After the events of 'the Return of the King', Frodo, Gandalf the White, Bilbo Baggins, Lady Galadriel and her husband leave Middle Earth and journey to the Undying Lands. Just out of curiosity, what becomes of them, particularly Frodo? I know that, many years later, Sam Gamgee goes to join Frodo, but can anyone tell me what the Undying Lands are? It sounds like some Tolkien version of Paradise to me.

Secondly, what sort of lives do these characters live outside of Middle Earth? Is there, perhaps, a Shire-like haven full of rolling hills and crops? Are there more Elves there than any other race? I'd just like to get a picture of what happens to Frodo once he gets there. What does he do with his time?

I'm aware of the Silmarillion, but I've never read that (not yet, anyway), so I fully welcome info from there! :)

  • As far as the things that might not be touched on, this tells what happened to Frodo. There are mainly only Elves and Vala/Maia there, and it is kind of like Paradise, though not exactly what we think of heaven as. I would strongly encourage reading the Silmarillion.
    – The Fallen
    Feb 5, 2014 at 15:22
  • It crossed my mind that there might be a page out there with a similar question, being sure that I can't be the only one who'd be interested, but I wrote it anyway. That link looks promising, so if you want, you can go ahead and remove this question :) Unless you want me to do it? Though I'm not sure how, to be honest. Feb 5, 2014 at 15:40
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    No it's fine unless you really feel like you need to. It will get closed as a duplicate and then it will serve as a "signpost" to the actual answers
    – The Fallen
    Feb 5, 2014 at 15:42
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    OK then, I'll leave it be. Thanks! Feb 5, 2014 at 15:53
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    @SSumner I don't actually think it's a duplicate of that question. The answer to that question certainly doesn't answer this question. Feb 5, 2014 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


From Letter 246:

Frodo was sent or allowed to pass over Sea to heal him – if that could be done, before he died. He would have eventually to 'pass away': no mortal could, or can, abide for ever on earth, or within Time. So he went both to a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and a gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and in greatness, spent still in Time amid the natural beauty of 'Arda Unmarred', the Earth unspoiled by evil.

Along with Bilbo, Gimli, and Sam (the other mortals who passed over the sea), Frodo died eventually. As Tolkien notes, he could not find peace or rest in Middle-Earth, and needed a place that might could heal him. We never really find out what he did there - it's probably sufficient to say he rested. In some ways, Aman(specifically Valinor) might could be compared to the Shire - the Shire for much of its history was unmarred by the outside world, but it couldn't compare with Valinor.

The linked question, along with this question explains in more detail, but Aman used to be accessible by normal ships, however it was forbidden for non-elves and Vala/Maia to go there. However, the Numenorians disobeyed and invaded, causing it to be removed from the "circles of the world", and only those who the Valar permitted were able to sail there, and only by a narrow path across the Sea.

The scenery of Valinor is described very limited. It was indeed a beautiful country, full of pastures and forests. The Vala made their home here, and the mythology of Tolkien is really rooted here. There once were Two Trees that gave light to the land, but the Silmarillion tells how they were poisened and how the world was changed in the following years.

In short, we don't know a whole lot about what the land looked like or what the few mortals who went there did, although we know it was a land of peace and rest, and that the mortals who did go there found relief from their hurts in their last years.

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    To this I'd add that Tolkien didn't mean that it was unmarred by the outside world, he meant that it was unmarred by Morgoth. Morgoth's power and will was present in all matter outside Valinor, including the Shire; the world absent this "Morgoth element" was Arda Unmarred.
    – Shamshiel
    Feb 5, 2014 at 16:57
  • @SSumner Great answer! this pretty much covers all the points of my question. So can we assume that Gandalf stayed with Frodo until the end of his life? And was part of Frodo's unrest in Middle-Earth caused by some trace of longing for the destroyed One Ring? The third film hints that to me a little, as he and Bilbo ride away from the Shire, in the carriage, together. Feb 6, 2014 at 2:55
  • It could be. But a lot of his turmoil was caused by the pain he endured carrying the one ring, the lingering effects of the Morgul blade, and Shelob's lair. As far as Gandalf, I assume he did-he certainly was in Valinor when Frodo was. I suspect they had some contact, but Tolkien doesn't specify how much.
    – The Fallen
    Feb 6, 2014 at 3:00
  • Yeah, I'm sure the sufferings of his quest overall are what left a mark on Frodo (literally, in the case of the Morgul blade and Shelob's sting), but I also thought that maybe a part of him "missed" the Ring. I mean, it did officially claim him right before its destruction. I don't imagine that went away completely, even years later. Feb 6, 2014 at 10:28

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