So how old is Frodo Baggins supposed to be in the LOTR? (spoilers)

Quick time line question here for the series… First how old is Frodo Baggins supposed to be? And how much time passes from when Bilbo gives Frodo the Ring and when Frodo

wrestles with Gollum on Mount Doom before Gollum goes over…?

I think Frodo is supposed to be around 50 years old. He was 33, if memory serves, when Bilbo had his Birthday Party and left the Shire. Seems like around 17 years passed between the time Bilbo left and Frodo left.

Remember, though, that hobbits live quite a while. I think a 50-year-old hobbit would be roughly equivalent to a 20- or 25-year-old human.

I remember it to be about 50. Roughly the same age as Bilbo when he went on his adventure.

I don’t have a copy of the books handy to give an exact chronology, but I’ll give it a shot…

Bilbo and Frodo share a birthday, so when Bilbo has his 111th party, it is also Frodo’s 33rd birthday (33 is when hobbits are considered to “come of age” and be considered full adults). In the movie, he sets off on his quest almost immediately, but in the books, he putters about for 17 years, making him 50 when he leaves the Shire (and the same age as Bilbo at the start of the Hobbit).

As for the journey to Mt. Doom, I’d say less than a year (there’s a detailed timeline in the books and you can follow the seasons in both the books and the movie).

I’m late to this unexpected party, but I do have the books handy, so I’ll confirm it. In the books, he sells his home at his 50th birthday, then sets off. This is in September. They reach Rivendell at the end of October. They leave there in the winter. They leave Lothlorien in March. It’s less than a year from leaving the Shire to Mt. Doom.

The movie is different. Frodo still gets the ring from Bilbo on his 33rd/Bilbo’s 111st birthday (I assume - I don’t remember if the movies spell out Frodo’s age). It doesn’t appear to be that much later before he leaves. The time the trip takes, on the other hand, seems to be similar so far (in the first 2 movies), which makes him 33 instead of 50.

The books also say that the 20s for a hobbit are an irresponsible time, like the teenage years for a human. So we can suppose that Frodo is “middle aged” in the books, I guess, and a young adult in the movie (which fits with the portrayal of the character).

The fact that Frodo is 50 is utterly central to LOTR.

He is not a callow youth going off for a great adventure. He is a settled, prosperous middle-aged man. He lives a comfortable life in the only community he has ever know. He is well-thought-of by his friends and family, of which he has a large number. He has every expectation of another 50+ years of equal comfort.

He takes the ring with the full realization that he is leaving behind every single thing that makes his life valued and worth living, that he is likely going to his death, that even if not he has little expectation of picking up his comfortable existence again. And he can’t even explain why. He takes up an impossible burden for people who would not understand his decision for a grim necessity that should not even be his responsibility.

Nothing in the book has meaning unless you face this square on.

For this reason, I found the movies - whatever their other virtues - to be disastrous due to the casting of callow youth Elijah Woods as Frodo. It makes an instant mockery of the gravitas of the book and turns the movie into just another adventure.

In the movie, I assume that a year passes between Bilbo’s departure and Frodo leaving on the quest. The birthday party occurs on September 21, and Frodo wakes up in Rivendell on October 24; there’s no way that everything between could have happened in a month! Also, when Gandalf meets with Saruman, Saruman says something about the Black Riders crossing the Isengard at midsummer, which must be between these two dates.

So, I put Frodo at 34 when he leaves home.

The thing I wonder about is if Sam and Merry, who are in their mid-to-late 30’s in the book at the time of the quest, are supposed to be older than Frodo in the movies.

Miss Mapp, in the book Frodo leaves on his birthday (September 21), and arrives in Rivendell on October 24. Plus, there were several more adventures than were shown in the movie.

I’m referring to the speculated time that passes in the movie, not the book. In the book, it’s 17 years later. In the movie, he leaves on a date not specified, but at least a year later than Bilbo’s last birthday party.

I can see your point, Exapno, but I’m not sure that Elijah Wood’s relative youth is such a detriment.

It doesn’t seem to me that Elijah Wood plays the part as being particularly youthful. Any attempt at gravitas on his part is a little hampered by his baby face, I’ll grant you that, but he brings a seriousness and a kindliness to the part that keeps it pretty grounded. For me, anyway. Your results may vary.

Good point, ** look!ninjas**. Because he posesses the ring, Frodo doesn’t age normally. He’s a 50-year-old with the body of a 33-year-old.

I do remember the line about Frodo’s looks. That would work better for me if Elijah Wood didn’t resemble a slapped puppy.

Or, more seriously, if the movie gave even two lines of concern to the psychological point.

Of course, I was 50 when I first read LOTR so the thought of Frodo doing what he does hit home a lot harder than for the great majority who read it when young.

You think middle age when he leaves home? I always thought slightly younger, early adulthood, like if he were a human he’d be in his early to mid thirties. I mean, he and his friends all seem to be comfortable members of the community, but still are all youngish seeming bachelors. If he were the only unmarried one I’d be more inclined to see it, but they’re all apparently unmarried.

50 is also when Tolkien was doing his serious writing on the book. I don’t think that is much of a coincidence. He knew what he felt, and he knew what the country was going through in 1942, and it comes through in a big way.

In the book, Frodo was clearly 50 years old when he left the Shire and Merry and Pippin were much younger (probably 30-33). Samwise was probably 50 as well since he’d been Frodo’s best friend for years.

Frodo wouldn’t look anywhere near 30 because he had the One Ring, though since Elijah Wood was only 17 when the movies started filming, it’s harder to believe Frodo’s age. It would’ve been more practical to cast an actor in his early thirties (or at least late twenties) for the role, but Wood has done a fine job, and I never even liked him before the LotR movies.

I seen to recall the impression that hobbits don’t age at the same rate as humans. After all, people are generaly considered adults in their early 20’s, not 33 like hobbits.

Therefore it always seemed to me that comparatively, Sam was a guy in his mid-30s, as was Frodo (but he still looked younger), and Merry and Pippin were both around 21. Even on this scale, though, they made Frodo younger in the films. I must say I don’t think it’s any great detriment to the story. He’s still leaving behind everything he knows and loves to go on a suicide mission.

But then, at 22, I am but a callow youth myself, and I first read LOTR 10 years ago, at an even more tender age. Perhaps that facet will become more apparent to me when I’m middle aged and reading it for the 250th time.

some good points, Rainbowthief, but I have to nitpick and point out that in the book Sam has been Frodo’s servant, not his best friend. Merry, and to some degree Pippin, are closer friends to Frodo, at least in the beginning.

(PS - Since I have tried very hard to separate the movie & book experiences, the casting of Elijah Wood has not bothered me. Yes, he seems a little too young, but he also seems like a hobbit, and has done a good job as an actor of expressing his emotions.)

In the book, Frodo was 50, Sam was 38, Merry was 36, and Pippin was only 28. Frodo quit aging physically at 33 though, so he looked like he was in the same age group as the others. With how hobbits age, I think Pippin would have still been considered an adolescent (not even 33 yet), while Sam and Merry were just young adults.

I believe there were a few lines in the text that say Frodo liked hanging out with his younger cousins and that Sam had taken over the gardening for the Old Gaffer.

I seem to recall Bilbo saying something about beating the Old Took. I think (I only glanced at one website) that the Old Took died 130 so presumably Bilbo was 131 at the end.

The arithmetic would then imply that Frodo was 33 + (131-111) = 53 at the end of it all.

I’m not sure if I want to be right though. Can we say “get a life”?

Well Frodo and Bilbo leave middle earth once Bilbo reaches 131. That winds up being a few years after the final fate of the ring.