Why did Tolkien make Frodo epic fail at the last moment? Today, we’ll look at the ‘failure’ stories of St Charles de Foucauld, St Louise de Marillac and St Joseph of Cupertino. Be encouraged by the fact that “God doesn’t ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful.”
Excerpt from episode
“…but first, why have I chosen Frodo Baggins to exemplify an episode on saints who epic failed? Well, often we’re so used to finale of Lord of the Rings that we forget that standing there at the Cracks of Doom, with the salvation of the world within his grasp, Frodo epic fails and puts on the ring, instead of casting it into the fire.
Now, we know that other events conspire to destroy the ring anyway – we’ll get onto that – but the sheer epic failure of Frodo is a masterstroke of Tolkien’s Catholic faith, and something worth our attention. I mean even leading up to this moment, Frodo has many other epic fail moments, so much so it was a miracle he even made it to Mt Doom. He gets stabbed at Weather top, nearly gets impaled by the troll in Moria, falls into the dead marshes, believes the lies of Gollum and sends his best friend away, gets lost a zillion times and then, all alone now, gets himself stung and paralysed by Shelob. In the words of a magazine I once read, Frodo has the survival skills of a suicidal lemming, which amounts to like zero.
Now to be fair, the movies did exaggerate a little the uselessness of Frodo in a way the books didn’t… the books actually portrayed Frodo’s inner resilience and resolve far better. However, Frodo’s constant failings remain consistent, and definitely his epic fail at the cracks of Mt Doom is evident in the book too…”
Movie of The Reluctant Saint
Here is a link to the 1962 movie suggested in the Practical Pilgrim Reflection: The Reluctant Saint (about the life of St Joseph of Cupertino)