Frodo, modern warrior, victim of war

I saw The Hobbit this spring in movie theaters, and was so disgusted I had to go back and reread the original, essentially to cleanse my brain of that ridiculous movie. That led me, naturally, to reread The Lord of the Rings. What a wonderful tale! It seems that every time I read it, I get something else out of it. This time, I was haunted by Frodo.

Although Tolkein was a veteran of a war fought a hundred years ago, and knew only that war and not our modern warfare, Frodo displays many signs associated with some warriors today. When he is in the midst of his travels to Mordor, he forgets what life was like back home, and is completely engrossed in the heavy battle with Sauron. He needs to be because much is required from him, more than has ever been required from any warrior before. He feels much more powerful when he is at war, with his "ring." Fighting servicemen today can feel the same way about the tools of warfare they carry in battle, they are more alive than they've ever been before.

More significantly is how Frodo feels and how he acts when he returns back to the Shire, his home. Although Sam, his companion, feels like the war was a dream, and coming home is better and reality, Frodo, when he comes home, feels like he is now asleep, and was much more awake during wartime. First, his home is very changed after the war as are the home situations of many veterans. Second, even with accepting the changes, Frodo has great difficulty adjusting to civilian life. He apparently makes no new friends and becomes very withdrawn, only writing his memoirs, and so still living with the memories of the war time. His old injuries continue to plague him. Eventually, he decides to leave Middle Earth and cross the seas to the Western lands with the elves. This surrender of all his wealth, his friends, his home, well, it looks to me like a euphemism for suicide.

Peter Jackson, stop making those ridiculous video game/quality installments of the Hobbit, which was only ever just a child's story about the importance of doing what you know is right even when you are chased by dragons or, worse, chased by your friends. Make an interview of Frodo, sort of a documentary post script to the Lord of the Rings. Show us how he's faring after the war. His troubles, his decision to leave Middle Earth, his wounds that will never heal. Perhaps bring in a specialist on PTSD to help identify why he is so troubled, and to see if there is any way to help him. 

I don't think he can be helped, but there are many veterans in this country who are hurting right now, and maybe retelling Frodo's story can help some of them.


  1. We fit into our lives like puzzle pieces into a puzzle. When we go through something intense, it changes us. We no longer fit into our puzzle. We can try to fit. We change. The puzzle changes. Eventually we fit again. Or not. Bilbo and Frodo - they needed to find a new puzzle. Luckily the elves were there for them. The elves needed a new puzzle too, Valinor, like so many elves before them. It was OK for Bilbo and Frodo. They didn't leave children behind. If they had children, like so many of our soldiers, I suppose they might have had to try harder to fit back into the puzzle. But they didn't and they had high adventure in their blood and no longer felt they fit in the Shire. So... on to Valinor!

    Do I think the movies did justice to the books? No, of course not. They never do. But I was, nevertheless, entertained. But you're right, perhaps a bit more of the desperation could have been depicted, the sadness that accompanies the decision that this place that was my home since I was born, this place that houses my family and my friends is no more for me.


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