The LOTR Movie Site
October 8, 2000

You've Almost Convinced Me ... Almost!
Mark S.

In response to Stephanie C.

Dang! you write a good essay!! You almost got me agreeing with you. When you push the line that Frodo went in unblinkered, unselfishly and almost without hope, I thought "Wow! I reckon I really might need to think a bit more about this. A poor little nothing Hobbit from nowhere goes in against Evil incarnate... that's heroism! Man, do I need to think more!"

So I did.

And what do I think now?

Frodo or Finfolfin? Who's the more heroic? Who's the greatest hero?

Their actions are so similar. Both actions were borne in hopelessness but forced by an overburdening sense of responsibility felt by each actor; both are almost Christ-like in their acceptance of the burdens and guilts of their respective Ages. Both are typified by self-sacrifice, action in the face of imminent defeat and utter rejection of Evil.

Of course, a Silmaril is not the One Ring. The salvation of the world in the first is through the rescue and return of 2 more Jewels. The salvation of the world in the second is through the destruction of a Ring. But still, I cannot help but wonder; if Fingolfin had had his own 'Samwise Gamgee' - a wise hearted, faithful companion in the face of grim defeat, might the ruin of Beleriand have been avoided?  Beren had his Luthien...?

Then again, might we even posit a Gollum for Fingolfin?

Comparisions are odious, I know... but... they oblige us to reset the criteria, to reappraise the question.

If heroism is measured by the chasm between where one's abilities set one's beginning and where one's moral fortitude sets one's end; then it seems that Fingolfin and Frodo are arguably twin heroes - each battled to rise above his condition and burdens.

And so, does this mean that I must find a compromise and say "Each was equally heroic?"

No. Because I am left with one unyielding question. What if Frodo's acceptance of the Ring was not thwarted by Gollum's action? A new Lord of Terror in a Hobbit's skin for a time. Another chapter in the book of the Lord Of The Rings.
And would not the destroyer of the Ring at the end of that final chapter attract our attention for status as 'hero'? And what then, Frodo? The 'Frodo-that-tried-but-was-just-another-bold-failure-like-the-rest'?

"The moving hand writes, and having writ, moves on."

I don't suppose he'd even get a look in.

No. I remain with Fingolfin. Fingolfin, who stood alone at the Gates of Angband... of which Barad Dur was but an echo... Frodo was granted a place in the Undying Lands, but Fingolfin, who knew of no hope of return to Eldamar -- deserted by even his God, Iluvatar -- even then, rejected by all that was good, still chose to reject Evil to his last dying breath.

If that is not a hero, what is?