Bag End

Return to the Shire

And here we are. We have reached the end of the quest for the destruction of the Ring. The only thing left to do is to piece a new life together; to live a new reality. The old one, before there was ever a quest in question, is now all but gone. The four Hobbits can be proud of themselves for saving their beloved Shire and the rest of Middle-Earth. It is an achievement that will last them their whole lives. They now need to adapt to their community anew, pick up where they have left off. Would it be as simple as it sounds?

The new Age

A map of Middle-Earth engulfs the shot. The camera move shows the length of the journey that the Fellowship had taken, from Minas Tirith and then panning back on the Shire. 

And thus it was, the Fourth Age of Middle-Earth began, and the Fellowship of the Ring, though eternally bound by friendship and love, was ended. Thirteen months to the day, since Gandalf sent us on our long journey, we found ourselves looking upon a familiar site. We were home.

Frodo

We see the four Hobbits ride into Hobbiton. With a smile on their lips and pride in their eyes they pass their fellow Hobbits on their way home. 

It would appear that no news of any destruction of any Ring had reached Hobbiton. Their everyday lives do not seem to be troubled by the problems of the rest of the world. The four Hobbits aren’t regarded as heroes, as they are in the world of Men, but rather the rascals whose only occupation in life was to have fun. 

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All grown up

As they always have, the four Hobbits sit and drink at the Green Dragon. But now, there are no songs to sing of beer and mischief. There is now a different vibe between them. They appear somber and pensive. 

Each one of them has a story to tell and although they all shared a common goal and a common enemy, they have, dependent on their inner worlds, each a different perspective. They have battled through the toughest of situations, survived battles, outside and inside. They have grown to the point of almost no recognition. Sam, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry have left the Shire as boys and returned home as men, so to speak.

Out of place

The world that surrounds them now is somewhat familiar, like an old picture you look upon trying to remember where you were at the time that it was taken. The other Hobbits at the Dragon go about their ordinary daily celebrations of food and drink, laughing and joking. The four Hobbits seem to not fit the established behavioral pattern anymore. To an objective observer, they may appear to be foreign to these grounds. 

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin pause their pensive thoughts to look at each other. Their eyes tell the tale of woe, of pain and struggle, and of friendship and love that bonds them forever. They raise their mugs to their friendship, the Fellowship, and to all that had been done to preserve their beloved Shire.

A celebration

As Sam looks up, he notices Rosie Cotton at the bar. 

Hobbit: “Good night, Rosie.”

Rosie: “Good night, lads.”

Rosie smiles at Sam. Emboldened by her smile, Sam takes a drink from his tankard, stands up, and walks towards her. There is determination in his eyes, something that had sorely lacked the last time he saw her. But now, there is nothing to stand in the way of their courtship. All of his fears and shyness has dissipated. 

Frodo, Pippin, and Merry look on at this new development, bewildered. They still appear too shy or simply disinterested in the ways of the opposite sex. 

In the next scene, we see Sam and Rosie’s wedding day. With all their friends gathered before them to celebrate the day with them, the two stand beaming and share a kiss. Rosie throws her bouquet right into the hands of Pippin, who unlike other female Hobbits present did not even try his luck at catching it. Pippin catches the eyes of a Hobbit woman next to him, gesturing to her if she might be interested in knowing him better.

Threads of old life

What we see next is one of the pivotal scenes pertaining to the inner world of Frodo Baggins. He walks inside Bag End but with a sense of unfamiliarity. 

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.

Frodo

How do you take hold of the old life you had when your soul had experienced the darkness? Even the smallest alterations to our inner worlds change our life in one aspect or another. The old life does not fit the person you have become. Therefore, there needs to be some adjustments made. 

Frodo’s emotional journey is vastly different from any other member of the Fellowship in terms of permanent damage to his inner world. The only other person/creature that could understand his plight had lost his battle with the same struggle Frodo had had. Frodo now stands alone, surrounded by his friends in his community among his own race, but feeling out of place. 

The simple life of the Hobbits, their love of things that grow, their food and drink has now become only a faint reminder of a life once lived. All the positive atmosphere around him cannot lift the veil of a shadow that had encompassed his soul. 

A new reality

For all his hopes of coming back to his old self after having experienced the influence of the Ring, have proven impossible. His innocence, his happy-go-lucky attitude has dissipated. What he is left with is a person he does not know. The effects of the influence of the Ring have left imprints on him that became embedded in his very essence. 

He now knows he cannot deny the Ring’s alterations on his person, and no amount of time will help him get himself back to what he was. The Shire holds nothing for him anymore. The only way he could begin to heal is through a change in his environment. This does not mean that life in Gondor would be more agreeable because it provides a different mentality, more in accordance with his own. No. What he needs is to leave the world he once loved behind and join those who have found solace on another part of Arda.

Frodo has chronicled his journey in the same book Bilbo had written his. These two stories are in succession, providing the reader with an overview of the journey of the Ring and the two Hobbits without whom there wouldn’t be a story to write. 

The red leather bound book

Sam enters Bag End.

Sam: “Mister Frodo? What is it?”

Frodo: “It’s been four years to the day since Weathertop, Sam. It’s never really healed.”

Frodo winces and touches the place where the Morgul-blade pierced his skin. Even with time passed, the wound on his shoulder has no healed. Elrond and Gandalf both knew the impact the blade would have on him his whole life. What they could have done they did. Without Elrond’s help, there would not have been a quest to Mordor. It would have been cut short.

However, although mended physically, the darkness, shadow, and malice the blade was forged with now resided within him. This, he now knows, will never heal. Every time his body winces of the physical pain that wound still inflicts upon him, he is reminded of the long-lasting effects it has left on his inner world. 

Sam: “‘There and Back again, a Hobbit’s Tale by Bilbo Baggins’… and ‘The Lord of the Rings by Frodo Baggins.’ You finished it!”

Frodo: “Not quite. There’s room for a little more.”

Sam is glad to find the book finished. It wasn’t only a feat for the both of them, it is also a story that will be told for generations to come, one which Sam will keep safe and to which he will add his own thoughts and impressions. 

For the last time on this journey through the trilogy, I invite you to follow me to my next post. 

Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash

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