We last left off in Frodo’s story at his return from Mordor and elevation to demigod in the eyes of Middle Earth. Not all was roses, however, as we saw that from the early days of his omnipotence he was competing with his close friend Samwise for the adulation of worshipers, and struggled under the expectations of his followers. We now continue with Frodo’s story.
Almost as soon as Frodo became an object of divinity, he was under constant pressure to keep safe and take no risks. “I liked playing with swords,” remembers Frodo. “But they soon put a stop to that. At first they let me use a wooden one, then a flimsy reed, and finally I just had to make believe. People say leaders have great vision and imagination, but I’ve always thought followers were better at pretending.”
From the beginning, Frodo was pressured into performing miracles. Lepers and the crippled frequently lined up at his door, interspersed with the infertile and the inadvertently pregnant. “It was terrible,” remembers Frodo. “When one of the lepers’ legs fell off, a cripple accused him of taunting the legless and having ‘limbs to spare’. Then the sterile women became jealous of the pregnant, and vice versa. It was a bloodbath.” Indeed it was; one hemophiliacs would sooner forget.
Frodo wasn’t even aware he had performed his second miracle until the news filtered back to him. “’Frodo cures blind man!’ I remember them shouting, and I had no idea what they were talking about. Only later did I remember giving a passing beggar a carrot from my vegetable patch. They said I’d cured his blindness.” Frodo doubted the man had actually been blind, but even if he had been, Frodo still downplays his role in the alleged miracle. “Vitamin A. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. Carrots are full of it, and it's good for vision. Vitamin A, beta carotene, call it what you like, but other than the actual act of handing him the carrot, I can’t say I cured his blindness.”
Frodo would have one more brush with miracles before it all came apart. “Gandalf wanted to stage a resurrection at one point, but I hadn’t finished reading that chapter in the textbook, so he just killed someone and said I’d come back to life!” But when Frodo tried to leak the scandal to the news, no one would believe it. Conservative pundits called it an “incredible conspiracy theory” and a “dishonest attempt to discredit a genuine miracle.”
Facing a world growing ever more entrenched in their belief in him, Frodo found himself spiraling downwards into a seedy world of drugs, sex, and traditional panpipe ballads. “I was definitely living the cliché,” he remembers. “It was like the point in those movies where you see the protagonist stick a needle in their arm for the first time, and you think ‘ah, so that’s how they got AIDS’. There was no needle, but the descent into ruin was all a little predictable.”
At first his drug use was recreational, mostly Southfarthing weed, and it improved his panpipe playing if anything. “But one day, one of the North Downs hobbits brought round his lute and a wahwah pedal, and told us we needed to take some pills to really ‘get it’. It was like a journey, man, so intense. I definitely ‘got it’. I got other things too though. An addiction, and diseases mostly.”
Frodo would of course climb the long ladder of privilege out of his despondent drug dependency, and other things equally terrible all beginning with ‘d’. But that story will have to wait for next time.