 PM

Can we all please dial back on the negativity here, please?

The goal here is to encourage participation and discussion. Any aspersions cast upon a member, rather than discussion of the topic. is simply inappropriate.

Thank you.

Nerwen 07-11-2015 08:35 AM

Sure, Mithadan.. I just thought it needed saying. I'm not going to keep on about it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pitch
Hm, I've got to confess I've never been never been too enthusiastic about the assumption that the finger of Eru pushed Gollum over the brink. It's just not necessary IMO - I mean, given all we know of Gollum's character it's natural he'd be so enraptured about regaining the Precious he wouldn't mind his steps and stumble.

Yes- I can't recall anything in that scene that would imply a sudden, direct intervention. Now, in "The Shadow of the Past" Gandalf talks about Frodo being "meant" to have the Ring and theorises that Gollum has "a part to play before the end" (or words to that effect- don't have the book to quote from), which I take to be hints of an underlying divine purpose to it all- but surely of the subtle "moving in mysterious ways" sort, as opposed to the "literally tripping people up" sort. I'm not sure how or why the idea has arisen, actually.:confused:

Pervinca Took 07-11-2015 01:25 PM

On the 'meant' thing, I remember Frodo saying in Unfinished Tales:

'But still, you could not make us. You were not even allowed to try.'

Or something very similar.

All the same, Frodo's position is a bit like Frederick's with the Pirate King and Ruth appealing to his 'sense of duty.' ;) Albeit in a much more serious sense.

P.S. Come back, Ivriniel! Your devil's advocacy stirred my sluggish posting fingers. (It helps that talking about Frodo is one of my absolute favourite things to do).


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