How did it ever come to this? How did things ever progress to this point? Why is it that I must now say farewell to my cousin, never to see him again? Why is it that only across the sea, in the Undying lands, can Frodo ever be healed? Why do I have to lose him forever?
The answer is truly simple: the Ring. The Ring has caused all of Frodo’s ills and injuries that can only be healed in Valinor. Over the long ages of this world, the Ring has caused much destruction and devastation, ruined many lives. Frodo is only the most recent in It’s long line of casualties, and, hopefully, the last.
This whole deal began all those long years and a lifetime ago, when we were all just carefree hobbit lads, the day old Bilbo left to Frodo the accursed Ring. On the surface, it seemed like nothing more than a normal parting gift. No one knew, or even suspected, that it might be more, that it would cause trouble. Everyone thought that it was just a simple gold band. Everyone was wrong.
There was so much death and destruction dealt out in the war for that simple looking band of gold. And even though so many people died, it seems as if Frodo suffered the most severe blow. To have to carry the Ring across Middle-earth to destroy it almost destroyed him. The yearning to touch the Ring again is still destroying him, though not visibly.
My dear, sweet cousin is not much changed, physically, from the last time I have seen him; a little older, perhaps, but no worse than I have ever seen him before. There is shock clearly written on his face as Merry and I ride up. I can almost hear what he wants to say: ‘How did you know? I thought I had been clever in my plans.’
As I jump from my pony, I can feel tears winding their way down my cheeks, but pay them no heed, laughing instead. I can’t help but do so at seeing the comical look on Frodo’s face. He looks so confused and bewildered, yet thankful at the same time.
‘You tried to give us the slip once before and failed, Frodo. This time you have nearly succeeded, but you have failed again. It was not Sam, though, that gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!’
I can hear Gandalf replying to this, but don’t listen. I’m too busy trying to memorize the way Frodo looks in this moment, so I shall never forget him (if that is even possible). I will always, from this moment on, carry a picture of Frodo in my heart, until my last breath.
As he and I embrace for the last time, there is more that I want to say, but cannot force out past the large lump in my throat. I want to tell him that I love him, that I shall never forget him, nor what he sacrificed for Middle-earth, that I shall try my best to move on with my life. But I am unable to voice any of this.
When Frodo pulls back and our eyes meet for the last time, I can see that he knows. He always was able to read my heart, better even than Merry. And I can read his: his love for me, Merry, Sam, the Shire, Middle-earth as a whole, his longing to stay, his need to go.
I am not able to say good-bye as Frodo moves away to share one last embrace with Merry and Sam. I cannot bear to say good-bye, even though I know that we shall never again meet. At some silent urging, I raise my tear-filled face to look straight at the Lady Galadriel. She is smiling sadly down at me, her wisdom-filled eyes sparkling slightly in the sunlight.
Good-bye, Peregrin Took, her voice whispers in my head. May Eärendil shine down upon you and bless you. Namarië.
Frodo silently boards the elven ship and the sails are put up. The ship is slowly, but steadily, being blown away, farther and farther into the sea. I never once look away or blink while the ships is still in sight, watching it slowly shrink on the horizon.
When the tiny speck that is the ship disappears, I dry my tears and turn my back on the sea, turning my eyes instead to the towers visible in the distance. Never again will I look upon the sea, for it is no longer a place of wonder. The Third Age has ended; the Ring-bearers are gone from this world.
As Merry, Sam, and I ride away from the Havens, a bright star slowly appears over the Towers: Eärendil. Again, I hear the Lady’s words to me: May Eärendil shine down upon you and bless you.
Namarië, I think, willing the Lady and all those upon the distant ship to hear my thoughts. Farewell, Frodo.