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Tolkien’s Legendarium is one of the biggest, most popular and most interesting fictional universes we have. It is – in a way – the epitome of a fantasy-based universe and served as a prototype for all later similar universes that are part of the fantasy genre. Tolkien’s universe has a lot of mysteries and while some of them are unclear, there are some that are solved but need further clarification. In today’s article, we are going to discuss and explain the circumstances surrounding Frodo’s failure to destroy the One Ring inside Mount Doom. Why did the hobbit fail to do the one thing he was tasked with doing? Was the One Ring ultimately destroyed? How? Keep reading to find out the answers to these and several other related questions!
Upon reaching Mount Doom, Frodo Baggins was extremely weak, while the One Ring’s powers became the strongest due to the proximity of the Crack of Doom. This is why Frodo yielded and put the Ring on – he was just too weak to resist the One Ring at the height of its power and luckily for Middle-earth that Gollum was there to greedily reclaim his Precious.
Today’s article is dedicated to Frodo Baggins and his failure to destroy Sauron’s One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. You are going to find out all the circumstances surrounding the event, as well as all the answers you are looking for. We are also going to tall you what exactly happened and how the One Ring was ultimately destroyed, no thanks to Frodo. We have prepared a very interesting text for you so stick with us to the end!
What happened to Frodo and the One Ring at Mount Doom?
After a long and exhausting journey, Frodo and Sam finally reached Mount Doom as Aragorn and his army were fighting the Orcs. They were followed by Gollum, who attacked them wanting to get ahold of his Precious, still not knowing how important its destruction was (or not caring, but that is not that relevant here). While Sam fought and injured Gollum, Frodo ran up the mountain to reach the flames of Mount Doom, where he would destroy the Ring.
Yet, this did not happen. Inside the Crack of Doom, Frodo, who was extremely exhausted at the time, finally succumbed to the One Ring’s powers. Due to the proximity of the destructive flames, the One Ring’s powers reached their height at that point and a seriously weakened Frodo was not able to resist its powers anymore. Sam urged his friend to destroy the Ring, but Frodo instead put it on his finger.
This is when Gollum returned and attacked Sam, knocking him unconscious for several moments. When he awoke, he saw Gollum fighting an invisible foe – actually Frodo with the Ring on – until Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger with the Ring on it. Gollum then reclaimed his Precious as Frodo fell down in pain. Gollum danced out of joy, but this cost him his life, as he slipped from the brink and fell down into the fires of Mount Doom with the Ring, thereby destroying it. This is a summary of the events at Mount Doom.
Why does Frodo claim the One Ring for himself?
The scene we described in the preceding section happened like this:
“Sam came to the gaping mouth and peered in. It was dark and hot, and a deep rumbling shook the air. ‘Frodo! Master!’ he called. There was no answer. For a moment he stood, his heart beating with wild fears, and then he plunged in. A shadow followed him.
At first he could see nothing. In his great need he drew out once more the phial of Galadriel, but it was pale and cold in his trembling hand and threw no light into that stifling dark. He was come to the heart of the realm of Sauron and the forges of his ancient might, greatest in Middle-earth; all other powers were here subdued. Fearfully he took a few uncertain steps in the dark, and then all at once there came a flash of red that leaped upward, and smote the high black roof. Then Sam saw that he was in a long cave or tunnel that bored into the Mountain’s smoking cone. But only a short way ahead its floor and the walls on either side were cloven by a great fissure, out of which the red glare came, now leaping up, now dying down into darkness; and all the while far below there was a rumour and a trouble as of great engines throbbing and labouring.
The light sprang up again, and there on the brink of the chasm, at the very Crack of Doom, stood Frodo, black against the glare, tense, erect, but still as if he had been turned to stone.
‘Master!’ cried Sam.
Then Frodo stirred and spoke with a clear voice, indeed with a voice clearer and more powerful than Sam had ever heard him use, and it rose above the throb and turmoil of Mount Doom, ringing in the roof and walls.
‘I have come,’ he said. ‘But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!’ And suddenly, as he set it on his finger, he vanished from Sam’s sight. Sam gasped, but he had no chance to cry out, for at that moment many things happened.”– The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter III, “Mount Doom”
We thought it opportune to show you the whole scene so that you know the exact circumstances Tolkien wrote about. As you can see, Tolkien never described the exact reason why Frodo changed his mind; in fact, it came as a shock to both Sam, from whose perspective the events are described, and the reader. This is important to illustrate how our theory is based on an interpretation of the events from the book, rather than Tolkien’s exact description.
From what we could have deduced, Frodo finally succumbs to the One Ring’s power because of two reasons. First, he was very weak. That is evidenced in some earlier paragraphs, as Sam’s and his journey was a real strain on them. He was barely holding his ground when they reached Mount Doom, so his energy levels, as well as his willpower, were very low at that point. The other reason is that the One Ring’s powers increased as they approached Mount Doom. The One Ring was a powerful magical object and it was probably aware of the danger it was facing. This is why its powers increased, as it was important to crush any possibility of destruction by seducing the bearer. This is why Frodo was ultimately unable to destroy the One Ring himself. The Ring succeeded, but luckily – Gollum was there.
What exactly happened when Frodo claimed the One Ring?
Now, when Frodo claimed the One Ring and disappeared, Sam got hit in the back by Gollum. He lost consciousness for a brief period, and when he awoke, things played out like this:
“Sam got up. He was dazed, and blood streaming from his head dripped in his eyes. He groped forward, and then he saw a strange and terrible thing. Gollum on the edge of the abyss was fighting like a mad thing with an unseen foe. To and fro he swayed, now so near the brink that almost he tumbled in, now dragging back, falling to the ground, rising, and falling again. And all the while he hissed but spoke no words.
The fires below awoke in anger, the red light blazed, and all the cavern was filled with a great glare and heat. Suddenly Sam saw Gollum’s long hands draw upwards to his mouth; his white fangs gleamed, and then snapped as they bit. Frodo gave a cry, and there he was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm’s edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle. It shone now as if verily it was wrought of living fire.
‘Precious, precious, precious!’ Gollum cried. ‘My Precious! O my Precious!’ And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail Precious, and he was gone.
There was a roar and a great confusion of noise. Fires leaped up and licked the roof. The throbbing grew to a great tumult, and the Mountain shook. Sam ran to Frodo and picked him up and carried him out to the door. And there upon the dark threshold of the Sammath Naur, high above the plains of Mordor, such wonder and terror came on him that he stood still forgetting all else, and gazed as one turned to stone.
A brief vision he had of swirling cloud, and in the midst of it towers and battlements, tall as hills, founded upon a mighty mountain-throne above immeasurable pits; great courts and dungeons, eyeless prisons sheer as cliffs, and gaping gates of steel and adamant: and then all passed. Towers fell and mountains slid; walls crumbled and melted, crashing down; vast spires of smoke and spouting steams went billowing up, up, until they toppled like an overwhelming wave, and its wild crest curled and came foaming down upon the land. And then at last over the miles between there came a rumble, rising to a deafening crash and roar; the earth shook, the plain heaved and cracked, and Orodruin reeled. Fire belched from its riven summit. The skies burst into thunder seared with lightning. Down like lashing whips fell a torrent of black rain. And into the heart of the storm, with a cry that pierced all other sounds, tearing the clouds asunder, the Nazgûl came, shooting like flaming bolts, as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky they crackled, withered, and went out.
‘Well, this is the end, Sam Gamgee,’ said a voice by his side. And there was Frodo, pale and worn, and yet himself again; and in his eyes there was peace now, neither strain of will, nor madness, nor any fear. His burden was taken away. There was the dear master of the sweet days in the Shire.”– The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter III, “Mount Doom”
So, what exactly happened? Gollum tracked the invisible Frodo and attacked him. Meanwhile, Sauron sensed the Ring and the Nazgûl headed for Mount Doom. As Gollum was fighting Frodo, he bit off his finger, the one with the Ring, and reclaimed his Precious. But, while he was dancing out of joy, he toppled over the edge and fell down in the lava with the Ring. The Ring was destroyed, which also caused the destruction of Mount Doom, Sauron’s fortress and himself, as well as the deaths of the remaining Nazgûl. Gollum’s greed was what ultimately killed him, but also destroyed the One Ring. Sam and Frodo then left the mountain, exhausted, but happy because they ultimately did what they were tasked with doing.
Was the One Ring destroyed?
Tolkien explicitly says about Gollum and the Ring: “And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail Precious, and he was gone.” From this, we deduce that the Ring did indeed fall into the fires of Mount Doom and that it was, as it was supposed to be, destroyed.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!