The Effects of Rivendell

Posted January 25, 2014 by Stephanie in Tolkien / 2 Comments

In the past seven days, we’ve talked about The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil and The Fellowship of the Ring Twitter Chat.

This week my thoughts lay with Rivendell and its true effects on Frodo. While staying there, Tolkien states that Frodo was basically rejuvenated and filled with peace and hope (those aren’t the exact adjectives but I think you all get the idea).

At this point, we already know that Frodo has experienced the horrors of the Old Forest, which were greatly dispelled by Tom Bombadil. Since leaving, he’s traveled to Bree, trucked across the wilderness, and has been stabbed with a Morgul blade. In addition to all of this, there has been the constant fear of attack from the nine Nazgul and in itself, the terrible revelation of the Ring’s nature and those connected to it.

Now, I’m not disputing Rivendell’s importance. The trilogy wouldn’t be what it is without it. Frodo would have become a wraith and the Ring would have certainly fallen into Sauron’s hands. Indeed, I would conclude that the entire journey would have been impossible without a pit stop at Rivendell.

But even with Elrond healing Frodo, choosing eight trusty companions, and the supplies from Rivendell, I still wonder if Frodo would have made it without the peace it brought him. Reading this a second time, it seemed like this peace was much more instrumental for Frodo than I had originally thought.

When you think about it though, Frodo’s journey throughout the trilogy and even up to this point has been more emotional and mental than it has physical. There are undeniabl physical trials that come with this journey, but Frodo’s greatest burden and hindrance is the mental and emotional toll the Ring takes. At this point, Frodo is basically returning from the edges of the wraiths’ world, and his entire world has been flipped upside down.

Rivendell was an instrumental stop for Frodo to come to terms with his decision to carry the Ring. Here he chose to continue to carry it and here he would come to terms with the fact that his journey was far from over. Rivendell was the emotional and mental safe haven Frodo and probably the rest of the hobbits needed before they finished the job.

This leads me to wonder what you all think though. Could Frodo have made it all the way to Mt. Doom without the healing Rivendell’s peace brought to him? One can never underestimate rest and good food. Any wise thoughts left in your brains?

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2 responses to “The Effects of Rivendell

  1. One thing that really struck me as I was reading The Fellowship of the Ring this time is how much the characters are really involved in a spiritual battle–and just how powerful the spirit can be. Simply Elves are "good" (there are obviously complexities and shades of gray here, depending on the individual Elf, but overall they're portrayed as good), they seem to be able to affect the world around them in profound ways. Aragorn implies, for instance, that the land of Hollin is still safe in some way for the Fellowship, just because Elves once lived there and the land "remembers" them. I think some of this same spiritual goodness must be present in Rivendell, and that (perhaps as in Lothlorien) simply being in Rivendell also draws out the goodness in visitors. That, in addition to Elrond's healing (which seems spiritual as well as physical), may be why Frodo's stay there so deeply helped him complete the rest of his journey.

  2. Any wise thoughts in my brain?? Um, I don't know, but I hope so! 🙂

    I think Rivendell is an important place for Frodo emotionally. Sometimes it's hard to remember if you know the entire story, but Frodo, Gandalf, Sam, and all the rest assumed from the beginning that Rivendell would be the end of Frodo's journey. And that journey was considered hard enough! Hobbits are creatures who enjoy comfort and a jaunt through the Old Forest, a run-in with Barrow-wights, and a race with the Nazgul, even if something that would be all in a day's work for someone like Aragorn, was terrifying for them. So Frodo definitely needed some rest and strength before he could carry on.

    However, I think Rivendell is in the story not so much because it strengthened him (though plot-wise we needed Elrond to save his life) but to show how strong Frodo already was. It would have been all too easy to stay in that land of beauty and enchantment, listening to songs and talking with his beloved friends and relative while someone else–someone considered braver, stronger, and wiser–was burdened with the task of destroying the Ring. If anything, Rivendell is probably a temptation as much as it is a help. I don't know if you would leave with much that you didn't already bring in with you.


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