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In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Boromir is blinded by the greed of Men and tries attacking Frodo for the Ring, Aragorn finds Frodo and tells him to keep the Ring, saying he'd follow Frodo into the fires of Mount Doom.

Why? Why do Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (and sometimes Boromir) have this sudden, deep care for a Hobbit they've just met? Is it just because Frodo is tasked with saving Middle-earth by destroying the Ring?

(I know why Gandalf, Sam, Merry, and Pippin care for him, since they're friends, etc.)

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You really should split this into two questions. – user8719 Aug 30 '14 at 19:55
@DarthSatan, I've removed the first part asking why Frodo had to be the bearer, clearing up my original and main question. – PartyKingThrandeezy Aug 30 '14 at 20:01
@ThorstenS.: Who is Steve Jackson? – Kyle Kanos Aug 31 '14 at 2:28
" Is it just because Frodo is tasked with saving Middle-earth by destroying the Ring?" to be fair that's a pretty compelling reason. – djechlin Aug 31 '14 at 12:41
Argh. I meant Peter Jackson, not Steve Jackson. They have both beards, glasses and a weakness for corniness, but they are completely different persons, so I have no idea why I am confounding both all the time. – Thorsten S. Aug 31 '14 at 12:47
up vote 64 down vote accepted

After Boromir is blinded by the greed of Men and tries attacking Frodo for the Ring, Aragorn finds Frodo and tells him to keep the Ring, saying he'll follow Frodo into the fires of Mount Doom.

This scene doesn't happen in the book; it's an invention of Jackson & co.

To be more precise: the scene with Boromir does happen, but Frodo gets clean away without meeting Aragorn (or anyone else).

There is no "sudden deep care" in the book. The companions are for the most part chosen (rather than volunteering, as in the movies) and they actually have no compulsion to follow Frodo to Mount Doom. In fact it says of Legolas and Gimli:

They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond.

But on the other hand, of Aragorn and Boromir:

'I would have begged you to come,' said Frodo, 'only I thought you were going to Minas Tirith with Boromir.'

'I am,' said Aragorn. 'And the Sword-that-was-Broken shall be reforged ere I set out to war. But your road and our road lie together for many hundreds of miles. Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company. He is a valiant man.'

Therefore of those who set out on the quest, we have the following breakdown:

  • Aragorn: going to Minas Tirith.
  • Boromir: going to Minas Tirith.
  • Legolas: going at least as far as the passes of the mountains.
  • Gimli: going at least as far as the passes of the mountains.
  • Frodo: going to Mount Doom.
  • Sam: (presumably) going to Mount Doom.
  • Merry: unknown.
  • Pippin: unknown.
  • Gandalf: unknown.

Aside from all of that, the company were journeying together for some time, endured dangers together, and so it's only natural that a friendship built up between them. We see the same in the friendship between Legolas and Gimli.

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This has just reminded me how nasty Elrond was in the movie vs how nice he was in the book. The movie Elrond didn't even reforge the sword that was broken before they left. Then dragged his daughter (he'd promised to let Aragorn wed ) away right in the middle of the big showdown with Mordor. – Mikey Mouse Sep 1 '14 at 9:07
So... they were going to leave him alone just when he was about the most dangerous part of the journey, and in a place where, had he failed, Sauron would have recovered the ring immediately? Seems like the complete opposite of a good plan... – SJuan76 Sep 1 '14 at 13:57
@SJuan76 - I'm not sure where you get that idea from and I suggest that you re-read the Departure of Boromir to set you right. – user8719 Sep 1 '14 at 16:07
@SJuan76 Small groups are good at sneaking. Even better when the group is literally small, as Hobbits are. Elves and men would stick out like sore thumbs, but as we saw, two Hobbits didn't even get noticed until they were standing inside Mt. Doom itself, and one of them had to be corrupted by the ring and declare mastery over it first. – Zibbobz Oct 22 '14 at 15:24

In the movie universe and in life in general, having shared adventures and perils brings you closer to people. But basically the whole fate of the world is in the Hobbit's hand — this was the major reason.

Most of them also realized the burden he was carrying tand that none of them could do it. Legolas and Aragorn especially were keen to the power of the ring. Even Boromir before leaving said he wouldn't want to do it but was forced by his father.

They cared for the fate of the ring, and since it was inherently tied to Frodo, they cared for him as well. Faramir had a similar moment when he saw what the ring was doing to Frodo. No one wants that weight upon them, and they all respect and care for Frodo for being able to do it.

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For one thing, you can't say that Aragorn and Frodo had just met. They met in Bree in late September and the sundering of the Fellowship was in February. Aragorn had led them against the Black Riders, seen Frodo wounded and almost killed twice, and had had plenty of time to gain a liking for the Hobbit.

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The Fellowship cares about the fate of Middle-Earth. That fate is determined by the Ring Bearer. This was clearly stated and the central theme at the Council of Elrond.

Whether they initially had feelings about each other is immaterial. The Free Peoples of Middle-Earth, i.e., the good guys, have volunteered to aid Frodo. They are valiant heroes and the best of souls.

That they became close is inevitable when those of noble heart share such a burden and repeatedly risk their lives for each other. We see this among military personnel all the time. Initial goals or promises gave way to deep feelings of brotherhood.

I see nothing odd in the character development. In fact, compassion for Frodo (Halflings in general) seems rather inevitable. It doesn't hurt that they are so small and seemingly weak (at first glance).

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There is also an overwhelming sense in through the whole series about the special characteristics of a hobbit. Gandalf is attracted to them because they are small and light on their feet, which makes them good burglars... and excellent ring smugglers. He soon notices that they have even more desirable characteristics for the grand play against Sauron. They are the simplest, least worldly beings in Middle-Earth. They care not for power and acquisition of wealth, they lead simple lives in small communities and don't concern themselves much if at all about the outside, big people's world. They are typically simple, weak, and do not stray from the shire (well, maybe they party in Bree sometimes). Frodo and Bilbo share a certain quirk that makes them most adventurous among all other hobbits, and because of the unique community aspect and loyalty of hobbits Merry and Pippin go along. Because of this the ring has the least corrupting influence on hobbits among all creatures that could carry it. It was a bit of destiny that Bilbo found it, but Gandalf realized that only these beings would have a chance at resisting the sway of the ring.

So why, because of luck, unique cultural and physical characteristics, and Gandalf being able to see through the muck when no one else could.

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Frodo is the ultimate anti-hero. He did not ask for his fate, he had it thrust upon him (Tolkien has repeatedly indicated that the simple courage of the Hobbits is equivalent to the simple courage of the British people - steadfast anti-heroes, made heroic by resolve rather than ambition.

Beyond not asking for his part in this story, Frodo is also a pacifist in a violent swirl of events. This is especially obvious at the end of the book (as well as how frequently he drops his unused sword in the movie - nice read, peter jackson), when the shire is re-taken (mostly Merry's leadership). Frodo is not a brave warrior seeking adventure, he is like most of us, an everyday man who would rather have a beer and answer letters...but when forced into extraordinary circumstances, he responds extraordinarily. Personally, my favorite character in the book was Samwise....he defines loyalty, steadiness, and lack of ego...very British

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I don't think Frodo is anti-heroic. Although he's quite self-effacing, he certainly doesn't lack traditionally heroic qualities like courage, idealism or morality. – Valorum Oct 4 '14 at 10:23
no, he certainly has all those qualities, i guess what i was trying to say is that he lacks the traditional "action hero posture"... he is small, tentative, shies away from praise, would "rather not be there" (he would rather be sharing an ale with friends at the green dragon) and is a pacifist in a violent world. – Ron Meyers Oct 4 '14 at 10:45
and he is also not bilbo (another anti-hero)...SEEKING an adventure...he has greatness thrust upon him in spite of his wishes – Ron Meyers Oct 4 '14 at 10:47
Arguably his lack of heroic stature and reluctance makes his future actions more, not less heroic. It's quite easy to be a hero when you're 6'4'' and trained from birth. – Valorum Oct 4 '14 at 11:02
"unlikely hero" is a much better turn of phrase. – Valorum Oct 13 '14 at 9:48

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