Frodo keeps saying that he ("I") am going to take this or that way, even though they are four Hobbits and as many ponies. They are a whole little party/fellowship already before Rivendell.

I know that he was supposed to go all alone originally, but that's hardly relevant as they were three even when they set out from Bag End, and soon four. Yet it's always "I" rather than "we", and nobody even comments on it. Is Frodo some kind of egomaniac? Hardly. He seems sympathetic and generally a good Hobbit in all (or most) other ways. So why does he insist on talking about him and himself only choosing a certain path and whatnot?

  • 15
    Because he's the boss here and they're his lackeys
    – Valorum
    Apr 10 at 17:01
  • 18
    More to the point, he's the only adult. Merry and Pippin are (the equivalent of) teenagers, and Sam is "just" a servant. Apr 10 at 18:18
  • 9
    @Samunwise - can you edit in some specific examples, along with why you believe they're inappropriate, please?
    – Lesser son
    Apr 10 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Frodo never intended to take anyone but himself, and does not want to speak for anyone else. Merry, Pippin and Samwise uncovered Frodo's plans and convinced him that they could be useful in the early parts of Frodo's travels, but Frodo never wished to risk their lives, and so never spoke as if he expected anyone else to go along. At every step of the way, Frodo expected to go on alone (at Hobbiton, at Buckland, at Rivendell, and at the Riverside). Frodo's friends deserve full marks for courage in refusing each opportunity to turn back or stay behind.

Council of Elrond

It then became necessary to decide who should take responsibility for such a perilous undertaking. Bilbo offered to finish the job he had started, but Gandalf told him he could not take back the Ring. Frodo surprised everyone (including himself) by announcing that he would take the Ring, and after some thought Elrond agreed. At this point Sam emerged from hiding and demanded to accompany Frodo, and Elrond consented.

Formation of the Fellowship

Merry and Pippin were never intended to be a part of the Fellowship, with Elrond initially considering two Elf-lords from his own house. He wished to send the two younger hobbits back to the Shire as messengers to warn other Hobbits of the growing evil. However, the Halflings persevered: Merry was chosen while Gandalf convinced Elrond of the loyalty of Pippin.

Frodo also feels that he has inherited the responsibility of the Ring via Bilbo (of course, possessiveness of the Ring is an early faint signifier of corruption by the Ring, too).


Frodo shut and locked the round door, and gave the key to Sam. 'Run down with this to your home, Sam!' he said. 'Then cut along the Row and meet us as quick as you can at the gate in the lane beyond the meadows. We are not going through the village tonight. Too many ears pricking and eyes prying.'

(Frodo to Sam, Book I, Chapter 3, "Three is Company")

First of all, I doubt your premise is entirely true. I think you'd be hard put to find a place where Frodo said "I am going" when he knew he had companions. He rarely made a decision on which way to take, and never after leaving the Shire.

  • First of all, Frodo had originally planned to leave the Shire alone, although he couldn't decide how or why, and kept putting it off.
  • It was Gandalf who suggested Rivendell as a destination, and suggested Sam go with Frodo.
  • It was Merry who led them through the High Hay into the Old Forest,
  • It was Tom who rescued them (twice) and sent them on their way to Bree
  • It was Strider who guided them from there, and finally
  • it was Glorfindel who carried the unconscious Frodo into Rivendell.

I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.

(Gandalf to Frodo, Book I, Chapter 2, "The Shadow of the Past")

But even if your premise were true or even morally true, the mission is ultimately Frodo's. It is Frodo who has to get the Ring out of the Shire, and the other Hobbits (and eventually Strider) come along to help him get to Rivendell.

  • 9
    A more relevant quote is Elrond's, at the departure of the Fellowship from Rivendell: "The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is any charge laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the Council, and only then in gravest need. The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way." Apr 10 at 20:33
  • 2
    @DanielRossman But that's in Book II. Don't be fooled by the publisher's insistence on putting two books into each volume. ;)
    – Spencer
    Apr 10 at 20:52
  • 1
    @Spencer It's my understanding that Tolkien originally wanted to publish the entire Lord of the Rings as six sections in a single volume. The publisher insisted on publishing only two books in each volume.
    – brendan
    Apr 11 at 9:41
  • 1
    Just for funsies I have a 6 (possibly 7 with end matter) volume edition of LoTR on my shelf... Apr 12 at 13:51

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