Why doesn't Frodo have a Love Interest?

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Why doesn't Frodo have a Love Interest?

Postby ladylongcleeve » Mon Dec 20, 2004 3:40 pm

This has probably been done before, but I want my own thread. HEHE Ladylongcleeve, power freak.

Why doesn't Frodo have a love interest? Now before you send me to In the House of Tom Bombadil, Goldberry is Tom's wife. She and Frodo can't have a relationship 'cause she has commited herself to Tom. She really isn't in love with Frodo either. Some people may disagree with me but I think she treats him like a puppy. You know, "Oh aren't you the cutest thing!"

You could say Arwen, but of course she is in love with Aragorn.

Some would even say Galadriel, but she's married too.

And before any of you say, "It's not nessesary to the plot," I think he needs the thought of a girl on his mind to help him on his quest.

Maybe I'm weird.
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Postby pippinsqueak » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:12 pm

Are you saying it's not believeable that someone could commit to sacrificing his life to save Middle Earth if he wasn't in love?

There's been plenty of discussion on this messageboard about how Frodo is the perfect person to be sent on the Quest because as an orphan (and, it went without sayin, a bachelar) he has no ties. A love interest would have been distracting to most readers, though no doubt quite popular to those of the Mary Sue bent.
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Postby OrinThunderforge » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:16 pm

Aren't you forgetting Sam?

Seriously though, during the events of the Lord of the Rings, Frodo has a little bit more on his mind than romance. You know, that whole saving the world thing. Even if that wasn't weighing so heavily on his mind, there's the ring, which would probably be an impediment to any romantic relationship.

Frodo may have had a love interest in the Shire before setting out, but if that's true, then the bond wasn't all that strong, as it was with Sam and Rosie. And when he came back, missing a finger, wounded by a morgul blade and stung by Shelob, he wasn't really in a position to be doing much of anything, much less pursuing a relationship.
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Postby JewelSong » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:21 pm

Tolkien actually addresses this, although a bit indirectly. In Unfinished Tales, there is a bit of rumination by Gandalf as to why Bilbo had never married, even though that was the norm for hobbits. The reason given is that Bilbo needed to be unattached in order to be able to go on his Quest.

One would assume the same for Frodo. If he was married, engaged or otherwise seriously "involved" he never would have been able to bring himself to leave the Shire...even more so if there was a family, too.

So he continued as single, even thought that was extremely odd for a hobbit and his single-ness just added to folks thinking he was "odd" - along with his penchant for wandering all over the Shire, talking to Elves and being able to read and write. Folks kept waiting for him to "settle down and develop some good hobbit sense" but he never did - and of course, when the time came for him to leave the Shire, he was, in some sense, ready to go.
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Postby ladylongcleeve » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:44 pm

No I'm in no way saying that Frodo had to be in love to do the quest.

What I'm thinking about is meeting someone while he was on the quest.

And you guys are posting exactly what I thought you'd post.

I made this thread out of the Frodo swooning curiousity I had when I read the books and saw FOTR and TTT. But when I heard Pippin sing it was, "Goodbye Frodo/Elijah, hello Pippin/Billy!"

I still swoon for Elijah now and then, but mostly do it for Billy. Hence my user name.
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Postby MithLuin » Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:06 pm

Oh, I am a Frodo-phile, and if I'm going to swoon for any of the actors, it is going to be Elijah. So, I understand you there ;).

Frodo couldn't have met a love interest on the Quest, because he didn't meet any hobbits (well, other than those in Bree and Smeagol). Goldberry, Arwen and Galadriel may be taken, but they are also too high above him - he admires them, but he doesn't start any sort of a relationship (at least, not a romantic one). Galadriel is Sam's inspiration, and Goldberry is not mentioned again once they leave. Arwen is the only one who seems to reciprocate for Frodo - she understands him, and pities him.

I agree that Frodo needed SOMEONE to think about, to help him keep going. But his motivation for the Quest was to save the Shire, and he had Sam at hand to remind him of the Shire. From the glimpses we get, it seems clear that the person he spends the most time thinking about is Gandalf - Gandalf is his mentor, and Frodo thinks seriously about everything Gandalf told him. A mentor relationship is, of course, totally different from a romantic relationship, but I think that it served the purpose of strengthening Frodo in this case.

So, pre-Quest, Frodo needed to stay free from entangling alliances, during the Quest, no hobbit-lasses were available, and post-Quest, Frodo had nothing to give to a romantic relationship. I think that soundly answers why there is no girl for Frodo. I also think it is important to understand the concept of celibacy as giving yourself fully to some cause (in Frodo's case, the Quest), and therefore sacrificing normal married life. Frodo made many sacrifices, and this is either an example or a result.
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Postby Orangeblossom_Bumbleroot » Tue Dec 21, 2004 1:29 pm

I agree with OrinThunderforge that Frodo may have had a love interest before he left the Shire, but it may have been an unrequited love, or admiration from a distance. He lived an unusual life, beginning fairly early, from losing his parents, to living with Bilbo. He was more educated than most and mingled with Elves on occasion, so any hobbit lass may have been a little wary of him. Throw in his friendship with Gandalf and his chances with an ordinary hobbit girl would be pretty slim. Sigh...Poor Frodo!

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Postby Jude » Tue Dec 21, 2004 1:48 pm

It's interesting to consider that nobody that took possession of the One Ring was able to be part of a love-interest type relationship. (Except Sam, who bore it only for a short while).

Sauron - no love interest
Isildur - already had an heir when he came into possession of the Ring. We know nothing of the state of his marriage during the two years he had left to him.
Smeagol - for all we know, he was a perfectly normal Stoor before the Precious came, but during the 500-odd years of his life afterward, never made any attempt to enter a relationship. If he had one before, even he had forgotten, or blocked it out.
Bilbo - no love interest
Frodo - no love interest

To me, this means that anyone who takes possession of the One Ring can be said to be "married to the Precious". That is, there is no room left in their life for much else, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
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Postby MithLuin » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:14 pm

Actually, we do know a bit about Isildur....

Isildur had three older sons - Elendur was def. born in Numenor (I forget about the other two). They were all old enough to be in the Last Alliance. His youngest son, Valandil, was born in Rivendell while the army was being mustered. So, right before he left for war (or, within a year), his son was born. I'd say that is evidence he was not estranged from his wife at that time ;). But, anyway, he left her and the baby in Rivendell while he marched off to war with his father (Elendil) and their three older sons. After the War, he went to Gondor, where he put that kingdom into order and handed it over to his nephew Meneldil. He was marching north to Rivendell when he was ambushed, and he and his three older sons were all killed.

So, during the two years that Isildur had the Ring, he did not see his wife. His intention was to hand the Ring over to Elrond when he got to Rivendell, so he would have given up the Ring about the time he would have been reunited with his wife. I imagine his wife was not too bitter or vengeful about the whole thing, or else the Dunedain wouldn't have had such a possitive view of Isildur in history (since she essentially raised Valandil herself, he only knew of his father through her).

I'm not sure how significant this is, but it is def. an accurate observation. After all, Gandalf is a Ringbearer, and is unmarried, Elrond is a Ringbearer, and is parted from his wife, and Galadriel is a Ringbearer who parts from her husband when the Ring looses its power.

I guess I think it is significant that the Fellowship consists of unmarried men (with the possible exceptions of Gimli or Legolas), since married men would be less free to wander all over Middle Earth. I'm not sure it is as significant that the Ringbearers seemed to be unmarried, as well.

The real unknown is Smeagol - we have no idea how old he was when he got the Ring, let alone whether or not he was married. His only relative that is mentioned is his grandmother (and poor Deagol). If there was a girl in his life, she clearly dropped out of it (since he was banished alone), and of course died long before Gandalf got the story from him.
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Postby ladylongcleeve » Tue Dec 21, 2004 9:15 pm

I think the only women in Smeagol's life was his grandmother.

I can spend hours thinking about her. Tolkien said very little about her, so that leaves a lot of room for imagination.
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Postby Lady_Niwella » Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:35 am

I think there are persons who don't need a love interest in their lives. They can live perfectly happy with friends, and friend's children and interests of all kinds - and not feel bereaved at all.

I think Tolkien knew this and recognized it - having a love interest is not the ultimate happiness for all individuals.

I beleive that the concept of romantiv love and the importance of it is a relatively modern concept.

IMHO, Frodo is one of those persons that do not need romantic love to find fullfilment - as is Bilbo.

Dedicated bachelors are not unheard of even today...
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Postby Orangeblossom_Bumbleroot » Thu Dec 23, 2004 11:30 am

You're absolutely right Lady-Niwella.

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Postby Thewhitetree » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:00 pm

I think you are all forgetting something.

Frodo did have a love interest. The Shire. He was in love with the land and with life itself.

Jude also brought out a point that I was going to mention, that his feelings no doubt had something to do with the possesion of the ring. In his tweens he was concerned with other things and not opposite sex hobbits. He was too young. By the time he was of age he was worried about Bilbo and soon came into posession of the ring. It was not in the ring's interests that Frodo should come to be ennamoured with someone.

Must go for supper and I will finish this later. :)
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Postby Tar-Anarion » Sat Dec 25, 2004 3:28 am

that is interesting, but was the ring having significant enough an effect on Frodo while he was still in the shire to govern that?

When you look at the four hobbits, when they left the shire, the only one with a love interest is Sam, Merry and Pippin don't have them.

When frodo returns, he is too destroyed by the quest to be able to find a love, and therefore goes to the undying lands to heal.
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Postby Thewhitetree » Sat Dec 25, 2004 7:27 am

Merry and Pippin were too busy being crazy to have a love interest...

No I believe that Frodo was noble and very wise. While living in the Shire, as I mentioned before, he was still in love with life and marveled at the beauty of it. He went to visit the elves just as Bilbo had done and was concerned with nwes in ME. He was interested with not only his life but the growing troubles throughout the lands. Perhaps he knew that it was going to culmiate and there was no escaping the doom that was drawing ever closer so there would be no point in having a love interest. But that theory is rather off the wall.

Frodo had Sam to look after him and he knew that his whole life was not going to be in The Shire. He had no need for a love interest. Even today there are those who simply stay bachelors.
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Postby merlyn » Sat Dec 25, 2004 4:51 pm

Thewhitetree wrote:Merry and Pippin were too busy being crazy to have a love interest...



Well, Pippin might have been, but Merry wasn't. The movie interpretation of him distorted his character; in the book, Merry is a particularly responsible hobbit. In his first appearance, he's helping Frodo manage things at Bag End after Bilbo's disappearance (including evicting would-be treasure-hunters and handling the Sackville-Bagginses); later on, he takes the lead role in organizing the conspiracy (complete with gathering the ponies and provisions), and is the one who knows the most about the Old Forest when leading the other hobbits through it.

At any rate, I agree that some people are "born bachelors"; I'm one of them. And I think that Frodo's being single was a good thing also, in that it allowed him to make the big sacrifice without bereaving a wife and children.
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Postby Thewhitetree » Sat Dec 25, 2004 5:18 pm

I think also that Frodo being the wise hobbit that he was knew deep down inside that he was chosen, set aside if you may, for a task. He knew deep inside that his fate did not lie forever in Middle Earth.
He no doubt realized this when he came into possesion of the ring.

merlyn, BTW what I wrote was a joke. Merry is indeed one of my favourite characters. And I read the books looooong before the movies came out so I know all about ;). :)
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:19 pm

Here is a quote from UT: The Quest of Erebor. It is Gandalf explaining why he chose Bilbo to accompany Thorin & Co:

And now I found that he was "unattached" - to jump on again, for of course I did not know all this until I went back to the Shire. I learned that he had never married. I thought that odd, though I guessed why it was; and the reason that I guessed was not the one that most of the Hobbits gave me: that he had early been left very well off and his own master. No, I guessed that he wanted to remain "unattached" for some reason deep down which he did not understand himself - or would not acknowledge - for it alarmed him. He wanted, all the same, to be free to go when the chance came, or he had made up his courage. I remembered how he used to pester me with questions when he was a youngster about the Hobbits that had occasionally "gone off", as they said in the Shire. There were at least two of his uncles on the Took side that had done so.


So, the story external reason is that Tolkien wanted his characters not to have attachments/entanglements which would be a hindrance to them "going off", or that he would have to explain away (I think Bilbo married in the early LOTR drafts).

The story internal reason is that both Bilbo and Frodo are waiting for adventure.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:04 am

Very interesting posts here.
I think we must keep in mind that Tolkien grew up in the late 1800's/early 1900's. His moral values were quite 'Victorian'.. not to mention that he went to all boys schools and was practically raised by priests after his mothers death. Tolkien lived in a world of men. Oxford was a male institution. War was the duty and perogitive of men. Women were 'elsewhere' and meant to be protected and provided for. Now, I am NOT criticizing Tolkien, that is just a fact of the world he grew up in.

I think Tolkien wrote his works with the lack of female/family entanglements so as to highlight other elements in his story (sacrifice, pity, honor, quests, etc...) without the encumberance of (too much) personal sacrifice. It is a story of a greater good. Larger than the tale of one family or relationship. I also think he could not bear the pain of personal loss. He had had so much of that in his own life (his father, mother, most of his best friends). I also think Tolkien's experience with women was terribly limited, even any relationships with 'couples' as friends. Making his main characters unentangled made for a simpler story. Many of the myths of old (Kalevala, Nordic myths, etc..) do not figure women in terribly prominently unless they are sorceresses or princesses.. or wives at the end of the quest when the hero is free to settle down and get on with the business of living.

I wish there were more written on this subject from Tolkien himself. He does write about monogamy among the races. Somewhere (I wish I could find it) I read that Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, married relatively early, if at all. Frodo was, after all, already older by the time of the quest. I had also read (SOMEWHERE!!) that Pippin was originally supposed to be the one to die, but Tolkien could not bear the loss and so Boromir dies.

There is a paper written on this subject. It is called 'Warm Beds are Good: Sex and Libido in Tolkiens' writing' it is a PDF download. http://www.ansereg.com/warm_beds_are_good.htm
There are some other interesting essays listed on the same page.
-Rosie
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Postby jerriwillmore » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:23 am

I like the thought of him having a "love interest" long before setting out. One would suppose he was jilted or a relatonship didn't work out. It would make him a more well- rounded character. After all he was popular, rich, and had lots of friends- it would be unusual if girls stayed away from him. I wish Tolkien had written that.

Comments?
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Postby Birch_Tree » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:43 pm

I think Sams Gaffer would have disagreed if he entered into a Relationship Frodo, plus Sam had his eye on Rose Cotton so probably would not have been interested in anything more then friendship towards Frodo.

Merry and Pippin (especially pippin) are both spoiled heirs of powerful families. So they probably been running around having many flings.

Some would even say Galadriel, but she's married too.


Not to mention that Gimli stole her heart, and she left her husband behind when going West only to summon Gilli to her :wink: . Celeborn was going to be in for quite a surprise when he finally made it to Valinor.
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Postby Elmtree » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:33 am

I think characters always having to have a 'love interest' is something we moderns think of, but it was not essential to stories in the past (and ought not be now, either). The world was bigger than finding a mate.

It does not make him a more well rounded character if he has a love interest, it just means people today are more limited and seem to want to define their life by having one.

Frodo was a fascinating character on his own. He had friends, he had family, he had love... he just didn't have a girlfriend on his arm. People are not 'incomplete' without a girlfriend.
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Postby Lillassea » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:03 pm

:) Hi all !

Forgive my jumping into your conversation. When I first read The Lord of the Rings, I thought Frodo DID have a love interest - however unrequited. He was very taken with - even mesmerized by - Goldberry, the beautiful, faerie-like companion of Tom Bombadil. So much so that Merry had to pull him away from her presence to continue their journey.

:TORC:
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Postby Laer_En_Dúnedain » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:25 am

Wow, 2005 to 2011... That's quite a wait between bumps, lol.

Anyway...
I think ultimately the lesson Frodo gives us is that the world has intrinsic worth even when there is nothing left in it for us to hold on to.

I think him having a love interest would have rendered him unnecessary in the story. All of the other characters have something to gain, Frodo simply learns to see the intrinsic worth of the world.
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Postby InklingStar » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:38 pm

It really is a modern conceit that every protagonist must have his or her own love story. For all his changes, I am thankful Peter Jackson did not insert a butt-kicking Hobbit girl to catch Frodo's eye.
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Postby JudyA » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:50 am

I'm with you. I think it speaks volumes that this thread is still on page one and laid dormant for six years...! :P
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Postby Son of Gimli » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:03 pm

Wow! I remember reading this forum a long long time ago. I personally think if Frodo did not board the last ships leaving for the Grey Havens, and had stayed in the Shire he still would have taken a while to find love and settle down. Firstly, I beleive he would be almost like a battle weary soldier returning from a long war. Not that those fine men and women cannot find love, but I feel it would be hard for Frodo to be with someone who can understand what he's been through, understand his wounds. I think that if he stayed, it would have been hard to not spend every second in the company of Sam, Merry, or Pippin. ( the same as Sam, which is why I think Frodo makes the comment to Sam in his letter that he has to move on).

Secondly, Frodo's baby blues :wink: I personally am only into lady hobbits if you will, but if Frodo looked the same as how he was portrayed in the movies, those lady hobbits would be all over him. I think he wouldn't be a one-hobbit hobbit for a while :wink:
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Postby laureanna » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:27 pm

Over 6 years ago, MithLuin wrote:
... post-Quest, Frodo had nothing to give to a romantic relationship.


Just because a man has nothing to give to a romantic relationship doesn't mean that women won't swoon over him. Happens all the time in real life. Some women find the "hard nut to crack" very attractive. :P Fortunately, Frodo was noble enough to avoid this.
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Postby bonotheist » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:05 am

Didn't Tolkien say somewhere that Frodo had a 'vocation' like someone in our time who believes his or her life has been 'consecrated' for a specific purpose?

I can't remember where I read that but I do remember having the impression that Sam was a 'real' hobit who would go on to live a 'real' hobbit life with the wife and kids while Frodo just had one specific purpose which was to save the world from evil. To accept that was to give up other things..like a family.

But once again for the life of me I can't remember where I read that. It seems like it was one of Tolkien's letters.
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Postby frodolives668 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:40 pm

Excuse me for intruding, but I may have an answer for your debate.

Well, early on, Frodo was too young too get hitched. After Gandalf left for all that time, Frodo probably had a sense of impending doom and he didn't want to have someone to lose. As he was delivering the ring too mordor, he had too many things on his mind. After he came back he was too shaken by the experience to need someone.

When Galadriel showed him what would happen if he failed in the mirror, he got his motivation. He kept that thought in the back of his mind every day, so he knew that he would not just fail himself but the whole of middle earth. If he hadn't seen that in the mirrior THEN he would have needed a girlfriend to motivate him. But somehow, the thought of losing the Shire (i.e. "If I don't make it everyone i ever knew and loved will die.) is more effective than the thought of losing one girl (i.e. "If I don't make it I'll lose her.").

So the idea is: He really didn't NEED a love interest because he already had a motivation. Well, just think about it.
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