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12 January 2002 @ 05:32 am
return of the weeping  
Once again, The Grey Havens reduces me to tears. Not nice photogenic tears trickling down the cheek, but snotty gasping full out tears. I've probably read the chapter a dozen times in my life, and I still cry. And then I try to go to sleep, having stayed up way too late finishing the book, and I keep thinking about it, and occasionally falling into tears again. So instead of sleeping I'm journalling.

It's not just the parting that pains me, and it's not just the passing of the last of the magic of Middle Earth. It's the thought that Bilbo was not long for any world, and after he died, Frodo must have been terribly lonely. No matter how blessed the land was, how fair the elves, how changed Frodo was, he was still a hobbit, and he must have longed at times to hear hobbit voices, and hobbit stories, and sit with a pipe and discuss things less high and remote. And it was a long, long time before Sam came. Because he did see Sam again, dammit, he did. I won't have it any other way. {shakes her fist at the heavens}

Prembone used to argue on usenet that going to the Grey Havens was a mistake, that real healing was to be found in friends and family, in the Shire, and that the real sin was that his friends let him withdraw almost entirely from the Shire. I'm not sure I entirely agree, there was a supernatural element to his wounding that may indeed have only found healing in Valinor, but the loneliness haunts me.

Wargh. I'm such a sop, I just burst into tears again.
Son of the Shining Path, the Clouded Mindtorquemada on January 12th, 2002 07:55 am (UTC)
Sam does join Frodo in Aman, in the 61st year of the Fourth Age (here). I'm also given to understand that all who bore the One Ring were granted passage West (namely Bilbo, Sam, and Frodo, since Gandalf, as a Maia, already had the right to go as he pleased - q.v. here).
Lauratavella on January 12th, 2002 09:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but Frodo would have been 114, which was no certainity that he was still alive. Except in my heart :)
Loligololigo on January 12th, 2002 10:43 am (UTC)
But -- I thought no one could die there? I always worried about what it would be like for the hobbits there, too, but part of what I worried about was what it would be like for them to be undying, to live until the land faded away. I thought that part of the doom of them going there was that they would never die in the normal way, and thus never come to the Tolkien equivalent of heaven to be reunited with all the rest of their mortal friends.
Lauratavella on January 12th, 2002 09:13 pm (UTC)
No, the Gift of Man (and hobbits count as Men in ME cosmology) couldn't be changed by anyone short of Illuvatar. Which may have happened in Tuor's case, possibly, but not Frodo's or Bilbo's.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on January 13th, 2002 11:38 am (UTC)
It is of course left open. You're correct that the Gift of Man was given to Frodo and the rest of the hobbits.

My view is different, though. I do not think Frodo was long for this world, in Valinor or the Shire or anywhere else. He is mortal, and death is the blessed release for him. But his wounds were so deep (to his soul and psyche) that death would have left him still wounded.

In Valinor he could heal before he died -- to the point where he could probably laugh again first. But I do not think he lived long, even there.

Yes, it's a sadness that he did not see Sam again, but it is the sadness of all mor/tality. Life is about parting and ending.

Not for nothing did Tolkien say that the theme of LotR is "death, and the search for deathlessness." The ending is so sad and melancholy because -- things end. This world is a world of death.

As an ex-Catholic I understand Tolkien's point of view, even if I no longer share it.
Lauratavella on January 14th, 2002 03:34 am (UTC)
Agh! You are one of the bad people! Back! Back you orc!

If Sam didn't see Frodo again, there was no point in him going, he could have died among his children and grandchildren. I won't have both Frodo and Sam die alone, I won't!

{stern, yet pouty face}