waking up to Gandalf

Kate Neville

Active Member
Thoughts on why only Gandalf is present when Frodo wakes up.

The first and simplest reason (which I think was touched on during the discussion) is structural -- the scene makes a nice parallel to the conversation in The Shadow of the Past, the chapter which truly begins the action of Book One, if one thinks of A Long-Expected Party as essentially a prologue to the 'real' story.

The other reason might be connected to the interior monologue JRRT gives Gandalf just before he explains what happened at the Ford: "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." This line struck me on my very first reading (decades ago), as it says something about Frodo's character which could not be articulated until that point.

After all, no one could be sure what effect that Morgul blade would have on Frodo: would he be 'Gollum-ized' in any way, groping for the Ring and looking at everyone else in suspicion? Gandalf had seen Bilbo nearly succumb to the Ring -- and Bilbo had not been pierced with a Morgul blade. Elrond may be the greatest healer in Middle-earth, but he does not know Frodo at all; only Gandalf is equipped to judge Frodo's spiritual health, and he would want to be alone when he did so. I expect that Gandalf was relieved when Frodo's first words were "Where am I, and what is the time?" rather than "Where am I, and where's my Ring?"

[Parenthetically, I hope the new Amazon series incorporates an episode of Morgul-blade stabbing -- imagine having to kill your best friend to keep him from becoming wraithified!]

[And I do miss not being able to join the discussion live--lots of great input from everyone.]
I wonder if they would have hung the Ring on a chain around Frodo's neck if they were in doubt of Frodo's spiritual state in the aftermath of his healing....that would be big risk if there was serious thought that he had been turned or otherwise overcome.

And since we're on the topic...I had always imagined that when 'Elrond removed the splinter. It was deeply buried, and it was working inwards,' Frodo was undergoing a surgical procedure....that's probably an assumption from our cultural context, but in following the discussion since Strider's EMT-work at Weathertop and Frodo's evacuation to Imladris, I think now that this must have been a much more 'spiritual' extraction

Kate Neville

Active Member
Good point about the new Ring bling, although I don't know what else they would do with it -- Gandalf wouldn't take it when offered, and I expect Elrond feels the same. Can't give it back to Bilbo. Frankly, anyone who offers to 'take care of it temporarily,' probably can't be trusted not to use it.

I hope we spend some time on the 'surgery.' There was clearly a physical piece of the blade in Frodo's body, but did Elrond operate like Dr. Strange the brain surgeon, or like Dr. Strange the master of mystical arts? Aragorn in the Houses of Healing is dealing with psychic wounds only, but there would be some overlap of technique.
I was wondering about the splinter removal as well. There is real-world historical evidence of various surgical techniques going back to antiquity, and we know Elrond is no stranger to battle, so it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him having experience such as removing poisoned orc arrowheads. But the Nazgûl blade’s effects were as much spiritual as physical, so it would make sense for Elrond to invoke some mystical healing powers in the process.

Of course it’s also fun to imagine it as a scene from a modern hospital drama with Elrond as the maverick doctor who breaks all the rules to save his patient, perhaps while having a torrid affair with the sexy anesthesiologist. :D


Active Member
Didn't Gandalf outright say at one point that he could have taken the Ring away from Frodo by force, but it would have destroyed Frodo (not to mention that his acquisition by such means would not help him resist the lure)?
Well, someone removed the Ring from the chain (attached to his belt or clothing) in order to hang it on the chain around his neck, and later, Frodo is separated from the Ring (when Sam takes it) without coming to pieces....I always expected that effect of taking the Ring 'by force' referred to the stress/mental trauma associated with separating a conscious Frodo from the Ring (i.e. against his will).


Active Member
My impression is that intent is important: moving the Ring from one place to another for cleaning purposes, etc, is one thing; removing it with the intent of depriving Frodo of it, or even claiming it, would be totally different.

Don't forget, Frodo did have a nasty turn in Cirith Ungol which got worse when he discovered that Sam had the Ring, and he only "recovered" once he had the Precious back again…for a time, anyway.


Well-Known Member
I think we had a similar discussion about intent once before. Possibly when Gandalf threw the Ring into Frodo's fireplace.