'What news of the outside world?' says Frodo, overjoyed to see his beloved Gandalf again 'Tell me everything!' Above them is a cloudless late summer sky and the sun is shining as Gandalf drives down through Hobbiton. The Shire has never looked so good, but Frodo yearns for news of the great world beyond. 'Everything!' says Gandalf 'Far too eager and curious for a hobbit'. Frodo is delighted with the compliment, beaming happily, his eyes twinkling. He will never be as happy again. In a short while his beloved uncle Bilbo will steal away out of his life, and then even Gandalf his friend will leave. 'I don't understand!' he cries in the dark hallway as the tall wizard opens the door to go. This is the hardest thing for Frodo, not to know. Always, to the very end, he seeks to know, to understand, whatever the cost.
In Bree, the rough dangerous stranger who drags Frodo to his room frightens him but he still wants to know; 'Who are you?' And as the Nazgul destroy the room where they would have slept, he asks, his arms crossed in preparation for the awful news; 'What are they?'
Too eager and curious, the brightest and best, Frodo pays the price. When he wakes up in Rivendell, weak and ill, he is still asking questions, but now it is 'what happened?' and to Gandalf; 'Where were you? Why didn't you meet us?'
There is only the slightest reproach; between The Shire and Rivendell Frodo has learned a great deal, not least that no-one can protect you, not Gandalf the wizard or Aragorn the king. Gone is the fresh colour and bright eyes Frodo had the night he pushed his friend Sam into the dance. Gone too is the strength and high spirits. The only time he runs is to greet Bilbo, who can see how much thinner and paler Frodo is. Frodo looks at the map of the Shire in Bilbo's book with the longing he once had for the outside world. Now he knows it is not just full of adventure and excitement, but also of evil and savagery.
But still he asks, and at the Council of Elrond the knowledge he began to accumulate in Bag End is completed with the history of the Ring, and what must be done with it. Frodo sinks in his seat as Boromir describes Mordor; 'It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash, the very air you breathe is a deadly fume.' Knowing all, fearing it too, Frodo volunteers to go to that place to destroy it.
Driving down the road into Hobbiton that day so long ago, Gandalf's staff was laid beside Frodo on the cart, its gnarled head behind his own. At the Council of Elrond Gandalf holds his staff as Frodo takes on his burden, the same twisted wooden fingers like some hand of fate stretching out to claim Frodo's life and freedom. But still he seeks to know; 'I do not know the way...' he says, looking around with a gentle imperative for others to tell him, show him, and help him.
Sorry, back to musings again...