The reason I phrased the title like that is to avoid spoiling the story for somebody who might see it and haven't read the books. I've just finished the last one in the trilogy, minutes ago, but I don't quite get it.

Okay, so obviously, the Ring has some kind of fundamental, barely-explained psychological/spiritual effect on whoever wears it, even if just briefly (like with Sam). I get it: wear the ring, and you have to go over the sea to the mythical continent of Gods and elves.

But why exactly? Having both read the books long ago, and watched the movies, I knew roughly what was coming, but I expected it to be a whole major scene in the end where Frodo sits down with his friends, or at the very least Sam, and discuss this, with the others wanting him to stay, but he "has to go", and everyone is sad, etc.

Instead, Sam and him just go on some kind of casual stroll (I thought they were going back to Rivendell for Bilbo...) and just so happen to meet the elves on the way. Apparently, Sam "had a hunch", even though the reader (at least this reader) is absolutely baffled when, basically out of nowhere, Frodo now has to go with the elves and Gandalf on a ship, across the ocean, away from Middle-earth forever, never to return.

This is handled in a very dissatisfying manner according to me. I was more frustrated by this than anything else in the entire epic story.

Even though I have read Silmarillion, several times, and even recently, I don't quite understand if this other continent is actually a physical place, or just a metaphor for death. Is Frodo basically going to Heaven? Once he arrives on those white shores, does he just jump off the ship and start living in a house there and talk with a bunch of elves and gods? Is that how it works?

Sorry if it seems like I'm not respecting the mystery of the story or something, but I don't like it when things are too vague and when even the characters inside the story don't ask any questions that you'd expect them to do. Sam's best friend is leaving forever, "because he has to", without any real explanation or (as far as I can tell) without any of them having any understanding of what happens once they reach that magical island, far away across the sea, which you cannot get to unless you travel with an elf.

Maybe I'm just stupid, but I feel as if this was barely touched on even in Silmarillion, and certainly not in The Lord of the Rings. Apparently, Frodo assumes (or has been told) that he will get bliss and no more pain from his wound... which also sounds like an allegory for the afterlife to me. But Pippin and Merry just die normally. According to the appendix list of events, first Sam and then Legolas and Gimli (!) also sail away in the same manner, albeit many years later.

Something about the last part of the story makes me feel very uneasy and depressed. To me, it's even sadder than any of the things that happened during their adventures, and I'm not just referring to the destruction of their home village.

  • Umm, I don't think one can make a proper title without spoiler here - sorry guys, but titles need to be specific for a question to be useful. Also I can't even see word Aman or Valinor in the post so how could anyone google it?
    – Mithoron
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 14:46

2 Answers 2


They didn't have to, with the possible exception of Frodo, who needed it to have any hope of healing the various wounds, physical and psychological that he received from the Ring and other sources (the Nazgul blade, Shelob's venom). Being allowed to go to Aman, as mortals, was a reward not an obligation. Bilbo was old and on the verge of death already when he left, Frodo was in frequent unbearable pain, that no one in Middle-Earth could heal. Sam did not have either of these issues, that is probably why he had to wait longer to go and he was also rather old when he finally did leave.


It was a gift given to those who did a great service. They did not have to leave, but as a way to find peace and healing for their spirits.

Also there is some mention somewhere (in an appendix perhaps) of Gimli being given the same gift too so he could sail with Legolas.

  • Gimli is treated as a somewhat as in story unverified rumor/legend 'and with him, it is said, went Gimli the Dwarf'. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 1:21
  • yes. much of the appendixes are presented as very quick bits of tales we would all have wanted to be fleshed out and written into novels. that is in fact a part of the richness of the whole work in that there are so many aspects which you'd like to know more, like what happens to the Ents, or Tom Bombadill, the dwarves in the mountains and under, do they clean out Moria and rebuild or do they fade too? so much and here and there these bits of gems that give a child with imagination room to explore in their own minds.
    – flowerbug
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 1:34

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