This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs – the updated “about” section) would be updated accordingly. It would include explanations from letters and/or personal preferences, or views on certain topics related to Middle-earth.
Table of Contents
- FAQs – #1: Why didn’t Elrond join the Fellowship?
- FAQs – #2: Why didn’t the Fellowship take the Eagles to Mordor?
- FAQs – #3: Why couldn’t Gandalf have just taken the One Ring?
- FAQs – #4: How and Why did Arwen decide to be mortal?
- FAQs – #5: What happened to Rivendell after LOTR?
- FAQs – #6: Do Frodo and Sam reunite in the Undying Lands?
- FAQs – #7: …how about Bilbo? Legolas? Gimli?
- FAQs – #8: Is there any religion in LOTR?
- FAQs – #9: What is the most powerful LOTR/ Tolkien quote?
- FAQs – # 10: What’s your favorite sword of Middle-earth?
- FAQs – # 11: If you could only have one of the hobbits as a lifelong friend, who would it be?
- FAQs – # 12: If you were half-Elven and could choose the life of an elf or the life of a mortal, what would you choose?
- FAQs – # 13: Why did Frodo spare Gollum? What was so significant about showing this compassion?
- FAQs – # 14: Which question would you ask Tolkien if you had the chance?
- FAQs – # 15: Was Frodo or Sam the hero of LOTR?
FAQs – #1: Why didn’t Elrond join the Fellowship?
Elrond couldn’t have joined because he had to tend to his role of healing in his home in Rivendell and also as keeper of Vilya, the Elven Ring. He did fight in battles in the Second Age, and part of the Third, but during the time of the Fellowship he was to remain home so he could heal wounds.
FAQs – #2: Why didn’t the Fellowship take the Eagles to Mordor?
While it is not made clear, it seems that Tolkien wouldn’t have wanted the Fellowship taking the Eagles to Mordor, citing the Eagles as a “dangerous machine.” He was staunchly against the idea of “coercion,” and “labor-saving machinery.”
FAQs – #3: Why couldn’t Gandalf have just taken the One Ring?
Tolkien explains that Gandalf taking the One Ring would’ve been worse than Sauron. He would have “made good detestable and seem evil.”
FAQs – #4: How and Why did Arwen decide to be mortal?
While Aragorn was a large influence, Arwen was also a special case in that she was Half-Elven, being the daughter of Elrond Halfelven.
FAQs – #5: What happened to Rivendell after LOTR?
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end…I’m also still working on the other locations. Stay tuned.
FAQs – #6: Do Frodo and Sam reunite in the Undying Lands?
While it was never made clear, I like to think they do. Of course – as mortals they wouldn’t go there to achieve immortality.
Some may think it is “too good to be true,” that due to the Downfall of Númenor, or maybe that Frodo would’ve achieved the healing he sought before he died (thus he would die sooner) – this would mean that Frodo would’ve been long gone before Sam sets sail.
However, unlike the Númenoreans, Frodo and Sam were invited there and the purpose of going wouldn’t be to achieve immortality – as was the case of the Númenoreans.
However, based on this pullquote – it seems to me that they do get to choose when to “renounce life” (similar to Aragorn in 120 FoA) – so it would’ve been implied that Frodo would have been able to wait for Sam to get there.
But all in all I do believe Tolkien had Sam go to the Undying Lands to stir up hope that he would be able to reunite with Frodo one last time long after the end of LOTR.
FAQs – #7: …how about Bilbo? Legolas? Gimli?
Assuming that lifespans will remain the same as they would had they remained in Middle-earth, it may be a bit of a far cry to suggest that Sam would see Bilbo again – or that the hobbits would be able to see Legolas and Gimli who went long after Sam did.
This is a big maybe – since it might actually be possible due to their free will based on the pullquote above!
Though Bilbo would’ve been already past the normal lifespan of hobbits.
And when Legolas and Gimli go, the hobbits would’ve all been past the normal lifespan of hobbits at this point.
But Tolkien doesn’t seem to suggest how long exactly the Ring-bearers would be able to live once they reach the Undying Lands.
FAQs – #8: Is there any religion in LOTR?
Yes. While it is definitely meant to be enjoyed by anyone of any belief system (or none at all), Tolkien has said that for him it was a “fundamentally Catholic work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision” (Letter # 142).
As far as if one should expect any type of prayer or religious belief to be mentioned in LOTR, sure, Eru’s name (from The Silmarillion, the deity) is not explicitly mentioned but I like to believe that events such as the Destruction of the One Ring were caused by Divine Providence. But Eru was not a direct allegory of Christ – since Tolkien himself disliked allegory.
Additionally, in the Appendices of Nature of Middle-earth, Tolkien cites most of them implying Catholic themes.
FAQs – #9: What is the most powerful LOTR/ Tolkien quote?
Answers may vary. lol. In my opinion, I think this one is by far one of my favorites:
FAQs – # 10: What’s your favorite sword of Middle-earth?
Probably Andruil. I just like the sound of the name.
FAQs – # 11: If you could only have one of the hobbits as a lifelong friend, who would it be?
Frodo. I’d probably tag along to wander and see Elves and…probably just chill and all. But I’d probably be a bad influence in Rivendell in the Council of Elrond when it comes time to decide what to do with the One Ring. 😂
FAQs – # 12: If you were half-Elven and could choose the life of an elf or the life of a mortal, what would you choose?
Probably elf – mainly to see it all play out. 😉
FAQs – # 13: Why did Frodo spare Gollum? What was so significant about showing this compassion?
Frodo’s compassion to Gollum was significant because it was referred to by Tolkien as an instrument of Providence.
“His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honour; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: [Frodo’s] failure was redressed.”JRR Tolkien, Letter # 246
FAQs – # 14: Which question would you ask Tolkien if you had the chance?
Which character are you most like, not who you want to be?
FAQs – # 15: Was Frodo or Sam the hero of LOTR?
I always thought the story was about Frodo. It was definitely about everyone though but it was clear to me if you’re talking about the protagonist – especially in the beginning though the later parts were staring to be a little more about Sam. But I think it’s due to circumstance.
Carrying the ring – it’s definitely a huge deal. All consuming. And definitely makes sense if there’s little room for fighting or much else.
Sam and the other members of the fellowship helped him along the way, yes they did – and they were heroic in their own right as well.
But it’s more so that the burden of the choice whether to leave home or not, carry the ring of doom – it didn’t fall upon Sam. It fell upon Frodo.
FAQs – # 15a: Did your view ever change?
My views has changed and wavered until very recently – previously it was due to what I saw in Tolkien’s letter – which I will discuss more on below. It was also due to personal situations. I did previously say on here that he penned Sam as the “true hero” which I later retracted.
I thought that Frodo couldn’t get far without Sam – yes this is true. But Frodo definitely suffered a lot, definitely not something (IMO) to be taken very lightly.
I’ll have to admit I was kind of more easily swayed by outside opinion at first though. Especially since Sam saves Frodo, fought Shelob, carries him, and heroically bore a lot of the physical tasks in order to lessen the burden on his best friend and master – and watching him struggle so much.
And Sam may seem more positive, upbeat, and physically adept – but that’s because he wasn’t carrying the Ring as long.
Frodo gave his life for the Ring. He finds out later that he can’t “get back” the things he used to enjoy – mentally and physically – and his wounds have never fully healed.
I think what many fans appreciate about Sam (and I do too – I like them both) is that he chose to go through a hero’s journey that is not his own. He was mainly motivated by Frodo. And that’s definitely an admirable thing of his own right – not really trying to take anything away from that and Sam.
FAQs – # 15b: Tolkien’s Letters
Tolkien took pains to emphasize what Frodo was going through. It seems not to be visible to many therefore it’s hard for many to believe the brevity of this mission and role as ring bearer. They are in 181, 191, 192 and 246 – mainly though he probably mentioned briefly in other letters.
He did refer to Sam as the “chief hero” in a letter – but I now think it seems to not really be saying “chief hero, rather than Frodo” but more so about comparing Sam’s love for Rosie to Aragorn’s noble love for Arwen.
“But the highest love-story, that of Aragorn and Arwen Elrond’s daughter is only alluded to as a known thing. It is told elsewhere in a short tale, of Aragorn and Arwen Undómiel. I think the simple ‘rustic’ love of Sam and his Rosie (nowhere elaborated) is absolutely essential to the study of his (the chief hero’s) character, and to the theme of the relation of ordinary life (breathing, eating, working, begetting), and quests, sacrifice, causes, and the ‘longing for Elves’, and sheer beauty.” (Letter 131)
FAQs – #15c: does it really affect us and how much?
Yes. As far as how much it affects us – I think it is very apparent of what we see in the world today. It’s hard to understand and empathize with struggles that seem mainly internal as opposed to one that is more visibly seen.
But it’s really not their fault. We just are conditioned to live in a society that prioritizes being right, seeming flawless and ignoring our feelings for the sake of perceived brevity and virtue.