Even the wise cannot see all ends

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One person's sympathy may effect many

“You have not seen him,” Gandalf broke in.

“No, and I don’t want to,” said Frodo. “I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.”

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of judgment. For even the wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours at least.”


by J. R. R. Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973)
from The Fellowship of the Ring, The Shadow of the Past
also in The Two Towers, The Taming of Smeagol

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