Frodo's "default trusting" state

Yard Sard

New Member
Something I think got overlooked in examining Frodo's whipsawing attitude of trust vs. skepticism toward Strider over the course of their conversation, and how quickly he shifts into trusting Strider as soon as he starts volunteering info about the Black Riders, is this:

Remember that the very first interaction that any of the hobbits has with Strider is when Strider urgently warns Frodo to stop Pippin from making a fool of himself and blowing all of their cover by telling the story of Bilbo's disappearance. That in itself is such a big flag-waving "hey Frodo, I'm totally an ally" moment that I remember when I first read the book as a young teen it took me aback that Strider would start acting like a "rascal" once he has them behind closed doors. Surely he had proved his value and trustworthiness within seconds of Frodo getting within earshot of him!


Good points about the initial bona fides and subsequent rascally act. I noticed this time through how much Strider is associated with shadows, the effect I guess being to demonstrate yet again that a more careful reading of Tolkien makes it clear how complex his characters and the whole good vs evil narrative are.

But your point about default trust also makes me think about the centrality of friendship and fellowship as a theme in these books. It strikes me that in order to befriend or to become better friends, one has to trust, which might not be wise, to all appearances, but is nevertheless foolish in the best way. It hearkens back to the conspiracy business earlier, and looks forward to whole intricate relationship between Smeagol, Sam, and Frodo later. If these books are saying something subtly about faith, this sort of trust in the face of the unknown would seem like a good place to start, too. Aragorn, after all, turns out to the be King...