Man with a ring of fire

Frodo and the Power of the Ring

An incident occurs – a life forever changed. In one excruciating moment, the inner light turns dim. The events that happen in our lives maybe for our benefit or our impediment. Frodo has faced an almost insurmountable obstacle and has surpassed it with the healing powers of Lord Elrond. But how has this event influenced him?

Revelation in Rivendell

As he awakens in a bed in Rivendell, with Gandalf protectively sitting by his bedside, the severity of his life-changing event has taken its toll. He is alive and his wound is physically healing, but he is changing. He rejoices seeing his friends as well as his uncle Bilbo. The joy in his voice and manner of speaking, however, have changed. He seems melancholic. As if sadness had enveloped his happy-go-lucky demeanor.

When walking around Rivendell, the Autumn atmosphere of the place is an appropriate metaphor for his own inner world. His smile is not as wide and his eyes aren’t as bright as they were. A change had come over him. His innocence has faded. The “knife in the dark” has left him permanently scarred.

He admits to Bilbo that his “journey turned out to be very different”. He is starting to realize that his mission is a much more dangerous one. Dangerous for his own well-being, his sense of self, his serene and content way of being. He has become detached from himself.

Inside information

During the Council of Elrond, the codependent relationship between him and the One Ring is starting to develop. After the initial relief of taking it off from around his neck, the draw the Ring now has on him is growing stronger. As he has been on the brink of passing into the shadow world, the relationship with the Ring has become more intimate.

Now, together with the Black Riders, he shares inside knowledge and emotion tying him to the evil of the Ring. He is slowly losing the power of his own will to resist. He has also become increasingly insecure. Whereas in the Shire he was certain of who and what he was, and what his mission is, in Rivendell, he has taken on a different role. The initial plan was to bring the Ring to Rivendell and go back home. He, however, opted to journey with it all the way to Mordor.

The decision

On the one hand, he can be viewed as a savior of all People of Middle-Earth or a martyr. The choice is yours. However, I think there was no choice for him. Not really anyway. His decision is double-edged. Firstly, he wants to be rid of the Ring, for his own sake, with the thought in mind that he would be the same as before he left the Shire. Secondly, the need for the possession of the Ring is only starting to bloom inside of him, without him realizing it.

I suspect it would have been easier for him, had he not been stabbed on Weathertop. But now, no choice he makes is an easy one. He hasn’t weighed the pros and cons of taking the Ring to Mordor, he has simply taken it upon himself in an attempt to avoid the Ring`s emanating voice, while others argued.

As the Fellowship is preparing to exit Rivendell Frodo asks: „Mordor Gandalf, is it left or right?“ I find this line adorable. A little boy asking for directions of an older and wiser companion. Gandalf is his confidant, his guide, his protector and overall comfort in this strange new world for him. He looks to him for help and security, for he has lost his own inner compass to guide him. And since the wide world he has now entered is a complete unknown to him, he has to have a rock to lean on.

He is fighting the most terrible battles of all, that of preserving his innocence in light of this growing shadow. I believe he is trying with all his might to save as much of himself and his inner world as he can. But the Morgul-blade had done its damage and the evil starts seeping in. With the power of the Ring growing he is almost powerless to help himself.

Losing grip

Gandalf: „What about the Ring, you feel its power growing, I felt it too. You must be careful now evil will be drawn to you from outside the Fellowship, and I fear, from within“.

Frodo: „Who then do I trust?“

Gandalf: „You must trust yourself. Trust your own strengths.“

Frodo: “What do you mean?”

The instincts that had guided him thus far, are beginning to fade. The power of the Ring is gaining strength with every progress of the Fellowship. Frodo is not able to discern who can be trusted. And his own strength he is not aware of. It is a dangerous thing when one is unable to trust and at the same time losing his own peace of mind.

An insight into Gollum

He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself. He will never get rid of his need for it.

Gandalf

A revealing explanation of Gollum, one which will ring true for both Frodo and Bilbo.

As Gandalf explains the nature of Gollum`s relationship with the Ring and himself for that matter, Frodo starts expressing some kind of understanding, and maybe even pity. It is very easy to see Gollum as this creature whose only purpose in life is to get his hands on the Ring again but to look beyond and understand what it means to become this creature, to lose oneself in one single thought, one solitary craving. Frodo might be fearing to be drawn into the same fate himself as he continues his journey.

It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.

Gandalf

Frodo, as many of us, is too quick to place blame and judgment on someone, not knowing this person at all, or creature for that matter. His thought that Bilbo should have killed Gollum when he had the chance is the only thing he can conclude, given that he has only known Gollum as this traitor and stalker of his. He only knows one side of his being.

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Consequences of a decision

I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Frodo

Frodo is not angry at Gollum for setting things in motion but at himself. He begins to pity himself for even being on this quest. He wishes for things that cannot be undone.

One can summarise a situation objectively, while the senses calm down and accept the given situation. Frodo is doing just that, he is reflecting, although within himself, about the situation, and speaking only of what he would want most. However, the situation keeps replaying in his mind as he slowly gives in and accepts his fate. He isn’t happy about it, mind you, no one would be, but the anger he felt for Gollum at one point has now transformed into acceptance.

Fate

So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case you were meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

Gandalf

Now, the events leading up to Frodo getting the Ring were out of his control. But, now that he has it, it depends only on him how he is going to resolve the situation. It is, however, a nice notion that we are meant for something. From Gollum to Bilbo to Frodo.

They were meant to have their journeys in close proximity to the Ring. Frodo could have done as Gollum or Bilbo, take the Ring for himself and hideaway for decades. However, his own fate is tied differently to the Ring. Firstly, he doesn’t even want it. The Ring influences him it but he isn’t keen on guarding it, as the other two did. He knows that the only right thing to do is to rid the world of it.

Guidance

Now, Gandalf is, of course, a very wise wizard, and above else very philosophically inclined. Gandalf is also a very intuitive wizard, following what his heart and instincts tell him rather than the advice of others. He is very much in touch not only with the different forces around him but with himself as well.

He seeks counsel when in doubt or in search of information but he also knows that his own evaluation and feel for a certain situation is the right thing to follow in the end. To oneself be true. This he tries to pass on to Frodo as well.

Gandalf is mindful of Frodo’s emotional state and states that it is perfectly normal to be feeling what Frodo is feeling. He lets Frodo see that there is another way of viewing the situation. If you cannot change it, you have to accept it and adapt. He may not be able to change the course of events that led him into a certain situation, but he can act on his own, now that he has the possibility to control what he does.

Many see life as a gift, it was given to us, without us ever having any say in the matter. We have then the luxury to do with it as we please. We could remain ignorant and let circumstances take us where they may, or we can influence our life ourselves and built it as we see fit.

The outside vs. the inner world

It is a funny thing that one is more able to experience the outside world, and to feel things more distinctly when coming from the outer world then from one’s own. This is also a shame, really. Because how can you deal with the outer world if your inner world has not had the chance to grow and stabilize? How can you experience something truly if you can`t name the feeling you feel at any given moment?

This might be why the Ring overwhelms easily. If one is not in an emotionally intimate relationship with oneself, knowing how he truly feels, then any outer distraction can cause turmoil. The Ring is a powerful weapon, make no mistake, but being pure of heart and welcoming as Frodo`s nature is, then something like the Ring can easily burrow its way to his inner world, without him ever having the chance to stop it.

How do Men, Elves and Dwarves fit into this situation? How do they perceive the Ring? And why is it, that of these three strong races, a small Hobbit decides their fate? Read on in my next post.

Featured image by Tom Morel on Unsplash.

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