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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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THE CHARACTERS

FRODO BAGGINS

The hero of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo is Bilbo's
young cousin. He inherits Bilbo's home and his magic ring
when Bilbo leaves the Shire. Frodo's adventure begins
when he learns that the ring is actually a thing of great evil.
It is the Ring, made by Sauron, the Dark Lord, who is now
trying to regain it. Frodo sets off on what will become a
long and dangerous quest to destroy the Ring.

Readers often compare the characters of Bilbo and Frodo.
Like Bilbo, Frodo is a bachelor and has some eccentric
blood; his mother was a Brandybuck, a family of
adventurous hobbits like the Tooks. Also like Bilbo, he
starts out as a somewhat foolish hobbit and through his
travels matures into a heroic figure.



But there are important differences between the two
hobbits. Frodo is not the comic character that Bilbo was.
He has benefited from Bilbo's knowledge, learning the lore
and language of the elves and thereby earning their respect.
His quest is more selfless than Bilbo's. He doesn't seek to
win a treasure, but hopes to destroy one (the Ring of
Sauron) for the good of all Middle-earth. Unlike Bilbo,
Frodo can't use the Ring to help him with his task. And,
finally, his story is in the end tragic-while he saves
Middle-earth from destruction, he can no longer enjoy its
beauties. He suffers too greatly from his wounds and from
the loss of the Ring. His departure for the Blessed Realm at
the end of the book is interpreted by some readers to be a
symbolic death and also bears some similarity to the
departure of the legendary King Arthur to Avalon, a
magical island.

Frodo is sometimes considered a Christ-figure, because he
undergoes great suffering for the sake of others (Tolkien
himself would not say if this is what he intended. He
wanted readers to make their own interpretation.) While he
becomes weaker physically through the course of his trials,
he also becomes stronger spiritually. A certain light seems
to shine within Frodo, reminiscent of the description of
saints. When Frodo leaves Middle-earth in the company of
Gandalf, Galadriel, and other beings of great power, this
increases the sense that Frodo has become something more
than human.

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