There are some moments in LOTR which we only hear about, and never
get to "see", if you know what I mean, and one of them is Frodo's first awakening
after the Quest, and his reuniting with Gandalf. We only hear about it from
him, in his words to Sam when he wakes the second time:
"I fell asleep waiting for you, Sam, you sleepyhead. I was awake early this morning, and now it must be noon..."
That little passage sparked my curiousity. What
happened when Frodo woke earlier? What was his meeting with Gandalf like?
And since there was no writing of it, I wrote it myself.
Smoke and darkness, swirling about him...Frodo
drifted through dark, uneasy memories. Fire.......a great fire, leaping up
at him from the depths, and a horrible power overwhelming him.....it had
forced him into the world of shadows once again, and someone had tried to
take It away.....and then It was gone. Gone. In the fire. Destroyed. That
was a good thing, but there was hardly any good in this world of fire and
ash and dust and darkness.....he was going to die....everything was going
to die because It had been destroyed. Too much ruin would be wrought when
It went into the fire......yet someone.....Sam, dear Sam.....had carried
him as far away from the fire as he could.....he didn’t want to die. But
there was only death waiting for them.....only death remained in this dark
land of ruin, even if the rest of the world would live. Frodo felt himself
weakening.......choking on the dust and ashes. His breath was leaving him.....he
felt his strength giving way.....at last he couldn’t stand up any more. He
fell, fell to his knees, and then to the dark ground. He heard Sam call to
him, but weakly.....Sam was choking too. Then darkness took him and he knew
Frodo felt......alive. Not dead. He couldn’t be dead: he could feel
warmth....light and shadows playing across his
face....a sweet, green smell.....where had he smelled that before? Somewhere
beautiful.....somewhere where light and life and greenness still existed.....
He opened his eyes.
He was lying on his back in a soft, warm bed;
he gazed upwards. There was light and life in this place ....light green
silvery leaves danced in the sunlight over his head, casting a delicate pattern
on his face, and birds were singing sweetly somewhere close. And everything
was peaceful.....lovely.... gentle.....everything that Mordor had not been.
I’m alive, he realized. I survived the Quest, but how did I get here?
He stirred, and as his right hand slid across
the coverlet, he realized that it was bandaged, and that the third finger
was missing. Full memory poured back, and for several minutes he lay quiet.
He still could not get over the beautiful thought that he was alive......and
the Quest was over. The Ring was destroyed. The task was done. The journey
was finished. Never again would he have to feel the weight of Its gold band
around his neck......never again. The thought gave Frodo an inexpressible
feeling of joy.......it was all over! With a sigh of pure happiness, he sat
At first, gazing about in wonder at his surroundings,
he did not see the tall, white-clad figure sitting near the head of the bed.
Then, as his gaze traveled from tree to tree of the little grove he was in,
For a moment, in a shock of astonishment and
unbelieving joy, he could do nothing but gaze at the wizard who sat quietly
smoking his pipe, and smiling at the hobbit’s wonder.
Laying his pipe aside, he stood up and held out his arms. “My dear Frodo!”
“Gandalf!” With a choking gasp that was joy
mingled with deep, pent-up sorrow, now released, Frodo flung himself into
Gandalf’s arms. The wizard’s strong arms closed about him affectionately,
and he closed his eyes, hugging the wizard tightly. Tears formed in his eyes
and splashed down his cheeks; he paid no heed. “Gandalf....” The whispered
word was mingled with sobs. For a long time he could not speak, burying himself
in Gandalf’s warm, strong arms, losing himself in the dearness of that long-lost
embrace. His body shook with sobs.
When finally the two released each other and
gazed into one another’s eyes, Frodo saw that Gandalf too had tears in his
eyes. He could feel that his own cheeks were streaked with tears of joy.
He dashed at the tears with his sleeve, but took no notice of the few that
followed and slid down his face.
“Gandalf....Gandalf....I never thought I’d see you again!”
The wizard smiled at him. “I had serious doubts myself about ever seeing you again, Frodo my lad.”
Tears again welled up in Frodo’s eyes; he couldn’t
help it. “But tell me - how can this be?” he asked. “You fell! I saw you....”
His eyes darkened at the horrible memory.
“Yes, I fell.....through fire and water, and
I pursued my foe through the depths and to the very heights of the mountains.
There I challenged him and fought him, the Balrog of Morgoth.....until at
last I threw him down. He is gone - dead. I died, but I felt life stream
back into me - my task here was not done yet. So, my dear hobbit, I am not
dead. I was dead, but I was reborn as Gandalf the White. I am no longer Grey!”
Frodo smiled through his tears. “I can see that - you are all robed in
white, and you seem to glow! But I am just so glad
to see you.....everything unhappy seems to be getting turned around....”
Once more he flung his arms about Gandalf and hugged him. Gandalf held the
little hobbit tight, and thanked the Valar that he had survived. It would have been a terrible blow to us all if he had been lost. . . .thank Iluvatar that he is not.
When Frodo sat back on his heels, Gandalf sat
down next to the hobbit and tweaked his nose, like he had done so long ago
when Frodo had accused him of being late....he smiled.
Frodo had many questions, but first he looked to Sam. “Sam.....is he all right?”
“Sam is fine - just sleeping.”
Frodo turned back to Gandalf. “I am glad. He has been so brave through
the whole journey....helping me when I couldn’t go further.....I could never have done it without him, Gandalf.”
Gandalf nodded. “He is a dear, brave hobbit....I
was sure I had made the right choice of a traveling companion for you. Remember
when I pulled him through the window?”
Frodo laughed out loud, and found that it was
wonderful to laugh. It had been so long since he laughed......how long? Weeks
and weeks - months. He laughed again for the pure joy of it, throwing back
his dark head and
letting his laughter ring out, and then the tears
came again, and he was laughing and crying at the same time. He looked at
Gandalf out of eyes lit with pure joy. The sight brought tears to Gandalf’s
eyes; it was one of the most beautiful sights he had seen since the beginning
of the War. The deep blue eyes had so often been filled with pain and sorrow,
but now they were brimming over with joy.
Finally Frodo dashed away the tears and sighed happily. “But Gandalf,
tell me of the others. Strider......Merry and Pippin.....are they all well?”
“All of them, dear Frodo.....alive and well.”
And Gandalf went on to tell Frodo of the doings of the broken Fellowship
since Frodo had left them on Amon Hen. He did not go into details, saying
that Frodo would hear all that from them later, but he told him briefly of
all the great events. Frodo listened in rapt attention, his eyes still glowing
with happiness. Then suddenly a question struck him, a question he had forgotten
in the joy of meeting Gandalf again.
“Gandalf, how did I get here?”
Gandalf smiled. “I was wondering when you would
ask that. At the moment that the Ring was destroyed, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli,
Pippin and I and a great host of men of Gondor were outside the Black Gate,
to challenge Sauron.” Gandalf skipped over the part where they had been told
by the Mouth of Sauron that Frodo was taken - Frodo would learn of that soon
enough. “He had just released his army upon us when the Ring fell into the
fire - I knew at once that you were on the Mountain of Doom, for Sauron was
destroyed and his armies fell to pieces. And the Eagles came flying - the
same Eagles Bilbo once knew, and I mounted their king and he bore me into
Mordor, accompanied by two others. There we found you, lying unconscious
at the foot of the Mountain. You were nearly dead, but that is over now.”
“Yes, it is over - the whole Quest is over, and we are all safe. All
save for Boromir....” For the first time a look
of sadness filled Frodo’s face. “I have always been sorry that our last moments
together were unfriendly....but I have forgiven him. He was a noble man,
and so kind to us. I am sorry that he died. Gandalf, how did he die?”
“Aragorn can tell you better than I - he was with Boromir when he died.”
Frodo nodded, and felt a little tired again.
Gandalf saw it. “Dear me,” he said. “How could I have been forgetting? You
are as yet tired, my dear Frodo - you’re not completely through it yet. Lie
down and sleep some more - you have many things waiting for you later today.”
Gandalf only smiled, and blew out a small cloud of smoke.
“All right, have it your way then. You haven’t changed that much!”
Gandalf grinned, and Frodo hugged him one more
time. Then he crept under the coverlet again, and fell asleep gazing at the
leaves over his head, and smelling the beloved smell of Gandalf’s pipe-smoke.