There is absolutely no doubt that Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most influential fantasy works ever written. And although there are numerous academic studies of the whole trilogy and its narrative elements, there are still questions that confuse the readers or are left unanswered. Keep reading to find out where do Frodo and Gandalf go at the end of the trilogy!
Frodo, Gandalf, and the other protagonists of the trilogy leave with the elves for Valinor, the Undying Lands, where they are granted a peaceful retirement and potentially even immortality.
After giving you a short answer to the question we will further explain where do Frodo and Gandalf go in the rest of the article.
The final scene
The famous final scene of The Lord of the Rings trilogy – both the books and the movies – shows the main characters departing for Valinor with the elves. This famous and beautiful scene has been the source of much debate among fans, as people try to comprehend its meaning and its consequences.
Although the final scene is pretty straightforward and it is a fitting end to the epic trilogy, people still wonder about it. They are mostly curious as to where the protagonists are going and why. We have decided to analyze and answer these two questions for you, so keep reading to get your answers.
Where do Frodo and Gandalf go at the end of The Lord of the Rings?
Where are the protagonist going at the end of the trilogy? This is a very simple question as the answer is clearly given in the books. The protagonists are heading for the Undying Lands, i.e., the land of Valinor.
Valinor, also known as the Land f the Valar, is a fictional land in Tolkien’s legendarium. It is located on the continent of Aman, far to the west of Middle-Earth, where the main trilogy is set. Valinor is also known by the name the Undying Lands because only immortal beings were allowed to live there.
There exists a recurring misinterpretation of the name according to which mortal beings are granted immortality if they reach Valar, but that is simply not true. While mortal beings have been, at one point, allowed to enter the realm of the immortals, this fact doesn’t really give them immortality.
A very important location within Valinor was Eldemar, the land of the immortal Elves, from which they were banished. The Elves were allowed to return at one point, which is why most of them set sail for Valinor at the end of the trilogy.
Why do Frodo and Gandalf leave at the end of The Lord of the Rings?
The reasons why all of the protagonists are heading towards Valinor are a bit more complex than their location. We are now going to examine these reasons.
As far as Gandalf is concerned, his motives are clear. As one of the Maiar, Gandalf actually stems from Valinor and he is just returning home. Gandalf was initially sent to Middle-Earth on a mission and once that mission was successfully done, he could finally return to his real home.
Frodo’s motives, on the other hand, aren’t that clear because they have never been explicitly stated. There is an issue with how Frodo was, as a mortal, even allowed into Valinor, but it is assumed that he was granted passage based on his efforts in defeating Sauron.
Why did he accept? Well, Frodo was still physically and mentally scarred from his adventures and from wearing the Ring, so it is assumed that he decided to go to Valinor to retire in peace as the hero he is. This is, of course, just a theory and despite being very probable, we cannot consider it to be the definitive answer because Tolkien never confirmed it.
Why do the other characters leave for Valinor?
As far as the rest of the Fellowship is concerned, they all leave with the Elves to be enjoy their heroic statuses and to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This is why the trip to Valinor is perceived as being the ultimate reward for the efforts of all these characters and we can only add that it is a well-deserved reward, indeed.
The Elves are, of course, just returning home. As Tolkien’s The Silmarillion explains, the Elves, as immortal beings, had lived in Valinor before eventually being expelled from the Undying Lands because they rebelled against the gods that lived in Valinor. As the years went by, the gods forgave the Elves and they were allowed to return to their homeland, which they gradually did, most of them at least. The ship sailing for Valinor at the end of the trilogy was actually transporting the Elves back home.
As for Bilbo and Sam, it is not known why exactly they went to Valinor, but it is presumed that they were invited to live among the gods because of their services in defeating Sauron and destroying the Ring. Tolkien probably wanted his heroes go receive a fitting end to their stories, so he sent them away to live among the gods, which is an unfathomable honour for anyone who’s not an Elf.
And this covers our analysis of these two very interesting questions. We have answered both of your questions in full detail, giving you every known fact we have managed to find. Now that you know where they went and why they went there, you can use this information to help you when debating with your friends.