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Frodo Baggins is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.

He is a principal protagonist of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He is also mentioned in The Silmarillion. He was a hobbit of the Shire who inherited Sauron's Ring from Bilbo Baggins and undertook the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.




Frodo, a Hobbit, is introduced in The Fellowship of the Ring as the son of Drogo Baggins and Primula Brandybuck. At the age of twelve, Frodo lost both his parents in a boating accident, and was taken in by his mother's family, the Brandybuck clan. At twenty-one, Frodo was adopted by Bilbo Baggins, whom he thought of as his uncle (though Frodo was actually his first and second cousin once removed). Bilbo chose Frodo as his adoptive heir, and brought him to live with him at Bag End. The two shared the same birthday (22 September). During the next twelve years, Bilbo taught Frodo much of the Elvish language, and they often shared long walking trips together.

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring opens as Frodo came of age (at 33 years old) and Bilbo left the Shire for good on his one hundred and eleventh birthday. Frodo inherited Bag End and Bilbo's magic ring that was introduced in The Hobbit. Gandalf, at this time, was not certain about the origin of the Ring, so he warned Frodo to avoid using it and to keep it secret. Frodo kept the Ring hidden for seventeen years, until Gandalf returned to tell him that it was the One Ring of the Dark Lord, Sauron, who lacked only this to become all-powerful again and to be able to establish a virtually unending rule of darkness over Middle-earth.

Realizing that he was a danger to the Shire as long as he remained there with the Ring, Frodo decided to leave his home and take the Ring to Rivendell, home of Elrond, a mighty Elf lord. He sold his beloved Bag End, and left the Shire with three companions: his gardener Samwise Gamgee and his cousins Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. They escaped just in time, for Sauron's most powerful servants, the Nine Nazgûl, had entered the Shire as Black Riders, looking for Bilbo and the Ring. They followed Frodo's trail across the Shire and nearly intercepted him.

At the Inn of the Prancing Pony in the village of Bree, Frodo met Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, who became the hobbits' guide while journeying through the wilderness towards Rivendell. The One Ring slipped onto Frodo's finger inadvertently in the Prancing Pony's common room, turning Frodo invisible. This attracted the attention of Sauron's agents, who ransacked the hobbits' rooms in the night. The group, under Aragorn's guidance, quickly fled through the Midgewater Marshes and again escaped the Black Riders.

While encamped at Amon Sûl, they were found and attacked by five Ringwraiths. The chief of the Nazgûl, known as the Witch-king of Angmar, stabbed Frodo with a Morgul-blade, before all five were routed by Aragorn. A piece of this blade remained in his shoulder and, working its way towards his heart, threatened to turn him into a wraith under the control of the Witch-king. With the help of his companions and Glorfindel, Frodo was able to evade the remaining Ringwraiths and reach Rivendell. Although almost overcome by his wound, once there he was healed over time by Elrond; although it was said and later seen that the wound would never completely heal, as it was as much spiritual as physical.

In Rivendell, the Council of Elrond met and resolved to destroy the Ring by casting it into Mount Doom in Mordor, the realm of Sauron. Frodo, realizing that he was destined for this task, stepped forward to be the Ring-bearer. A Fellowship of nine companions was formed to guide and protect him and together they set out from Rivendell. Frodo was armed with Sting, Bilbo's Elvish knife, and wore Bilbo's coat of Dwarven mail made of mithril, which saved his life when he was stabbed by an Orc-spear in Moria. The company, seeking a way over the Misty Mountains, first tried the Pass of Caradhras but then abandoned it in favour of the mines of Moria. They were led by Gandalf, until he fell in Moria battling a Balrog, and then by Aragorn. Frodo and many others were heartbroken by Gandalf's apparent demise as the company reached Lothlórien. There Galadriel, the Lady of the Woods, gave him an Elven cloak and a phial carrying the Light of Eärendil to aid him on his dangerous quest.

Having then travelled some miles down the Anduin by boat, the Fellowship reached Parth Galen. There, Boromir, having fallen to the lure of the Ring, tried to take it by force from Frodo. Frodo escaped only by becoming invisible by again donning the Ring. This event broke the Fellowship; Boromir was later slain defending Merry and Pippin from invading Orcs, who captured the two hobbits. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas gave him a hero's funeral before setting out after the two hobbits. Frodo chose to continue the quest alone, but Sam followed his master, joining him on the journey to Mordor.

The Two Towers

Frodo and Sam made their way through Emyn Muil, followed by the creature Gollum, who had been tracking the Fellowship since Moria. He sought to reclaim the Ring he had possessed for centuries. After Gollum attacked the hobbits Frodo subdued him with Sting. He then took pity on him, and made the decision to spare his life (just as Bilbo had once done), instead binding him to a promise to help the hobbits. Frodo demanded he guide them through the Dead Marshes to the Black Gate, which Gollum did. It was then that he mentioned that there was "another way" into Mordor, and Frodo, over Sam's objections, allowed Gollum to lead them south into Ithilien. It was there that Frodo and Sam saw an Oliphaunt with a company of Haradrim. They met Faramir, younger brother of Boromir, who took them to Henneth Annûn. There Frodo allowed Gollum to be captured by Faramir, an act which in fact saved Gollum's life but left him feeling betrayed by his "master". After giving them provisions, Faramir allowed the two hobbits and Gollum to go on their way, but warned Frodo about Gollum's treacherous nature.

The three of them passed near to Minas Morgul, where Frodo felt the pull of the Ring almost unbearably. After hiding they witnessed a great Orc army leave under the command of the Witch-king. They began the long climb up the Endless Stair, and at the top entered the tunnel, not knowing it was the home of Shelob. Gollum, having never actually said whether the pass was inhabited or not, hoped to deliver the hobbits to her and retake the Ring from her leavings. Shelob stung Frodo, sedating him, but she was driven off by Sam using Sting and the Phial of Galadriel. After attempting unsuccessfully to wake Frodo, Sam concluded that he was dead. He took the Ring from him in order to continue the quest. However, Orcs from Cirith Ungol soon found Frodo's body and knew that he was only paralysed, not dead. Planning to interrogate him after his awakening, they carried him into the tower at the head of the pass.

The Return of the King

Sam rescued Frodo from the Orcs of Cirith Ungol, and restored to him Sting and the Ring. Frodo, who had woken naked in the tower and assumed the Orcs had taken the Ring to Sauron, was enormously relieved. The two of them, dressed in scavenged Orc-armour, set off for Mount Doom, trailed by Gollum. They witnessed the plains of Gorgoroth empty at the approach of the Armies of the West, which helped them greatly, but at one point barely escaped being drafted into an Orc-band by the Orcs of Mordor. With the Ring getting closer to its creator Frodo became progressively weaker as its influence grew. The hobbits' water ran out and they ditched all unnecessary baggage to travel lighter. When they finally reached the summit of the fiery mountain, Gollum reappeared and attacked Frodo, who beat him back. He continued on while Sam fought with Gollum. Having finally reached the Sammath Naur, or Crack of Doom, Frodo found himself unable to destroy the Ring, instead putting it on and claiming it for himself. Gollum got past Sam and attacked the invisible Frodo, biting off his finger, and finally regained his "precious". As he danced around in elation, Gollum lost his balance and fell with the Ring into the fire. The Ring was thus destroyed, Sauron's power lost and his realm ended. Frodo and Sam were rescued by Great Eagles as Mount Doom erupted.

After reuniting with the Fellowship and attending Aragorn's coronation, the four hobbits returned to the Shire to find it taken over by a gang of ruffians, led initially by Frodo's cousin, Lotho Sackville-Baggins, and then by the fallen wizard Saruman. The four travellers roused their fellow hobbits and led them in driving the ruffians out. There they witnessed the deaths of both Saruman and Gríma. Frodo's part in the fighting was mainly to ensure that the ruffians who surrendered were not killed.

Frodo never completely recovered from the physical, emotional and psychological wounds he suffered during the War of the Ring. He was taken ill on the anniversaries of his wounding on Weathertop and his poisoning by Shelob. He briefly served as Deputy Mayor of the Shire, but spent most of his time writing the tale of his travels. Two years after the Ring was destroyed, Frodo and Bilbo as Ring-bearers were granted passage to Valinor — where Frodo might find peace. They boarded a ship at the Grey Havens and together with Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel, the Keepers of the Three Rings, they passed over the sea and departed Middle-earth. Having no children of his own Frodo left his estate, along with the Red Book of Westmarch, to Sam.

According to Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s birthday was made a festival in Minas Tirith.

"The Sea-Bell"

"The Sea-Bell" was published in Tolkien's 1962 collection of verse The Adventures of Tom Bombadil with the sub-heading Frodos Dreme. Tolkien suggests that this enigmatic, narrative poem represents the despairing dreams that visited Frodo in the Shire in the years following the destruction of the Ring. It relates the otherwise unnamed speaker's journey to a mysterious land across the sea where he tries but fails to make contact with the people who dwell there. He descends into despair and near-madness, eventually returning to his own country, to find himself utterly alienated from those he once knew.

Characteristics and appearance

Frodo, as described by Gandalf, was "taller than some and fairer than most, [with] a cleft in his chin: perky chap with a bright eye." He had thick, curly brown hair like most other hobbits, and had lighter-than-usual skin due to his Fallohide ancestry through his Brandybuck mother. Frodo is described as appearing thirty-three, even when he is fifty, due to the influence of the Ring.

Bilbo and Frodo shared a common birthday on 22 September, but Bilbo was 78 years Frodo's senior. At the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Bilbo were celebrating their thirty-third and one hundred and eleventh birthdays, respectively.

Frodo, like Bilbo, was considered by many others in Hobbiton to be a little odd. His interests in the outside world, fascination with Elves and faraway places (like those to which Bilbo travelled in The Hobbit) did not fit the general content personality of most Hobbits. This curiosity was also attributed to his Took ancestry. The Tooks were also famous for their adventurous nature.

Frodo was dressed in typical Hobbit-fashion when he left the Shire: knee-breeches, shirt, waistcoat, jacket, cloak. Colours such as bright green and yellow were typical for Shire-folk. He was unarmed, save for a pocket-knife.

When his little group was waylaid by Barrow-wights, the Hobbits acquired long Dúnedain daggers in the wight's treasure. These served as short-swords for the Hobbits, but Frodo's was broken when he resisted the Witch-king at the ford of Bruinen. Later, Bilbo gave him both Sting, a magic Elven dagger, and a coat of mithril chain mail. The mail saved his life twice: when it deflected a spear-point in the Mines of Moria, as well as in Saruman's attack at Bag-End in "The Scouring of the Shire" toward the end of the book. Frodo wounds the wight and a cave troll, but never takes a life.

As with the other members of the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo received a special cloak from Galadriel in Lórien which allowed him to blend in with natural surroundings. He also received a vial where the light of Eärendil, the Evenstar, (and, by extension, of the Two Trees of Valinor) was reflected.

Names and Titles

Frodo is referred to by several names and titles in The Lord of the Rings. On leaving the Shire he uses the alias 'Mr Underhill'. Gildor Inglorion calls him 'Elf-friend' in acknowledgement of his ability to speak Elvish. After the Council of Elrond he is given the title 'Ringbearer'. After the fulfilment of the quest he is referred to by the bards as 'Nine-fingered Frodo' or 'Frodo of the Nine Fingers'.

Frodo is the only prominent hobbit whose name is not explained in Tolkien’s Appendices to The Lord of the Rings. In his letters Tolkien states that it is derived from Old English fród meaning 'wise by experience'. A character from Norse mythology called Fróði is mentioned in Beowulf, where it is rendered in Old English as Froda. Tolkien did mention he changed final a's to final o's in male Hobbit names.

In the early drafts of The Lord of the Rings the principal character is called Bingo Baggins, the name Frodo is given to another hobbit. In the drafts of the final chapters of The Lord of the Rings published by Christopher Tolkien as Sauron Defeated, Gandalf names Frodo Bronwe athan Harthad (Endurance Beyond Hope) after the destruction of the Ring. Tolkien states that Frodo’s name in Westron was Maura Labingi. His name in Sindarin appears to have been Iorhael, which is derived from ior meaning 'old' and hael meaning 'wise'. In The Return of the King he is also referred to by the name 'Daur', a Sindarin word meaning 'noble' (or perhaps "Wise by experience," if it means the same as "Frodo" does.)


In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo was voiced by Christopher Guard. Billy Barty was the model for Frodo, as well as Bilbo and Sam, in the live-action recordings Bakshi used for rotoscoping.

In the 1980 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Return of the King, made for television, the character was voiced by Orson Bean, who had previously played Bilbo in the same company's adaptation of The Hobbit.

In the 1981 BBC radio serial of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is played by Ian Holm, who later played Bilbo in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

In The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter JacksonThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) — Frodo is played by Americanmarker actor Elijah Wood. The timeline in Jackson's movie trilogy is simplified and much shorter than in the novel; in the movie Frodo sets out on his adventure a few months after inheriting Bag End and Bilbo's possessions, including the One Ring. Consequently he is much less than 50 years old, and starts out the same age as his friends Sam, Merry and Pippin, when he begins his adventure. However, this portrayal is accurate; due to the influence of the Ring, Frodo is described as looking like a "robust and energetic hobbit just out of his tweens", and as such would appear to be of a similar age to the three younger hobbits. Dan Timmons writes in the Mythopoeic Society's Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (Mythopoeic Press, 2005) that the themes and internal logic of the Jackson films are undermined by the portrayal of Frodo, whom he considers a weakening of Tolkien's original.

On stage, Frodo was portrayed by James Loye in the three-hour stage production of The Lord of the Rings, which opened in Torontomarker in 2006, and was brought to Londonmarker in 2007. In the United States, Frodo was portrayed by Joe Sofranko in the Cincinnatimarker productions of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) for Clear Stage Cincinnati. In Chicagomarker, Patrick Blashill played Frodo in the Lifeline Theatre production of The Two Towers in 1999.


  1. The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 10, "Strider"
  2. Christopher Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth, Volume XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Appendix on Languages", pp. 48, 50.
  3. The name Frodo (referring to Sam's son) appears as Iorhael in the tengwar version of the King's Letter to Sam. Christopher Tolkien, The History of Middle-earth, Volume IX, Sauron Defeated, "The Epilogue", pp. 117, 126, 128, 130, 131.
  4. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien


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