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.