Posts Tagged ‘One Ring’

This ends now.

Home again.

Home again.

Sam, Merry, and Pippin ride home in silence. Merry and Pippin ride on ahead once they arrive back in the Shire, and Sam returns to Bag End. Rosie is waiting for him with dinner and his daughter. All is well.

That’s the end.

Admittedly, I find this post more difficult than what I have planned for tomorrow, because I’ve been thinking about those thoughts for quite a while. Today is, after all, just another normal post. Like the end of many chapters, it’s not even a full page, and the action is rather simple. If it weren’t the end of the book, there wouldn’t be much more to say. However, because it is the end, there’s more meaning.

I find the style of the narrative at the end very interesting. “And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within,” it goes. There’s a lot of “and” this, “and” that, and it feels like someone rambling on about unimportant events. It’s the start of Sam’s new life – the happy life he’s always wanted at home in the Shire. Things aren’t dramatic or epic. He can settle down to live happily.

This is part of the reason why Frodo had to leave. Frodo (like Bilbo) had a flair for adventure. Once dragged into the journey, he let it consume him. He learned an immeasurable amount about himself, but he was never able to shake the restless nerves that he grew to live with over the course of the tale. Frodo accepted that he must take the ring, and even volunteered to do so at the Council of Elrond. Sam, on the other hand, never really did that. He got lumped in with Frodo when Gandalf discovered him listening in, and Sam’s thoughts to keep him in good spirits on the road were almost always of home. He has an easier time slipping back to his good life at peace.

And so, the end isn’t a big deal. It’s the beginning of a new tale, but not one that will keep us gripped with excitement. We leave our heroes here.

...is the beginning.

…is the beginning.

Of course, this isn’t quite my end. I have a retrospective conclusion planned for tomorrow. What have I learned? What was it like? What are some cool/fun facts? What’s next? I’m going to post a big long bunch of thoughts tomorrow to say a lot about this experience.

Just over two and a half years ago, I sat down to write a blog. It went by incredibly fast. I regret to announce that – though, as I said, two and a half years is far too short a time to to write among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!

No one dies today.

“‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

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Yes, one more journey. No, we won’t be following it closely. Frodo’s leaving.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Having never found true happiness back in the Shire, Frodo intends to leave Middle-earth on a ship with the elves and Bilbo. As ring-bearers, they are allowed to join. Frodo wishes for Sam to ride with them, at least to the Grey Havens, before returning home. He has so much more to live for back in the Shire, and Frodo wants him to go live his life to its fullest.

And so, they ride, passing through the Shire hardly noticeably.

First Mentions:

-Frodo: A future child of Sam’s, when he finally does have a boy.

-Rosie: Another future Gamgee, named for her mother.

-Merry: Sensing a pattern?

-Goldilocks: What?! That’s not someone we know.

-Pippin: Okay, Sam does eventually name his children after all his friends.

So…no one can see them? I see this one way: Galadriel’s ring still has some of its power. We learned earlier (MUCH earlier) that her ring, Nenya, has the power of hiding things its owner wishes to keep hidden. Is she using it now? Unfortunately, the power is leaving the Three as the One Ring has been destroyed, but perhaps there’s enough left in there to help the band along their way. I actually totally see the value in going about unnoticed. This wouldn’t be a good time for random hobbits to be running up to Elrond and Galadriel, wanting to hang out with some elves.



Anyway, just like Bilbo planned his departure from the Shire, it looks like Frodo has been thinking about this for quite a while. He doesn’t have the things keeping him there like Sam does. Frodo even takes a theoretical glimpse into Sam’s future, seeing more children and Sam being elected Mayor. All of these things eventually come true.

(Sam and Rosie end up have 13 children in total, in case you were curious.)

No one dies today.

“And when they passed from the Shire, going about the south skirts of the White Downs, they came to the…”

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Kids! Sam has a kid! Little Elanor Gamgee is welcomed into the world on March 25th, which is odd. It’s also the date that the ring was destroyed. Sam and Frodo note the coincidence.

Life goes on, and Elanor is nearly six months old when Frodo tells Sam that Bilbo’s (and Frodo’s, too) birthday is coming up once again. He’s going to be 131, making him the oldest known hobbit ever to live.

But still awesome.

But still awesome.

Frodo has something up his sleeve. He asks Sam if Rosie will be alright with him going away for a bit, but not for long. Sam assumes that Frodo means to go visit Bilbo in Rivendell.

First Mentions:

-Elanor: Sam’s firstborn daughter! Named after the flowers of Lothlórien.

This, friends, this is our endgame. Frodo’s going away. He finishes writing/editing his and Bilbo’s book, and gives it to Sam. He also gives Sam the keys to Bag End. Just like Bilbo at the very beginning, Frodo’s decided that it’s time to go now. Not much longer, and this is the last plot point.

In happier news, Sam and Rosie wanted to name their child Frodo, but…well, Frodo isn’t a girl’s name. I’m pretty sure that they don’t have the technology yet in the Shire to know if a baby’s going to be a boy or a girl, and I guess the Gamgee family just assumed that a boy was coming. They were wrong. However, Frodo’s the one to suggest that they name her after a flower, as many hobbits do when naming baby girls. Sam picks a beautiful flower from his journey, and one that no other hobbit is sure to know.

Thank goodness they didn't name her after one of these.

Thank goodness they didn’t name her after one of these.

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Sam, what’s that? Beautifuller? I’ve made concessions for your ruralisms before, calling them quaint or whatever, but this may just be too far. You have a daughter now! Teach your child to speak!

No one dies today.

“At the beginning there were many leaves covered with Bilbo’s…”

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An entire year in one page? Seems reasonable.

People who can read small print do this all the time.

People who can read small print do this all the time.

That being said, this page is rather vague. Sam and Rosie move into Bag End to take care of Frodo, who becomes withdrawn from public life. Merry and Pippin live at Crickhollow, and ride around in their armor and colors all the time. They become the most admirable hobbits in the Shire, along with Sam, somewhat. Frodo remains a bit of a hermit.

As a year passes, Frodo becomes ill again on the anniversary of Weathertop, and once again in March of the following year. He wears a necklace with a gem on it now, seemingly standing in place of the ring.

I’m trying to remember if this white gem has some meaning, but I really think that it’s just something that Frodo wears to fill a hole left by the ring’s absence. He plays with it from time to time – sort of a nervous tic. He definitely shows some troubling tendencies, but you have to give him some slack after all the emotional trauma he experienced. If someone in Middle-earth were to be good at diagnosing psychological issues, Frodo might have PTSD.

The lingering effects of the ring’s evil have some part in that, too. Frodo wasn’t exactly Sauron, but he had a strong connection to that ring. Gollum had that issue as well.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 48 – “Absence makes the heart…remember all those terrible things you did.”

But let us not forget, that last thing was pretty great.

But let us not forget, that last thing was pretty great.

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Less than a week, folks! How many more years will fly by us in that time? The beginning and end of the book really do accelerate the pace. Remember when like 17 years passed in a few sentences?

No one dies today.

“Frodo was ill again in March, but with a great effort he concealed it, for Sam had other things to…”

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Before midnight! I can do this!

Anyway, today’s page is a little bit more about how bountiful this year is in the Shire. The ol’ 1420 vintage becomes a point of reference when discussing anything of value in the future. (By the way, it’s the year 1420 in the Shire reckoning.)

The next part deals with Sam’s romantic interests and living situation. Frodo wants him to come live at Bag End, but will that sit well with Sam’s new flame?

Only if there's dancing.

Only if there’s dancing.

Frodo has a solution: Sam will marry Rosie, and they will both come to live at Bag End! Apparently…that’s not as bad of an idea as I think it sounds.

First Mentions:

-Widow Rumble: An older hobbit woman who takes care of the Gaffer. Secret romance?

I forgot, there is also a brief mention that Frodo falls ill during the month of March while Sam’s away doing his Johnny Appleseed work. The date is significant somewhat, as the ring was destroyed in March of the previous year. I do not know, however, how this plays into things. Frodo is ill on March 13th, and the ring was destroyed on the 25th. Perhaps there’s something I’m missing, but all the days ran together in Mordor, so I can’t be sure exactly what was happening on that day (the 13th) back in that last leg of the journey.

Nevertheless, my chief concern of this page is with Frodo’s idea to have Sam and Rosie live with him. I mean, I hear Bag End is quite a large hobbit hole, but does it make sense for the married couple to come live with Frodo, the third wheel? Perhaps this is about Frodo being cared for, but I still don’t see how it makes sense. Sam is a gardener, after all, not a house servant.

Everyone could really use a butler built into your door.

Everyone could really use a butler built into your door.

Speaking of other living situations, Frodo and Sam were staying with the Cottons all this time while Bag End was being repaired and refurnished. Merry and Pippin brought over Frodo’s belongings from his house at Crickhollow. Sam does eventually go back to live with his father when Bagshot Row is rebuilt as well. I presume Frodo stays with the Cottons during the period in between.

No one dies today.

“And if Sam thought himself lucky,…”

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No, no, not the book and everything. We still have two more weeks of that. What’s over? Just this battle. The Battle of Bywater! Epic.

The page begins with the cleanup of the battle. Some 70 (70!) ruffians were killed, along with 19 hobbits. The ruffians are buried unceremoniously in a pit, and the hobbits in a grave that would later be marked with a stone and garden. Hobbits like gardens.

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin ride back to Bywater with the Cottons, and discuss their next steps over lunch. It’s clear that they must now strike out against Sharkey, and Farmer Cotton prepares an escort to bring them to Bag End. The road there is depressing, with familiar buildings in disarray or completely torn down, and new ones rising bleak from the rugged earth. The Shire is in a bad way.

Sometimes, that one new building just doesn't fit in with the rest.

Sometimes, that one new building just doesn’t fit in with the rest.

First Mentions:

-the Battle Pit: The mass grave of the ruffians, which gets a way cooler name than it deserves.

-the Battle of Bywater: That was this battle! It has a name now, so it’s official.

-the Greenfields: A battle in the Shire some 300 years ago. It was here that, through victory, Bullroarer Took invented the game of golf.

-the Red Book: What a meta moment! The Red Book of Westmarch is the volume in which Bilbo and Frodo’s adventures are detailed. This is the first time we’ve heard about it in a direct, official sense.

-the Old Grange: A granary in Hobbiton that’s been torn down.

As I noted above, the mention of the Red Book of Westmarch is a strangely meta-textual moment. On the page, we’re talking about the way that the hobbits remembered the participants in the Battle of Bywater, which becomes legend. The names of all present are written in the book, and historians vow to commit them to memory. Of course, the book is much more than that. Bilbo’s “first edition” contained his story of the journey to the Lonely Mountain, edited in part to detract from the importance and treachery of the ring, which he was keeping secret from many at the time of his writing. He entrusts this book to Frodo at their last meeting in Rivendell in hopes that he will edit things up a bit. (We saw this not too long ago!) A second edition is created, this time with Frodo’s story added. Numerous other editions are made and passed down, until supposedly the book (or a copy of it) comes into J.R.R. Tolkien’s keeping. He translates it to English, and these great stories are told.

The cover of Bilbo's book is indeed subtly red.

The cover of Bilbo’s book is indeed subtly red.

Of course, this is all a fiction. The stories came from Tolkien’s imagination, not an ancient book in a strange language. However, there’s nothing wrong with finding some magic in it.

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I mean, after all, what if it were true?

No one dies today.

“Bagshot Row was a yawning…”

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So, this is as full circle as it gets. It’s not a big deal on the page, which is still pretty mundane, but Bilbo sings a song in farewell to the four hobbits, and it’s a turn on what he sang at the beginning as our first song of all. More on that to come.

As the hobbits are leaving Rivendell, Bilbo goes around giving gifts to all. He gives his mithril and Sting to Frodo (though he forgets that he already did that) along with some books he wrote, Sam gets the last of Smaug’s gold that Bilbo still kept, and Merry and Pippin get some good old-fashioned advice not to get too tall.



They also get some pipes, because of course they do.

Bilbo also remarks that he’d like to see his ring one last time. He can’t (of course), but at least he remembers that that was the whole reason for the journey in the first place. Movie Bilbo forgets that. It seems odd. Then Bilbo sings that song that will bring us all back.

Let’s get to it.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

If you’ve been following along, this should look familiar.

“The Road goes ever on and on

Out from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

Let others follow it who can!

Let them a journey new begin,

But I at last with weary feet

Will turn towards the lighted inn,

My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”

In probable finale, I present:

Little Hobbit Man (Reprise)

(Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons)

When I saw this song coming, I knew immediately what to do. Honestly, I don’t know if this is the last song in the book, but it sure would be a fitting end, wouldn’t it? Bilbo sings this song as he walks out from Bag End, and now he sings it as Frodo sets out for a last time, knowing full well that he has no more journeys left in him. The subtle changes in the lyrics bear this out. “And I must follow, if I can,” becomes “Let others follow it who can,” “Pursuing it with eager feet,” becomes “Let them a journey new begin,” and so on and so forth. This is Bilbo’s farewell. He’s finally not as young anymore.

For myself, this isn’t getting me emotional, but it’s certainly feeling like a retrospective on all that I’ve done here. The most interesting fact has to be going back to listen to my first version of this song. (Do it if you want! Page 35!) Originally, I was just learning to play ukulele. In fact, this feature was partially meant to get me playing regularly to get some practice in. Well, it’s gone pretty well.

This is what I look like when I record now.

This is what I look like when I record now.

You can also hear back and see how bad my recording equipment was back in the day. I have a much better setup now, though sometimes I can’t use it when I have to record late at night. Thankfully, this got the good treatment. On a side note, though I’ve occasionally used my (still relatively new) mandolin, I’m just not very good at it. I need another project to get me working on that.

And this is becoming a long post! I’m only talking about the songs, really, so I can’t imagine how long this is going to get when I go back and look at the whole thing. Gulp. I’m almost there. And I already have so many things to say.

No one dies today.

“‘My evening-rest and sleep to meet.‘”

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