Lord of the Rings Update

Finish the Story Below is a short story without an ending. Read it and notice what your gut reaction is. What do you think happens next? There’s no right or wrong answer, but your first response is likely the most honest and the most instructive. Your response may reveal something about the lens through which you are processing life. Whether or not it provides any insight, have fun with it!

Feel free to post your idea for an ending and read others’ responses.


The story:

A Lord of the Rings update…It’s now been many years since Frodo Baggins left Middle-earth with Gandalf. The shire has changed dramatically. Pockets of poverty abound with ramshackle huts huddled in close proximity to each other. Even those lucky few who are relatively well off have little time to spend with family and friends because they have to work harder and longer just to make ends meet. Gone are the carefree days of spontaneous parties, ecstatic dancing, and daily, leisurely strolls into the forest.

Sam has become the most powerful Hobbit. His estate comprises almost one-third of the shire. Sam and his cohorts, Pippin and Merry, have convinced the Hobbits to entrust them with both the management of the economy and the defense of the shire. In return, most of the shire’s gross domestic product floats to the top, that is, to Sam, Pippin and Merry.

The shire’s main festivals are birthday celebrations honoring Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins. Pippin and Merry have constructed intricate rituals that all Hobbits must follow to honor the memory of Bilbo and Frodo on these days of holy observance. During the holiday season, Hobbits spend up to a quarter of their annual income buying gifts for each other from PippinMart, which is the only store left in the shire.

On Frodo’s Eve, preparations are being made for the next day’s celebration. Sam is sitting in his mansion, recounting tales of his exploits and pontificating about how the shire is now safer and more prosperous than ever under his oversight. Each line at PippinMart is at least twenty Hobbits deep. Hobbits are battling each other for this year’s hottest toy: “Dwarf-Box”. Merry is preparing his speech for the next day, which will laud Hobbit-nomics and reassure everyone that the shire is superior to any other realm in Middle-earth.

Down the road, a lone, hooded Hobbit approaches. His brown sideburns are peppered with gray. This Hobbit walks through the shire, observing it in silence. The next morning, he makes his way to the center of town as Hobbits are gathering for the celebration. He removes his hood. It’s Frodo Baggins!

What happens next?