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2 hours ago, SherlockandKey said:

I gotta say I like his brother, Boromir, more. Flaws and all.

Which may explain why your screen name is SherlockandKey, rather than WatsonandKey?

 

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Well, Sherlock is (at least in the first two series of the BBC show) a more flawed character than John (who has to keep apologizing for him).  This makes Sherlock more complex and therefore more interesting than John.  You haven't actually stated that you prefer complex characters, but I suspect that you do.  And if so, it would explain why you picked "Sherlock" as part of your screen name.

I tend to prefer more relatable characters, so I prefer John (and Faramir).

 

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On 11/28/2021 at 2:19 PM, SherlockandKey said:

It is nice to see that once in a while, but I gotta say I like his brother, Boromir, more. Flaws and all.

I'll concede I like the actor better. :D 

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On 12/2/2021 at 7:52 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Well, Sherlock is (at least in the first two series of the BBC show) a more flawed character than John (who has to keep apologizing for him).  This makes Sherlock more complex and therefore more interesting than John.  You haven't actually stated that you prefer complex characters, but I suspect that you do.  And if so, it would explain why you picked "Sherlock" as part of your screen name.

I tend to prefer more relatable characters, so I prefer John (and Faramir).

 

Very clever!

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On 12/2/2021 at 7:52 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Well, Sherlock is (at least in the first two series of the BBC show) a more flawed character than John (who has to keep apologizing for him).  This makes Sherlock more complex and therefore more interesting than John.  You haven't actually stated that you prefer complex characters, but I suspect that you do.  And if so, it would explain why you picked "Sherlock" as part of your screen name.

I tend to prefer more relatable characters, so I prefer John (and Faramir).

 

Oh dear, and I prefer (and identify with) Sherlock more. Ak, what does this say about me? 😵 

Actually, now that I think about it ... I think Faramir is smarter than Boromir. Okay, scratch that ... more thoughtful than Boromir. And Sherlock is more thoughtful smarter than John. (I'm determined to find a connection.... :D )

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8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I think Faramir is smarter than Boromir. Okay, scratch that ... more thoughtful than Boromir. And Sherlock is more thoughtful smarter than John. (I'm determined to find a connection.... :D )

You might try eye color.  Or shoe size.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Happy Tolkien Day!

(I don't know, that's how my browser greeted me, so I'm passing it along. Apparently Jan. 3 is Tolkien's birthday.)

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Apparently Jan. 3 is Tolkien's birthday.

Yup, in 1892, which (if my mental arithmetic can be trusted before noon) makes him a nice even 130 today.

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130. Why does that number ring a bell? Isn't that the age Bilbo was when he left our mortal coil?

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5 hours ago, Arcadia said:

130. Why does that number ring a bell? Isn't that the age Bilbo was when he left our mortal coil?

:facepalm:   I'm sure you're right.  *goes off to check anyway*  Nope, we're both wrong!  According to this site, "Gerontius Took reached the impressive age of 130, which made him the oldest Hobbit until his grandson Bilbo Baggins celebrated his 131st Birthday."

You were close, though!

 

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On 1/6/2022 at 1:14 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

:facepalm:   I'm sure you're right.  *goes off to check anyway*  Nope, we're both wrong!  According to this site, "Gerontius Took reached the impressive age of 130, which made him the oldest Hobbit until his grandson Bilbo Baggins celebrated his 131st Birthday."

You were close, though!

 

Egad. THAT is the information my brain chooses to hang onto? When I can't even remember my own brother's birthday without looking it up? a12sreq.gif

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11 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I can't even remember my own brother's birthday without looking it up?

There, there -- you remembered Bilbo's (approximate) age, not his birthday!  :patpatpat:  I'm assuming you do know your brother's (approximate) age?

 

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Well, I wasn't meaning that the way it came out, I was just using a birthday as an example of things I can't remember. And anyway, it was Gerontius' age my brain was holding onto, not Bilbo's! It would make perfect sense to me to remember Bilbo's age. :D 

Oh crap, and now I'm remembering that my brother's birthday was yesterday. Need to make a phone call and wish him a belated ... whatever birthday it was.... 

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13 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

and now I'm remembering that my brother's birthday was yesterday.

Birthday remembering -- another fine service provided by Sherlock Forum!

 

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On 11/23/2021 at 7:29 PM, Arcadia said:

Still, in this case, I think it's just because I'm a sucker for guys who are both competent and virtuous; but humble about it. :D 

^ Ditto to that!  Sadly they only seem to exist in fiction, which is perhaps why I'm perpetually single.  :P 

Frodo and Faramir are my two favorite characters from the books, I think mostly because they were the two I most related to.  Really though, I love all the characters of the fellowship almost equally, along with a few characters that weren't in the movies.  Glorfindel was intriguing to me, for the brief bit he appeared, and Frodo's conversation with Gildor was one of my favorite parts of the book.  I found it pretty thought-provoking and revealing, of Frodo's character especially.  I understand why it was left out of the film, but I was a little sad about it.  Honestly though they changed Frodo's character a lot in the film, so it wouldn't have fit anyway.

Aside from Gildor and the changes to Frodo's character, I was bummed that they left out The Scouring of the Shire.  That was an important scene because it was meant to show that war touches everyone.  I think PJ might have missed the message on that one, though again, I get why they had to leave things out.  I have issues with the characterization of Merry and Pippin as well, and the overuse of Arwen, and other things they changed or left out of the films.  I really missed the scene in the Fellowship book where Merry and Pippin intercept Frodo's plan at Crickhollow and insist on going with him.  It really highlighted the unbreakable friendship between them all.  In the films they are much more clueless and just sort of stumble into the adventure.  I also missed seeing the scene with the barrow-wights, but that's just a personal fave.

A major gripe of mine is the change to Faramir's character when he first meets Frodo; having him force Frodo and the Ring to Gondor before finally letting them go, instead of helping Frodo and being virtually disinterested in the power of the Ring, as he was in the book.

My biggest gripe, though, is the scene in RotK where Gollum turns Frodo against Sam.  That never happened in the books, and never would happen, because Frodo was as loyal to Sam as Sam was to him.  But the movie nearly vilifies Frodo and victimizes Sam with this scene, and in turn gives its audience the wrong idea of these characters, which vexes me greatly.  <_<  People who haven't read the books and don't know any better say all sorts of nasty things about Frodo, and it makes me quite sad, especially as I relate so closely to his character.  It's kind of the same feeling I get when other characters in "Sherlock" say unkind things to/about Sherlock, except in this case it's real people hating on Frodo, not fictional characters.

And what's more, this modified scene of Frodo becoming suspicious of Sam replaced one of the most important scenes in the entire book.  What should have happened, what was happening in the book at this part, was the tipping point of a conflict within Gollum.  He was watching Frodo sleep, and seemed to be rethinking his course of action.  He knew he was leading them to Shelob's lair, but his affection for Frodo was winning over, and he gave Frodo a soft, affectionate pet.  In the book it says his eyes changed.  It was heavily implied that he could have been redeemed in that moment; but Sam awoke, misunderstood Gollum's posture, snapped and called him a 'sneak'.  Gollum's eyes immediately changed back, and whatever hope there was for him was then lost.  It was the final nail in the coffin.

It's a vital lesson about the necessity and importance of compassion and the power of one's words, but it was scrapped and replaced in the film with that travesty of a 'betrayal' scene.  Boo.  BOO I say.

A lot of people who know only the films and not the books say that Sam is their favorite character, and I understand why.  Sam has many great qualities, and the movie illustrates them beautifully.  But it mostly ignores and/or excuses his greatest flaw (in my view), which is his lack of compassion (for anyone but Frodo and Bill the Pony).  It's not that he has no compassion, he certainly does; but he is arguably the least compassionate of the Hobbits, and in the case above, one could say his unkindness towards Gollum in particular is indirectly responsible for Frodo's encounter with Shelob.  Thankfully Sam is also loyal and brave, and he was able to rectify that situation.

I suppose I'd better stop or I could ramble on about this forever.  I just wish that the films had not made Frodo look bad to make Sam look better.  And I wish they had not done the same to Faramir.  Frodo and Faramir are really the only two characters who are noble while being more studious and less inclined to warrior traits (and therefore less power-seeking), and I wonder if PJ just had a hard time understanding heroes who aren't fighters.

 

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14 hours ago, Artemis said:

... they changed Frodo's character a lot in the film ....

Are you talking about the changed / added scenes that you mention later?  Or do you see an overall change in how he's presented?

I will admit to basing my opinions of LotR more on the movies, simply because I never did care all that much for the book.  Having loved The Hobbit (book), I was kinda turned off by the abrupt change in tone, plus all the epic-ness, plus the sheer overwhelming length of the thing.  So I've read LotR only a few times, and even though I've watched the movies only a few times as well, the visual medium has made more of an impression on me.

That said, my biggest gripe about Frodo in the movies is that he's so darned ethereal -- more like an elf than a hobbit.  So my favorite hobbits are Bilbo and Sam.

15 hours ago, Artemis said:

Sam has many great qualities, and the movie illustrates them beautifully.  But it mostly ignores and/or excuses his greatest flaw (in my view), which is his lack of compassion (for anyone but Frodo and Bill the Pony).

Really?  Do you have any examples of his lack of compassion, other than his (understandable) distrust of Gollum?

 

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On 4/9/2022 at 5:06 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Are you talking about the changed / added scenes that you mention later?  Or do you see an overall change in how he's presented?

Both, but more the latter than the former.  There are changes to his personality and his role.  My major quibble is probably that, in the book, he is more mature and competent than shown in the films.  He is learned, he has wisdom and aids the group more than once with it.  (In fact, his name means 'wise', and there's no chance that Tolkien didn't choose that on purpose.)  In the book he is more of a leader, especially during the first half of 'Fellowship' when it's just the four Hobbits making their way (a much longer part of the story than it was in the film), and then again later when it's just him and Sam.  The other Hobbits, particularly Sam and Pippin, tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves and fly off at the mouth.  Frodo is more reserved, considerate and careful.  This comes in quite handy on a stealth mission, but in the film it's never really useful, it just comes across as introspective or brooding.  He's diplomatic, an adept negotiator, courageous and resolute in a way that's *occasionally* shown on screen but not overtly acknowledged, because Sam's more flashy bravery overshadows it (which I'm not necessarily complaining about; loyalty and bravery are Sam's best qualities and he deserves to be acknowledged for them too).  He speaks up for the group, stands up to Boromir, Faramir, Saruman, and other threats; but does so using speech and intelligence rather than taking to the sword (though he will reach for the sword as a last resort).  But none of that really comes across in the films, where he's portrayed more as a sweet and sheltered innocent with very little self-assurance.  In the book, he speaks more often with greater firmness and conviction.  Also, he’s a tad sassy from time to time, lol.

He's stronger than shown on screen as well.  In the films, when he gets stabbed by the troll in Moria, he's completely unharmed because he's wearing the Mithril chainmail given to him by Bilbo.  In the book, the Mithril only stops it from being a fatal blow.  He is pretty seriously wounded, but he presses on with his injury halfway to Lorien without complaint.  Throughout the books he demonstrates fortitude of his own kind as well as incredible willpower, which is again overshadowed by Sam's in the films; but Sam is not carrying the Ring.  It seems like people either don't understand or forget just how difficult, nigh impossible, of a task that is.  It's not that the films *never* illustrate Frodo's willpower; but they don't do it much, and the potency of it as part of his own strength of character is lost because he's shown being saved and rescued so often.  And now that I think of it, maybe that's really what I don't like most about the changes to his character in the films.  To a large extent he's been relegated to the role of damsel in distress.  He spends a lot of time looking scared and helpless and falling over.

I totally agree with you that he does seem too ethereal, although that's not entirely a digression from the book.  He is different from other Hobbits.  Under Bilbo's tutelage he learned to speak fluent Elvish (which by itself confers on the speaker a more ethereal aura), and additionally was influenced by Bilbo's experience and knowledge of the outside world.  So by the time he was grown, he had developed a comprehensive understanding of matters that most other Hobbits don't care to know.  This imbued him with a somewhat more erudite and spiritual air, along with an atypical (for a Hobbit) interest in peoples outside the Shire, with whom he holds intelligent conversations.  If I'm not mistaken, I believe the Elves even gave him the title of 'Elf-friend'.  So in a sense, he *is* rather more 'Elvish' than your average Hobbit.

The problem is that in the movie it's exaggerated, because they watered down his depth of character until his ethereal quality was kind of all that was left.  And then they had to try to balance it out by having Frodo make some misguided decisions, mostly regarding Sam.  But again, in the book those things never happened because Frodo trusted Sam and was every bit as loyal to Sam as Sam was to Frodo.  It just showed itself differently because Frodo was the one carrying the Ring.

On 4/9/2022 at 5:06 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Really?  Do you have any examples of his lack of compassion, other than his (understandable) distrust of Gollum?

Not with specific details; it's been quite some time since I've read the book, so my memory's fuzzy.  I just remember noticing it.  Smeagol's of course the biggest example, and if that were the only one I think it would be enough.  Sam doesn't encounter all that many people on his journey besides Smeagol who might require his compassion.  But I vaguely recall incidents with Farmer Maggot, and Strider; scenes not included in the film.

I think all of it stems from suspicion and distrust, which is understandable, especially given the weight of their mission.  And the suspicion itself stems partially from his unflinching loyalty to Frodo, which I'm not reproaching.  That's an admirable trait.  But the downside is that his distrust often expresses itself as harsh and unfair words, and at times an intolerant or unforgiving nature.  Depending on what type of person you are I suppose you could view that as a positive or negative trait, but for me it's a negative and not something I'd want to emulate.  Mercy was a theme in LotR and a quality important to Tolkien, and it's important to me.

I'm not saying that his suspicion was wrong.  In a way it was a good thing, because it made him the fierce protector that Frodo needed.  And particularly in the case of Gollum, he was right to distrust him; but he was not right to be unkind to him, and that's where the difference lies for me.  In the book Frodo didn't trust or like Smeagol any more than Sam did; in fact he was at times so repulsed by him, and wanted rid of him so much, that he was tempted to let Faramir shoot him at the Forbidden Pool.  But he was never mean to him.

I'm also not saying that Sam is devoid of compassion.  It should be noted that in the end, even he took pity on Gollum.  He could have killed him during their scuffle on Mount Doom, and he didn't.  (Honestly that was one of my favorite Sam scenes in the book; also changed/not included in the movie.)  But by then it was too late for Gollum to be saved.

The interesting thing about the personality differences between the Hobbits is that many of those traits have their source in Hobbit culture itself.  In Hobbiton, there exists a bias against the Hobbits that live outside of Hobbiton.  Hobbiton is very self-contained, and the Hobbits that live there regard themselves with a kind of superiority.  This bias is displayed by Sam quite a few times in the book and hinted at once in the 'Fellowship' film, with the line "Never trust a Brandybuck and a Took!"  (The Tooks being known for their inclination towards adventure, considered a very 'un-Hobbitish' behavior, and the Brandybucks viewed as strange both for living by the river Brandywine outside of Hobbiton and for their greater affinity for water, another 'un-Hobbitish' behavior.  It should also be noted that the bias goes both ways to a degree, because the Hobbits across the Brandywine don't like the superior attitude of the Hobbits in Hobbiton and think them strange for being so afraid of water.)

Frodo is half Brandybuck, orphaned at a young age after his parents drowned in a boat (a death which many Hobbits of Hobbiton consider his parents' own fault, since they had no business doing something so 'un-Hobbitish').  And spending most of his life in Hobbiton, where he is automatically viewed as 'strange' and 'different' by parentage alone (plus living with Bilbo, who is already considered a kook by this point), he understands how it feels to be treated like an outsider and regarded with suspicion.  An experience which makes him more forgiving and accepting of outsiders and outcasts, and more open to the outside world.

Sam has no such experience; and thus is more narrow-minded, more rigid, more suspicious and less accepting.

Once you understand the internal dynamics of the Shire and how each of the Hobbits' pedigrees and upbringings within the Shire influence them, you can see how it comes out in their personalities and behaviors in all sorts of little ways throughout the book.  I love that stuff.  The films do it too, but you wouldn't really catch it unless you were familiar with the book.  For example, going back to the water thing: In the 'Fellowship' movie, we see that Sam does not swim; which is because he's from Hobbiton, where they distrust water.  At the same time, we see Frodo operate a boat; which is because he was born to a Brandybuck, who teach their offspring to swim and boat.  At the beginning of the film, Merry is the one who comes up with the idea of escaping via Bucklebury Ferry; because he is a Brandybuck, and would know all the waterways.  Just cool little details.

Anyway, I would like to end this by making clear that I am not anti-Sam, by any means, lol.  I love Sam, and he deserves every bit of fan love he gets.  I just feel that Frodo is a highly misunderstood character, mostly because of how he was presented in the film, and partly because of how Sam was presented as well.

 

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7 hours ago, Artemis said:

My major quibble is probably that, in the book, he is more mature and competent than shown in the films. 

True.  My question then is, did Jackson choose to make Frodo less mature in the films and therefore omitted the twenty years or so that elapse in the book between Bilbo's departure and Frodo's -- or did he want to streamline the movies by omitting those years and therefore realized Frodo would need to be less mature -- or did he want to cast Elijah Wood, who could pretty clearly not play a fifty-year-old, and therefore omitted those years and made Frodo younger?

One thing for sure -- that chronological discrepancy makes it difficult to write fanfic that's consistent with both the books and the movies!  For example, in the book universe, when Bilbo stops at Rivendell on his way to/from the Lonely Mountain, he would presumably have seen a ten-year-old human boy called Estel who would later become a Ranger known as Strider, whereas in the movie universe, he's already a Ranger at the end of The Hobbit.

7 hours ago, Artemis said:

It's not that the films *never* illustrate Frodo's willpower; but they don't do it much, and the potency of it as part of his own character is lost because he's shown being saved and rescued so often.  And now that I think of it, maybe that's really what I don't like most about the changes to his character in the films.  To a large extent he's been relegated to the role of damsel in distress.

I see your point.  For example, that bit where he comes really close to offering The Ring to the Nazgul is NOT in the book near as I recall.  It was probably put into the movie to add "suspense," but the book has enough suspense that I don't see why they'd need to make something up.

7 hours ago, Artemis said:

they watered down his depth of character until his ethereal quality was kind of all that was left.  And then they had to try to balance it out by having Frodo make some misguided decisions, mostly regarding Sam.  But again, in the book those things never happened

You're probably quite right about that.  (I apparently need to read the books again.  Yeah, one of these days!)

7 hours ago, Artemis said:

Sam has no such experience....

He's also (in the book) basically just a kid, I think, whereas Frodo is (in the book) middle-aged.  The movie makes them seem about the same age, with Sam being perhaps a bit older, which changes the dynamic.

Thank you for all your points (most of which I cannot comment on now, due to insufficient recollection).

 

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6 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

He's also (in the book) basically just a kid, I think, whereas Frodo is (in the book) middle-aged.

Not Sam, he’s well into adulthood.  If I recall correctly, Sam is 38 when Frodo is 50, the year they leave the Shire.  Merry and Pippin (or at least Pippin, less sure about Merry) are “kids”, per se, having not yet come of age in their culture, which happens at age 33.

Edit: Just looked it up.  Merry was 36, so also an adult, though perhaps considered a young one.  Pippin was 28, so still in his “tweens”.

I could be wrong, but as far as I remember, Sam’s age is never really emphasized; only Merry and Pippin are described as young and have their youth pointed out continuously throughout (Pippin especially).  Which leads me to believe that Sam is no longer a youth by Hobbit standards.

To clarify, the “experience” I was speaking of was not the experience that comes with age, but rather his life experience.  Sam is from Hobbiton and practically the embodiment of a respectable Hobbit.  He doesn’t share Frodo’s experience of being regarded as a misfit among his own people (albeit a well-to-do misfit, thanks to Bilbo’s wealth and the name of Baggins).  And being a typical Hobbit, with the experience of a typical Hobbit, he has the attitudes of a typical Hobbit, which include a distaste and strong suspicion towards outsiders or anything different.

I forget where I was going with that… I think I was just trying to explain how their different experiences within the Shire community have influenced the people they’ve become, the way they think and act throughout the book.

I will come back and comment more later when I can.  :happy:  Thank you for reading my giant blocks of text, lol.

 

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10 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

or did he want to cast Elijah Wood, who could pretty clearly not play a fifty-year-old, and therefore omitted those years and made Frodo younger?

Based on what I remember hearing/reading in interviews and such, I'm pretty sure PJ was just dead set on casting Elijah Wood.

10 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

One thing for sure -- that chronological discrepancy makes it difficult to write fanfic that's consistent with both the books and the movies!

If it were me, I wouldn't even bother trying to make it consistent with the movies.  Just follow the original source!

10 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

(I apparently need to read the books again.  Yeah, one of these days!)

Ditto, lol.

10 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

For example, that bit where he comes really close to offering The Ring to the Nazgul is NOT in the book near as I recall.  It was probably put into the movie to add "suspense," but the book has enough suspense that I don't see why they'd need to make something up.

Ugh, that scene.  It's not in the books, and it doesn't even make sense.  I half wonder if they added it in because they wrote themselves into a bit of a corner.  They changed the story by having Faramir bring Frodo and Sam to Gondor, and once they were in Gondor they had to think of a reason for Faramir to change his mind and let them go.  The Nazgul scene prompted Sam's speech, which prompted Faramir to change his mind.  I'm not really sure how they could have written it differently and led to the same conclusion.

In any case, that scene bugs me.  And I was already annoyed that they were in Gondor in the first place, lol.

 

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9 hours ago, Artemis said:

... as far as I remember, Sam’s age is never really emphasized; only Merry and Pippin are described as young and have their youth pointed out continuously throughout (Pippin especially).  Which leads me to believe that Sam is no longer a youth by Hobbit standards.

I just looked it up too, and you're right, Sam was somewhat older than I was thinking.

But bear in mind that Hobbit society was fairly class-conscious by US standards.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Merry and Pippin are both "upper class" individuals, so their coming of age is more relevant than that of a manual laborer such as Sam.  Besides, as you say, he's only five years past his coming-of-age (and just a couple of years older than Merry).  By current standards, Sam is the equivalent of a 23-year-old, still quite a young adult.

In any case, in the books Sam is 38, whereas Frodo is 50 -- young adult vs (I assume) early middle age by Hobbit standards.  Whereas in the movies, Sam is played by an (in my opinion) fairly mature-looking 30-year-old actor, whereas Frodo is played by a 20-year-old who doesn't look one bit older than that.  The tables are basically turned, and I wonder if this was deliberate, so as to emphasize Frodo's vulnerability.

Will address more of your comments tomorrow!

 

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