Lord of the Rings - Frodo's drama

But this still leaves you with a weak and unconvincing RS. You and Lakis have argued for a steadfast Frodo, rewarded for his steadfastness, but this requires a changed Sam which isn’t the case.

Whether the OS is Temptation or Activity for me could go either way in itself, but when you consider the RS i think OS can therefore only be Activity, which still fits.

?? Are you getting Temptation mixed up with Psychology? I think we all agree on the OS in Activity (Physics) and the RS in Psychology. Temptation comes under Physics/Obtaining/Morality (same OS problem quad as The Matrix).

To me, Becoming works really well for the RS between Sam and Frodo. Even though they do start out as friends, the point of the relationship is how it becomes something much more than that initial friendship, and the struggles that come from that change of nature. It’s almost like friends -> brothers.

Also Galadriel. And Gollum too—remember those scenes where he’s arguing with himself?

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I wouldn’t get a connection of meaning, since the grasping succumbing to temptation was immediate and totally personal. Maybe, it’s MC throughline, and Gollum spared in the past and finishing the task unintentionally is OS throughline?

And to caregiver? I wonder what it was when he was sent away.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and browsing through the books, and had some ideas. What if instead of Temptation the OS Problem is Disbelief, mostly showing up as distrust and skepticism:

  • initially the hobbits are skeptical that the Enemy could reach them all the way in the Shire
  • initial distrust of Strider
  • a lot of “being unpersuadable” and difficulty convincing – the Council of Elrond, Gandalf and Aragorn having trouble convincing each other about taking the mountain pass vs. Moria route
  • doubting, like Gandalf doubted how bad Moria could be; or various characters (esp. Boromir) doubted whether a hobbit was the right choice of Ring-Bearer
  • Sauron doesn’t believe they would ever try to destroy the Ring

This makes the OS Focus Temptation, which is a decent fit. I mean, they do talk about Temptation and “see” it as a problem a lot, not just Gandalf but a lot of others. @Lakis I think you had some other examples about Temptation -> Conscience as Focus/Direction too?

And Faith is nice as the Solution in this story. Believing that Frodo can get the job done – so much so that they’re all willing to lay their lives on the line and march on Mordor. Getting Sauron to believe that the main threat is the army at his gates. The Crucial Element then becomes Conscience, which also feels right – doing the right thing instead of taking the easy road.

And for Sam as the Changed IC, it could be that he moves to a place where he has Faith in himself, where he’s the one getting the job done and listening to his own instincts.


We also see Gandalf and Galadriel resist their temptation (conscience). But you could make an argument that the real source of their problems is that they don’t trust themselves (disbelief) to carry the ring.

And even Boromir, after his failure, makes an effort to redeem himself (conscience).

EDIT: Isn’t Boromir’s justification for taking the ring a lack of faith (disbelief) in the plan?

At length [Boromir] spoke… ‘If you wish… to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away.’ He paused suddenly… ‘It would be folly to throw lives away, I mean,’ he ended…

But I could see that example both ways – disbelief could be symptom or response, with temptation as the real problem.

So I think there’s a pretty good case for your arrangement here @mlucas.


Very cool. And note, just because it’s a source of conflict or drive for them, doesn’t mean it’s “wrong” – i.e. it doesn’t mean they should have taken the Ring, just that this necessary disbelief is causing them difficulty. (A similar example is in the Fugitive when he Helps the misdiagnosed child, it’s not like the narrative is saying that was the wrong thing to do, just that it was doomed to cause difficulties for him until the Solution was brought in.)

Agree with you on the Boromir quote. Ah, poor Boromir!


I apologize if this has been addressed. I didn’t see it, if so.

I don’t recall the particulars from the books, but in the movies the argument for Sam’s change would be shown by his interactions with Rosie Cotton. In the beginning he wants to ask her out or whatever the Hobbit equivalent is, but he’s too shy and nervous and sits muttering about the advances made toward her by other Hobbits. In the end, in a scene mirroring a scene from the beginning, he approaches her. Here the behavior of Frodo, Merry, and Pippin is basically identical to the earlier scene.

Sam has moved on from being Frodo’s “batman” to forging a life for himself.


I thought I mentioned this upthread but I may have just thought it! In any case I’ll take it as independent support of Sam’s change! :slight_smile:

This can’t be an accident! Having a scene from the beginning mirrored at the end in this way feels like a pretty strong indication of the author’s intent to show change.

Yes. He moves from Be-er (adapt yourself – kind of the definition of being a “batman”) to forging a life (Do-er). Also he moves from Subconscious (Innermost Desires – unrequited love) to Future (having a future for himself).