One Friend to Rule Them All
I believe in Frodo Baggins.
During the turbulent and uncertain high school years I found Frodo Baggins. As New Line Cinema started pumping out their version of The Lord of the Rings, I became interested in the series. I made it a point to read all of the books before seeing the movies; I never saw the films in the theatre. By swallowing whole the almost two thousand page work, I found a friend; I found someone I could relate to.
Just as Frodo lived in the pleasantries of The Shire, I once lived in a perfect world called childhood. As I grew, and especially during high school, I encountered some of the same ugliness that Frodo faced.
Frodo was a victim of hate. I became a victim of hate during the last football game of my senior year when the opposing team ran a play specifically to injure me. That desperate look of “why?” that was on my face when a green helmet was plunged into my knee is the same look I imagine Frodo had when he was stabbed on Weathertop. The muscles in my right leg were left weaker and the entire leg is now shorter than the other.
Frodo saw his companions die in battle. In a three month span between my freshman and sophomore year, three of my classmates died in accidents. What a horror to see the laughing and noble faces of my classmates still, with eyelids sacredly but surely shut.
Frodo felt alone. With a great task to do and no one to understand him, Frodo felt his responsibility was unbearable. What makes a high school kid feel misunderstood in the midst of friends and family, the world will never know. It beats me how a teenage me had the guts to tell my saint-of-a- mother that she didn’t understand the “true love” I was experiencing with Joni Drewes. The loneliness of losing games and girls, being the misunderstood “good guy”, and failing tests catapulted me to the top of Lonely Mountain in the Misunderstood Range, where hermits tuck themselves away and don’t want to be consoled.
Yet in the face of the ugliness of the real world, Frodo succeeded. He succeeded because of the cast of people that supported him through his ordeal. While I have never destroyed a magic ring or killed an orc, the burden of living has been shared by those members of my Fellowship. When I cried in bed over the loss of that “true love”, who but my mother sat by me and rubbed my back just as Gandalf watched over Frodo in Rivendell? There is no king more dedicated to my well being than my father, an adopted son of Arathorn. How many Sams have climbed mountains of shadow and fire at my side?
Frodo could do what he did because of the friends surrounding him. I can do anything with another sweaty hobbit pushing me over the hill.