Frodo's Heart's Desire

NancyL

Member
I think i'm having a "American Modern Person" moment. I just can't seem to wrap my head about Frodo's desire to settle down with Bilbo (either in Rivendell or the Shire). Imagine any other orphan, adopted by a wonderful old fellow who raises you and then leaves all his stuff to you when he leaves. Would your expectation be that said orphan would long to rejoin his mentor above all other options available? Visiting regularly? Sure. Move in with and do absolutely NOTHING else with your life? Not so much. Where are Frodo's personal aspirations? Things he wants to achieve? I'm missing where he uses his adulthood to DO SOMETHING.

Now here's what I think is wrong with my gut-level expectations: i'm perceiving the lack of ambition/goals from outside The Shire life goal environment. If the ring had never entered Frodo's life, he would have been expected to marry and raise a family of Baggins' to continue the tradition and that would have been largely it. Could he have done something like founded a school? What for? Hobbit children learn what they need from their parents and don't need anything else. We're in a middle-ages things-were-better-before, not a modern things-should-be-improved place. So Frodo's perceived (by me) lack of ambition to do anything is caused by my modern expectation - not by anything lacking in Frodo.

YMMV but I'm just putting out there that Frodo's desire to curl up with Bilbo forever makes me feel slightly creeped out.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
I don't think you can separate Frodo's wish from the context. That's his wish as he contemplates going off into mortal danger after coming through dangers thus far. If there was no Ring in the case, would it still have been his wish?
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Good question Rachel,

Let's look at the text for evidence.

"I am not made for perilous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring!"

"I hope that you (Gandalf) may find some other better keeper soon. But in the meanwhile it seems that I am a danger, a danger to all that live near me. I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away.' He sighed. "

"He did not tell Gandalf, but as he was speaking a great desire to follow Bilbo flamed up in his heart - to follow Bilbo, and even perhaps to find him again."

"To tell the truth, he was very reluctant to start, now it had come to the point. Bag End seemed a more desirable residence than it had for years."

"Following Bilbo was uppermost in his mind, and the one thing that made the thought of leaving bearable."


I would say that it seems like re-uniting with Bilbo, and settling down in the Shire (or Rivendell now that he has experienced it), has always been Frodo's heart's desire, well before the context of the Council of Elrond.

If there was no Ring in the case, then Frodo presumably would be living in the Shire, in Bag End, with Bilbo. And that would have been his heart's desire.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Good question Rachel,

Let's look at the text for evidence.

"I am not made for perilous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring!"

"I hope that you (Gandalf) may find some other better keeper soon. But in the meanwhile it seems that I am a danger, a danger to all that live near me. I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away.' He sighed. "

"He did not tell Gandalf, but as he was speaking a great desire to follow Bilbo flamed up in his heart - to follow Bilbo, and even perhaps to find him again."

"To tell the truth, he was very reluctant to start, now it had come to the point. Bag End seemed a more desirable residence than it had for years."

"Following Bilbo was uppermost in his mind, and the one thing that made the thought of leaving bearable."


I would say that it seems like re-uniting with Bilbo, and settling down in the Shire (or Rivendell now that he has experienced it), has always been Frodo's heart's desire, well before the context of the Council of Elrond.

If there was no Ring in the case, then Frodo presumably would be living in the Shire, in Bag End, with Bilbo. And that would have been his heart's desire.
"Be" more than "do". This was one of the ideals formerly. Empty activism was not highly regarded. Fulfilling one's duties where one was in life - yes. Striving higher was suspect and rebellious.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
If there was no Ring in the case, then Frodo presumably would be living in the Shire, in Bag End, with Bilbo. And that would have been his heart's desire.
Perhaps - but I think his sense of adventure would have kicked in at some point. I think his home base would have been at Bag End, but I think he would have gone, perhaps to find Bilbo, and would have been to Rivendell, and perhaps to visit the dwarves as well, from time to time. Bilbo got it right when he said that Frodo was still in love with the Shire, but his wanderlust would have caught him at some time, and he would have found less perilous adventures.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Hi Rachel,

If there had been no Ring, then Frodo would not have needed to go find Bilbo, because Bilbo would not have left (or not left without taking Frodo with him).

Yes, I think Frodo and Bilbo might well have gone off together on some tourist adventures, but they mostly would have lived together in Bag End.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Hi Rachel,

If there had been no Ring, then Frodo would not have needed to go find Bilbo, because Bilbo would not have left (or not left without taking Frodo with him).

Yes, I think Frodo and Bilbo might well have gone off together on some tourist adventures, but they mostly would have lived together in Bag End.
And thouse would be more about experiencing and enjoying things, learning and growing, widening one's horizons, making and keeping friends, not necessarly to accomplish something imho.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
And Bilbo would likely have died before Frodo turned 50. Frodo might be doing his adventures with his younger cousins Merry and Pippin. When you take out one factor, it's so hard to see all the ripples.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
And Bilbo would likely have died before Frodo turned 50. Frodo might be doing his adventures with his younger cousins Merry and Pippin. When you take out one factor, it's so hard to see all the ripples.
Then I suspect they would not go to farther than The Prancing Pony.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Bilbo wanted to hit the road again by the time of his eleventy first birthday. He wanted that a lot more than he wanted to give up the Ring. If the Ring were not in the picture, I suspect that Bilbo would still have wanted to travel to Erebor again. He might well have persuaded Frodo and some of his friends to accompany him (and the Dwarves) at least part of the way. Certainly as far as the Prancing Pony. Probably at least as far as Rivendell. Perhaps all the way to the Lonely Mountain?

Then, of course, they would have returned to Bag End. There, Bilbo might possibly have outlasted the Old Took, Ring or no Ring.
 
I think i'm having a "American Modern Person" moment. I just can't seem to wrap my head about Frodo's desire to settle down with Bilbo (either in Rivendell or the Shire). Imagine any other orphan, adopted by a wonderful old fellow who raises you and then leaves all his stuff to you when he leaves. Would your expectation be that said orphan would long to rejoin his mentor above all other options available? Visiting regularly? Sure. Move in with and do absolutely NOTHING else with your life? Not so much. Where are Frodo's personal aspirations? Things he wants to achieve? I'm missing where he uses his adulthood to DO SOMETHING.

Now here's what I think is wrong with my gut-level expectations: i'm perceiving the lack of ambition/goals from outside The Shire life goal environment. If the ring had never entered Frodo's life, he would have been expected to marry and raise a family of Baggins' to continue the tradition and that would have been largely it. Could he have done something like founded a school? What for? Hobbit children learn what they need from their parents and don't need anything else. We're in a middle-ages things-were-better-before, not a modern things-should-be-improved place. So Frodo's perceived (by me) lack of ambition to do anything is caused by my modern expectation - not by anything lacking in Frodo.

YMMV but I'm just putting out there that Frodo's desire to curl up with Bilbo forever makes me feel slightly creeped out.
I don't think it's creepy but I think a general "lack of ambition" is a hobbit trait, one that Tolkien included deliberately, and not necessarily approvingly. He was often (eg in various letters) quite scathing about hobbits and hobbit culture - especially their willful ignorance and narrow-mindedness.
 
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