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The Grey Havens
It looks a long time for the cleaning up of the Shire. Prisoners must be released and rogue ruffians must be caught. Homes must be restored and rebuilt. There are no trees or plants, and the Hobbits nearly despair until Sam remembers the soil that Galadriel gave him. He plants saplings all over the Shire and puts grains of the precious soil at the roots of these. He pays special attention to Hobbiton and Bywater. He saturates the soil of the Shire with the fine dust, and soon the Shire is restored to a greater glory than it has ever known.
Sam Gamgee marries Rosie Cotton and goes to live at Bag End with Frodo. Merry and Pippin live together at Crickhollow. Frodo grows old and his ailments bother him. Sam and Rosie have a daughter and they name her Elanor. When Elanor is six months old, and it is near Bilboís hundred and thirty first birthday, Frodo asks Sam to accompany him on a journey. He hands over Bilboís diary and his own account of the war of the Ring to Sam, so that he can complete it.
Sam thinks that Frodo is off to Rivendell, but when they come to the Hills, they hear the voices of elves and Sam is surprised to see Elrond, Galadriel and Bilbo. Sam than realizes that Frodo is going to the Grey Havens and that he cannot go with him.
Frodo asks Sam to rule the Shire. He tells him that he and Bilbo are going to take their resting-places now, because their work is complete and because Bilbo is old and he (Frodo) will never completely heal. Then a white ship steered by Gandalf comes for the two Hobbits that had successfully transported the Ring. Merry and Pippin rush to the shore, telling Frodo that this is the second time he has tried to leave without saying good-bye. After the farewells are said, Gandalf takes his two Hobbits into the Grey Haven. Sam, Merry and Pippin are left standing on the shores of Middle-earth.
The three companions turn back and ride to the Shire. Sam poignantly closes this chapter of his life, and the novel, by taking his daughter on his lap and announcing, "Well, Iím back."
The Grey Haven, symbolic of heaven, becomes the resting- place for Tolkienís two great heroes, Bilbo Baggins and his protégé, Frodo. The novel opens with a changing-of-the-guard, and ends with the possibility of two more generations of leadership (Sam and Elanor). The test of any great novel is the openness of the reader to a sequel, whether in print or in the imagination. Tolkien, as a master of imagination, creates a rich vibrant world. The door is open for a new adventure. Whatís more, the door is open for a hero (or heroine) to pick up the ball and start it rolling once again.