Frodo Lives!

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"Frodo Lives!" was a popular counterculture slogan in the 1960s and 1970s, referring to the character Frodo Baggins from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. The term was used frequently in graffiti, buttons, bumper-stickers, T-shirts, and other materials. It was commonly associated with the hippie movement. Other examples of use include a Frodo Lives album released by Smash Records and merchandising items for the New Line Cinema The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The phrase was also displayed during the activation of a computer virus in the early 1990s, in which the text 'Frodo Lives!' was displayed in large letters with a moving border.

The term first became popular because of an increase in the availability and number of readers of the novel (which, up until that point, had been subject to rather mixed reviews) following release of the Ballantine Books paperback edition.[2] While no longer as pervasive as it once was, the term continues to appear regularly in newspaper articles and popular culture related to Tolkien's stories.[3][4][5]

The term may lead to the mistaken belief that Frodo's journey into the West - also called the Undying Lands - at the end of Tolkien's novel meant that he would live forever[citation needed]. Tolkien maintained that Frodo would still die, and traveled West only for healing.[6] Another meaning ascribed to the term, especially in later usage, is that Tolkien's work remains alive and popular.

Another interpretation is that the phrase is referring to the drama of the Third Age itself and the days of The War of The Ring. The only hope of the free peoples of Middle-earth lay with Frodo, a slim hope; Frodo's whereabouts and fate were unknown—even on the dawn of battle. To say that Frodo Lives is to trust that all is not lost, and that a small ray of hope may drive out the forces of Shadow threatening to engulf Middle-earth.


  1. ^ Roszak, Theodore (1995). The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. University of California Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-520-20122-1. 
  2. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey (1977), Tolkien: A Biography, New York: Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-04-928037-6 
  3. ^ Kempley, Rita (2001-12-19). "Frodo Lives! A Spirited 'Lord of the Rings'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  4. ^ Harvard Gazette: ARTS
  5. ^ The Bastards Have Landed! The Official Peter Jackson Fanclub
  6. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-31555-7