A tale from Middle Earth

February 8, 2002

A reader points out that Frodo's story, as told in last week's diary, does not end with his departure from his native shores.

In the new land, he misses being Gandalf's protégé, and the people he talks to don't understand why the Ring is such a big deal. He spends years writing about it, publishing in obscure journals to try to explain.

Eventually he finds a new topic, "othering" in Hobbit society, and becomes director of the Centre for Ring Studies, from where he appends his name to others' work and defends himself against colleagues who question the value of Ring Studies.

As he ages, he realises he still doesn't have a partner or family and decides his life lacks authenticity. He moves back to the Shire, and tries to make friends with the people he left all those years ago, although the people didn't like the "othering" paper that one of them read, so he has few friends. He goes to parties every so often where people are intimidated by his intellect. He now lives with several pets and considers writing acerbic sour-grapes pieces for The Times Higher Education Supplement .

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