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Today was rewatching the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and realized how normal it felt that Frodo was living with Bilbo (meaning that it didn't raise any questions at first - "that's just how it is"). Yet, that's not normal.

What happened to Frodo's parents and why is he living with Bilbo?

Found a similar question being asked about Samwise Gamgee.

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  • It could be perfectly normal for hobbits, as far as we know
    – Nathaniel
    Nov 15 '20 at 6:38
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    @Nathaniel just included reference to justify not being normal for hobbits too. Nov 15 '20 at 10:11
  • While, as the answer to the linked question states, it is not normal for hobbits to live away from their parents, Frodo's situation is different as his parents both died.
    – lfurini
    Nov 15 '20 at 11:11
  • Your question got answered in the question that you linked since you asked this, Nov 16 '20 at 13:03
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Frodo's parents drowned in a mysterious moonlight boating accident, possibly involving a bottle of wine or ale.

After all his father was a Baggins. A decent respectable hobbit was Mr. Drogo Baggins; there was never much to tell of him, till he was drownded.'

'Drownded?' said several voices. They had heard this and other darker rumours before, of course; but hobbits have a passion for family history, and they were ready to hear it again. 'Well, so they say,' said the Gaffer. 'You see: Mr. Drogo, he married poor Miss Primula Brandybuck. She was our Mr. Bilbo's first cousin on the mother's side (her mother being the youngest of the Old Took's daughters); and Mr. Drogo was his second cousin. So Mr. Frodo is his first and second cousin, once removed either way, as the saying is, if you follow me. And Mr. Drogo was staying at Brandy Hall with his father-in-law, old Master Gorbadoc, as he often did after his marriage (him being partial to his vittles, and old Gorbadoc keeping a mighty generous table); and he went out boating on the Brandywine River; and he and his wife were drownded, and poor Mr. Frodo only a child and all. '

The Fellowship of the Ring: Chapter 1 - A Long-expected Party

Frodo was initially fostered in Brandy Hall (a large multi-roomed residence with enough room for an estimated hundred hobbits) where he lived for nine years until Bilbo offered for him to live in Bag End, ultimately making Frodo his heir, largely because he thought very little of his other relatives.

Mr. Bilbo never did a kinder deed than when he brought the lad back to live among decent folk.

'But I reckon it was a nasty shock for those Sackville-Bagginses. They thought they were going to get Bag End, that time when he went off and was thought to be dead. And then he comes back and orders them off; and he goes on living and living, and never looking a day older, bless him! And suddenly he produces an heir, and has all the papers made out proper. The Sackville-Bagginses won't never see the inside of Bag End now, or it is to be hoped not.'


It might interest you that the part of Drogo was originally cast in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (along with some scenes that explain his absence in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) but the scene was ultimately abandoned before filming took place with the actor being recast as Alfrid.

One of those questions might have been ‘Who is Drogo Baggins?’, for that was the part Ryan [Gage] was offered. To be fair, the answer would not have been found in the pages of The Hobbit, but in the opening chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring where the patrons of The Ivy Bush are discussing Frodo’s ancestry. ‘His father was a Baggins,’ Gaffer Gamgee tells his cronies. ‘A decent respectable hobbit was Mr Drogo Baggins; there was never much to tell of him, till he was drownded.’

The tragic death of Drogo Baggins (resulting in Frodo being orphaned and adopted by Bilbo) was, for a time, featured as part of the prologue in the script. But Drogo, it seems, had been written into the story in order to find a role for the young actor who had made such an impression on the producers; when the scenes featuring Drogo were later abandoned, Ryan found himself being reconsidered for Alfrid, the role for which he had originally auditioned.

The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug - Official Movie Guide

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    Not sure where you’re getting the bottle of wine from?
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 14 '20 at 11:08
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    'I've heard they went on the water after dinner in the moonlight,' said Old Noakes; 'and it was Drogo's weight as sunk the boat.' - They were dining together and it's likely that the idea of going for a boat ride wasn't one taken in a sober disposition
    – Valorum
    Nov 14 '20 at 11:10
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    That’s entirely speculative from you. Nothing there suggests that wine was consumed. It could well have been something hoppier, or entirely non-alcoholic.
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 14 '20 at 13:37
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    Hobits are described in this movie as food and beer lovers too Nov 14 '20 at 13:40
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    Drogo is described as enjoying a hearty meal. That would presumably include copious consumption of ale and wine
    – Valorum
    Nov 14 '20 at 13:48
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As your question arose while watching the movie, it may be worth noting the movie itself provides an answer to it, though only in the extended edition.

In a small addition to the Long-expected Party scene, Bilbo and Frodo share a brief moment away from the bustle of the party to hide from the Sackville-Bagginses:

Suddenly Bilbo's ears start to twitch. He turns quickly and worriedly, bumping straight into Frodo

BILBO: (points behind him) Sackville-Bagginses! (they turn to get away) Quickly! Hide!

The Sackville-Baggins look around everywhere, whilst Frodo and Bilbo hide by the side of a tent out of sight

BILBO: Oh! Thank you my boy. You're a good lad Frodo. I'm very selfish you know. (Frodo looks confused) Yes, I am. Very selfish. I don't know why I took you in after your mother and father died, but it wasn't out of charity. I think it was because, of all my numerous relations, you were the one Baggins that showed real spirit.

FRODO: Bilbo have you been at the Gaffers homebrew ?

BILBO: No. Well yes, b b b but that's not the point. The point is, Frodo, (he pauses and reconsiders) You'll be alright. (he drinks his beer. Frodo looks confused)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring, Scene 5 - A Long-expected Party (quote from this movie transcript)

It is only said in passing, and if you watched the theatrical version it is not even present, but it's there.

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    An excellent find. I completely forgot about that.
    – Valorum
    Nov 16 '20 at 13:40

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