Lord of the Rings - Frodo's drama

And to be clear, IF I were to argue the scenario above further, I would have to address the destruction of the ring as it relates to the Fellowship OS (where Frodo puts it on instead of throwing it in the fire). If the Fellowship story is it’s own separate GAS, how can that story end in failure when the ring is clearly destroyed?

And my answer would be that it’s not destroyed in that story. Yes, the storytelling overlaps such that it appears that the ring is destroyed immediately after Frodo fails to destroy it. But if the Fellowship and the War are two different OS’s, then the ring is never destroyed in the context of the Fellowship story. It’s only destroyed in the context of the War story. And then the storytelling combines those two OS’s like a linear problem solver combines space and time.

Seems like it would have a great deal to do with his motivation. To go from wanting to be rid of it to wanting to keep it. It’s not that wanting to keep it is a change from ‘it’s hard out here for a hobbit” (or whatever his MC problem is) to Sam’s “whatever it takes to protect my master” attitude (or whatever). It’s-per Jim’s recent article-a synthesis between wanting to get rid of the ring and being there for the master…or whatever their problems are.

This may be beside the point here, or a difference in interpretation, but I didn’t think the ring was making Frodo say he wanted it when he really didn’t, but that it’s influence had poisoned him such that he actually did want it. His change back is because the ring is destroyed and the poison is able to leave his mind, so to speak.


Ok sorry, my stance was entirely based on the interpretation that any desire he had for the Ring was due to the Ring’s “magical corrupting influence” or whatever. You’re right, if he’s responding to his difficulties (even if the Ring’s influence is one of those difficulties) by moving to a place where he wants the Ring’s power for himself, that would be different.

Interesting discussion!

BTW, I see the story of Lord of the Rings as one big GAS. There are certainly substories, but I think you can look at the whole thing as a big story with Frodo as MC, Sam as IC, and everyone else and all the events (Fellowship’s mission, the War) as part of the same OS. I mean, the whole point of the War was really to distract Sauron from the Ring-bearer’s quest, and what wins the War is the Ring being dropped into the flames.

But Gandalf lifted up his arms and called once more in a clear voice: ’Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.’

And even as he spoke the earth rocked beneath their feet. Then rising swiftly up, far above the Towers of the Black Gate, high above the mountains, a vast soaring darkness sprang into the sky, flickering with fire. The earth groaned and quaked. The Towers of the Teeth swayed, tottered, and fell down; the mighty rampart crumbled; the Black Gate was hurled in ruin; and from far away, now dim, now growing, now mounting to the clouds, there came a drumming rumble, a roar, a long echoing roll of ruinous

‘The realm of Sauron is ended!’ said Gandalf. ‘The Ring-bearer has fulfilled his Quest.’


In that case, the goal would be to end the war, then, wouldn’t it?And that would make dropping the ring into mount doom a requirement or a prerequisite or something?

Or would destroying the ring still be the goal and ending the war is a dividend?


I think it’s all the same thing. Destroying the Ring = Defeating Sauron = Winning the War (all Obtaining).

It would be like if you had a hockey movie about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Is the Goal to win Game 7, or win the Stanley Cup? They go hand in hand, so it’s really both.

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This is a cool idea though. I think the scene at the gates of Mordor when Sauron falls shows the Goal being achieved (Obtaining), but of course ending the war and the resulting peace etc. are a great example of Dividends of the Future. (assuming we have MC Concern right!)

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This has been really fun to follow. I couldn’t sleep last night so got to thinking. Here is my take on it all:

  • Frodo is the Main Character
  • Sauron is the Influence Character (primarily acting through the ring in the case of the relationship story)
  • (Sam & Gollum’s roles make a lot of sense from the Motivation Characteristics below without having to be influence characters - Sam isn’t trying to influence Frodo, he is purely supportive of him, and Gollum isn’t trying to change Frodo, he just wants the ring)
  • Relationship story - from bitter enemies to acceptance
  • Sauron is a steadfast character, Frodo is a changed character.
  • Frodo is a stop character - he grows out of an old attitude
  • Overall story is the destruction of the ring, not winning the war. While Sauron wants to “cover the lands in darkness”, this is a more overarching goal that occupies him over millennia (while deadly serious for Gondor, Rohan and the other free civilisations, i would argue that for Sauron the overall conflicts in LotR are lower stakes (a battle rather than the war). While the battles get a lot of airtime (especially in the movies), the core opposition, comprising the Fellowship and its supporters, are primarily focused on destroying the ring). In this story form, it is all about destroying the ring, or from Sauron’s perspective, by retrieving it directly or corrupting the bearer.
  • Limit is optionlock
  • Frodo is a do-er (constant efforts to ensure the destruction of the ring)
  • Frodo is a linear thinker.
  • The outcome of the Overall Story is success, as the ring is destroyed.
  • Main character judgement is bad, as Sauron corrupts Frodo into choosing not to destroy the ring. The fact that it is destroyed soon after is irrelevant. Sauron influences Frodo to change his mind, and that is the end of the MC/IC/RS through lines. (The ring’s destruction is a cleverly disguised Deus ex Machina, a common theme in Tolkien’s very Christian-related works, where God/Providence, which may on the surface just appear to be luck/bad luck, intervenes at key moments throughout the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, in all cases a positive intervention following moral behaviour, or a negative intervention following sinful behaviour (Gollum falling to his death after greedily trying to seize the ring from Frodo)). (The change in Frodo afterwards is similarly irrelevant in my opinion. This represents the power held over him by the ring dissipating following its destruction, but this is a different thing from the through lines of the story form).

I believe Relationship Story Domain is Manipulation (corruption of Frodo), the Overall Story Domain is activity with a concern of Obtaining (destroying the ring, obtaining a result). Sauron’s problem is Control. Frodo’s Domain is Situation with a Concern of the Future. This then narrows down the story forms to 1, and without analysing every single point looks pretty good at a glance.

Motivation Characteristics:

Some very interesting combinations here.

*edit (I switched the MC/IC, so the Support/Oppose and Hinder/Help can just be swapped.)

Pursuit - Sauron (“The Pursuit characteristic leads a character to determine what he needs to achieve and then makes a beeline for it.” - Sauron needs to prevent the destruction of the ring and he does everything in his power to do so)

Control - Sauron (“The Controlled characteristic causes a character to methodically directs its actions and deliberations to the specific purpose at hand. This leads to a great degree of focus.” - Sauron does exactly this to prevent the destruction of the Ring. “ The drawback is that when one focuses, one loses peripheral vision. The purpose becomes so all consuming that many peripheral, yet essential parts of the equation are ignored until it is too late to save the whole project.” - Sauron doesn’t consider that a tiny group could penetrate his defences and reach Mt Doom.)

Logic - Frodo (“Logic is the mental process of choosing the most efficient course or explanation based on reason.” - Frodo always considers the logical way to destroy the ring, for example by taking on the job when everyone else is bickering to make sure it gets done, to go it alone when his allies prove unreliable etc.). “The Logic characteristic is very efficient, but has no understanding or tolerance that people do not live by reason alone. As a result, the character with the Logic characteristic often ignores how other’s “unreasonable” feelings may cause a very real backlash to his approach.” Frodo doesn’t consider the actions of “emotional” Bilbo, Boromir or Gollum and suffers for it)

Consider - Frodo (“A character possessing the Consideration characteristic keeps pondering an issue, running it over in his mind.” - Frodo’s entire storyline is consumed by his thoughts on what to do with the Ring).

Support - Saruman (“Support is aiding the effort without actually participating in it.” Saruman plunges Middle Earth into war on multiple fronts, which helps Sauron, but is generally not directly involved with pursuing the Ring - pursuit of fellowship by orcs was a direct order from Sauron.

Uncontrolled - Saruman (“The character representing Un-Controlled spreads himself very thin by expending his energy and motivation in all directions at once.” - Saruman captures Gandalf without a real plan, creates an army, creates an entire industry to support his war efforts, wipes out the surrounding forests without thinking of the consequences (ents and ecology), manipulates King Theoden, goes to war with Rohan etc.)

Hinder - Gandalf (“The Hinder characteristic strives to undermine another’s efforts” - Gandalf is at all times, on multiple fronts, acting to prevent Sauron from getting the Ring)

Oppose - Gandalf (“The Oppose characteristic causes a character to speak out against any effort, although he does not actively engage in preventing it.” - Gandalf runs all over Middle Earth trying to convince various factions to help destroy the Ring).

Temptation - Bilbo -> Boromir -> Gollum (“Temptation is the draw towards the belief that the negative consequences of an action are imaginary or can be avoided.” - Bilbo is still tempted to use the Ring despite knowing of its dangers; Boromir thinks he can use the Ring to win the war and then put it aside; Gollum is constantly tempted to steal the Ring from Frodo).

Conscience - Aragorn -> Galadriel -> Faramir (“Conscience is the motivation that negative consequences are unavoidable if a present desire is acted upon.” All three characters acknowledge the dangers of the ring, refuse to put themselves in the position to be corrupted by it, and set Frodo on the right path)

****The above groups go back and forth to contrast the different view of the Ring: Bilbo and Aragorn; Boromir and Galadriel; and Gollum and Faramir).

Feeling - Bilbo -> Boromir -> Gollum (“The Feeling characteristic cares not for what is efficient or even practical as long as it is “feels” right.” - This feeling is the draw of the Ring, which they all succumb to)

Reconsider - Alliance of Free Peoples (“The Reconsideration characteristic represents the drive to reexamine one’s conclusions to see if one is still valid. This leads to a pragmatic approach to one’s own beliefs, but also undermines resolve with every new obstacle that crosses one’s path.” - The “good guys” as a whole keep reconsidering plans to fight Sauron and his allies and destroy the ring throughout the story, with resolve being constantly undermined by obstacles (Saruman’s betrayal, Gandalf’s disappearance; traversing the mountains; the discovery of the state of Moria; Gandalf’s death; ambush of the Uruk Hai; Frodo and Sam run off etc etc)

Avoidance - Alliance of Free Peoples (“Preventing a problem” - trying to stop Sauron from destroying the world)

Help - The Nazgul (“Direct assistance to another’s effort.” - As Sauron’s agents, the Nazgul are directly involved in preventing the destruction of the Ring)

Disbelief - Gimli (“Disbelief is absolute confidence that something is not true.” - Gimli does not believe that the Mines of Moria could have been overrun, that elves could ever be anything but a hindrance etc)

Faith - Sam (“When one has Faith, it cannot be argued with since it does not rely on logic or proof.” Sam has complete faith in Frodo from start to finish)

If this is right, I believe this story form thus covers almost all the scenes in the movies except for the complete story of Aragorn respecting Arwen’s decision and taking up the role of king, making the whole thing two primary storyforms and therefore less complicated than it appears.

The story is finished upon the destruction of the ring, and everything after is just epilogue, including the destruction of Sauron’s armies.

**edit. had the whole thing as Sauron main and Frodo influence, then realised it’s an easy switch and a few things fit even better.


Interesting. Sauron being the IC is a compelling idea, especially if he is in Mind/Subconscious. I can kind of buy that.

I won’t go through your Motivations, some of which seem right to me and other not as much (I think Help and Hinder depend on who is the protagonist and what is the goal – I think Gandalf is much more obviously a Help character–helping Frodo all the way). But that’s not that important to figuring out the storyform.

I am still having trouble with the idea of Frodo as a Change character.

How so? If Frodo’s change depends entirely on the continued existence of the ring, then how is that a real change in perspective or worldview?

Put another way, if we think of a changed character arc as the tearing down of justifications (usually established in a backstory), in what way do Frodo’s justifications get torn down? What is the chip on his shoulder that has to be moved for his change? I’m having trouble imagining or articulating what the premise or narrative argument of what a story like that would be.

Also: in what way is does Consider represent the problems of all of the OS characters? How does Reconsider lead to the solution? I still think Temptation is a much more obvious candidate for the OS problem, as it comes up constantly, and seems to be thematically central.

Agree–but to me this supports the idea of Frodo’s steadfastness. Tolkien has made the argument that at the edge of mount doom no one could withstand the corrupting power the ring. The fact that it is nonetheless destroyed is not primarily a punishment for Golum, but an act of Providence that saves the world–divine intervention that rewards Frodo’s Steadfastness, compassion and faith up that point. To put it in quasi-Christian terms, we are all fallen, and even the most innocent of us is susceptible to Temptation, but if we have Faith, we will be carried through.


Yeah, the more I look at it, the more obvious it is that Temptation is the OS Problem. Remember Pippin and how he’s tempted to sneak a look at the Palantir (Saruman’s one, which Gandalf had carefully wrapped up) when Gandalf is asleep? Massive conflict from that – not just for Pippin but for Gandalf and even Sauron (who ends up believing Saruman has the Ring).

Not to mention, Gandalf describes that Saruman’s corruption likely came from his temptation to use the Palantir to look on Barad-Dur:

But there is nothing that Sauron cannot turn to evil uses. Alas for Saruman! It was his downfall, as I now
perceive. Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. … Very useful, no doubt, that was to Saruman; yet it seems that he was not content. Further and further abroad he gazed, until he cast his gaze upon Barad-dur. Then he was caught!

You can see the Symptom of Disbelief there too, in how Gandalf implies Saruman was caught because he ignored (disbelieved) the danger of such powerful magic.

You can also see Disbelief -> Faith, along with a hint of the Conscience solution, in this exchange between Pippin and Gandalf afterwards:

‘I wish I had known all this before,’ said Pippin. ‘I had no notion of what I was doing.’

‘Oh yes, you had,’ said Gandalf. ‘You knew you were behaving wrongly and foolishly; and you told yourself so, though you did not listen. I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we ride together. But if I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.’

‘It does,’ said Pippin. ‘If all the seven stones were laid out before me now, I should shut my eyes and put my hands in my pockets.’

‘Good!’ said Gandalf. ‘That is what I hoped.’

Gandalf is like, “if I’d told you, you would have just ignored / disbelieved my warnings anyway. You needed to be burned by the fire to believe in the danger.”

On the Disbelief Crucial Element, I’ve been wondering if it’s something like, refusing to accept that Hobbits are too small / weak to get the job done, or something like that? I could see that as being pretty close to the message of the story…


It’s great that you’re quoting from the books. I’m sure it’s the same storyform, but probably a little more subtextual in the movie. The quotes from the book make it seem even clearer.

Regarding the narrative argument, I uploaded the storyform we’re guessing at into Subtext and tried to mess around with the gists.

It’s not exact, but:

Keep focusing on refusing to accept something and you can win a trial

could maybe be changed to:

Keep refusing to give in to evil, and you can win a war to save the world.

Or something. (Though I do think you’re onto something about believing in hobbits!)

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Love it!

Oh, I also remembered how often Frodo tries to leave Sam behind, then reconsiders when Sam makes it difficult, only to reconsider again later. I think this could show Frodo’s drive of Reconsider along with hinting at the RS Problem of Avoidance.

Also note, the relationship really does change, doesn’t it? They didn’t seem to know each other that well at the beginning; Sam was Bag End’s gardener so basically Frodo’s servant, right? So it goes from master/servant to best friends. What’s really interesting is how they end the story apart (after Frodo departs the Grey Havens) which lends an amazing bittersweet feeling to the otherwise Triumphant ending.

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Both of those feel really strong to me. Actually especially your point about the RS – isn’t the whole relationship driven by the question of whether or not Sam will continue to follow Frodo, or if Frodo will Prevent him from doing so? Isn’t there an emotional scene where Sam says something like “I made a promise to stay with you to the end?”

I think so. I think you’d be hard pressed to argue any other relationship as the “emotional heart” of the story!

Story Cost of Subconscious also feels very strong to me here, which paired with the Dividend of the Future adds to the bittersweet feeling.

You mentioned this passage before but I was looking at it again as an example of the cycling Focus/Direction of Disbelief/Faith (my emphasis):

'We promises, yes I promise!’ said Gollum. ’I will serve the master of
the Precious. Good master, good Smjagol, gollum, gollum. Suddenly he began
to weep and bite at his ankle again.

’Take the rope off, Sam!’ said Frodo. [Faith]

Reluctantly Sam obeyed. …[Gollum] would cackle with
laughter and caper, if any jest was made, or even if Frodo spoke kindly to
him, and weep if Frodo rebuked him. Sam said little to him of any sort. He
suspected him more deeply than ever, and if possible liked the new Gollum,
the Smjagol, less than the old. [Disbelief]

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Yes, that’s just because i switched the MC/IC. They are all pairs so the Support/Oppose and Hinder/Help can just be swapped.

The reason i went into these is to give alternative explanations for what are perceived to be important roles in the storyform, particularly Gollum and Sam.

Because the ring is a metaphor for temptation (or, more accurately, it’s effects are), so Frodo’s change represents a real change. I maintain the relevant storyform is only during the period Frodo has the ring in his possession, that this was the point Tolkien was trying to make. Its destruction shows God can still forgive you even if you falter, but even that is a separate point. It is a story within a tale (or a story followed by a tale).

  • Story: Giving in to temptation leads to disaster (and at the end of the storyform it was a disaster. Sauron could not be defeated - only the post-story intervention from god changed everything, which is really quite weak from a storytelling point of view, but Tolkien clearly had another message he wanted to convey:)
  • Tale: God can forgive our mistakes, especially when you tried hard not to fail

Lakis, this is similar to what you wrote in your last paragraph, though my view is that Frodo failed his test, but was still forgiven afterwards (and only after that self-enclosed storyform in terms of Dramatica), given that he tried very hard not to succumb, and that the trial was particularly arduous.

Because they are constantly considering what to do with the ring, with many different viewpoints and arguments. The reconsider response matches with why i thought the good guys have the reconsider motivation, that they are constantly beset by obstacles and reconsider their plans in response.

Perhaps the additional instances of temptation in the wider story are just examples of others standing in for the main character in a few scenes (which Tolkien may have done to show the relationship conflict from different perspectives, and with different characters since they are all separated).

I strongly disagree with this. They are friends start to finish. Frodo does not treat him as a servant in any way, and it is Gandalf who orders Sam to go with Frodo.

I really think Sam is just a Faith character, and there is not meaningful change in this relationship. In fact, i think he is one of the strongest examples there is of the faith motivation characteristic in a story.

But the relationship story doesn’t have to be a feelgood thing. I’ve heard the droids in Star Wars being referred to as its emotional heart, and they are deliberately used to draw the audience in, but they are just another example of a faith character. LotR is a re-telling of biblical stories with a message about the forces that tempt us to stray from God. Tolkien is renowned for this, and i think that simplifying it down to a story about a friendship is not the point of it at all.

Hmm. This seems like a very roundabout explanation, leading to a muddled message from Tolkien!

In the storyform that you posit – the complete one – what is the goal? If it’s the destruction of the ring, then the story ends in Success. Then what Is the Judgment? How is achieving the OS Solution connected to the MC Solution to create the narrative argument that Tolkien is trying to make?

But why is that a separate point? You use the word “falter” which is different from “fall” or “fail”. Steadfast characters falter all the time. On the question of resolve, you have to look at the beginning and the end of the story to see where the resolve is. Cutting off the story at the moment of Frodo’s failure (or just to when the ring id destroyed?) seems arbitrary and actually contrary to broader point Tolkien is trying to make, especially as we never get a story judgement from that.

Doesn’t it make more sense that Tolkien was suggesting that at the moment of ultimate temptation we will no longer be able to rely only on ourselves, but that providence will carry us through, as long as we have been as Steadfast and Faithful for as long as humanly possible?

This sounds like storytelling to me rather than the source of conflict.

The question is, what is the source of conflict? What is the problem that affects every character throughout the story, that continually comes up to create conflict and make things worse for all the characters? Why does Gandalf refuse to take the ring? Why are they all forced to rely on this little, physically weak Hobbit rather than a stronger, more heroic type to carry the ring? Why does the Fellowship of the Ring fall apart (with Boromir’s betrayal)? Temptation.

Quote from Wikipedia:

"The relationship between Frodo and Sam closely reflects the hierarchy of an officer and his servant [in the First World War]. Officers had a university education and a middle-class background. Working-class men stayed at the rank of private or at best sergeant. A social gulf divides the literate, leisured Frodo from his former gardener, now responsible for wake-up calls, cooking and packing… Tolkien maps the gradual breakdown of restraint [through prolonged peril] until Sam can take Frodo in his arms and call him “Mr Frodo, my dear.”

I would suggest that the transformation here signifies the IC change as much as it does growth in the RS.

I’m using “emotional heart” in the Dramatica sense, as a way of describing the RS. It has nothing to do with “feelgood” per se. The emotional heart of Lolita is between Humbert and Lolita (and that’s not feelgood in my opinion!). The emotional heart of the first Star Wars movie is the relationship between Luke and Ben.


No, it’s definitely not the point by itself. However, it makes up a crucial part of the overall argument as the RS throughline.

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Yes! This.

How many people read the books the first time through thinking “for God’s sake, just kill that stupid Smeagol already!”? Or even “things are looking really dark, maybe Gandalf or Aragorn or Boromir should take the Ring!” or “they’ll never make it to Mt Doom, they should have just taken the easy route and tossed it in the ocean”.

But by persevering and refusing to take the easy way out, and at the end staying their hands against killing Gollum, (Faith & Conscience), they succeed. It’s actually brilliant that Tolkien shows us (as readers) how wrong we were. And brilliant that he had Frodo put the Ring on in the end, because it gave their earlier acts of conscience meaning.

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You’ve got a quote about the books when before you mentioned you were considering the movies. In the movies they are friends from the start. Even if you change your mind in that, the fact that it has been “changed” in the movies means either it isn’t important to the storyform of movie and book (if they are the same), or Peter Jackson ended up with a different story form (based on you saying that servant to friends is the relationship throughline).

Yeah as i said it’s the destruction of the ring, and the judgement is bad. This isn’t contradictory. It’s linked because Frodo was also trying to destroy the ring and failed.

That was my exact point. That the deus ex machina is weak storytelling, but for Tolkien it was more important to include all the messages he wanted.

Resolve is strong at the start, falters throughout, and fails at the end. A clear progression to me. It’s not an arbitrary cut - it’s the point immediately before the storytelling point to include an intervention from god which resets much of the conflict from before.

I don’t think so. That seems like quite a stretch. In Tolkien’s work, interventions from a higher power happen to save someone from danger after doing the right thing, not to take away responsibility from sinning.

Remember that Frodo was also a broken man (hobbit) after the ordeal, which to me is showing the bad judgement continuing. It is the opposite of triumphant. He was forgiven, but the scars of his failure, both physical and emotional, continue to haunt him.

Perhaps most importantly, if you are saying that Frodo is steadfast, then either Sam or Gollum (others have mentioned it, but i know you are talking about Sam for IC) is a change character. Sam is utterly loyal to Frodo and the quest the whole way through, so he doesn’t change (which is why i think he is a faith character), and Gollum remains obsessed by the ring the whole way through, so he also doesn’t change. I don’t think there is an argument for either of them being change characters, but i’d love to hear one.

Consider that much epic fantasy and sci fi has the OS domain of Activity. I think the Dramatica book even talks about this (the Screenwriting one does too).

I don’t think that is wrong, it’s just when you take a step back, the story is about Frodo’s temptation above all. Dramatica doesn’t preclude things appearing in different places, and i would say the character-interactions around temptation are pushed to the front of the OS throughline, without it being the OS driver. Note also that almost all instances of temptation are interactions with the MC anyway (Gandalf, Bilbo, Aragorn, Boromir, Sam, Gollum, Galadriel, Faramir), showing Frodo the different arguments for remaining steadfast or succumbing to temptation while being influenced by Sauron.

“Thou shalt not kill” Maybe it was as simple as that. That only god can judge sin and dole out punishment, it’s not up to us.

Not sure about the connection here. Frodo succumbed to temptation, but that moment gave meaning to the act of not killing Gollum in the past?

Keep it up please! This is great

What about Pippin & the Palantir? (see earlier post)

Without that moment of compassion, the world would not have been saved. I wonder how that plays out in the story forming.

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Yeah we covered that. In 10 hours of movies and 1200 pages of books you can likely find an example for any choice of story points. And as i mentioned it could just be to parallel Frodo’s story given the separation of the characters, without being the main focus.[quote=“Prish, post:98, topic:436”]
Without that moment of compassion, the world would not have been saved. I wonder how that plays out in the story forming.
We’re not talking about the moment of compassion here, but the moment Frodo puts on the ring.

Right – not killing Gollum is the OS Solution at work. It doesn’t matter that it happens a few moments before the concluding Story Driver. All I meant by “brilliant” is that it was brilliant how Tolkien set everything up like that, so that the storytelling came together with the storyform in the end.

Agreed. I’m pretty darn convinced the OS Problem is Temptation, BTW, but it’s always good to keep an open mind. I’m somewhat less than 100% on Resolve and therefore what the MC vs. IC Problem is.

But I do feel like you can look almost anywhere in the narrative and find examples of Temptation causing conflict, and as a drive. For example, the temptation of the Palantir didn’t just cause trouble for Pippin, but it was also the cause of Saruman’s corruption (according to Gandalf he couldn’t resist pointing it at Barad-Dur).

Saruman’s drive for temptation continues as he is tempted to outdo Sauron by creating his own army. He tries to tempt Gandalf into joining him when he lures him to Isengard and tries to get him to divulge the location of the Ring.