Disclaimer: I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and this problem will be solved. However, the service is pretty good and the transcript will prove to be almost perfect.
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[00:01:07] in this series, we will look at some of literature’s most compelling heroes and legends characters as diverse as Beowulf and Elizabeth Bennett. To try and understand what it is about them that captures our imagination. Why did the adventures of RDCs enthrall, the ancient Greeks, and why have they continued to captivate readers even to the present day?
[00:01:37] What made Sherlock Holmes a celebrity in Victorian England? And why does he continue to be a bankable hero in 21st century Hollywood? In this hero series, we will meet many heroes, heroines, and villains that will help us answer these questions. We will start the very first episode of this series with Frodo Baggins, the main protagonist of J R R tokens.
[00:02:05] Lord of the rings. We will start talking about a pivotal moment for Frodo and Sam. No a pivotal moment in the Lord of the rings comes near the end of the second volume of the trilogy when Frodo Baggins and his companion, Sam have gone off on their own to try to carry out their mission. That mission is to get to the heart of moral or the land of the dark Lord and there to throw the ring of power into the fires of Mount doom.
[00:02:38] This is the only way to destroy it and thus breaks our room’s power forever. The two companions know they’re facing thousands of goblins and trolls and the dark Lord himself. And there’s another threat they don’t know about Sheila, the giant spider who guards the secret entrance tomorrow. Even if they get past her and through all the dark Lords, inner defenses, even if they manage to destroy the ring, they don’t have a clue or even the beginning of a plan or how to get back.
[00:03:14] It is a suicide mission, Frodo and Sam bonds to breasts and biggie. Talk about legends and old adventures. Sam remarks that the two are in a legend now and speculates that one day, someone might write a book about them making Frodo, the famous cyst of the hobbits and response Frodo laughs. Believing that the idea of himself as a hero in a book is genuinely funny.
[00:03:44] Nothing like laughter has been heard in the ruined land, on the outskirts of moral for thousands of years. In such a place photo’s laughter is a kind of exorcisms. It dispels the gloom and defeatism that are among the chief weapons of the dark Lord shortly afterward, Sam and Frodo go to sleep with their mind at rest.
[00:04:08] It is an undramatic moment, but it sheds light on the question of what makes some characters unforgettable, and some stories such as the Lord of the rings. So successful. Nothing has the same charm as the completely unexpected, unless it’s the unexpected that we’ve been unknowingly waiting for. So here we move on to the idea of the unexpected heroes and maybe as we’re going to see, this is part of the huge success of the Lord of the rings in the first place and the character which we’re focusing on today.
[00:04:47] Bilbo Baggins. There are likely many secrets to the unparalleled success of tokens work, but among them must be the Hobbit, Bilbo and Frodo and hobbits who are small decidedly, unwarranted, light creatures without any recognizable strength or courage be heroes. Although they are certainly unexpected heroes, they seem to be the kind of heroes that readers were waiting for without knowing they were waiting.
[00:05:18] What caused that situation? Literary talent and inspiration are of course, among the requirements for lasting success in the world of fiction, but an author’s responses to events and changing cultural values are also among those requirements. Further writers don’t just respond to changing cultural values, but they also help to shape them in talking skis.
[00:05:42] He was responding in part to the two world Wars. Two of tokens. Three closest friends died in world war one and perhaps even more significant than their deaths was the way in which they died without romance glory, and without ever seeing the men who killed them. This impersonal element led to a paradox on the one hand more and more people were being required to behave heroically.
[00:06:10] On the other hand, after all those impersonal and mechanical deaths, it was no longer possible to believe in the tradition, images of heroism, brave charges and gallon stance. This dominant mood was expressed in a post 1918 war memoir by the novelist Robert Graves, which he titled goodbye to all that. And obviously he means goodbye to all that heroism tradition that is gone forever after 1918.
[00:06:41] Traditional heroism seemed to be impossible. The most common reaction was cynicism as with graves, but what those who were not cynics were waiting for. Whether they knew it or not, they were waiting for an image of a new style of heroism that they could believe in and not feel cynical about. That’s what token provided with the hobbits.
[00:07:05] Now we’ll start. Before we move on to talk more about Frodo, we will talk a little bit about his uncle Bilbo because the new heroic style started with Bilbo in the early stages of tokens novel. The Hobbit Bilbo is anything but a hero compared with the fierce dwarves. In fact, Bilbo does the worst thing a creature can do in the old heroic world.
[00:07:28] He loses self control. When Thorin tries to recruit him for an expedition to kill the dragon, smug billable, shrieks, and fall down shaking like a jelly, right from the start on an old heroic scale of one to 10 Bilbo is a definite zero, but throughout the book, he rises, steadily up the scale with perhaps five main turning points.
[00:07:52] Yeah. The first turning point was when Bilbo become separated from the dwarves, as they try to make their escape from the goblins, it comes to a goblin tunnel. He draws his Elvish blade. Finds it comforting and goes on to meet the strange creature Golem. He wins a riddle contest with him and makes his own escape.
[00:08:14] Bilbo takes another step when he has just made up his mind that it is his duty. Having escaped from the tunnels, go back and look for the dwarves. When he overhears the dwarf, deciding to leave him in the tunnels at this moment, bill bowl for the first time is definitely ahead of him. The dwarves, when it comes to courage.
[00:08:34] More clearly marked is the moment when Bilbo wakes up to find himself being attacked by a giant spider and manages to kill it. He feels it was a different person, enough of an old style hero. By this time to give his sword a name stink. But Bilbo speak of courage comes later in the story when he conquers his own fear and goes down the tunnel to the cave of smug to steal the cup.
[00:09:00] Now the final step up the heroic scale for Bilbo comes when he creeps away from the dwarves and hands over the priceless Arkenstone Juul to Bart and the Elvin King for them to use as a bargaining point against the dwarves. This is courage of a different kind, because it could be seen as dishonorable, even treacherous Bilbos heroism is different from traditional saga style hero wisdom in important ways.
[00:09:28] First, none of his five main turning points, except the last to some extent is recognized by the outside world. They all take place when Bilbo is alone. And most of them, when he is in the dark, his courage is shown in conquering his own fear, further billables decision concerning the Arkenstone represents moral courage, doing what many would call wrong and accepting the risk of blame.
[00:09:55] Both styles of courage seems especially relevant to the modern world. And now we will move to Frodos heroism, which is the main topic of our episode. No two starts off fairly low on the scale of heroin wisdom. When Gandalf first explains to him about the ring and the danger, it creates his responses. I wish it need not have happened in my time for those of tokens generation.
[00:10:20] That phrase was reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s claim that the agreement he made with Hitler in 1938 had brought peace time. The words in our time, or in my time we’re associated with appeasement and shirking one’s duty, like Bilbo Frodo improves slowly real step up. The scale comes at the end of the council of Elrond.
[00:10:45] None of the leaders of middle earth can decide what to do about destroying the ring though. They all agree that it must be done and it must be done by taking it to the heart of the dark Lord’s realm of mortar faced. With this task, everyone falls silent. Then Frodo stands up, filled with dread and says, I will take the ring though.
[00:11:08] I do not know the way. Unlike Bilbo. Frodo is not on his own and he’s not in the dark, but he shows a similar kind of understated courage. What Frodo must overcome is his own fear. And he gets no help in doing so. And that continues to be his style. He plugs through the dead marshes around the black gate, past Sheila, the spider and into mod or itself.
[00:11:32] In addition to his own fear, Frodo must also overcome temptation is offered repeated opportunities to avoid his duty, to hand over the ring or use it himself. He and Sam are also tempted in the land of shadow to do the expedient thing and kill Gollum. They have every excuse for doing so because Gollum would not hesitate to kill them if he got the chance.
[00:11:56] And especially if he could get back the ring. But another lesson learned in tokens time. Was that just because the other side does something he does not mean you should do it too? Frodo and Sam feel pity for Golem and they spare him as Bilbo did in the habit. The habits are big enough spiritually, not physically not to take advantage.
[00:12:18] Ironically, pity for Gollum is vital because Frodo fails at the last temptation and chooses not to destroy the ring. It has Gollum in the end who destroys it. It is striking that after achieving his quest, which makes him in a way, the major hero of the Lord of the rings Frodo increasingly fades out. He plays very little part in the liberation of the Shire.
[00:12:41] And of course, those who know the story of the Lord of the rings just from Peter Jackson’s movie. This part is not mentioned because it’s not actually a part of the Lord of the rings itself. It happens after the events of the Lord of the rings. Nevertheless, some men and some habits collaborators tried to take over the Shire and in the liberation of the Shire, Frodo plays very little part of back home.
[00:13:05] His deeds aren’t recognized. He never really recovers from the physical and mental wounds. He has suffered. And Sam, his pain to discover how little respect he gets proto receives the kind of treatment that our own veterans have often received. Not much in the way of things honor or rehabilitation.
[00:13:26] That’s part of the modern heroic style as well. Heroism is lonely. While you’re doing it and unrecognized once it’s over, but that just makes more heroic because there’s nothing I think, to keep you at your duty, except your own sense of duty. Our token created characters who express the feelings and experiences of the men and women of the last century, citizen armies.
[00:13:51] They were not professionals and not necessarily volunteers yet. They were often called on to perform tasks that the warrior elites of the past would have regarded as impossibly brave. So that was about Frodo Baggins. Our hero for today, we will talk more about other heroes like ODC is Sherlock Holmes and other heroes, and we will talk about what makes those heroes special.
[00:14:17] So stay tuned because more will come your way in hero series from English plus podcast. I remember that you can find the transcript of the episode in the link you have in the description, and you will also find a quiz in the description that will check your understanding of what we talked about here today.
[00:14:36] It will be fun. I promise nothing difficult and challenging. It’s just for fun. And to make sure that you were following what I was saying here in this episode. So thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. Don’t forget to share the episode with your friends and support us. [00:14:56] If you can, on Patreon to keep our free e-learning journey alive. This was Danny, your host. And I will see you next time.