The Fellowship of the Ring
How we cite our quotes:
"But it does not seem that I can trust anyone," said Frodo.
Sam looked at him unhappily. "It all depends on what you want," put in Merry. "You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway, there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid – but we are going with you, or following you like hounds." (1.5.71-2)
After Frodo discovers that Merry, Sam, Pippin, and Fatty all know about the Ring and intend to help him with his quest as best they can, he feels deeply shaken. But Merry insists that they will stick by him. If Frodo won't let them come with him, they will follow him "like hounds." This show of loyalty is deeply moving. Clearly, Merry and Pippin's friendship for Frodo is what leads them to Rivendell in the first place.
"With your leave, Mr. Frodo, I'd say no! This Strider here, he warns and he says take care; and I say yes to that, and let's begin with him. He comes out of the Wild, and I never heard no good of such folk. He knows something, that's plan, and more than I like; but it's no reason why we should let him go leading us out into some dark place far from help, as he puts it." (1.10.30)
Sam has an instinct to protect his friends and himself by not trusting too quickly, while Frodo appears more likely to have faith in strangers – he opens up to Aragorn (a.k.a. Strider) pretty quickly, after all. Are there other examples in the series in which Frodo is quicker to trust than Sam? Are there examples of the opposite? What do these contrasts show us about the differences in Frodo and Sam's characters?
When he had dressed, Frodo found that while he slept the Ring had been hung about his neck on a new chain, light but strong. Slowly he dew it out. Bilbo put out his hand. But Frodo quickly drew back the Ring. [...]
The music and singing round them seemed to falter, and a silence fell. Bilbo looked quickly at Frodo's face and passed his hand across his eyes. "I understand now," he said. "Put it away! I am sorry: sorry you have come in for this burden: sorry about everything. (2.1.127-8)
This confrontation between the old Ring-bearer, Bilbo, and the new Ring-bearer, Frodo, is clearly necessary to convince Bilbo of exactly how evil the Ring truly is. Without seeing the Ring's effects with his own two eyes, he cannot believe that the Ring can turn an adopted father and son against one another, for example. But once Bilbo sees the Ring again, he gives Frodo a heartfelt apology that, frankly, Frodo deserves: he didn't ask to carry this Ring, though he has to. And the fate that has brought the Ring to him will forever change him.