Greetings! We will be taking a look at Frodo Baggins before and after he took the tremendous task of carrying the One Ring to Mordor, an event that will change him forever. This will not be fully exhaustive, for I will mainly be focusing on the most well-known events, and what sets him apart from the other characters.
Despite being the main character, Frodo is often overlooked and misunderstood – especially as it’s easy to forget that he has been tasked with (arguably) the biggest burden imaginable.
Frodo was born in 22 September TA 2968 (SR 1368), as the only child of Drogo Baggins and Primula Brandybuck. This also happened to be the same birthday as his cousin Bilbo – who was born on the same date in 2890 (SR 1290).
Early Childhood + Youth, and Frodo’s Parents
Frodo’s parents were very respectable hobbits, and they often visited his father in law, Gorbadoc Brandybuck. This was the cause of their death by a boating accident one time when Frodo was 12.
Frodo stayed in Brandy Hall in Buckland with his mom’s relatives until Bilbo adopted him as his heir when Frodo was 21. Frodo was taken under the custody of his uncle, Rorimac Brandybuck at first.
Bilbo is Frodo’s second cousin once removed, though the term uncle was sometimes used as a term of endearment.
Pre-Quest + Leaving the Shire
Frodo celebrates his 33rd birthday and the coming of age along with Bilbo who was turning 111. Like Bilbo, Frodo desires to see the mountains and was suspected to have met Elves, which was sometimes deemed ‘odd’ by the hobbits.
Frodo continues to have birthday parties in Bilbo’s honor, until he turns 50. Much like Bilbo, Frodo also showed signs of good “preservation,” due to the effects of the One Ring – despite not using it much.
Gandalf found out the magic ring was, in fact, the One Ring of Sauron, where Frodo would eventually be tasked with the quest to destroy the One Ring.
(He would eventually go along with his friend and gardener Samwise Gamgee, and his cousins and close friends, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, and also Folco Boffin and Fredegar Bolger, to Crickhollow.)
(At a shocking turn of events – Frodo sells the house to the Sackville-Bagginses, who kept pressing the selling of his house to his and Bilbo’s dismay in the beginning – after Otho’s death.)
Frodo decides that he must head to Rivendell, and by then, Gandalf had specifically decided that Sam will be going with Frodo.
Frodo was afraid that he would be chased by their dogs when the hobbits arrived at the Farmer’s house.
This was because he was once caught stealing mushrooms as a child from Farmer Maggot, who eventually thrashed him, setting his three dogs to chase him to Buckleberry Ferry.
After arriving at Crickhollow, Gildor has revealed the Black Riders and told Frodo to avoid them.
Additionally, Frodo becomes an Elf-friend, as Gildor notices his connection with the Elves – having picked up the languages.
Frodo later has a prophetic dream of a tower near the sea at the Grey Havens – where he will eventually go after his journey to Mordor.
After this, the hobbits go over to the house of Tom Bombadil and Frodo has a vision of the Blessed Realm.
There, Frodo also seemed set apart in that he has a mental bridge between mortal and immortal worlds. However, that doesn’t change his mortality – he is still physically a hobbit and a mortal.
Furthermore during the Council of Elrond, Elrond compared him to the other elf-friends, Hador, Hurin, Turin, and Beren.
Council of Elrond
Frodo arrives at Rivendell after the Witch King of Angmar wounded him at the Top of the Winds., which turned him into a wraith like the Nazgul and will leave him with many scars long after his journey.
By then, Elrond had called on Glorfindel to guide Frodo to Rivendell so he could heal him. Glorfindel lured the Ringwraiths into the Bruinen River, where Elrond released a great flood, while Gandalf gave the waves the form of horses. This flood destroyed the Nine and killed their horses, sending their Wraiths back to Mordor which allowed the Fellowship more time to plan.
After Frodo finds himself in Rivendell, he meets Bilbo again, and receives a sword, Sting, from him.
This led to the eventual destruction of the One Ring where he would be going with the fellowship on 25 December TA 3018, or what we know as Christmas morning.
They were stopped by heavy snow in the Mines of Moria, and went to Lothlorien mostly unharmed – where they learned of the death of Gandalf the Grey. Galadriel reveals her ring to Frodo and the fellowship had gifts from her as a result – she gave Frodo a vial from the silmaril of Eärendil.
Destruction of the Ring
Frodo tried to go off to Mordor alone at the Falls of Rauros, but Sam will not let him.
‘But I am going to Mordor,’ he says, in which Sam replies:
‘I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.’
Thus, Frodo and Sam go on their way to Mordor while the others are on their way to Minas Tirith.
In the beginning, Frodo, out of understanding was able to show compassion to Gollum having the weight of the One Ring on him, while Sam had trouble understanding which was evident by his initial remarks.
Shortly after, Frodo was caught by Shelob, which made Sam carry the One Ring for a short time. This made Sam a Ringbearer and he would one day meet Frodo at the Undying Lands as well after the death of his wife, Rosie.
When he looked at it, Sam had realized that he wouldn’t be able to carry the ring any longer, and gave it back to Frodo. After just a short time he experienced visions of grandeur and temptation, much like the other characters such as Boromir and Bilbo who had come close to the Ring, but Frodo did not.
However the Ring was weighing on Frodo more and more. After all, remember that Frodo had it for at least 17 years by the time they were approaching Mount Doom. So Sam decides he couldn’t carry *the Ring*, so he carried Frodo instead up the slopes of Mount Doom.
On the morning of 25 March TA 3019, Frodo was well set to drop the One Ring into the fire. However, he succumbed under the Ring’s influence at the last moment, claiming it as his own.
He was attacked by Gollum who bit off his finger when reaching over to get the ring back. Eventually Gollum fell into the fire with the One Ring. Thus the One Ring was thrown into the fires of Mount Doom, which was Ilúvatar and his divine intervention after all.
By then, Frodo was simply incapable of making a conscious decision to destroy the ring, and it was not a moral failure, “especially after long possession, months of increasing torment, and when starved and exhausted.” (Letter # 246) – my edit on Tolkien Gateway
Frodo did all that he could do at that point. Few would be able and willing to go as far as he did.
After the Ring’s Destruction + Aftermath
They would later be taken to Ithilien by Gwaihir, Landroval and Meneldor and rest there for a month, where they were crowned for the One Ring’s Destruction in the Field of Cormallen. Then they would go to the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen.
Arwen would then give Frodo her place in the Undying Lands as a gift in order to heal him, for she was the first to see the signs – he seemed guiltless at first, but one could sense the disquiet growing in him.
“[Frodo] appears at first to have had no sense of guilt (III 224-5),…but then he thought that he had given his life in sacrifice: he expected to die very soon. But he did not, and one can observe the disquiet growing in him.” (JRR Tolkien, Letter # 246)
(Cont.) “Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same, for I shall not be the same.”
This was also evident by his refusal to fight against Saruman later in the Battle of Bywater in the Shire, and many other wounds caused by carrying the One Ring for so long.
On top of that, every March 13 and October 6, Frodo would fall ill.
Lobelia sold Bag End back to Frodo after the loss of her son, and Frodo would then pass along the Red Book and Bag End to Sam, who would write the last pages and edits, and raise a family with his wife, Rosie.
Frodo finally decides to join Bilbo in the Undying Lands after the last of his illnesses in March 3020.
And thus on 21 September TA 3021, Frodo set out to go and 8 days later he joined Bilbo, Gandalf, and some Elves sailing west to the Undying Lands.
Thus, he would be living out the dreams he had at Crickhollow and at Tom Bombadil’s.
Since Sam was also a ring bearer for the short time period – he left for the Undying Lands as well, and the Red Book to his daughter Elanor – after the passing of his wife, Rosie – joining Frodo.
And thus ends the tale of Frodo Baggins.