Frodo of the Nine Fingers

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
"Lo! lords and knights and men of valour unashamed, kings and princes, and fair people of Gondor, and Riders of Rohan, and ye sons of Elrond, and Dúnedain of the North, and Elf and Dwarf, and greathearts of the Shire, and all free folk of the West, now listen to my lay. For I will sing to you of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom."
― The minstrel of Gondor in The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"

Of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom was an epic unnamed lay that was sung by an unnamed minstrel of Gondor.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

On the Field of Cormallen, a minstrel of Gondor begged the king for his permission to sing. Before waiting for Aragorn's leave, the minstrel announced that he was going to relate, in his lay, the tale "of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom",[1] possibly meaning that this was the name of the lay, but this is unclear.

This pleased Samwise Gamgee so greatly that he wept immediately after hearing this, and the rest of the listeners joined him. The minstrel's clear voice was said to alternate between one of the elven-tongues and Westron. The lay made the hearts of the listeners overflow with joy at the sweet words and they began weeping.[1]

The the minstrel's lay lasted almost that entire day, and he concluded it just as the evening began.[1]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

The unnamed lay in the original text was turned into a song referred to in the soundtrack as Frodo of the Nine Fingers. It was put to music by Maury Laws and given lyrics by Jules Bass. While the Minstrel of Gondor (voiced by Glenn Yarbrough) still sang it, the lay appeared as the film's framing device and became a song used as entertainment at Bilbo Baggins' 129th birthday party in Rivendell. The lyrics created for the film are given as follows:

Frodo of the Nine Fingers
And the ring of doom...

SPOKEN (MINSTREL OF GONDOR): "It has its beginnings two Ages past, When Bilbo set forth to reclaim the Dwarves' gold from the Dragon Smaug... And while on his quest Bilbo stumbled into a deep dank cave."

When Bilbo found that shiny ring
In Gollum's cave of gloom,
He never thought that it would turn
Into a ring of doom.

The Dragon Smaug, the Spiders, too,
The Goblins, the Elven-king,
They came to know the power of
The Hobbit and his ring.

Frodo of the Nine Fingers
And the ring of doom.
It started with a Hobbit in
Gollum's cave of gloom.

The power of the ring, it grew,
And Gandalf sat in thought.
He knew that it must be destroyed
In fires where it was wrought.

For if in evil hands it fell,
The earth would know its end.
No force of arms would win the day,
No army could contend.

SPOKEN (GANDALF): "For evil flourished everywhere and lay on the land like a festering malignancy. There was one hope though, in a distant land, the noble Aragorn, heir to empty throne on Gondor awaited the small band to return and become king. But he could not triumph until the ring was destroyed, so went the prophecy."

Frodo of the Nine Fingers
And the ring of doom
Accepted a heavy burden
For the fires to consume.

SPOKEN (GANDALF): "Frodo and his gallant companion Samwise had many brave adventures, until finally they reached the rocky border of Mordor, domained the black lord Sauron. There, Frodo was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Samwise vowed to enter the Orc-infested tower alone to save him, and the ring of doom was missing around Frodo's neck."

Frodo of the Nine Fingers
And the ring of doom.
Why does he have nine fingers?
Where is the ring of doom?