Sunday, February 10, 2013

In Defense of Frodo Baggins

     With the advent of writing my >>>Cosette/Eponine<<< post last Sunday, this is a post that I've been wanting to write since The Hobbit came out. "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy is going to always be a memorable part of my generation. It was an extraordinary piece of work and something that I will always remember. Now, I have never read the books, but I know enough of the storyline from talking to people about it.

     When The Hobbit came out, I couldn't help but notice how some of the reviews that while praising Bilbo for his courage and charming personality, they would come down on Frodo saying that he was wining, complaining, boring, had no character, etc. Similar to the Cosette/Eponine comparisons, this too made me angry and I started to wonder why Frodo, who was the epitome of the Christlike character in the story, was being victimized in such a way.

     Not ever reading the books,  I really didn't know what his literary personality was, I asked a few book experts their opinions on the subject.

Catria from >>>My Unicorn Has Wings<<<:

     Hmmmmmm. My first response is... WHO ON EARTH IS SAYING THAT!!! All of my friends and I love both LotR AND the Hobbit. And we recognize that you CANNOT compare Bilbo and Frodo.

     First off, Bilbo is lighthearted, quirky, fun, and kinda runs around in his own little world. It makes for a great comic film with laughable moments and just a hint of the evil to come in LotR's. He is not supposed to be strong-willed and purposeful.

      Frodo, on the other hand, is very different. There's a strength of character and purpose about him that, even though he is such a little person, you have to admire because he doesn't let it stop him. He is scared. He is even weak. But he is real and relateable because of that. No one is perfect or unbeatable. And we all fall prey. Even Bilbo did. Actually, Bilbo did very much. And as for Frodo having no personality, I suppose that must just be a lack of ability on some people's part to recognize the different people {or Hobbit} types out there. No two people are the same.

      As far as the movies go, Bilbo was supposed to be lighthearted and charming. Frodo was supposed to be messed up and striving for something impossible. That very difference affects their personalities. LotR's is all about defeating evil. The Hobbit is not. No one should try to make it so. And no one should try to make LotR's try to be light. That is not the point. They are two different movies and should be.

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 Cate and Mime from >>>Notebook Sisters<<<

      Cate: Ivy, I HAVE to agree with you on this one. I see the pins on Pinterest (yep, I go there a lot) that say how Sam is the true hero and Frodo is a whiny brat. I've always disagreed too. Of course, without Sam, Frodo wouldn't have made the journey. But Sam didn't carry the Ring. In the extended editions at one point, Sam had the Ring, and he was just as entranced by it as Boromir. So it HAD to be Frodo carrying the Ring.

      I think Elijah Wood did a fine portrayal (and realistic) of Frodo! There were lots of supernatural forces going on in Middle Earth and they were tougher then the physical forces at times.

     Mime: In Frodo's defense, he was stabbed by a Morgul(?) blade, a spear (but that didn't pierce him), shoved around by Faramir (before he let him go), bitten by a poisonous spider, had Gollum sit on his head a few times, not to mention having his finger bitten off. I think he did pretty well under the circumstances. And that's not to say that he had a ring messing with his mind so much he tried to kill Sam.

      Complaining? A little bit. It's true. But realistic. I don't think he was a coward. I mean, he stood up in Rivendell and said he'd take it. I actually found him more of a coward in the book The Fellowship of the Rings, because he kept trying to farm off the ring, first Gandalf, Tombombadil, Galadriel... but I haven't read the rest, so I don't know how his character development went along in the next two books.

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        I was glad that they seemed just as shocked as I was about the whole situation.

      Did Frodo sometimes complain about having to carry the Ring? Yes.

      Did Bilbo complain about the idea of going on a journey? Yes.

      Did Frodo run away from a duty that wasn't rightfully his? No.

      Did Aragorn run away from a duty that was rightfully his? Yes.

      Did Frodo ever doubt Gandalf ? No

      Did Thorin ever doubt Gandalf? Yes...constantly.

      Are people expecting a small person from simple beginnings to carry the fate of the world around his neck and do it with a cheerful attitude?

      Are people expecting a small ordinary person to possess superhuman abilities to lighten his load and quicken his journey?

      Do people expect Frodo to want to carry this burden, to want to change the world, to want to be a glorified  hero?

     I have always likened Frodo Baggins to Aslan from "The Chronicles of Narnia." The difference between the two is that Frodo is ordinary, Aslan is extraordinary, Frodo is mortal, Aslan is immortal, Frodo chose to take the Ring of his own free will, Aslan chose to die for Edmund because it was written in the prophecy.

     The closer Frodo got to Morder and Mount Doom, the more of an effect the Ring had on him. It was weakening him and he was beginning to lose control of senses. Does that make him any less of a hero just because he lost control?

     The true hero wasn't the one who actually threw the Ring into the fire, but the one who stood up amongst all these men and leaders, Frodo Baggins the orphaned son of a farmer, and said he would carry the Ring to Morder. The true hero was the one who watched with admiration as Aragorn turned down his offer to take the Ring for himself.
     Frodo Baggins is the hero of the story, sure there are other heroes such as The Fellowship, Faramir, Theodan, Eowyn, Eomer, Galadriel, Arwen (yes, I consider her a hero and I'll do a defense post on her if you doubt her role in the story!), Elrond, and others, but in the end it was Frodo. One small person who changed the course of the future, the livelihood of his people, and the fate of Middle-Earth forever.

1 comment:

  1. Ah! You linked it to us! :)

    Definitely agree with you. Absolutely! I never really considered Frodo to be a scrap like Aslan... nor a what's the word? Paralell? of Jesus. I mean, he did get to Mount Doom and say, "Nah, after all this time, I'm going to keep it!" So I didn't think of LOTR as an analogy. But I adore the way you compared Frodo to the other characters. Particularly Thorin. He has enough fangirls to sink a ship. :)

    Great post!


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