Episode 192 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

Condemned to go on this hopeless journey:
  • It’s ironic that this time, it is Gandalf who is eavesdropping on the hobbits’ private meeting.
  • Frodo seems to be too beside himself to engage in hobbitry, but Pippin can’t be repressed.
  • The fact that Frodo uses the word “condemned” is important, as Elrond had laid so much importance on this being Frodo’s free choice, but Frodo is using this word to describe Sam.
  • Though Sam was strong in his volunteering, but Elrond was more implicit about his free will.
  • Meanwhile on the surface, being sent on this journey would be the most severe punishment.
  • Frodo may be honest that his wish was to stay in Rivendell, but he has known or sensed that he was going to have to go all the way to Mordor since Bag End, just as Gandalf has been sure of it.
  • Note: While in the film, Sam seems confident that they are going home from Rivendell, none of the hobbits, especially Frodo, expect this to be the case in the book, but to go on to the end.
To rest here, a long while, perhaps for good:
  • By using the word “dreamed”, Frodo acknowledges that he didn’t truly believe he was done.
  • It is important that Frodo dreams of staying in Rivendell, not returning to the Shire. Frodo has always believed that this was a one-way journey, and one way or another, he couldn’t go home.
  • Staying in Rivendell would mean that Frodo would be safe, but he still can’t go back to the Shire.
  • By selling Bag End, he can’t really go home anyway, and since Bilbo is here in Rivendell, this will be as close as a home as he can find and is also an improvement over the house in Crickhollow.
  • Note: Frodo has consistently contrasted his journey Bilbo’s, for whom returning to Bag End was always the ultimate destination. Frodo has only worked towards his departure and escape. He will never long for home in the way that Bilbo did throughout the rest of the story, unlike Sam.
  • In a way, Frodo’s dream is escapist and passive, neither fulfilling the quest nor going home, and simply shunts his responsibility to someone else, but in the end, he took on his responsibility.
  • When Frodo talks about how he’d “dreamed” this, he clearly just means me made an idle wish.
  • Note: It’s important to remember that he has only recovered from his illness a little over a day.
They want to go on:
  • How is Frodo feeling as he responds to Pippin? Angry, bitter, depressed, resigned, slyly joking?
  • While Frodo might have begun by echoing Pippin’s hobbitry, in an effort to conceal how he really feels about it, but that comes out by the time he is talking about being “condemned’.
  • The last sentence seems wistful, which seems to contradict Elrond’s appraisal of Frodo as one of the great Elf-friends, but he also seems exasperated at their inability to grasp the full gravity.
  • At the least, Frodo is objecting to the joking tone, as he thinks that this is not a joking matter.
  • Merry offers a compromising tone in response to Frodo, though and Pippin are irrepressible.
  • Frodo understands that serious things are what hobbits joke about, but he’s just not in the mood, and he would also want to dissuade them from coming, just as he did in Crickhollow.
  • While Bilbo joked while making a serious offer, Frodo seems incapable of this. One big difference is that Bilbo’s joke was only about himself, while Frodo is thinking of Sam’s fate.
  • Merry doesn’t joke, though he is being light and gentle about Frodo’s rebuke, but he also wants to correct Frodo on the use of the word “condemned” since Elrond rewarded Sam with his wish.
  • By tying that they could stay in Rivendell, this ties their wish to go to Frodo’s wish to stay.
  • This is also Merry showing his quality as hobbit aristocracy, in the way he comports himself.
  • Note: There is a parallel between their desire to leave the peace of Rivendell to face danger with Frodo, and Huor and Húrin’s desire to leave Gondolin and rejoin their people in the war.
  • In pointing out Sam’s choice, Merry is highlighting their own prior choices and their bond.
  • Note: Though they have only finished a small part of their journey, the distance, and experiences that they have shared, already are far beyond the measure of hobbits in the Shire.
  • Merry ends by reasserting his and Pippin’s choice, while acknowledging the dangers they know.
  • Pippin returns to his original joke about being chained up by Elrond in his support of Merry.
  • Ending with the joking insult about someone with intelligence being needed, and not meaning Frodo, is how Pippin attempts to help Frodo with his gloominess and resistance to their help.
Worrying themselves unnecessarily:
  • Gandalf shows his skill with hobbitish comebacks by picking this moment to interject a joke.
  • It’s unlikely that Gandalf was passing by and only heard what Pippin in saying, but more likely that he has been listening since at least before Frodo’s statement to them about Sam.
  • What does Gandalf mean by “worrying”? Gandalf seems to be addressing both Frodo’s desire to leave behind his friends to protect them, and Merry and Pippin’s fear of being left behind.
  • Gandalf wishes to ally both by saying that neither outcome is certain and won’t be soon.