‘Lord of the Rings’: Who is Frodo Baggins?

in Movies & TV

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Credit: New Line Cinema

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings contains countless heroes and villains, many of which fans don’t even realize exist. From the revolutionary Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson to Tolkien’s classic novels, every Middle Earth fan wants to know the most about their favorite character.

The Hobbits in The Lord of the RIngs
Credit: New Line Cinema

Undoubtedly the face of Middle Earth and The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) is one of the most critical figures in Tolkien’s beloved story.

Now, let’s take a closer look at who exactly this character is.

Early Beginnings

Frodo Baggins, the orphaned son of Drogo Baggins and Primula Brandybuck, is often J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous and popular Rings character, making his mark on pop culture since his introduction to the world in 1954.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Credit: New Line Cinema

Having spent his youth at Brandy Hall in Buckland with his family, Frodo lost both of his parents in a boating accident on the Brandywine River at age 12. For nine years, Frodo spent his youth with close friends Merry Brandybuck and Pippen Took — his future fellowship followers.

At 21, Frodo’s “uncle” Bilbo Baggins adopted the young hobbit (hobbits aren’t at their full adult age until 33) and brought him back to Bag End, sharing his home, treasure, and love as the two grew older and became a close pair.

Frodo catching the One Ring in 'Lord of the Rings'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Lord of the Rings Wiki writes:

Frodo Baggins, son of Drogo Baggins, was a hobbit of the Shire in the late Third Age. He is commonly considered Tolkien’s most renowned character for his leading role in the Quest of the Ring, in which he bore the One Ring to Mount Doom, where it was destroyed. He was a Ring-bearer, best friend to his gardener, Samwise Gamgee, and one of three hobbits who sailed from Middle-earth to the Uttermost West at the end of the Third Age.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Credit: New Line Cinema

Against his will, Frodo was given the One Ring of Sauron from his Uncle Bilbo on the old Baggins’ 111th birthday, marking the end of Frodo’s youth and the start of the War of the Ring — putting Middle Earth on a trajectory for the end of the Third Age.

As the Ring-bearer, Gandalf the Grey — a long-time family friend and mentor to Frodo — enlisted Merry Brandybuck, Pippen Took, and Samwise Gamgee — Frodo’s future best friend and savior — to travel with Frodo to Bree. Of course, their course took a big turn.

Righteous Ring-Bearer

LOTR wiki writes:

Frodo was nearly captured by a Black Rider on the road, but was saved by Gildor Inglorion, whom he asked for advice. Leaving the roads to cut across country, Frodo and Sam reached Farmer Maggot’s farm, who helped them to evade the Riders. Meeting Merry at Bucklebury Ferry, they saw a Rider tracking them from the bank they’d departed from. On arrival at Crickhollow, Frodo found that Merry and Pippin already knew about his “secret” journey. Frodo was left with no alternative but to bring the two youngsters with him. They cut through the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs in hopes of losing the Black Riders, which did succeed. They met other troubles in those places though, at the hands of Old Man Willow and the Barrow-wights, but were rescued twice by Tom Bombadil, a mysterious being who dwelt in a glade in the middle of the Old Forest.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Credit: New Line Cinema

Finding refuge in Bree, the hobbits sheltered in the famous Prancing Pony, the stomping grounds of countless Shire-folk and travelers. But, there was one there that would change the lives of the four hobbits forever.

Aragorn, future King of Gondor and forsaken Ranger of the North, took the wayward hobbits into his care and delivered them from harm’s way — eventually making their destination in Rivendell.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Credit: New Line Cinema

But, Frodo would receive a near-deadly wound from the Witch-king Angmar that would stay with the hobbit until his sailing towards the West with the elves:

On the night of October the sixth, the Hobbits were attacked by five of the nine Ringwraiths at Weathertop. In the presence of the Nazgûl, Frodo made the mistake of putting on the Ring. He was able to resist their attempt to take him by drawing his sword and invoking the name of one of the Valar, Elbereth Gilthoniel. Unfortunately, the leader of the Nazgûl, the Witch-king of Angmar, stabbed Frodo in the shoulder (he would have stabbed his heart) with a Morgul-knife. If it had caught him in the heart, Frodo would have become like the Nazgûl, only weaker and under their control. The Ringwraiths were driven away by the appearance of Aragorn and his martial skill; also because he had torches, one of their few weaknesses.

Sauron with the One Ring
Credit: New Line Cinema

Tainted by the dark powers of Mordor, Frodo’s corruption of the One Ring began its course and dwindled down the young hobbit.

Tolkien’s True Hero?

Though Middle Earth praised Frodo for being the bearer and destroyer of the One Ring at Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, every Tolkien fan knows that Samwise Gamgee is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee
Credit: New Line Cinema

Without the undying dedication of Samwise in Shelob’s Lair or at the foot of Mount Doom, Frodo would have died to Sauron, Gollum, and countless foes before the young Baggins even left the Shire.

Courageous and loyal to the end, Samwise Gamgee showed the same spirit as Aragorn while protecting Frodo throughout the Rings trilogy.

The Hobbits in The Lord of the RIngs
Credit: New Line Cinema

When the burden of the Ring grew too great to carry, Frodo fell to the temptations of Sauron at the end of their journey. Though Middle Earth heard different, Samwise and Gollum were the actual destroyers of the One Ring:

Inside the Crack of Doom, Frodo finally had the chance to destroy the Ring, and rid himself of his burden, but the power of the Ring was at its strongest due to it being in the place of it’s making. It was here that Frodo finally yielded to the temptation and power of the Ring. Sam yelled for Frodo to destroy the Ring, but Frodo was overcome by its power and claimed the Ring for himself. Gollum attacked Sam, who fell and hit his head on a rock, temporarily knocking him unconscious. When he came to he saw Gollum fighting with an unseen foe (Frodo, having put on the Ring). Then Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger, Ring and all, and was reunited with his treasure for a short time, until dancing with joy he toppled off the brink and fell into the depths, destroying himself and the One Ring.

The two hobbits tried to escape as the volcano erupted. Just as it looked as though they were doomed, Gwaihir the Lord of Eagles saw them, and with his Eagle companions Landroval and Meneldor rescued Sam and Frodo and flew them to safety.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee (left) and Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Nonetheless, Samwise never blamed Frodo and remained at the hobbit’s side through the Scouring of the Shire (only present in the novelization) and Frodo’s departure from Middle Earth at the beginning of the Fourth Age.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Credit: New Line Cinema

While Frodo’s spirit was never corrupted by Sauron, his will and demeanor changed considerably after letting go of the One Ring, resulting in the necessary sailing towards the Undying Lands:

Following the scouring of the Shire and end of the War of the Ring in November TA 3019, Frodo, went on to serve as Deputy Mayor of the Shire. During his brief tenure he helped lead the rebuilding of the Shire, but soon realized that he still bore the wounds of his quest. On May 1st, TA 3020, Frodo attended the wedding of his best friend Sam and his wife Rosie Cotton and they moved in with him at Bag End. On mid-years day later that year, Frodo retired from his post as Deputy Mayor, letting the office revert to Will Whitfoot. During his last days in middle-earth, he tried to live as peacefully as possible. Frodo was still troubled by his shoulder wound, which pained him on each anniversary of the attack at Weathertop, in addition to falling sick on each anniversary of being stung by Shelob. As such, October 6th of that year, he would suffer from his wounds again. March 13th, TA 3021 brought similar ailments, Frodo being ill from his stinging. While living with Sam and Rosie he would witness the birth of their oldest daughter Elanor twelve days later. Prior to departing Middle-earth, he also wrote his own story “The Lord of the Rings” along with Bilbo’s “There and Back Again” in the Red Book of Westmarch.

On 29 September TA 3021 (Third Age), at the age of 53, Frodo joined Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel aboard an Elven ship. He was allowed passage across the sea to the Undying Lands, as he was a ring-bearer, with the hope of healing the damage to his spirit that bearing the Ring had caused.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee (left) and Elijah Wood as Frodo baggins (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Frodo would forever more be remembered as one of the greatest heroes of Middle Earth and the War of the Ring, as well as Tolkien’s crowning achievement for character creation and more.

More about The Rings of Power

Taking place in the episodic Second Age of Middle Earth, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power chronicles the construction of the One Ring worn by the evil Sauron under Mount Doom:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne in the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Morfryyd Clark as Galadriel
Credit: Amazon

The near $1 billion series is set to focus on the rise of the Sauron, the historic alliance between Elves and Men (that transcended the entire franchise), the island of Númenor/Westernesse, as well as a look into Khazad‐dûm/Moria before the dwarven kingdom fell to hoards of goblins and the deadly Balrog/Durin’s Bane.

However, unfortunately, you won’t be seeing any of the legendary hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm), Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), Pippen Took (Billy Boyd), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gandalf the White (Sir Ian McKellen), Saruman (Sir Christopher Lee), Gollum (Andy Serkis), and more in Rings of Power.

Sophia Nomvete as Dwarven Princess Disa
Credit: Amazon

Dark Lord Sauron is set to have a massive role in The Rings of Power. Still, the series features a relatively unknown cast of lead and supporting actors that are set to play some of the most formative names in Elrond (Robert Aramayo), Lady Galadriel of Lothlórien (Morfydd Clark), and Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), replacing Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving.

New characters like Dwarven Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), silvan elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), and Cole (Maxim Baldry) have been created specifically for the series.

Terrifying orc in Amazon's 'Rings of Power'
Credit: Amazon

Showrunner Patrick McKay and writer JD Payne pen the tentative series with directors JA Bayona and Wayne Che Yip leading the Rings show set to debut on September 2, 2022.

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