Status: Complete
Quick Summary: Frodo's thoughts as he stands on the banks of the River Anduin at the end of the film. Based on the Peter Jackson 2001 movie representation.
Disclaimer: I wish I could write something sparklingly-interesting and witty here to illustrate my point, but I can't, so I'll just have to say simply that no characters/scenes/locations/anything-but-the-word-order belongs to me. It is all property of J.R.R. Tolkien or Peter Jackson and team.
Spoilers: Scene from Fellowship Of The Ring time, so only for that.


The Eastern shore of the River Anduin lay ahead, between us the waters flowed with relentless speed. A solitary tear formed in my eye, and released, rolling slowly down my cheek. The road ahead was dark, that I always knew, but it was darker than ever as I thought of what I was leaving behind. The tear was not the only thing alone, I was, and would forever be. "You are a Ringbearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone." A mental image of the friends left behind filled me with a gripping despair. My thoughts rested on Sam. I'd told Aragorn he would not understand, and knew I spoke the truth. His promise to Gandalf was something he would never relinquish, nor would he want to abandon me to this journey. But I could not take him. Galadriel said the Ring would destroy them all, and I could not endure that fate for Sam, but most of all I could not doom him to the measureless trials that lay ahead. From this journey there would be no return.

My mind cast back, re-running events in reverse order. The madness of Boromir's eyes, and the fierceness of his voice echoed in my thoughts. "They will take the Ring, and you will beg for death before the end!" I'd slipped off as we had reached the riverbank, and walked alone through the woodland beneath Amon Hen before I met him on the slopes. I could not think of him anymore, instead reached further back in my memory. The journey down the Anduin that sped before me, and the Argonath. Lórien, the days spent under the branches of those fair trees more peaceful than any since we'd set out from Rivendell, excepting Gandalf's absence. At the thought of him, another tear coursed its way down my skin. I remembered Khazad-dúm, and his fall. A loss that was my fault, for who else had chosen that path? "We will go through the mines." I had said, my mind on nothing but the lack of feeling in my toes and the blue faces of the fellowship. My heart felt numbed with a chill colder than those snowfalls of Caradhras. I would never have chosen that route if I'd known about the Balrog… Rivendell was a better memory and my thoughts lingered there: the beautiful house of Elrond where we had wandered and explored as my Morgul wound healed. And the happy meeting with Merry, Pippin and of course, Bilbo. How I missed him. Weathertop. The fear and the pain, and the look on Sam's face. Strider at Bree, the fright he had given me... given all of us. And finally I thought back to the Shire. Gandalf imparting dangerous information in the firelight. "The Ring yearns above all else to return to the hand of its master. They are one." And then I clearly saw Bilbo's party in my mind's eye. Back before I knew the dreadful secret of my uncle's Ring, and when the summer still lingered in Hobbiton.

I was brought back painfully to the present: the winter around me. The road ahead seemed clearer, but no less impossible nor less tortuous. My hand was outstretched, the ring cupped on its chain in my palm. I knew I must get off, but I felt no closer to moving than ever. I thought of my young cousins, scant minutes ago, as they drew the Orcs away. What price had they paid to let me escape? I feared deeply for them, and wished that they had managed to avoid their murderous pursuers. I had to continue for their sakes: they gave up themselves for me, and for the Quest. I could not let them down.

"I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

My previous words came to me now, their sentiment deeply felt.

"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

I heard Gandalf's voice answering almost as if he was standing there beside me, his eyes crinkled with understanding as when he'd sought to reassure me in Moria. The words gave me strength. I had decided, long ago, and I knew what I must do. My heart hardening, I slipped the Ring into my pocket. I had waited too long. Someone would come back to the shore, and I would never be able to leave. I ran to the boat and jumped in, paddling out into the swirling waters.