Study Guide

The Fellowship of the Ring Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood)

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood)

Full Heart. Leathery Feet. Can't Lose.

Frodo may have one of the more clownish-sounding names in literature, but he's no clown. He may be a teensy little hobbit (they clock in at three-odd-feet) but his bravery is that of a giant. And he may be thirty-three years old as the book starts, but he's played by the twenty-year old Elijah Wood.

He's Bilbo's adopted ward and heir. Bilbo tells Frodo that it wasn't charity that made him adopt Frodo when his parents passed; it was because Frodo was the only Baggins who showed "real spirit." Essentially, Frodo showed a longing for adventure and excitement (two things that are very much discouraged in young hobbits). And Bilbo admired his pluck.

Now we know what you're thinking: Frodo didn't choose to take the Ring to Rivendell, in fact, he spends quite a bit of time trying to foist the Ring off on other people.

True, but Frodo doesn't exactly hesitate to take the Ring. He simply asks, "What must I do?" and then, "Where? Where do I go?" And even when his journey to Rivendell is complete, he, without any prompting (unless you're going to argue it was the Ring calling to him and he took it with a sense of greed or desire) volunteered to act as the Ring-bearer all the way to Mordor.

So Frodo is kind of the best of both worlds when it comes to having an adventurous spirit. He doesn't have chronic, irresponsible wanderlust… but he is willing to literally go through hell (Mordor is nothing if not Hell, Middle-earth-style) out of a sense of duty.

The Loner

No man is an island… but maybe at least one hobbit is.

Yup—the movie is called The Fellowship of the Ring and is all about the companionship of the hobbits and men and dwarves and elves in their quest against evil, but Frodo is pretty dang isolated. Frodo is separated from the rest of the group—not just in the plot as the Ring-bearer and protagonist, but visually as well.

Check out the scene in the inn near the Prancing Pony when all the hobbits sit up when they hear the screeching Nazgûl. Merry, Pippin, and Sam are lying next to each other in identical clothing while Frodo lies apart from them and is in a unique outfit.

And there are constantly close-ups on Frodo that show only his face framed by the camera. Just count how many times you find yourself staring into those piercing blue hobbit eyes. These shots place the viewer in the mind of Frodo as he stands apart from the rest of the group.

Even Galadriel tells him that "to bear a ring of power is to be alone," and Peter Jackson hammers home that isolation by setting Frodo apart onscreen.

And—spoiler alert—it's not going to get any better for ol' Frodo. He's going to get even more isolated as the trilogy moves on.

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