"Gandalf looked quickly at Frodo."

Blad The Inspirer

New Member
This is a small comment regarding the discussion from the previous lesson. I found the different ideas regarding why Gandalf suddenly looks at Frodo very interesting, particularly the claim that Gandalf may have had a knee-jerk reaction to the Gollum-like "we".

However, I do feel that one of the other explanations -- the idea that Gandalf was thinking that they are not safe, might deserve more credit than it received in the last lesson. In a few pages, we will get some additional evidence for this, but it seems like Gandalf spends a lot of time playing mental chess, thinking about the movements of the enemy, and constantly aware that they are "sitting in a fortress", but that "outside it is getting dark".

So, when he hears Frodo say "but now we are safe", Gandalf may be surprised out of his private thoughts, rather than being surprised at how naive Frodo's claim is. Gandalf's sudden look at Frodo could be a problem, because it would naturally prompt Frodo, who should be resting, to ask "Wait, Gandalf, are we not safe?" However, as stated in the text, Frodo's eyes are closed, and he doesn't see Gandalf's sudden look. Therefore, Gandalf is able to avoid explaining himself, and protect the newly awoken Frodo, just as he did on the previous page when he said "You look splendid".

That being said, I really like the new explanations that were raised in class, probably even more than I like the one that I have provided here. For my reading, I think the biggest weakness is "but he had shut his eyes", which works a little better if Gandalf is looking at Frodo in alarm at the "we", but overall I think my reading works fairly well. What do you think?


New Member
I've been thinking about this - I think when Frodo says that "we are safe" and then closes his eyes, it has a finality about the statement, like you would say "and now we are home" I think the quick look that Gandalf gives him is maybe to assess if he really believes that OR if Frodo does have an inclination that being called "ring bearer" may have a more significant role than just bringing the ring to Rivendale. Frodo may be pushing back gently to the label of ring bearer and the implications that brings.
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Kate Neville

Well-Known Member
My thought was that Gandalf might be evaluating Frodo's status as Ringbearer. In the Shire, Frodo really only signed up to keep the ring safe and to bring it to Rivendell. Gandalf must already know that the only solution is destruction. But who? Hobbits are ideal because of their humility, native proclivity to pity, and general anonymity. If not Frodo, who? And it must be voluntary. Frodo must offer to be the anti-Feänor. He has been chosen, but not by the Ring's maker, and, as with Mary at the Annunciation, the choice is fruitless without the Fiat.