Free Study Guide for The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
When this skirmish is over, the hobbits have time to survey the real damage at the Shire. Samís nightmare has come true. Everything is ruined and his father has been kicked out. He is living with Farmer Cotton. Samís father tells them that after Frodo left, Lotho began buying up the Shire bit by bit and sending foodstuff abroad. People who opposed him were locked up and food was taken away. Lotho became Chief, but even he was not as bad as Sharkey, who even locked up Lothoís old mother.
Samís father scolds Frodo for selling Bag End, but Frodo soothes him by telling him of their adventures and Samís new hero status. Before the day is up Pippin gathers many of his relatives and they stand ready to challenge the gathering ruffians. In the Battle of Bywater, seventy ruffians and nineteen hobbits are killed. When the fighting is over, the good hobbits return to Bag End to salvage their homes.
With a start, Frodo realizes that "Sharkey" is actually Saruman, who had warned them of his misdeeds in the Shire. Saruman laughs, insisting that he must be spared because of his former greatness. As Frodo is about to banish him, Saruman tries to kill him. Frodo still spares him, cheating him out of his revenge. Now the miserable Saruman owes his life to Frodo.
When Frodo offers Wormtongue forgiveness, Saruman says that Wormtongue has killed Lotho. Wormtongue comes out of his hiding place and kills Saruman. The old wizard shrivels up till only his bones are left. The bones rest right at the doorstep of Bag End.
The Shire has been scoured of evil, but it has yet to be restored to its original glory. Saruman, who recognizes that the hobbit has become a great leader, compliments Frodo. But Saruman offers a gloomy prediction, which is that Frodoís life will be far from easy. The narrative is submerged in this though, but only momentarily. Regrowth is about to occur.
It looks a long time for the cleaning up of the Shire. Prisoners must be released and rogue ruffians must be caught. Homes must be restored and rebuilt. There are no trees or plants, and the hobbits nearly despair until Sam remembers the soil that Galadriel gave him. He plants saplings all over the Shire and puts grains of the precious soil at the roots of these. He pays special attention to Hobbiton and Bywater. He saturates the soil of the Shire with the fine dust, and soon the Shire is restored to a greater glory than it has ever known.
Sam Gamgee marries Rosie Cotton and goes to live at Bag End with Frodo. Merry and Pippin live together at Crickhollow. Frodo grows old and his ailments bother him. Sam and Rosie have a daughter and they name her Elanor. When Elanor is six months old, and it is near Bilboís hundred and thirty first birthday, Frodo asks Sam to accompany him on a journey. He hands over Bilboís diary and his own account of the war of the Ring to Sam, so that he can complete it.
Sam thinks that Frodo is off to Rivendell, but when they come to the Hills, they hear the voices of elves and Sam is surprised to see Elrond, Galadriel and Bilbo. Sam than realizes that Frodo is going to the Grey Havens and that he cannot go with him.
Frodo asks Sam to rule the Shire. He tells him that he and Bilbo are going to take their resting-places now, because their work is complete and because Bilbo is old and he (Frodo) will never completely heal. Then a white ship steered by Gandalf comes for the two hobbits that had successfully borne the Ring. Merry and Pippin rush to the shore, telling Frodo that this is the second time he has tried to leave without saying goodbye. After the farewells are said, Gandalf takes his two hobbits into the Grey Haven. Sam, Merry and Pippin are left standing on the shores of Middle-earth.
The three companions turn back and ride to the Shire. Sam poignantly closes this chapter of his life, and the novel, by taking his daughter on his lap and announcing, "Well, Iím back."
The Grey Haven, symbolic of heaven, becomes the resting-place for Tolkienís two great heroes, Bilbo Baggins and his protégé, Frodo. The novel opens with a changing-of-the-guard, and ends with the possibility of two more generations of leadership (Sam and Elanor). The test of any great novel is the openness of the reader to a sequel, whether in print or in the imagination. Tolkien, as a master of imagination, creates a rich vibrant world. The door is open for a new adventure. Whatís more, the door is open for a hero (or heroine) to pick up the ball and start it rolling once again.
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. 09 May 2017