Frodo Baggins, son of Drogo Baggins, was a Hobbit of the Shire during the Third Age. He was, and still is, Tolkien‘s most renowned character for his leading role in the Quest of the Ring, in which he bore the One Ringto Mount Doom, where it was destroyed. He was a Ring-bearer, best friend to his gardener, Samwise Gamgee, and one of the three Hobbitswho sailed from Middle-earth to the Uttermost West at the end of the Third Age.
Much of Frodo’s youth was spent at Brandy Hall in Buckland, the ancestral home of the Brandybuck family, including his mother (Primula Brandybuck). Frodo was known as something of a rascal, befriending Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck and Peregrin (Pippin) Took and causing trouble wherever they went. They would often steal mushrooms from Farmer Maggot‘s farm Bamfurlong.
In TA 2980, when Frodo was only 12 years old, his parents drowned in a boating accident on the Brandywine River. An only child, Frodo stayed in Brandy Hall until his 99-year-old “uncle” Bilbo adopted him in TA 2989. Bilbo took Frodo to live with him in his home at Bag End and made him his heir.
The two grew very close in the following years; Frodo learned much of the Elvish language during his time with Bilbo, as well as much of the lore of Middle-earth. The two shared the same birthday, September 22 by Shire Reckoning (around September 12–14 of our calendar), and a party of special magnificence was held at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo came of age of thirty-three and Bilbo hit the peculiar year of 111.
Bilbo gave a memorable Birthday Speech before playing a joke on his fellow hobbits by using the One Ring to disappear, at which Gandalf quickly reacted and used his staff to create a blinding flash where Bilbo had been standing. The hobbits at the Party were left confused and disgruntled, and Bilbo was never again seen in the Shire.
Before departing for his journey to Rivendell, Bilbo had a long conversation with Gandalf, who finally persuaded him to voluntarily surrender the One Ring. Bilbo left it on the fireplace mantel with a note for Frodo, who would now become the next Ring-bearer.
Coming of Age and Quest Beginning
After the party finished, Frodo returned home and discovered that he was now the master of Bag End and the recipient of Bilbo’s magic ring. Gandalf, ever more curious about the ring’s origin, power, and purpose (but not yet positive it was the One Ring), advised the young hobbit against the using the ring. For the next seventeen years, Frodo complied with the wizard‘s request and hid the Ring in a safe place. However, on April 12, 3018, Gandalf returned to Bag End and warned Frodo that the Ring was actually the One Ring, which the evil lord Sauron needed to rule over Middle-earth. Realizing that Sauron would be looking for the Ring, Gandalf advised the Hobbit to secretly follow Bilbo’s journey to Rivendell.
After Frodo’s discussion with Gandalf, a rumor started that he was running out of money. This rumor, although not begun by Frodo, was encouraged by him. Merry helped Frodo to purchase a small house at Crickhollow. With the exception of his gardener Sam Gamgee, who had agreed to accompany him to Rivendell, Frodo told the other Hobbits of the Shire that he intended to move to Buckland. He sold his home to the Sackville-Baggins, and, on the September 23, 3018, the day after his fiftieth birthday, Frodo left from Bag End, taking with him Sam and Pippin. They left in the early morning for Bree, and just in time, as Sauron’s most powerful servants, the nine Nazgûl, had entered the Shire dressed as Black riders searching for a hobbit with the name of Baggins.
Frodo was unable to find much information about his pursuers from his conversations with the High Elves and Farmer Maggot, but what they were told was less than encouraging. When Frodo arrived at Buckland, where Merry was waiting, he found that Merry and Pippin already knew about Frodo’s “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 dwelled in a glade in the middle of the Old Forest.
In Bree, the hobbits stayed at The Prancing Pony, an old inn. Frodo went by the name of Mr. Underhill, attempting to raise as little suspicion as possible. When he noticed a mysteriously cloaked Man sitting in the shadows and smoking a long-stemmed pipe, Frodo asked the innkeeper, Barliman Butterbur, who the man was. The innkeeper referred to the man, a Ranger, as Strider.
That night, black riders arrived in Bree and attacked the inn in search of Frodo and the One Ring, but Strider had managed to hide the Hobbits from them in time. Having gained their trust, Strider introduced himself as Aragorn to Frodo and the others, to whom he also revealed the backstory of the black riders, also called Nazgûl or Ringwraiths. With a pony named Bill that the Hobbits had acquired at Bree, Strider led Frodo and his companions into the Wild. Aragorn would be their guide to Rivendell, and he would lead them through the Midgewater Marshes and to the top of Weathertop.
On the night of October the sixth, the Hobbits were attacked by five of the nine Ringwraiths at the hill of 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-blade. 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.
Though Aragorn was a skilled healer, he could not heal Frodo’s wound. A fragment of the Ringwraith’s blade remained in Frodo’s flesh, where it continued to move towards his heart. Near death (or worse), Frodo was rescued by Glorfindel, an Elf-lord, who put the injured Hobbit upon his horse, named Asfaloth. They were pursued by the Nazgûl as Asfaloth carried Frodo to the Ford of Bruinen, at the entrance to the valley of Rivendell. Once they had crossed the River Bruinen, Frodo turned and saw the Nine Ringwraiths on the other side. They ordered him to give up the Ring, but Frodo refused.
Subsequently, the Ringwraiths were washed away in a flood called up by Elrond, the leader of Rivendell. He was healed in Rivendell by Elrond, although both of them knew that the wound would never fully heal, as it was as spiritual as it was physical. On the 24th of October 3018, Frodo awoke in Rivendell and was reunited with Bilbo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Although Elrond had healed his wound, it continued to bother him for as long as he lived in Middle-earth.
Quest of the Ring
Council of Elrond
After his healing, Frodo was summoned to a great Council that Elrond had organized. Representatives of all the Free Peoples of Middle-earth discussed the history of the Rings of Power and decided that the One Ring must be destroyed. As the ring was shown and tempers flared, argument broke out as to who should carry the Ring on this mission, until Frodo bravely volunteered to take the Ring to Mordorand cast it into the fires of Mount Doom. A member of each of the Free Peoples offered to join Frodo in his quest, thus forming the Fellowship of the Ring.
The Fellowship consisted of Frodo, Samwise, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Boromir of Gondor, Legolas of the Woodland Realm, and Gimli of the Dwarves. Before leaving Rivendell, Bilbo gave Frodo his dwarf-made coat of mithrilmail and his elven blade Sting. The mithril coat had been given to Bilbo by Thorin after the events of The Hobbit, and Sting had been taken by Bilbo from the den of a troll. On December 25, the Fellowship of the Ring departed from Rivendell and headed south.
On January 11, 3019, the Fellowship attempted to cross the Misty Mountains (specifically the Pass of Caradhras), but were unable to due to a snowstorm. They instead traveled through the underground city of Moria at the urging of Gimli.
Moria (also named Khazad-dum), was the most ancient and grand of Dwarven cities, but was deserted when the dwarves uncovered a Balrog, known only as Durin’s Bane, beneath the city, and had been defeated by legions of goblins. When they entered the Chamber of Mazarbul, the Fellowship was attacked by Orcs and a cave-troll. Frodo helped to defeat the troll before he was stabbed by an orc captain, his mithril shirt saving him from a deadly blow. The Fellowship ran through Moria to the Bridge of Khazad-dum, where Gandalf fell while confronting Durin’s Bane. Once outside Moria, while the Fellowship was grieving, Gimli took Frodo and Sam to look upon the Mirrormere, even in their great hurry.
Deeply grieved by their loss, the Fellowship journeyed to the Elven kingdom of Lothlórien, where they met the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. Galadriel showed Frodo a vision of the future in her Mirror. Frodo offered her the One Ring, but she resisted the temptation to take it, passing the test that was laid before her, and accepting the diminishing of the power of the elves. Before the Fellowship departed from Lothlórien, Galadriel gave each member a gift. To Frodo, she gave a phial with the light of the star Eärendil captured inside; this gift would prove hugely important later on in the quest. They were also provided with elven way-bread, other supplies, and ships for their voyage down the Anduin River.
The Breaking of the Fellowship
The Fellowship continued their journey south to Amon Hen. There, Boromir, a Man of Gondor and a member of the Fellowship, attempted to convince Frodo to bring the Ring to Minas Tirith and regroup from there. When the hobbit asked for an hour alone to consider his options, Boromir followed him. Seeing that Frodo did not intend to take the suggested course of action, Boromir tried to take the Ring from him by force.
Taking off the Ring, he decided to take the item to Mordor alone, without telling the other members of the Fellowship. However, he was joined by his friend Samwise Gamgee, who felt it was necessary that he should protect and guide Frodo. Frodo gave in to Sam’s protests, and although reluctant to lead anyone else to his fate, was glad to have Sam’s company.
The two hobbits continued toward Mordor, dividing the Fellowship. Here Boromir was killed by uruk-archers while defending Merry and Pippin; the two young hobbits were then captured by Uruk-hai, and were to be taken to Isengard. Instead of following Samwise and Frodo to Mordor, the Three Hunters decided it more important to rescue Merry and Pippin from their captors. The breaking of the Fellowship was now complete.
After leaving what remained of the Fellowship at Amon Hen, Frodo and Sam tried to navigate through the winding paths of the Emyn Muil. After getting lost several times, they were found by Gollum, who at first tried to take the One Ring, but was captured by Sam (with Frodo’s help) and tied up with the Elven rope. Frodo, now pitying the creature, decided not to slay Gollum, but forced him to swear an oath of servitude to the master of the precious. Gollum then led them out of the maze and into the Dead Marshes.
The Dead Marshes
The Dead Marshes followed the razor-sharp rocks of Emyn Muil, and were just as disorienting, if not more so. There was thought to be no route through the marshes, as orcs marched for miles around, although Gollum had secretly discovered a path when out on one of his many errands. He led Frodo and Sam on a safe pathway through the marshes, warning them not to follow what seemed like small torches in the water.
Gollum led the two Hobbits to the Black Gate of Mordor, as Frodo had desired, but stopped the Hobbits from passing its doors, as the danger was too great. He then explained about a secret way into Mordor, ‘Up the stairs and through the tunnel’. The Hobbits once again found themselves being led by Gollum. After venturing into Ithilien, and witnessing a skirmish between a company of warriors from Haradrim (along with Oliphaunts) and rangers from Gondor, they were apprehended by the ranger’s captain, Faramir. When the skirmish had ended, Faramir blindfolded the ring-bearer and his companions and led them to Henneth Annûn, the Window on the West. Upon much interrogation, Samwise foolishly misspoke, and gave away that Frodo was indeed carrying the One Ring. Realizing the importance of the quest, Faramir proved his quality, unlike his brother, Boromir, and let the ring-bearer go free. Later, Gollum was captured in the Forbidden Pool and forcibly taken into the hidden lair. Frodo begged for his safety, and he was not killed, although the rift between master and servant had once again begun to open.
Minas Morgul and Shelob’s Lair
Gollum led the Hobbits past the lair of the Witch-King of Angmar, Minas Morgul, and up the stairs into ‘The Tunnel’. When they arrived at the top though, they were abandoned by Gollum. They cautiously travelled through the tunnel, and managed to get to the end only to find their way barred by Shelob‘s great web. Whilst attempting to cut through the webbing, Frodo bravely stood up to Shelob and forced her back further into the tunnels giving him and Sam time enough to hack through the threads and escape. Upon escaping the tunnels, Frodo thought himself safe; however, Shelob, through one of her many tunnels, managed to sneak out and jab him with her stinger. As he was being encased in Shelob’s webbing, Samwise was able to draw her into single combat wherein he, using Sting and the Phial of Galadriel, was able to mortally wound her and drive her back into her caves. Sam took the Ring from around Frodo’s neck upon hearing Orcish voices, and hid behind some nearby rocks. He overheard the orcs speaking of Frodo, and Sam realized that his master was not dead, but merely paralyzed. Frodo was then taken to the tower of Cirith Ungol to await further torture and questioning.
Frodo was taken to the utmost top of Cirith Ungol and imprisoned. He was stripped of all his clothes and all the things he carried. Squabbling over his mithril vest, fighting broke out amongst the two lead orcs and their battalions, killing almost all the orcs and Uruk-hai in the tower. Sam arrived at the gate of Cirith Ungol, only to find his way blocked by the Two Watchers; he eventually overcame them, journeyed to the tower where Frodo was held, and rescued his master. They fled the tower, having to pass the Watchers again (although this time destroying them), and entered Mordor.
Mordor and Mount Doom
Frodo and Sam crawled onward through the empty plains of Mordor, as the Orcs had been sent to the Black Gate to stop the Men of the West’s army, and, after falling in and out of a company of Orcs, started to climb Mount Doom. They journeyed on for many days with hardly any food or water, and Frodo became progressively weaker as the Ring’s power over him grew the closer they came to Orodruin. Frodo was eventually unable to go on, and Sam was forced to carry him a fair distance while his master rested upon his back. It was then that Gollum decided to reappear, and after a brief struggle, Sam cut Gollum in the stomach, and Frodo fled up the mountain.
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 the proximity of the cracks. 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.
The End of the War and the Departure of Frodo
The Scouring of the Shire
After recovering in Minas Tirith, and witnessing the coronation of King Aragorn, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin all returned to the Shire. When they arrived though, they found it under the control of a man named Sharkey (later revealed to be Saruman) and his forces. Saruman was ruling the Shire from Bag End, although he was later murdered by Grima Wormtongue. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin however, started to gather all the Shirriffs and townsfolk in the Shire, and they successfully defeated the Ruffians employed by Sharkey at the Battle of Bywater.
Frodo wasn’t directly involved in the fighting at the Battle of Bywater; instead, he made sure that no Hobbits were harmed (saying that no Hobbit had ever intentionally harmed another in the Shire and that it was not going to begin there), and also that any ruffians that surrendered were not harmed.
The Fourth Age
Frodo briefly served as Deputy Mayor of the Shire, but soon realized that he still bore the wounds of his quest, and so retired. He was also in continual pain from his shoulder wound, which pained him each anniversary of their stay on Weathertop. On 22 September SR 1421 (Fourth Age), at the age of 53, Frodo joined Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Círdan 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. Sometime after the year 61 in the Fourth Age, fellow ring-bearer and best friend Samwise Gamgee, reunited with Frodo in the undying lands where it was presumed they lived out the remainder of their days.
Frodo, as described by Gandalf, was “taller than some and fairer than most, (with) a cleft in his chin: perky chap with a bright eye.” (The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 10, “Strider”) He was a shy, young hobbit with thick, curly brown hair like most other hobbits, and had lighter-than-usual skin due to his Fallohide ancestry through his Brandybuck mother. He could be described as fairly good looking for a hobbit. Frodo is described as appearing thirty-three, even when he is fifty, due to the influence of the Ring. Bilbo and Frodo shared a common birthday on September 22, but Bilbo was 78 years Frodo’s senior. At the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Bilbo were celebrating their thirty-third and eleventy-first (111th) birthdays, respectively. Frodo, like Bilbo, was considered by many others in Hobbiton to be a little odd. His curiosity of the outside world, fascination with Elves and faraway places (like those to which Bilbo travelled in The Hobbit) did not fit the general content personality of most Hobbits. This curiosity was also attributed to his Took ancestry. He was very kind and compassionate, pitying Gollum and allowing him to guide him and Sam to Mordor despite Sam’s distrust of the creature. This act of kindness later proved to be a factor in the quest’s success in destroying the Ring. The influence of the Ring and the wound by the Morgul-Blade seems combined to have given him the ability to see into the spirit world, for instance he sees faraway events in his dreams on several occasions. He also can see the ring of power worn by Galadriel and he seems to be able to sense danger.
Weapons and Attire
Frodo was dressed in typical Hobbit-fashion when he left the Shire: knee breeches, shirt, waistcoat, jacket, and cloak. Colors such as bright green and yellow were typical for Shire-folk. He was unarmed, save for a pocketknife.
When his little group was waylaid by Barrow-wights, he lost his summer-weight clothing and was wearing a burial shrift when rescued by Tom Bombadil. When their pack-ponies returned, he was forced to put on heavier woollen clothing intended for colder weather. The Hobbits found several long Dúnedain daggers in the wight’s treasure. These served as short-swords for the Hobbits, but Frodo’s was broken when he resisted the Witch-king at Weathertop. At Imladris, he removed his Hobbit clothing upon finding new Elven clothes that fitted him perfectly. Therefore, throughout his quest, he wore a green silk tunic, trousers together with cloaks made of fur for the first stages of the quest, and then towards Mordor he shed them to wear his tunic and trousers in the warmer weather. Later, his Uncle Bilbo gave him both Sting, a magic Elven dagger, and a coat of mithril chain mail. The mail saved his life twice, first when it deflected a spear-point in the Mines of Moria, and second when it turned aside the dagger that Saruman used to try and kill him.
As with the other members of the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo received a special cloak from Galadriel in Lórien, which allowed him to blend in with natural surroundings. Upon being betrayed by Gollum and captured by Orcs at Cirith Ungol, Frodo lost all of his clothing and most of his possessions. Sam Gamgee saved Sting, however. After the two tribes of orcs had slain each other in the tower of Cirith Ungol, Frodo dressed himself in Orc-garb. This successfully fooled the Mordor-Orcs they encountered, but he dropped the Orc mail and helmet as he and Sam approached Mount Doom.
Frodo used Bilbo’s famed short sword Sting for melee combat, it was also put to great use as it warns him of nearby orcs and goblins by glowing blue.