>And what does the splitting of the fellowship occasion? I began to wonder.
Of course, good comes out of evil, as Tolkien himself predicts (and as
creator, foreordains), and the Ring is destroyed and Sauron falls. But
suppose that Frodo had not fled alone due to Boromir's treachery? If he had
had the companionship of the others to the end, might the victory have been
achieved without the frightful wounds to his body and spirit which give us
the final sadness in which LOTR closes? Does Boromir have this, too, to
answer for? For sins have consequences.
Or without the help of the other members of the Fellowship, Rohan and Gondor could have been in worse trouble (at the very least, Faramir and Eowyn would almost certainly have died--hmmm, never thought of that before: Pippin saved one's life, Merry the other's, and they ended up as a couple; that's kind of interesting). I suppose this scenario could have been better if Boromir had gone back to Gondor to aid in the battle, but if he'd stayed with the Fellowship, that wouldn't have happened, either.
Or the larger party might have drawn more attention and been harder to keep secret. Most importantly, the other members, especially Aragorn and Gandalf, wouldn't have been able to serve as "decoys," drawing off the attention of the Eye while Frodo and Sam crept closer to their goal. There was a reason the two didn't have armies of pursuers. Aragorn's use of the Palantir seems to have been particularly useful in this regard.
And, in the end, Frodo would still have been Ringbearer. None of the others could have shared that burden, as we know from Sam's presence. The physical suffering could have been greatly reduced by, say, having a strong Man to carry him and the Ring, and the horror of Cirith Ungol could likely have been avoided. But I think the spiritual suffering, which was what caused the "final sadness," would have been very much his own, even if he'd had more companionship. He still would have had the constant battle with the Ring over control of his own will. --- It would have helped if, somehow, the presence of the others would have changed the outcome and allowed him to cast the Ring into the fire of his own free will, since Tolkien says his "unreasoning" sense of guilt at "failing" in the end was a large part of his mental suffering. Perhaps he could have willingly destroyed the Ring if he'd been in better physical condition, through the others' help. Or, the physically stronger members of the group might have succumbed to the Ring there, at the center of its power, where even a hobbit couldn't withstand it, and the outcome would have been even more tragic.
So, "Even the wise cannot see all ends."
One final thought: The ending might not be as sad as we tend to see it, because we don't really see the end. I rather suspect the *ultimate* outcome of everything--including that of Boromir's sin--may have been something like one line of the Easter Proclamation as it's sung each year: "O, happy fault. O, necessary sin of Adam, that merited for us such a Redeemer." My own hope is that Frodo (and Bilbo) received complete healing in the Undying Lands, letting them live their final years in more joy than they would have known if the Ring had never come into their lives. Tolkien may offer "hope without certainty," but he does offer hope. Certainly, the wise cannot see all ends.
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