A Hobbit and a King...

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Aredhriel 30/May/2006 at 01:48 PM
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I have recently been rereading the LOTR book trilogy again and while reading of the Fellowship’s passing through Lothlorien, I happened upon the following quotes, which I found interesting:

"When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there, upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlorien." (FOTR, Lothlorien)

and there is this quote concerning Aragorn..

"And taking Frodo’s hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man." (FOTR, Lothlorien)

Since Frodo was granted passage with the other Ring-bearers to Valinor, would he not have received immortality there as a case of special exception, or as this quote seems to suggest, did he eventually pass from the circles of the world like men and eventually die? If this is so, and the reference to the "outer world" is somewhere beyond ME (a paradise-type of place) then does it bear resemblence to ME itself, and can one revisit places that they once loved?

The second quote concerning Aragorn (who we know passed from the circles of the world as mortal Man) says that he never visited Cerin Amroth as a living man. Are we to assume then that he visited that sacred place somehow in a spiritual sense?

Any thoughts?


Alanna Elessar 30/May/2006 at 03:40 PM
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"The second quote concerning Aragorn (who we know passed from the circles of the world as mortal Man) says that he never visited Cerin Amroth as a living man. Are we to assume then that he visited that sacred place somehow in a spiritual sense?" - Aredhriel

I was actually thinking about this the other day.  Wasn’t Arwen laid to rest in Lothlorien?  Maybe this quote suggests that he visited her there in his death somehow.   

Túrin 30/May/2006 at 05:16 PM
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Frodo would not have been granted immortality in Valinor. He, and the other Hobbits, would have died in their time. Valinor was a healing respite before they passed on. I would give the quote from Letters, but I don’t have my books on hand with me.
Phil_d_one 31/May/2006 at 02:53 AM
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As Turin points out, Frodo would not be granted immortality in the Undying Lands

I have said nothing about it in this book, but the mythical idea underlying is that for mortals, since their ’kind’ cannot be changed for ever, [the journey to the Undying Lands] is strictly only a temporary reward: a healing and redress of suffering. They cannot abide for ever, and though they cannot return to mortal earth, they can and will ’die’ -- of free will, and leave the world.
(Letter 154, Bracketed Addition is Mine)

The quote you provide is a sort of The Road not Taken concept, if you’re familiar. When he reached Lorien, he was still just ’Frodo the wanderer from the Shire’, and that Frodo loved Cerin Amroth. But he would be changed by his journey, and the hardships he would have to endure, and he could never again be just ’Frodo the wanderer from the Shire’. And yet, that Frodo would remain there for ever, even when Frodo as a person had moved on and been wholly changed.

Similarly, there is no reason to take Aragorn’s quote literally. He couldn’t have literally dwelt near Cerin Amroth after death (although it is possible that his spirit ’visited’ it before moving on to Mandos), but it could mean that he would be there for ever in spirit (he says something along the lines of: here will my heart dwell for ever), even though he’d never actually see it again. Perhaps the contrast is supposed to be living vs. dreaming instead of living vs dead.

Aredhriel 31/May/2006 at 06:43 AM
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Phil and Turin, thanks for the clarification given on Valinor. I thought that was so, but wanted to be certain. Phil, ( a beautifully worded response on Frodo by the way! ) yes I am familiar with the concept you’re speaking of and it seems to make sense here in light of the situation at hand. This is perhaps one of the most tragic moments in LOTR, at least to me, to be given a glimpse ahead to all that would be lost by Frodo in particular as he becomes less and less the innocent, carefree hobbit from the Shire and fills the difficult role of Ringbearer as he makes his way to Mount Doom.

On the quote concerning Aragorn, I would like to think that his spirit could possibly have revisited Cerin Amroth after death. But back to Frodo, do you think that even Valinor coud have assuaged the grief that he felt from the quest, or restore to him some of the innocence and life that was taken from him? Or were the hurts he endured something that could only be cured once he left the circles of the world? 

Phil_d_one 31/May/2006 at 06:51 AM
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I don’t think he could ever regain his innocence -- the journey out into the ’outer world’ and out of the sheltered existence he had in the Shire had removed that prospect, and even when he returns to the Shire after the Quest, he has a new understanding of life itself -- consider his desire that none should die, the mercy he shows to Saruman, and even Saruman’s analysis of his character. Aman doesn’t seem the sort of place that can just reverse that -- consider the Noldor and the Darkening of Valinor, for example: they couldn’t just forget what they had endured. What Aman was, probably, to Frodo, was a period of inner healing, where rather than reversing the hardships he had endured, he would find peace, and not be troubled by them any longer, such that he could return to a state of innocence greater than that he set out from: a return to the unfallen state, such that he is at last able to die of his own free will, a union of hroa and fea.

Arvellas 31/May/2006 at 12:49 PM
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The part about "Frodo the Wanderer" remaining in Cerin Amroth is interesting, and I had not thought of that before.  I knew that part of Frodo seemed to die along his journey, and it almost gladdens me to think that the lost part of him lives on, if only in the spirit of the land of Lothlorien.  I agree that I do think passing into the west was a bit like counceling of sorts for Frodo, and that it must have helped him get over what happened to him, but not erase it.  Even if his experiences could be erased, I do not think Frodo would have wanted it, because his loss of innocence, although it made him less Hobbit-like, became a part of who he was that he would rather learn to accept than to forget about.

As for Aragorn, I think it means that wherever he goes, he will always carry memories of Cerin Amroth, and can visit it in his dreams when he is in need of the rejuvenation that Lothlorien brought to the Company.

Galin 01/Jun/2006 at 04:16 AM
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First off   to Phil.

Also I would like to toss something in from Tolkien author V. Flieger. I believe the ’outer world’ refers to the world outside Lorien, where time again produces change. Flieger quotes Tolkien, then refers to a theory (I edit for brevity)...

’When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there, upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlorien.’ This seems at first to be a simple imaging of Frodo’s desire to stay in Lorien. Taken literally, however, the pasage conveys a more complex meaning, actualizing Dunne’s theory of time as a static field rather than a linear progression. Though the narrow concept of the observer in field I will perceive Frodo as leaving Lorien and moving on, the wider omnichronus awareness of observer 2, or "observer at infinity", with a wider field of time to survey will retain the impresss of Frodo’s presence in Lorien even after his immediate experience takes him beyond it. This concept is extended, a few paragraphs later, to include Aragorn.

(...) "Memory". "A world that was no more". "A timeless land" "Things as they once had been". Every carefully wrought phrase suggests that Lorien is a refuge from linear time, an island where the past still somehow exists in the present.’ (Chapter Over a Bridge of Time)

Dunne’s  theory (from earlier chapter Remembrance that Never Dies) in brief (quoted from Flieger): ’time, like space, is a constant, not the inexorable forward flow our human senses experience. We move across time as we move across space, and it is our movement, not time’s, that creates the illusion of linear progression. (...) But if we think of ourselves observing that field, we are in a sense outside it, observing our observation. It follows from this that the second observing conciousness, since it encloses the first, must experience a larger field of awareness, thus a larger span of time.’

Whatever one thinks of this, both Tolkien and Lewis owned copies of the revised edition of J.W. Dunne’s An Experiment with Time and Tolkien’s copy contains his interleaved notes and comments. Also, two unattached pieces of paper bearing diagrams ’remarkably similar to the kind drawn by Dunne are among Tolkien’s notes and rough drafts from the early period of the composition of The Lord of the Rings.’ [V.F.]. JRRT seems to have ultimately abandoned an actual time difference in Lorien (a time actually different from the ’outside world’, see Hammond And Scull’s Companion) but nevertheless he wanted a ’Lorien experience’ to shine through.

Anyway, as ever, fuller context is best. If interested see  A Question of Time, JRR Tolkien’s Road to Faerie by Verlyn Flieger.

Bearamir 02/Jun/2006 at 08:41 PM
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Ladies and Gentlemen:  This is an excellent discussion, one well worthy of transfer to the Ad Lore forum.  So, if no one has any objections, I shall do so forthwith.  Prepare for move to Ad Lore.
halfir 02/Jun/2006 at 11:55 PM
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Tolkien was very firmly of the view that journey’s could effect profound changes in people. He sets this out most forcefully in Letter # 183 which is his response to Auden’s very positive review  in the N Y Times of The Return of the King.

’Most men make some journeys. Whether short or long, with an errand or simply to go ’there and back again’, is not of primary importance.As I tried to express in Bilbo’s Walking song, even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects. When Sam had gone no further than Woody End he had already had an ’eye -opener’. For if there is anything in a journey of any length, for me it is this: a deliverance from the plantlike state of helpless passive sufferer, an exercise however small of will, and mobility- and of curiosity, without which a rational mind becomes stultified. (Though of course all this is an afterthought, and misses the major point. To a story - teller a journey is a marvellous device. It providesa strong thread on which a multitude of things that he has in mind may be  strung to make a new thing , various, unpredictable,and yet coherent. My chief reason for using this form was simply technical).

Duiel 03/Jun/2006 at 12:53 AM
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Aredhriel, you make a fascinating point, but I always saw Frodo’s "admission" into Valinor settled with Arwen giving him her pendant, although just because it didn’t finalize it, there may still be a connectiong. But Galin’s post is just wonderful: I believe he is on the right track when referring to the quote you mentioned.

<Nessa Edit:  I agree>

halfir 03/Jun/2006 at 01:34 AM
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Duiel: I am afraid that Arwen’s gift  would have been of no particular value in establishing Frodo’s right of entry to the Undying Lands (I am of the school of thought that sees him only visiting Valinor - not staying there- but that is another debate).

Some time ago I wrote a thread entitled Arwen’s Gift, Gandalf’s Grant, Frodo’s Gain :





Excerpted below is the first post in that thread which sets out the general drift of my argument. For the fuly developed thesis you will ned to read the referenced threads.

In "Many Partings"(ROTK) Arwen tells Frodo that she has made the choice of Luthien and accepted mortality. She will stay with Aragorn and not go to the Grey Havens with her father, Elrond. She then offers Frodo a wondrous gift: "..in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed."

Like many others, I have always taken this at face value, although a small doubt has always lurked in the back of my mind. How legitimate was this offer? Now, clearly Arwen had the right to make the offer, but did she have the power to confirm it? That surely was something only the Valar could do, and immortality for non-elven races was virtually unheard of. However, I did not make a Federal case of it, and let the matter rest.

Today, in researching an entirely different topic, I came across a very interesting footnote to Letter # 246, in which Tolkien expresses the same concerns as mine and then explains how they are resolved.

My synopsis of what he says is as follows:

1. It was Arwen who first thought of sending Frodo into the West.

2.Only those of Elvish race could sail West, and any exception required ’ authority’. Arwen was not in direct contact with such ’authority ’- the Valar - and thus could not obtain permission from them.

3. Arwen put in a plea for Frodo to Gandalf, either through Galadriel, her grandmother, or direct to Gandalf, or both. She used her own renunciation of the right  to go to the West as an argument.

4. As Tolkien puts it: "Her renunciation and suffering were related to and enmeshed with Frodo’s: both were parts of a plan for the regeneration of the state of Men. Her prayer might therefore be specially effective, and her plan have a certain equity of exchange."

5. Gandalf was the ’authority ’ who accepted her plea. He was an emissary of the Valar and effectively their ambassador in ME. Moreover, he also had a special relationship with Cirdan, the ship-master, who had surrendered his ring, Narya, The Ring of Fire, to Gandalf, and thus put himself under his command.

6. Moreover, as Gandalf was going on the same journey and taking the same ship there would be no ’difficulties’ for Frodo - so to speak, either at the point of embarkation or at the landing.

Gifted by Arwen, granted by Gandalf, gained by Frodo.

Two further points:

1. Implicit in the statement is the role of Cirdan as ’policeman’ ensuring that only those with legitimate cause were enabled to travel to the West

2. What of Bilbo? If this footnote  is correct- and it is by the Master himself - then he too must have obtained such permission - and Sam - if he ultimately went also. Presumably by the intervention of Gandalf. So the statement that being a Ring-bearer earns the right per se  to the bliss of Elvenhome would appear to have a hidden codicil which appears in this footnote to Letter # 246! Yet another fascinating ’wrinkle’ to this wonderfully complex story.

N.B.With regard to the ’immortality’ point as it relates to Frodo and indeed all mortals I totaly agree with Turin’s and Phil-d-one’s  earlier posts on the subject.


Avornin Adamas 07/Jun/2006 at 06:18 AM
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I don’t have any specualtions about Aragorn, but about those hobbits who passed over the sea. It is said that Sauron lied to the men of Numenor saying that he who lived in the Blessed Realm would have eternal life. Also somwhere else (I can’t remember where) that Death was the gift of men, and tha Valar were not permitted to take the gift away from men. So Frodo and the other hobbits who passed over had the gift of death also, meaning nothing could keep them from dying like men. I agree with Turin Valinor was only a resting place before the final journey to the halls of Mandos.
Aredhriel 09/Jun/2006 at 09:26 AM
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Avornin, the Gift of Illuvatar is first mentioned in the Silmarillion, (in the chapter, Of the Beginning of Days) and you are indeed correct in that Sauron deceived the King of Numenor, Ar-Pharazon, into believing that if he were to assault the Undying Lands, and gain passage there, he would inherit eternal life--which of course led to the destruction of the realm of the Sea.

Men often misunderstood the gift and did not willingly accept it. I find it very fitting that in ROTK, Aragorn surrenders his life to Illuvatar, as did the kings of old.

"Nay, lady, I am the last of the Numenorians and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift. Now, therefore, I will sleep." (ROTK, Appendix A, emphasis mine)

I wonder, in reading this excerpt again, why Aragorn considered himself the last of the Numenorians. Perhaps the grace and splendor of the Kings of old were ended in him and did not pass on to his heirs.

Kaulargorn 16/Jun/2006 at 12:55 PM
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Good question that one at your first post Aredhriel at your first post in this thread but in Silmarillion Tolkien says that the spirits of elves go to Mandos’s houses after their death while none knows the fate of men which means that Tolkien didn’t want to give his opinion on what happens to a man. This kind of questions are often made as reading Tolkien’s books and that’s one thing that makes his work unique. This mysterious atmosphere is one of the things that characterises LOTR.

halfir 16/Jun/2006 at 04:33 PM
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Aredhriel:I think that we can get some understanding of Aragorn’s lines if we add the word "true’ to the line-"I am the last of the {true} Numenoreans’.

In LOTR Companion p. 701 Hammond &Scull refer , in their section on App A  to Tolkien’s view regarding the ’true’ Numenorean:

’a good Numenorean died of free will when he felt it to be time to do so’ Letter # 156


’It was also the elvish (and uncorrupted) Numenorean) view that a ’good’ man would or should die voluntary by surrender with trust before being compelled to (as did Aragorn). {Draft Letter # 212}

And Hammond & Scull point out that CT {UT-The Line of Elros Note 1} comments:

’"Clinging to life’ , and so in the end dying perforce and involuntarily , was one of the changes brought about by the Shadow and the rebellion of the Numenoreans’.

Note the phrase and uncorrupted  in draft Letter # 212 and compare Aragorn’s approach to death with that  of the Gondorian Numenorean Kings and lords, described by Faramir, descendants of those Numenoreans who had fled before the Wave, but as corrupted-note the word - as those who had heeded Sauron’s siren-song pre-exile and feared death- thus not  being  uncorrupted or good  Numenoreans:

’Death was ever present , because the Numenoreans still, as they had in their old kingdom, and so lost it, hungered after endless life unchanging.Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descendants deraer than the names of sons. Childless lords sat in  aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars.’ {TT-The Window on the West}

It  is to the willingness to accept death- the true Numenorean fashion  that Aragorn is referring when he says:

I am the last of the Numenorians

Nieriel Eleniel 08/Jul/2006 at 04:00 PM
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Re Frodo: the line seemed to me a poetic image. It seems to tie in with Frodo’s vision of a younger Aragorn, dressed in white, and could mean that in Caras Galadhon (perhaps in all Lorien) time is not a constant, and that visions can be seen there of things that have passed. But it could also mean, as has been said, that the innocent Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would still remain in a spiritual sense, after that innocence was lost to him.

I’m fairly sure Frodo would not be inmortal in Valinor. It was said in the Silmarillion (sorry, I can’t quote since I don’t have it to hand) that Valinor was hallowed by the inmortal beings who walked there, but it did not give inmortality. So, I think that Frodo, having lived his life out in peace there, eventually died. I agree with Phil_d_one and Arvelas that he did not regain his innocence, but rather was no longer troubled by what he had gone through. I also agree with Arvelas that even if it had been possible to erase his experiences, he would not have wanted it, because they were a part of him, of who he was.

OT: my posts seem to have a larger font than the rest. Is that right, or does it just look like that to me? If it is large, how can I change it?

<Nessa Edit:  Font change by moderator>



Aredhriel 17/Jul/2006 at 07:47 PM
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Nieriel, yes I suppose the phrase "regain" was a bit off from what I was thinking of mentally. It might have been better said, that did Frodo ever have a sense of being at peace? Yes, his experiences with the Ring changed him indefinitely and made him the person (err..or should I say hobbit ) that he eventually became, but it also brought with it pain and loss. Yet, maybe again I find myself touching on the theme of loss and sacrafice as a result of gaining something of worth.

On a side note, welcome to the plaza! Yes, your font is a bit large (the standard font size for the Plaza is Arial (Font) and 9 (font size). Hope you enjoy yourself and have a look at Minas Tirith when you get a chance.

Nieriel Eleniel 18/Jul/2006 at 10:31 AM
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Aredhriel, I see what you mean and I agree with you that Frodo was not at peace in middle-Earth afterwards, due to everything he had suffered. I still think, however, that he would find such peace in Valinor, possibly helped by Nienna or those of the maia who assisted her.
OT: I think i’ve solved the font problem!

Fëanaro 14/Sep/2006 at 08:13 AM
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I thougth that Frodo passed away in Valinor. The reason the Valar didn´t brougth Men to Valinor is that they soon died, and they didn’t want to bring death to Valinor. The only other meaning of the passage could be that Frodo, remembering his adventures wald often in the original Lòrien, but tnat cannot be since Tolkien said many times that Frodo didn’t reach real Valinor, he only went to Tol Eresëa.
cister 14/Sep/2006 at 10:03 AM
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Feanaro, i also thought that frodo didn’t reach valinor. but aren’t hobbits mortal? why would the valar then want that frodo and bilbo go to valinor.... where did the thousands of orcbodys and dead skeletons of trolls go to? did the lava took them and burned them... i don’t think so because, then aragorn ellesar and the other people would be burned two, but what did happened to the bodies?
Arthur Weasley 14/Sep/2006 at 05:05 PM
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Aredhriel - You always raise such interesting questions!   The first quote often confuses me because in the Akallabeth we are told that mortals "grow weary the sooner as a moth in light too strong for them."  Would not both Frodo and Bilbo then die more quickly in Valinor?  Perhaps they were granted immortality as Earendil was?  The second question I always thought was more dramatic for simply indicating that Aragorn never returned to Cerin Amroth again in his lifetime (though we see Aragorn right before this "wrapped in some fair memory," about when he and Arwen spent time there years before.  Arwen apparently is entombed there and since I am a romantic, I believe true love never dies and that their spirits forever float together somewhere.
Kaulargorn 24/Sep/2006 at 10:26 AM
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This is a good view Darth Enalan on Tolkien’s afterdeath mythology which he tries to keeps so mysterious.In many themes he does so.About the existence of a person in spiritual form the things are complicated and nowhere in the books it is clearly stated but in a mysterious atmosphere and in a clever way Tolkien manages to make us wonder.However, it could simply mean that because Arwen went there after Aragorn’s death and their love was very strong, she carried the memory of Aragorn and because of the ability of elves to live visions he could have been there in Arwen’s thought.
Miriame Sárince 28/Sep/2006 at 08:31 PM
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Time in Lothlorien wasn’t the same as time in the rest of ME. Only a few days could seem to pass when in Lothlorien when months had passed elsewhere. "Anyone would think that time did not count in there! And perhaps that was the way of it", said Frodo, "In that land, maybe, we were in a time that has elsewhere long gone by....I don’t remember any moon either new or old in Caras Galadon: only stars by night and sun by day." And Legolas says "Change and growth are not in all things and place alike." And Frodo replies "But the wearing is slow in Lorien." It may be that the influence of the Ring of Galadriel continued after she left and that time in Lorien was not the same and that the young Aragorn could remain there, as could Frodo before he traveled to Mordor and, beyond that, to the Undying Lands. It’s comforting to think that, while they were fighting and dying in the rest of their lives, Frodo and Aragorn (and Arwen?) could also continue in Lorien as the people they were when they first came there. Not forever, of course, Legolas also says "Yet beneath the Sun, all things must wear to an end at last." But I like to think that, for a while, Frodo and Aragorn continued to walk the paths of Lorien, after both had passed from their lives as men.
Galin 17/Oct/2006 at 01:41 PM
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Re: The first quote often confuses me because in the Akallabeth we are told that mortals "grow weary the sooner as a moth in light too strong for them."  Would not both Frodo and Bilbo then die more quickly in Valinor? 

In Tolkien’s essay Aman (and Aman and Mortal Men) published in Morgoth’s Ring the idea put forth (as I read it) is that mortals do not age faster in Aman. Time in Aman advances at the same rate as in Middle-earth but the rate of growth and change (in Aman) is different -- compare to Legolas’ statement in The Lord of the Rings, where he says: ’Nay, time does not tarry ever’, he said; ’but change and growth are not in all things and places alike’ (which begins a part of his conversation about time in Galadriel’s Realm).

A mortal born in Aman would seem to be a fleeting thing, would seem (by comparison) to wither and die very quickly, even had he or she lived to be 100 years old for example (which is still less than 1 Valian Year according to this essay, as 1 VY = 144 SYs here). Imagine that you live 100 years but that your puppy (born when you were 50 years old for example) is not yet a year old when you die. The long-lived Elves ’fit’ well in Aman; mortals did not. Part of the essay Aman and Mortal Men reads...

’No Man has ever set foot in Aman, or at least none has ever returned thence; for the Valar forbade it. Why so? To the Númenóreans they said they did so because Eru had forbidden them to admit Men to the Blessed Realm; and they declared also that Men would not there be blessed (as they imagined) but accursed, and would ’wither even as a moth in a flame too bright.’

’Beyond these words we can but go in guess. Yet we may consider the matter so. The Valar were not only by Eru forbidden the attempt, they could not alter the nature, or ’doom’ of Eru, of any of the Children, in which was included the speed of their growth (relative to the whole life of Arda) and the length of their life-span. Even the Eldar in that respect remained unchanged. Let us suppose then that the Valar had also admitted to Aman some of the Atani, and (so that we may consider a whole life of a Man in such a state) that ’mortal’ children were there born, as were children of the Eldar. Then, even though in Aman, a mortal child would still grow to maturity in some twenty years of the Sun, and the natural span of its life, the period of cohesion of hroa and fea, would be no more than, say, 100 years. Not much more, even though (...)

’But in Aman such a creature would be a fleeting thing, the most swift passing of all beasts. For his whole life would last little more than one half-year, and while other living creatures would seem to him hardly to change, but to remain steadfast in life and joy...’
                    Aman and Mortal Men

The Hobbits were not born in Aman of course, but in any case note that this idea of ’withering’ (even as a moth in a flame too bright) is considered, and does not necessarily mean a mortal actually ages faster in Aman.