6) After Middle Earth: Detour to Darkness

Freesia barely had time to take a breath when the cold hand fell violently from her shoulder followed by the horrible sound of death. She turned quickly to see a Scar lying dead on the path. Eoborn had skewered it. Before she could release her breath, she saw that the Scar was not alone.

Several other Scars were running from toward them in the distance. They were surrounded.

Freesia didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t sure if she felt safe with Eoborn or not. He did save her life, but who knows his motivations? None of that would matter if they died now.

The fear and pain of never being able to return home was too much to bear. Freesia began to weep. There was nothing else she could think to do to save herself.

From beside her, Freesia felt Eoborn rush toward her. His strong arms wrapped around her small body and hefted her up onto his shoulder. With one arm holding her and the other swinging his sword, Eoborn fought his way through the surrounding Scars. Suddenly, Freesia wasn’t afraid, she knew that Eoborn was good, and he would save both of them. From the awkward angle she was at, she could see his brave, pained face. He looked honorable. Kingly.

The Scars gave them no choice but to run east. Freesia wanted to protest, but twisting around to see the pursuing Scars told her there was no way to reach the Shire. It scared Freesia to see so many dark creatures on the lands of Hobbiton. How was this possible?

They made it into the Maggot fields. Freesia hoped the tall crops would hide them and they might be able to slip away. The rustling of plants and horrible grunts of the Scars was driving Freesia mad. Strangely, amidst the horrible noises, another sound faded into the mix. More sounds. Dogs? Shouting.

Freesia tried to look around and see what was going on, when a small figure stumbled right into Eoborn. Because of the awkwardness of the little hobbit on his shoulder, Eoborn stumbled and lost his grip on her. Freesia fell to the ground, the air unable to keep hold in her lungs. The fear and oxygen deprivation was too much for Freesia to bear, she could no longer keep hold on reality and slipped into darkness.

4) After Middle Earth: Pegrioc

Eoborn stared at Freesia, confused, who was looking quite terrified. “You alright?” he asked her.

“I…uh…who do you have in mind to go with you?” she asked, worrying he might say her.

“Well, I was actually under the impression that I should ask you to come with me.” Oh dear! Her worries had come true. She struggled to come up with an answer when he spoke again. “I feel that your knowledge of Middle Earth history would be quite useful and wise to have with me. I realize it sounds quite terrifying, but all I need from you is your mind.”

My mind? she thought, I’m just a girl! How can I bring anything to his journey that he can’t get from a man? I only just came of age a decade ago. Forty-four years is not very old in hobbit years. 

“I’m unsure. My family is back in the Shire, I don’t know how they would feel about this. I should really run it by them first.” Freesia looked down at her feet.

“Aren’t you quite old enough to make your own decisions?” he asked her.

“Well, somewhat. I am only forty-four and I am a girl.” she thought her answer was quite understandable, but his answer surprised her.

“Forty-four is perfectly old enough to go out on your own!” he said as if he was surprised at her answer, “I myself am only fifty. That is young for an elf-Dunedain hybrid.” he smiled.

Fifty? That is how old Frodo was. But I am still a girl. Girls don’t adventure, they stay home and take care of the family. Eowyn is the only exception. 

“Well, I don’t know why you would want a girl to come with you, but I suppose I could join you if that is what you really want.” she said, still hesitant to get into an adventure she had no way of knowing she would survive. She didn’t even know what exactly they would do to get the throne back.

“Great! Now, obviously we can’t take back Gondor just the two of us. I don’t suppose you know of any other hobbits that would like to join us? Maybe we can find a dwarf to join us.” Freesia could only think of one person that would like to join them.

Pegrioc.

Pegrioc was a descendant to Merriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, a distant relative to Freesia. Peregrin “Pippin” Took had a son who married Sam’s daughter. Merry and Pippin were distant cousins. Thus making Freesia and Pegrioc distant relatives, which isn’t very strange, almost all hobbits are distant relatives.

Pegrioc was very much like Pippin. Reckless, unintelligent, sarcastic and hilarious. It was quite attractive in Freesia’s eyes, though she couldn’t admit it to anyone but her inner thoughts.

“I do know of one hobbit that would enjoy the journey, but I’m not quite certain how beneficial to the purpose of this adventure.” Freesia told Eoborn.

“Well, more is always better. I couldn’t care if he was just there for the sake of the credit, having more people along with us will make the journey bearable. I am certain we will find others who would love to join us.”

Freesia wasn’t sure if she wanted to be excited or terrified. She had always dreamed of going along on Frodo’s adventure, but now that she had the opportunity, she couldn’t decide.

Well, for now they just needed to worry about inviting Pegrioc along without the Scars deciding to join them first.

In that moment, Freesia suddenly realized something inconsistent about Eoborn’s story. Orcrist was supposed to be buried with Thorin. Only a sick villain would dig up the king of Erebor for the sake of getting his sword.

What was she getting herself into?!

Top Lord of the Rings Moments

I recently saw a few blogs about the top Middle Earth moments, but was slightly disappointed with them. Yes, they had some good ones, but they left out some of the best parts and the reasons why they are the best. So, I decided to write the best parts of Lord of the Rings and why, mostly regarding the brilliant acting!

11: Gandalf vs. the Balrog

gandalf

Everyone knows the line that happens at this point of the Lord of the Rings movies. We’ve heard tons of jokes and seen tons of memes regarding Gandalf’s line “You shall not pass!” What makes this part so great? Personally, I think this part of the movie is Ian McKellan’s best scene containing his best acting. When he shouts that line, you can feel its power. It’s as if you are there in that moment, in Frodo’s place, witnessing it.

10: Boromir’s death

boromirdeath

This scene contains a lot of character building elements in it for a few different characters. I literally don’t understand why some people hate Boromir so much, it was temptation, it was his fatal flaw, but it did not make him a villain. When he speaks his last words, you see his true honor. It’s amazing he has any honor with a father like his. He was corrupted by what his father wanted.

In this scene, we also see Legolas’ reaction to death. He seems to be confused, looking at Boromir wondering what is happening. He never understood death and how it affects people when it’s someone they care about. Also, Aragorn is characterized even more so than before. We see his true kingliness come out.

9: Eomer finds Eowyn on the battlefield

eomer

This scene has always been one of THE best scenes in the entire trilogy. Karl Urban does some breathtakingly amazing acting. When he finds his sister, thinking she is dead, his cries of pain and despair are so heart wrenching it’s as if my own sister has died. His acting is just so brilliant! The look on his face when this happens is painful.

8: Hiding from the black rider

rider

This scene is the spark that starts the painful burden Frodo has to carry. As Sauron’s servant is so close, almost touching them, Frodo feels the evil temptation of the ring. He almost puts it on, if it weren’t for his friends by his side. When we see the bugs crawling out and running away because of the ring wraith, it makes you feel almost exactly like the hobbits feel. If even the nasty, crawly little bugs are running from this guy, that is not a good sign. This is also when Merry understands somewhat what is going on.

7: Pippin’s song

pippinsong

This scene has some major character changing elements in it. Pippin used to be a care free, not very smart hobbit. He didn’t understand the danger they were in, he didn’t understand why Frodo had to leave, or why he had to leave his closest friend to go to Minas Tirith. When he is before the father of the man who desperately tried to save his life, resulting in his death, all the understanding and emotion hits him. And this is why he volunteers to work for Denethor.

His character deepens the most in the scene with his song, because he has seen Denethor send Faramir off to his death, not even caring. It breaks Pippin’s heart. As Faramir and his soldiers are riding off toward Osgiliath, Pippin sings a song that basically explains the entire movie’s tone. The words touch my heart every time, not to mention how great of a singer Billy Boyd is! The whole thing is wonderful!

6: Sam’s speech 

sam

Yet another part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy that everyone knows. Frodo has almost given up and Gollum has returned into Smeagol’s mind. Everything seems to be over and all hope seems to be lost. They were so close to Mordor and then they were taken to Osgiliath. Sam has to convince Frodo that it’s not over. They can’t give up and they WILL make it to the volcano. He does the one thing he can, he tells Frodo what they are holding on to that is keeping them going.

5: “The way is shut”

ghostking

The scene when Aragorn is trying to get the ghosts to serve their last duty in order to be freed is one that a lot of people think is strange. The fact that there are ghosts causes some people to not be sure how they feel about the movies. For some reason, ghosts put people off.

Nonetheless, this scene is a great one. Aragorn becomes so much more powerful and intimidating when he blocks the ghost’s attack with his sword. The ghost king’s reaction to the remade blade is almost funny, because he is so surprised. Yet, in order to keep himself just as threatening, the ghost king fades away, laughing. Which is yet another cool scene.

4: The beacons are lit

beacons

Again, another scene that is great thanks to Howard Shore’s brilliant music. I love watching, goosebumps forming, as each beacon lights and the music builds up. It’s great.

3: “No parent should have to bury their child.”

theoden

Yet another scene that is great thanks to brilliant acting. When Theoden is finally freed from Sauruman’s control, he finds out that his son died. Just the death of a child alone would break a man, but it is even worse as he realizes that he was not there for his son in his last moments, he didn’t even care because he was being controlled.

When Theoden says this line, and he begins to cry, it is yet another emotional scene that is so powerful. You can feel his emotions. Imagining being in his place, it becomes even more real.

2: The company is formed

Fellowship

The whole part of the first movie, from the forming of the fellowship up to the beginning of their journey is amazing. The hilarious moment when the three uninvited hobbits pop in. Pippin’s stupidity at the situation. It’s all great, but what makes this so amazing is when they, one by one, walk over the hill, the awesome music playing behind them, it’s just great. Music is one of the most powerful tools in provoking emotion.

1: Ride now!

death

It is no secret that this is almost the best part of all the movies. The power in Theoden’s speech is amazing. As he shouts those words, that will always be stuck in my mind, you just want to stand up and start shouting, “DEATH!” It’s almost disturbing…but anyone who has seen it should understand. It is so amazing.

0: Bilbo wants the ring

bilbowantshisring

I put this on here as zero, simply because it is not necessarily a great scene, it’s just hilarious and terrifying at the same time. When Bilbo reaches for the ring and his face turns into an almost Gollum-like face, you want to scream and then laugh your head off. I think everyone is in agreement that this is the scariest part of the entire trilogy.

Obviously, there are many many more great scenes throughout these movies, and don’t think I like any of the movie less than it deserves. The entire thing is amazing, and all the tiniest scenes affect me in different ways. Each character has their share of characterizing mastery, thanks to Peter Jackson and Howard Shore.

Honestly, I don’t really care what anyone now thinks of Peter Jackson after the Hobbit trilogy, he is still amazing and he did what he had to do in order to make amazing movies and form Tolkien’s brilliant literature into a reality. Middle Earth might as well be real, now that you can go and visit many of the areas that are now known as Middle Earth in New Zealand.

The Lord of the Rings will always be the best movie in the universe.

Chapter Four: A Short Cut to Mushrooms

Frodo woke up in a tree’s trunk, the elves were no where to be found from the night before they had spent with them. The elves had left them food. The plan was for them to head for Bucklebury. Pippin asks Frodo if he talked to Gildor, the elf, about the Riders they had run from. Frodo responds, saying that he did, which then Pippin asks if he talked with Gildor about the sniffing. “I’m sure it is very important.” Pippin said. We can see that Tolkien had meant to draw attention to that fact, therefore the sniffing is important.

Frodo worries about Sam, and he tries to convince Sam to go back by telling him about how dangerous it is going to be. Sam proceeds to explain how the elves told him not to leave Frodo, which surprises Frodo.

Already Sam is beginning to change. Frodo can see it in him, even though he looks just as his old self. Sam talks about the elves, speaking deeply about things Frodo didn’t expect to hear from his young friend. Just being in the presence of elves affected Sam, though he didn’t quite expect the elves to be what they turned out to be.

Sam tells Frodo that he now desires to keep going forward, not because of his previous desire to see elves, or dragons, but because he feels it is right. He doesn’t quite understand why, but he knows that he must. He feels like there is something he needs to do before the end.

After Frodo finishes breakfast, the three hobbits discuss their path ahead. Frodo makes an effort to avoid the road, even if it means walking through bogs. Pippin, who was the one arguing against it, finally agrees, stating that he will follow Frodo wherever he chooses to go.

The hobbits struggle through banks and bogs, getting caught up and stuck. As Pippin turns to look back in the direction they had come, he sees a horse and a dark figure standing beside it. The short cut did take a long time, but at least they avoided the black rider.

The detour takes much longer than anticipated, Pippin begins to complain again. Frodo, however, doesn’t want to get out into the open just yet.

At lunchtime, the hobbits begin to sing loudly, but are cut off suddenly by a piercing, evil scream, which is then answered by another. Frodo jumps up. Frodo understood, somehow, that there were words in the call, but he didn’t understand the meaning. All of them immediately think of the black riders, but do not speak of it aloud.

Before long, they stumble on Farmer Maggot’s farm; Pippin recognized it. They are getting close to where they want to go. Frodo sees the matter as another trouble. Pippin and Sam are confused at the statement. They believe farmer Maggot to be a good old friend and wonder why Frodo would think it a trouble to stumble on his land.

The reason for Frodo’s comment was from a childhood experience. When he was young, he would steal mushrooms from the farm. One day, Maggot showed Frodo to his dogs and told them to watch out for him. Frodo had been terrified of him and his dogs ever since. Pippin laughs and tells Frodo he will have to get over it, if he is to live in Buckland.

As they near the farm house, they hear Maggot call out to his dogs and they stop in fright, all except for Pippin. Farmer Maggot comes into view and simply asks what they are up to, and he recognizes Pippin right off. He tells Pippin he was just about to set his dogs out on strangers, due to the strange folk that had been wandering around.

Pippin asks to whom he is referring, and he tells him about the black rider he had seen.

Frodo mentions his fear of the dogs, and Maggot tells him they are harmless unless told to harm. When Pippin introduces Frodo as Mr. Baggins, it intrigues Maggot who tells them to come inside his home.

They go inside and discuss how they had come into Maggot’s land without his knowing, which they explain. The reason Farmer Maggot perked at the mention of Baggins was because of what the black rider had asked him.

Maggot tells the hobbits his whole conversation he had with the rider. It was much like that of all the others that had seen riders. The black rider had wanted to find a Baggins, but he knew that the only Baggins had left. The rider offered to give Maggot gold if he told him when he saw Frodo, he did not accept.

Maggot for some reason mentions all the rumors he had heard about the Baggins’. He tells Frodo he should have stayed in Buckland and he is smart to be coming back.

Farmer Maggot realizes it was not chance that brought the rider and Frodo through on the same day. Frodo laughs that he had been so scared of Maggot for thirty years and he wishes he hadn’t, for he could have had another good friend. Maggot realized that Frodo was probably planning on going to Buckleberry Ferry without being caught, which he is right about.

Frodo takes some convincing to stay for supper, only at the suggestion of Maggot taking them to the ferry by wagon does he accept.

As they ride the wagon, they don’t turn any light on. They worry that light will attract unwanted attention. It becomes very cold and the hobbits can’t even warm themselves by bundling up. They finally reach the ferry.

Suddenly they hear a horse coming. Frodo gets down and hides under blankets. Farmer Maggot demands to know the rider’s business. The rider says they are looking for Mr. Baggins, but it isn’t a rider at all! It’s Merry Brandybuck!

Merry tells them he had been looking everywhere for them. He had worried they had fallen in a ditch and thought they would never show up. After explaining how Maggot came to find the hobbits, Maggot tells them he best be off to go home.

Just before Maggot heads home, he hands Frodo a basket. Frodo laughs when he sees it is full of mushrooms.

Chapter Three: Three Is Company-Part One

Even after Gandalf explains to Frodo that the ring is indeed the One Ring, Frodo doesn’t make any sign of leaving for the next two to three weeks. Frodo was very reluctant to go. In fact, the only thing that made it bearable was the thought that he would be following Bilbo and would be able to see him again after Frodo almost doubled his age. He thought little about the ring and the fate of it in the end.

Gandalf explains to Frodo that he is not to tell anyone he is leaving at all. Certainly not where he is going. Frodo himself doesn’t even know where he is to go. In Gandalf’s opinion, he should make for Rivendell, which Frodo would be delighted to do, and Sam even more so.

Quite a bit later, a rumor began to spread that Frodo was selling Bag End. The hobbits were uncertain why he would do so. There were many theories, of course, being hobbits and all. What’s worse is that he was selling it to the Sackville-Bagginses! But everyone had the common belief that Frodo was going back to Buckland.

After two months in Bag End, Gandalf announced he was leaving to take care of some business. He tells Frodo to stick to his plan unless Gandalf sent word for him to change them. Most importantly, he tells Frodo not to use the ring.

Time quickly passes and Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday comes. They celebrate and forget their troubles a little while. Gandalf does not come.

Interestingly, as Frodo spends his last day in Bag End, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins shows up, pridefully grasping what is now hers, and to show that Frodo did not respect her for how rude she is it says, “Frodo did not offer her any tea.” I find it funny that this is the most disrespectful thing one can do to another. Awe, the British and their tea. It’s great.

As Frodo is preparing finally to leave, he over hears Gaffer and someone with a strange voice discussing Frodo’s leave taking. Gaffer tells the person what all the hobbits had believed about Frodo going to Buckland. This makes Frodo hugely paranoid and decides not to take the main road. And thus his adventure finally begins.

Together, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin made their way on foot toward Frodo’s “new home,” where Merry is waiting.

The three hobbits walk for what seems like forever. Frodo finds himself repeating the words of Bilbo’s song, The Road Goes Ever On and On. What Frodo doesn’t realize is that it was Bilbo he heard it from. He feels as though he made it up, in a way, but he thinks that it certainly does sound like Bilbo’s rhyming.

As they continue walking, Sam says he hears a horse galloping far behind them. Frodo hopes that it is Gandalf, but he has a feeling that it is not. Because of this, Frodo suggests that they stay off the road.

The next part is almost exactly like it is in the movie adaptation. Frodo stands in the middle of the road, hesitating to get off the road as his friends are already hiding. Finally he hides with them as a huge, black horse turns the corner. When the horse and it’s hooded rider reach the spot adjacent to where the three are hiding, the rider sits quietly, making a sound as if he is sniffing.

As the rider and his horse stand there, Frodo suddenly feels a fear that he will be discovered. He finds himself thinking about the ring and fingering it. He feels tempted to use it. Bilbo had used it. So why should Frodo not use it? The rider slowly begins to trot away until it is out of sight, and Frodo’s temptation fades.

Chapter Two: The Shadow of the Past-Part One

For a long time after Bilbo left, all over Hobbiton his disappearance was discussed. Most believed he had finally cracked and gone mad. Frodo turned out to be much like Bilbo; always keeping to himself, acting strange. He continued to throw birthday parties for Bilbo, although many had presumed him dead. They all blamed Gandalf for the way Frodo and Bilbo acted. They didn’t seem to realize that Gandalf was giving them both the essential push towards a prosperous and wonderful life. If the hobbits never know evil, they will never grow to understand good.

After Bilbo left, Frodo became very distant. He spent most of his time with only three people. Often he would wander off alone, which Pippin and Merry theorized as him going off with the elves as Bilbo had. He had become more and more like Bilbo. He even showed no signs of aging as Bilbo had. This means also that Frodo would have started carrying the heavy temptation at a much younger age, but yet still old enough to be responsible, seeing as he had just become an adult.

Frodo began to wish that he had gone with Bilbo; he dreamt about mountains and lands he had never seen before. He wanted badly to see them, but part of him kept telling him it was not yet time for him to go. It is much like waiting for our turn to come to earth. Obviously, we didn’t all come at the same time, so that tells us there was some amount of time we had to wait before we came down to earth.

Quick side note:

We find out by the fact that the ring makes one invisible that something about the ring is magic. We can see through Tolkien’s stories that Sauron does not, in fact, turn invisible. Why? Because the ring doesn’t actually turn you “invisible.” It actually, essentially, pushes the wearer into the unseen “Wraith World.” Because Sauron can dwell in both worlds at once, the ring can’t put him in a world he is already in. As the wearer uses the ring, they fade more and more because of the effects the other world has on mortals.

So, with that, we can infer that simply carrying the ring could be dangerous. After all, are we to assume that just having the magical metal on a specific part of the body is the only way we are affected by magical objects? No, of course not! Touching it, carrying it, is enough to have some extent of effect on us.

This effect pushes Frodo away from others to an extent. Just as wearing it willingly with the intent to use its power pushes you into the other world, carrying it for other purposes pushes you away from your social world. This is why Frodo is so far from his friends.

The Hobbits only heard rumors of what was happening in the world. Elves were leaving, never to come back to Middle Earth. Creatures of unknown decent we heard of. Mordor was being rebuilt. It was very strange for Hobbits to even hear about Mordor. For such a far away safe haven, it is very rare for any news of Mordor to reach the ears of Hobbits. That foreshadows the story, telling us that we haven’t heard the end of Mordor in the plot line.

Next we hear a conversation involving Sam and some other Hobbits. The Shire is a place of so much ignorance that the people start to think that not even dragons-despite Bilbo’s tales-exist. They have heard a witnesses account and yet still don’t think it ever happened. This could almost be compared to how some people in real life don’t believe certain world events happened.

Take the Holocaust for example. Many people refuse to believe the Holocaust ever happened. They like to think that it was made up and there was no suffering of the Jewish people. We know that that is obviously wrong. We also know that these Hobbits are wrong about the non-existence of magical creatures. Perhaps the near to last chapter of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy makes sense of why Tolkien would have the events of the chapter happen (which I will get to when I reach that chapter. If I forget to mention it, remind me).

Eventually, Gandalf turns up for the first time since the party. He only stays a little while and leaves again, returning occasionally to speak with Frodo. Sam sees and knows of this. I wonder what that will provoke Sam to do? Hmm. Maybe drop some eaves? Maybe, maybe.

Gandalf returns once more, one day, and speaks to Frodo about the ring. Frodo is somewhat confused at first. Gandalf told him the ring was dangerous. Frodo asks him what he means by it. Frodo is terrified as Gandalf goes on to tell him about the rings of power and how they affect mortals. He tells Frodo that those who have one for too long don’t die, but don’t grow either. They simply exist. And slowly they begin to fade into the darkness of the world they are in as they wear the ring.

Sam can be heard out cutting the grass.

Frodo asks Gandalf how much Bilbo knew of the ring. Gandalf proceeds to tell him that he knew no more than what he told Frodo. Bilbo had thought it was just a nifty little tool. He did, however, notice that it changed. It needed looking after. The ring became constantly on his mind. He hadn’t realized that the ring itself was to blame. He even noticed that the ring would change size. He had no idea what the true power of the ring was.

Gandalf explains what Bilbo had said in the last chapter. How he was “thin and stretched.” Gandalf says that it means the ring began taking control.

At this point, Gandalf still doesn’t even know if the ring really is the ring of power. There is only one last test to be sure, and Gandalf doesn’t doubt much the guess he made. Gandalf made this guess not long after Bilbo found the ring. He had acted strangely about it and even had similarities to the way Gollum had acted. There is a little bit of foreshadowing when Gandalf says, “I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back.” Now, why could that be? Why would Gandalf have a feeling he shouldn’t talk to Saruman about it?

Gandalf didn’t want to believe the ring was the One Ring. He had thought many times about the possibility. He noticed connections, but tried to justify them. Perhaps Gandalf didn’t want to believe his dear old friend was in the sort of trouble he was. Think about it like this. Think of a friend you have had for many years. Imagine they got into some stuff that seemed great to them at first, but then took a wrong turn, resulting in many complications in their life. The ring is meant to represent temptation. Maybe Gandalf didn’t want to believe that Bilbo had fallen to such a horrible temptation. Or maybe he didn’t want to have to find a way to fix it. After all, he knew how difficult it would be.

Frodo begins to worry about what the presence of the ring means for the rest of the hobbits. Gandalf says that Sauron had completely over looked hobbits. Years he has not taken notice of them. He seems to underestimate the power we each have in ourselves to have control over him and his temptations.

The last test to be sure that the ring is the one he thinks it is is to place the ring in the fire. Frodo takes out the ring and does so. The magical properties causes it to be cool upon taking it out of the fire. When the inscription appears, Gandalf relays the meaning. “one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.” (This is the only part he says aloud.) He then tells the little riddle about the rest of the rings. This ring is in fact the One Ring.

Upon hearing this, Frodo becomes saddened and afraid. He doesn’t want this ring. He wishes it had never come to him. Maybe this is like us coming to earth. In heaven we were all so excited to come to earth and experience life and a body. We didn’t quite understand what it meant. All we know is that it is God’s plan and we want to be a part of it. But when we get here, we experience trials, challenges, and feel so much pain. We hadn’t expected pain to be such a terrible thing. And yet we find ourselves having to experience it. What we don’t realize at this time is that it will be for the better. It will end and we will have conquered it.

On the bright side, Sauron doesn’t have the ring. As long as the ring is in Frodo’s possession, Sauron can not have his full power. Gandalf explains what happened to the other rings. The three elves hid and have not been touched by Sauron’s power. The rings of the dwarves were all taken from them. Three were taken by Sauron, the rest were taken by dragons, which might as well be eternally lost for all the gold dragons take and care not for individual pieces. The nine, as we know, were not only taken, but used to control the men, making them into the ring wraiths.

And yet with all those rings, he still needs the one to bring him back his power. After all, he did purposefully make it so that he could have that one to control the others. One to rule them all.

We discover that Sauron is not quite as skillful and powerful as he would have them think. He hadn’t even known his ring wasn’t destroyed. This shows us that he doesn’t have the connection to the ring in order to know whether or not it is still around. The important part of this being he is not connected to the ring.

Gandalf explains how the ring came to Frodo. It was actually Elendil and Gil-galad who had been together fighting Sauron. After Elendil died, Isildur, his son, took his father’s sword and cut the ring from Sauron’s hand. He explains that Isildur kept the ring and was then killed, losing the ring into the river. The ring passed from legend, and was never thought of again.

And where the ring’s story continues can finally be put together after all of Gandalf’s research in the library of Gondor. The story is finally put together and can now be given an end.

Chapter One: An Unexpected Party-Part Two

The instant Bilbo disappears in chapter one, every single guest at the party bursts into conversation. Most of the talk was of how crazy Bilbo is. Frodo just sits and laughs quietly at the amusement of the guests.

As Frodo sits and ponders, he begins to think about Bilbo’s little trick a little harder. He realizes how much he cares for Bilbo. I like to think Frodo in that moment started to wonder what would happen to him if Bilbo really was gone. If Bilbo really had disappeared and would never return. That is what makes him realize how sad he would become if Bilbo left this world in such a quick flash as his trick.

Tolkien makes a large deal about the clothes Bilbo changes into when he returns to Bag End. He describes the nice, embroidered party clothes he removes and the old, tattered clothes that replace them. Thinking about this, ask yourself, Why would someone who has such nice and expensive things change into old, dirty clothes on such an occasion as an important birthday? No one would even change into dirty clothes on their worst day unless it was their last resort.

Tolkien explains further in a way that makes us realize that the clothes Bilbo puts on are the same as those he word on his adventures with the dwarves. Think about the symbolism behind the clothing. Bilbo had never really been one to wear expensive things and look fancy. We can tell this by the way he is constantly giving to those around him, thinking not of himself, but others. Also, it says that Bilbo rapped up his fine linen clothing and put it carefully away, this makes it seem as though he hasn’t even worn it before, he still has the packaging it came in.

The clothes he wore on his journey symbolize his old self. The part of him the was “more Took-ish.” These clothes show all the wear and tear of an adventure, of which you would never experience behind the borders of the Shire. This tells us that he is not planning to stay in the Shire, which we can also assume by the other things he was said to have gathered together upon returning to Bag End. Also, those old clothes represent his old self. Bilbo is choosing to embrace that of his past and leave what home he has already.

Bilbo soon verifies this theory himself as he converses with Gandalf. He tells Gandalf he is going on a holiday and doesn’t mean to come back.

Taking a step back for a moment: Before Gandalf shows up, Bilbo puts his ring in an envelope and sets it on the shelf, then just after he takes it out again. At this point for most people (who don’t already know the story by heart, but have read the Hobbit), we can tell that there is something about the ring that isn’t quite the same as it was in the Hobbit. Bilbo can’t seem to detach from the ring, but this could also just be a simple man who doesn’t want to separate from such a sentimental treasure.

During Bilbo’s conversation with Gandalf, we hear another famous line.

“I feel sort of stretched, Gandalf…like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Let’s analyze this a bit, shall we?

Think about it. When you take just a knife full of butter and try to spread it over your entire toast, it eventually thins out to the point where it has no point. It doesn’t give it the flavor you intended. Bilbo here could be meaning that as he goes along, spending his days in the Shire (gliding his knife across the bread), he feels that his knife is going to continue gliding through his life, never lifting itself off to obtain more butter, never adding more to his now dull life. He feels like all this time spent idling away is stretching him, making him become more and more thin as his adventurous life is left behind him. He is only spreading his butter, dragging it in circles, going no where. This is what he uses to describe why he needs to leave.

After such marvelous and terrible adventures. How can one go back to a normal life completely?

Tolkien writes in one line that, to me seems a bit humorous on his part. Gandalf tells Bilbo that no one will read his story (which we know is actually what the Hobbit book is, technically). This makes me laugh a bit, because we know that thousands of people read the Hobbit. It’s almost as if Tolkien is making a joke about how successful his book actually was. Just a random thought.

Bilbo then says that Frodo would come with him, if Bilbo asked him. But he also says that Frodo is not ready. I compare this to our existence before earth life. Not all of us are born on earth at the same time, obviously. So this represents that we will all have a chance on earth, just that some of us aren’t ready at the same time as others. Just like how on earth we don’t all progress at the same rate.

The next bit is almost word for word in the movie. Gandalf and Bilbo discuss the ring and what its fate is to be. Bilbo calls the ring his “precious” just as Gollum had. This definitely tells us something is up. The ring starts to look more and more like a poison. Or an addiction. If this ring is causing such a respectable man to become like such a sad, pathetic creature, then there is definitely something about that ring that is not right for the mind.

Bilbo and Gandalf soon agree to leave the ring with Frodo. This tells us a TON about the type of person Frodo is. They trusted him enough to leave him such a powerful and dangerous weapon. They had to have had total faith in Frodo as a person to take care of this ring. So they leave it for him (after Bilbo tries to take it with him first, of course).

Bilbo and Gandalf say their goodbyes and Bilbo is off, singing as he goes. Which song is a very deep sort of poetry. It ends with “And whither [the road goes] then? I cannot say.” This means that he has no idea where his journey is going to take him, but yet still he goes. No one knows where their road will take them, we simply have to follow and discover for ourselves where it will go.

The next day, after Frodo had discovered Bilbo left the day before (as Bilbo had told him he was planning on doing), Frodo finds that Bilbo had written out what things he owned that he was giving away. (He even gave things away to the Sackville-Bagginses!)

This chapter ends with a conversation between Frodo and Gandalf. Gandalf explains that Frodo is to soon go out into the world on a sort of small journey. They discuss what is to happen and Gandalf tells him that he will return one day to let Frodo know when it is the time to leave. And so Frodo waits until it is his time to go into the world.

Meriadoc: The Responsible Hobbit

Merry is the logical Hobbit between him and Pippin. He is constantly trying to keep Pippin out of trouble. Merry’s best attribute is his desire to fight for what is right. He sees all this fighting and death around him and all he wants is to help his friends.

The instant the black riders come after the Hobbits just outside of Hobbiton, Merry knows that there is something Frodo has that they are after. In the book, Merry actually knew about the ring, or rather saw what it did. One day, Merry saw Bilbo put on the ring, after that, he sent Sam to go investigate and listen to what happens in Bag End (that means Sam really was dropping eaves! 😉 ). Merry had an idea what was going on from the very beginning. It isn’t until later that he realizes the magnitude of the situation.

We get a clue at how ignorant he starts off. When at Weathertop, he foolishly lights a fire with his buddies, not realizing that he can’t have all the many regular meals whenever he wants anymore, especially when there are nine evil Sauron’s servants tracking them.

When Merry sees Frodo leaving the fellowship at Amon Hen, he immediately understands and tries to lead the orcs away from him. He completely disregards his own safety for the sake of his friend. He realizes later that his carelessness in his attempt to save one friend resulted in the death of another. This could be one of the reasons he was so fixated on helping his friends in battle, because he doesn’t want to feel as though he can’t do any good.

When Hobbits are with Treebeard, Merry is trying to convince Treebeard to fight with them. He figures that the size of the ents would be the perfect strategic advantage. When Treebeard takes an entire day, completely disregarding something that is so important to Merry, it frustrates him to the point where he feels that he really can’t do any good in this war that has taken over normal life. He pretty much gives up. Thankfully for him, Pippin managed to convince Treebeard to head toward Isengard, where he sees the destruction Saruman has caused.

If it weren’t for this tender mercy, Merry wouldn’t have ever made it into battle, defending what he believes in and helping his friends. Merry is an example of our willingness and drive to do what’s right and help others. We all want something, we all should want what’s best for those we care about.

Merry realizes fully the extent of the damage Sauron has brought to the world when he sees his closest friend forced to leave him. Seeing Pippin struggle against such evil, suffer from such a trial, he realizes how much he cares for Pippin and doesn’t want him to have to ever suffer at the hands of such evil.

Imagine. Remember the way Pippin reacted when he was holding the Palentir? He struggled, he couldn’t even let go. If this were your brother, sister, closest friend or relative, how would that make you feel? Personally, it would scare me to death! I would never want to see anyone, let alone my closest friend have to deal with such a thing.

You could compare this to seeing your family members go through trials. Maybe you have a family member struggling with addiction, or health problems, or maybe even lost someone you loved to a disease or an accident and it hurt someone you care about to the point where you don’t know what will happen to them or if they will recover from such hardships.

When you see your family suffer, it changes what is important to you. When once you only cared about all your meals and having a good laugh or pipeweed, you now want only to save your friends and family and get rid of what things cause them pain.

We see Merry’s enthusiasm best when he is with Eowyn on the way to Pellenor. He is training, practicing, and preparing to fight for his loved ones. His enthusiasm grows dramatically as he gets better and better and sees that he does have the potential to do good. When Theoden tells him that he cannot come to battle, it’s as if he is reliving the moment when he thought Treebeard would just take him home. Only this time he doesn’t have Pippin to say something clever to help him. He realizes how much he needs Pippin in his life only to feel like he will never see him again.

Eowyn becomes his next tender mercy. When he feels like no one will take him with them to fight, Eowyn sweeps in to give him his chance.

Through Merry’s characterization, we can see that we do have a chance to help our loved ones. We may feel like there is no way we can do anything for them. What can I do to stop someone from using drugs or alcohol? I can’t just tell them to stop or take it from them. I have no control over their choices. While some of that is true, we still have the power to be an influence and example in their lives. They know what they are doing is not right, but without you by their side, they might never stop or get better. Simply being there for them can do a lot. We just have to support them and help them when they ask for it.

Even though it isn’t likely for someone who is struggling to ask for help, we can still do something. Maybe drop a comment here and there. Mention little things that touch lightly on the subject and try to spark a conversation that will get them realizing they need help or asking for help. It is never too late.

Merry shows us that we should want what’s best for our family, biological or otherwise. There is always something we can do. We can’t give up on them. And even when we feel like it’s over, God will help us get back on the saddle. He will provide those tender mercies that will keep us going. And we will never have to worry about waiting on the edge of a battle we can’t escape.