According to the answer to this question, Frodo was well-traveled and "experienced" before the major events of the Lord of the Rings. There's a quote that Frodo used to travel around Hobbiton or even further afield in the Shire, and sometimes amazed others with how far he traveled. His own kin suspected he had visited the Elves.

Is it ever made explicit that Frodo visited the Elves before his meeting near the Woody End? Had he ever been beyond the borders of the Shire?

Printed sources (including those published after Tolkien's death) are preferred, movie answers might decide the question for some, but I'm looking for JRRT's words.

  • @MattGutting I was hopping for more, yes. I love expanding my knowledge and understanding of this world, so if Tolkien intended that Frodo was a "wider traveler" than I realized, I would like to know. Even if the references come from unpublished (or even abandoned) manuscripts. Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 20:51
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    There's like eighteen different drafts of the first chapter, each stating wildly different things about the protagonist (who wasn't called Frodo until much later). I'm sure a few of them have him as someone who met elves, but none of them are by any means consistent with published material.
    – ibid
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 8:16

2 Answers 2


The Lord of the Rings leads us to believe that he hadn't travelled further afield than the Shire.

However if his friends are to believed, he had been to see the Elves:
All quotes from: The Fellowship of the Ring - Book 1, Chapter 2: The Shadow of the Past

Frodo went tramping over the Shire with them; but more often he wandered by himself, and to the amazement of sensible folk he was sometimes seen far from home walking in the hills and woods under the starlight. Merry and Pippin suspected that he visited the Elves at times, as Bilbo had done.

However, further on into the same chapter, we're led to believe that he'd never left the Shire:

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself: ‘Perhaps I shall cross the River myself one day.’ To which the other half of his mind always replied: ‘Not yet.’

While it is unclear whether he left the Shire or spoke to Elves, he certainly got close to both, by "walking and talking with the strange wayfarers" who were abound in the Shire at the time.

Frodo began to feel restless, and the old paths seemed too well-trodden. He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges: maps made in the Shire showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders. He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself; and Merry and his other friends watched him anxiously. Often he was seen walking and talking with the strange wayfarers that began at this time to appear in the Shire.

The strange wayfarers may simply have been the Dwarves passing through the Blue Mountains:

There were, however, dwarves on the road in unusual numbers. The ancient East–West Road ran through the Shire to its end at the Grey Havens, and dwarves had always used it on their way to their mines in the Blue Mountains. They were the hobbits’ chief source of news from distant parts – if they wanted any: as a rule dwarves said little and hobbits asked no more. But now Frodo often met strange dwarves of far countries, seeking refuge in the West.

However, in those times the Elves were also abound, walking the old East-West Road to the Grey Havens.

Elves, who seldom walked in the Shire, could now be seen passing westward through the woods in the evening, passing and not returning; but they were leaving Middle-earth and were no longer concerned with its troubles.

The lack of concern of the Elves with the troubles of Middle-earth may suggest that they were unwilling to speak to strangers, furthermore, Frodo's first meeting with Gildor and his company he seems surprised that they were aware of his name. While Frodo may have been aware of the departing Elves, and therefore any Elves he'd met wouldn't have gone back, he may still have expected news of the nephew of Bilbo's wanderings to have made it back to other ears. Gildor later states they new of Frodo having seen him and Bilbo wandering, although it is likely he hadn't seen them.

And how do you know my name?’ asked Frodo in return.

We know many things,’ they said. ‘We have seen you often before with Bilbo, though you may not have seen us.
The Fellowship of the Ring - Book 1, Chapter 3: Three is company

He did, however, know where one could find Elves, suggesting he may have met with them, and given he had knowledge of some words spoken in the tongue of the High Elves, they may have taught him something.

One can meet them sometimes in the Woody End. They don’t live in the Shire, but they wander into it in spring and autumn, out of their own lands away beyond the Tower Hills...

It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing.

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    He certainly knew Sindarin well - well enough that his pronunciation was better than Bilbo's (this is from one of the Appendices - maybe D? but I don't have access to them right now). If all his Sindarin was from Bilbo, I wouldn't expect that. Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 20:23
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    I think the whole "visiting the Elves" business is a holdover from JRRT's early drafts of the "Hobbit Sequel"... IIRC from HoME Bingo Baggins went with Uncle Bilbo in his then back-and-forths to Rivendell....but I'm sitting in a restaurant waiting for dessert and can't check right now.
    – Spencer
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 23:38
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    @Spencer did you ever get to check? I really am interested in whether that was an earlier, abandoned component of Frodo's development. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 0:39
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    @Quasi_Stomach I checked, and now I realize I confused different elements from different early drafts. There is a direct reference to Bingo visiting Elves after Bilbo vanished, but is implied that those Elves lived in the Shire. There are references to Elves visiting Bag End.
    – Spencer
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 2:38
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    @Quasi_Stomach There is also the "Ranger" called Trotter, who eventually morphed into Aragorn. Originally, he was a Hobbit, a young relation of Bilbo's who caught the adventure bug from Bilbo 's stories and vanished from the Shire, before Bilbo adopted Bingo.
    – Spencer
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 2:46

As Edlothiad says in his answer, he had traveled in the past. But not for some time before he fled. From Three Is Company in The Fellowship of the Ring:

‘I shall get myself a bit into training, too,’ he said, looking at himself in a dusty mirror in the half-empty hall. He had not done any strenuous walking for a long time, and the reflection looked rather flabby, he thought.

So this sounds more topical for the "flight" part. He had gotten lax in his (middle) age.

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