?

Log in

No account? Create an account
January 2018   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Rivendell 12 ~ Bilbo’s Gifts 1: The presentation of Sting, plus “Finely Crafted”.

Posted on 2009.02.06 at 13:26
Tags: , , ,
~*~


Winter is flying, as if to put the lie to my complaints that it is never-ending. I had hoped to post this series before Christmas, when the Fellowship is still in Rivendell, but here we are in February. Well, I will pretend it is yet December.


Bilbo's Gifts Pt. 1

The scene between Frodo and Bilbo capped here is another place where the film diverges significantly from the book. The film scene combines two Rivendell book episodes, compressing the time and putting them in opposite order. In the book, it is on Frodo's first day out of bed that he has his fleeting but alarming vision of Bilbo. After they have spent months delighting in each other's company and the Fellowship is about to leave, Bilbo presents Frodo with the treasured mementoes of his Adventure, Sting and the mithril shirt. In the film, nothing darkens the joy of Bilbo and Frodo's first meeting. The intervening scene (Frodo and Bilbo under a loggia looking through the Red Book ) suggests that Bilbo and Frodo's meetings continued to be a pleasure, if shot through with a sense of nostalgia and regret. Only in this scene, after Bilbo has given the gifts of the sword and shirt, does a shadow fall between them.

The scene of Bilbo's demonic transformation and subsequent remorse is nearly the last audiences see of Frodo and Bilbo together. They don't share the screen again until they ride to the Grey Havens, Bilbo fond and doddering, Frodo affectionate but distanced by introspective melancholy. I think the changes to the second half of the Rivendell scene alter the tone of their relationship significantly, especially as it comes just before the two are separated, possibly for ever. I will mull over some of the implications in the third post in this series.

Although I don't understand the adaptors' reasons for doing what they did in the second half, I think the first part of the scene, the gift-giving, is story-telling perfection. The acting, the art design, the lighting, the score, the camera work, the beautiful props all contribute to the creation of a scene that is cinematically satisfying and very faithful to the book. The giving and receiving of gifts is important, if not vital, everywhere in LotR. Whether the gifts are intangible (benedictions, guidance, prophecies, dreams, visions) or tangible (food, clothing, arms, equipment), gifts are crucial to the characters' survival and well-being and thus to the success of the mission. Here, on the eve of Frodo's departure, Bilbo gives Frodo the most treasured tokens (apart from the Ring, which Frodo already has) from his personal "adventure", the quest through which Bilbo grew to full stature as a person and a character. He gives them not only as practical aids to Frodo (which they certainly are), but as expressions of his love, good will and hopes for Frodo. They are tangible blessings. In a way, the blessings they convey go further back than Bilbo. In receiving the mithril corselet and Sting, it is as though Frodo is receiving the blessing of all who have carried or won them since they were made.

I love it that the corselet came from Thorin. The Dwarf gave it to Bilbo out of Smaug's hoard before he knew Bilbo had taken the Arkenstone he so coveted, it is true. And Thorin's feelings were murderous when he found out. But on his deathbed, Thorin found the grace see why Bilbo had done it and to forgive him. To my mind, the handing on of the mithril shirt to Frodo conveys the protection not only of marvellously hard mail, but the power of friendship hard-tested, which is the fruit of understanding, mercy and forgiveness.

Even more, I love that Sting is an heirloom of Gondolin. The tale of the fall of Gondolin, Tolkien told his son, was the first tale of the First Age he committed to paper. He was serving in France in 1917 when he started to write it down on bits of paper. Having Bilbo give Frodo Sting, a weapon rescued from Gondolin, makes me feel as though Tolkien is giving Frodo a special place in his literary heritage, rooting his hobbit hero in a line of heroes that goes all the way back to the First Age.

All the gifts the Fellowship receive are special and unique. They are useful in themselves, examples of technical excellence, but they also carry within them intangible blessings, because of their long heritage. Anduril is made from Narsil, which was made by the Dwarf smith Telchar in the First Age. Sam's box of soil, even though Galadriel presumably gathered it up shortly before presenting it, might have included grains trodden upon by Yavanna, before there was a Lórien and Middle-earth was young. The light in the phial Frodo receives goes all the way back to the Two Trees.

Other gifts are not as ancient, being made specifically for the Fellowship. Yet they, too, are made by ancient craft and possessed of wondrous properties. The boats, the rope, the cloaks: all are unique and special. So is the food. Lembas, the waybread of the Elves, might be gobbled up and casually tossed about in the films, but it was not until the Elf-warrior Beleg offered it to Túrin that a mortal first tasted it. The lembas of Beleg was made by Melian the Maia, the Lady and keeper of Doriath. The lembas the Fellowship receives was made by Galadriel, Lady and keeper of Lórien. The secret of its making was passed to her by Melian in the First Age. Thus, although the lembas is fresh, the secret of its making is ancient, and the receiving of it a rare honour.

I love the gift-giving scenes in the films, including the expanded EE version in Lórien, but also this one. The suppressed excitement with which Ian Holm's Bilbo produces his gifts, his obvious eagerness to share his treasures and instruct Frodo in their merits, makes my heart expand with pleasure. The palpable wonder and gratitude of Elijah Woods' Frodo does the same. Their interactions are perfect because the scene itself works so well, and because it is so faithful to the spirit of the book. Gifts matter, to the giver and to the receiver.

No hero in LotR gets anywhere without gifts. True, each character is expected to do his or her utmost to further the Quest, but that gifts are crucial permeates the text. The concept rings true in the story because it rings true in real life. The sort of people we are, like the protagonists of LotR, comes from a whole history of benefits and gifts. What is crucial to happiness is whether people recognize this fact or not. If they do, they can experience gratitude, wonder and joy. Sauron (and Morgoth before him) does not experience gratitude. Although, like all the Maiar, he sprang from the creative thought of Eru, he behaves as if he were self-made, as if the powers and talents he has were not first given to him. What Sauron receives he considers his due. What he gives—when he gives—is not gifts, but payment for services rendered (or punishment for services not rendered). Thus Sauron experiences no gratitude, no wonder, and no joy. His consolation is his illusion that, sufficient unto himself, he owes nothing to anyone.

Tolkien's good characters all seem to know that they are formed and live by the giving and receiving of gifts. The scene capped below celebrates that. Bilbo gives what he has first received—marvellous, unlooked-for boons—and Frodo receives them as such. The old hobbit's wonder begets wonder anew, and the legacy continues.


~*~



As with previous entries, I will be including the film dialogue that goes with the caps, as well as the book scene, if there is one, or a related scene that complements the images.


Also, there is a poem. Jan-u-wine's Finely Crafted is written from Frodo's point of view after the War. It's a dark poem, but when I read it and scroll back up to look at the caps, Frodo's innocent wonder and delight seem all the more poignant and piercing. I can't see him holding the beautiful, storied weapon aloft in the same way again.

More than the small bright blade of Gondolin is finely crafted.



~*~




Book scene: from The Ring Goes South.


On the morning of the last day Frodo was alone with Bilbo, and the old hobbit pulled out from under his bed a wooden box. He lifted the lid and fumbled inside.

‘Here is your sword,’ he said. ‘But it was broken, you know. I took it to keep it safe but I’ve forgotten to ask if the smiths could mend it. No time now. So I thought, perhaps, you would care to have this, don’t you know?’

He took from the box a small sword in an old shabby leathern scabbard. Then he drew it, and its polished and well-tended blade glittered suddenly, cold and bright. ‘This is Sting,’ he said, and thrust it with little effort deep into a wooden beam. ‘Take it, if you like. I shan’t want it again, I expect.’

Frodo accepted it gratefully.


~*~



Film scene:

In Rivendell, in the bedroom where Frodo recovered from the knife wound, Bilbo is removing a sword from its cloth wrappings.

Bilbo: My old sword, Sting! Here, take it, take it!

Frodo takes the sword from its sheath, holds it up and turns it in the light, admiring it.

Frodo: With wondering admiration:It's so light!

Bilbo: Yes, yes—made by the Elves, you know. The blade glows blue when Orcs are close. And it’s times like that, my lad, when you'll have to be extra careful!










Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket



Photobucket









Finely Crafted

~ by jan-u-wine



It is finely crafted, 'tis said.....

Finely crafted.

Even so,
I shall not wear it again,

shall not
ever

raise my hand

against
another living
thing.

The beauty of Elvish

spills,

like runnelled water,
down the face of the blade,

rests
its silvered flowers

upon my dishonored
hand.

Oh.

It pains me now,
pains me to look
upon it

remembering
how beautiful I once

thought
it was.

It *is* beautiful,
still.

Perhaps

it is only I
who have changed.


The crafting
of a Ring-bearer....

the fine
forging

of one
who might bear such a burden....

the bitter mettle which

broke
in twain at the last,

running liquid with fear
and fury....


Please.

I do not wish to remember this
anymore,

I do not wish to see red,
angry flame

rising
to meet the crimson of my own
blood,

I do not wish to recall
a creature
rent by desire,

torn,

until I could not say with certainty
which

of us had gone into the fire.

I only know
I wished for it to be me.

So bright.
So beautiful.


So
finely crafted.


Even as you,
fair blade of the West…..

even...

as I.











Previous entry:

Photobucket ~ Riv. 11: Council of Elrond 5 – ‘We're coming, too’, plus jan-u-wine’s 'On Being Part of a Grand Story'.

Next entry:

~ Rivendell 13 - The mithril shirt, plus jan-u-wine's 'Rivendell Suite Pt. 6'.


Other Links:

~ Entries with jan-u-wine's poems.


~ Main table for all entries


~ Mechtild

Comments:


Shirebound
shirebound at 2009-02-06 20:45 (UTC) (Link)
Ohhh, what a bittersweet, exquisite poem.

Forgive me for highlighting so much of your wonderful text, but it's so very perceptive and beautifully "crafted". You've given me a lot to think about.

The giving and receiving of gifts is important, if not vital, everywhere in LotR. Whether the gifts are intangible (benedictions, guidance, prophecies, dreams, visions) or tangible (food, clothing, arms, equipment), gifts are crucial to the characters' survival and well-being and thus to the success of the mission. Here, on the eve of Frodo's departure, Bilbo gives Frodo the most treasured tokens (apart from the Ring, which Frodo already has) from his personal "adventure", the quest through which Bilbo grew to full stature as a person and a character. He gives them not only as practical aids to Frodo (which they certainly are), but as expressions of his love, good will and hopes for Frodo. They are tangible blessings.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 01:08 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoyed the poem. Jan was concerned that the mood, so antithetical to that of the delighted Frodo of the book and film scene, might confuse readers. But I said, nah, they'll get it. It's a wonderfully conceived piece. She has such a feel for Frodo from the inside.

Thanks for commenting, Shirebound! I didn't realise it until I was posting crosslinks, but it's been over two months since my last screencap post. Shees!
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 01:10 (UTC) (Link)
Doesn't the poem depict his mix of emotions finely? I had to restrain myself from posting it until I finally got to this scene.

I'm pleased the reflection was useful to you, too, Mews. It's a theme in LotR I've long been interested in.
pearlette
pearlette at 2009-02-06 22:47 (UTC) (Link)
I've always loved this scene in the book and always included it in the imaginary mini-series of LotR which I had in my head for so many years!

I loved how the film did this scene. The first half, anyway. :p The Bilbo/Frodo relationship in the film was beautiful: more emotional and resonant than it comes across in the book.

And the setting in this scene is so right: Rivendell in twilight, the two hobbits in an intimate setting, the shimmering, luminous photography ... it's one of the scenes in which Film Frodo truly shines (literally, his youth and innocence pierce the heart) and about which I have no complaints about his portrayal at all. ;)

Sir Ian is simply marvellous: pure Bilbo. I am so grateful he wanted to do this part.

Jan's sad, lovely poem gets right to the heart of Frodo's post-Quest malaise. He was crippled, spiritually and only an Elvish healing could have helped him recover.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 01:15 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Pearl. Yes, the first half of this scene is beautiful. In a way, having just come from your post on "The Temple Dancer", it has some of the beauty really great ballet has. Not that they are dancing or anything, but just the exquisiteness of the scene -- all the things you point out about the setting and lighting. And of course Frodo does shine, literally, just as you say, in the full poignancy of his youthful freshness. The poignancy is only greater because one can't help knowing where his tale is bound. Jan's poem brings that out, uncompromisingly but unsensationally, which is why I find it so moving.
Prim
primula_baggins at 2009-02-07 01:35 (UTC) (Link)
I have never looked at the gifts given in LOTR this way before, and you've made some wonderful, insightful points.

"The light in the phial Frodo receives goes all the way back to the Two Trees."

Wow, that statement gave me the shivers! What an extraordinary thought.

"No hero in LotR gets anywhere without gifts."

Again, I just never thought of that before, but it's so true now that you point it out.

"Although, like all the Maiar, he sprang from the creative thought of Eru, he behaves as if he were self-made, as if the powers and talents he has were not first given to him."

Yes he does. And I'm always curious as to how one of Eru's creatures can be that way if it was not given to him by the creator. Much as our Devil, I suppose. Where does evil come from if not created by the creator?


"I can't see him holding the beautiful, storied weapon aloft in the same way again."

And so many 'soldiers' must feel that way when they return from war. Not all, but some of them are so deeply hurt by war, as was Frodo. Perhaps those who carry the heaviest burden during war suffer the most from that feeling.

Thanks Mechtild, and thanks to Jan for the heart wrenching and beautiful poem.



Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 14:43 (UTC) (Link)
"The light in the phial Frodo receives goes all the way back to the Two Trees."
Wow, that statement gave me the shivers! What an extraordinary thought.
Doesn't it? I never really got any of this during decades of reading, because I only read LotR over and over, never any material about the backstory, even the appendices. The light in the phial was light from a star the Elves liked best, the sword was made by Elves so it had to be super. But that's all. But when the films renewed my interest in reading LotR, I didn't stop there but read everything Tolkien wrote that I could find, and lots of secondary material, too. Then "the depth dimension" commentators are always talking about in LotR really opened up. It's not as though I wasn't enjoying and loving the book without knowing all that stuff, but knowing it has enriched it so much.

I love what you said relating Frodo's post-war experience, focussed on the sword, to that of other veterans. Tolkien was so good at conveying his own war exerience in the book, his and that of those who were with him, but always so subtly, no discreetly, never banging readers over the head with it. I so appreciate that.

I think it's both the up and the down side of fanfic that it goes further than Tolkien went, expressing what he did not choose to or get around to expressing. When it illuminates, it can be a revelation, and a true pleasure, expanding my understanding and love for the canon story. But it can also say too much. Writers get too gung ho and dish out [what they imagine to be] Tolkien's unspoken material with such an unrestrained hand that it no longer resembles Tolkien or his characters because of excess and a lack of subtly and narrative discretion.

Well, I got off on a tangent! Must be the size of my morning cup of coffee. Thanks for bearing with my while I did what I said I didn't like: saying too much. :)

Edited at 2009-02-07 02:43 pm (UTC)
Prim
primula_baggins at 2009-02-07 15:52 (UTC) (Link)
I've been trying to read the Silmarillion for, how many years now? lol! I've just read the part where the Trees are destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliath, and the Silmarils are stolen. Finwe has convinced some of his group to go after the Silmarils, he gets up to a place where the big boats are built, then abandons some of his most loyal subjects so he can cross over to the other shore. Then he burns the boats. My heart hurt about that. Anyway, I think because I've been reading that part, the fact that some of the light from the two Trees are in the Phial really affected me. How precious that light was. But if one doesn't read about them in the Silmarilion, then it doesn't seem as precious, I think.

"Writers get too gung ho and dish out [what they imagine to be] Tolkien's unspoken material with such an unrestrained hand that it no longer resembles Tolkien or his characters because of excess and a lack of subtly and narrative discretion."

I've never thought they imagine themselves to be writing what Tolkien would have written. They just want to know more so they make it up for themselves. I remember after I saw the end of ROTK that I ached to know what happened when Frodo sailed West. What happened there? I've read many stories people have written, and I enjoyed them even though I knew that only Tolkien could have written "the truth". There certainly are all sorts of ways things could go, and Tolkien's writings have stimulated a lot of other writers to imagine it for themselves.

But yes, Tolkien never hit us over the head with most things, they were to be discovered by ourselves. It's such a rich form of storytelling. Thanks for illuminating the part about the gift-giving for me.

Now I've gone on too long! : D


Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 17:39 (UTC) (Link)
[Edited for clarity.]

I actually enjoyed reading the stories that form The Silmarillion more in their draft forms, collected in the HoME and The Unfinished Tales. Almost every time, these earlier versions are more detailed and developed, even though they are always unfinished--works in progress--the stories altered with each new writing. This can be exasperating to keep track of, but, as narratives, I find them far more rewarding.

I also made a copy of the maps for the early lands (before Beleriand sank under the Sea) and a copy of the Elf and Man family trees to keep at hand. This made the reading far more involving, since I had a better idea in my head of who was who, who was related to whom, and where the places were they were living in or passing through. Sounds like a lot of work, but once done it wasn't, and made the reading much richer.

You are so right about fanfic. Right after I hit "Post Comment" I thought, "Don't be daft, Mechtild. You have enjoyed loads of fan fic stories that Tolkien would not, could not have written. It isn't necessary that they stick to the original book." It's true.

When I am honest, I think I have different expectations for different genres of Tolkien fanfic. If it claims to be true to canon, I expect it to be as faithful as the best gap-filler fics are. But there are loads of entertaining stories that are much more loosely based on the original. The stories alter Tolkien's world, his themes, and his characters. Yet there is enough resemblance to find them satisfying as Tolkien fanfic. The film writers did a similar thing, and look how much I liked them! The films are only "based on", "adapted from", the characters and story of Lord of the Rings. The film makers made changes large and small. Yet I watch the trilogy as "The Lord of the Rings", even if it is not the same as what Tolkien wrote.

Thanks for your evocative comments, Primula.

Edited at 2009-02-07 05:41 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 14:44 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad I finally got here, Luthien. :)
mole_caz
mole_caz at 2009-02-07 11:13 (UTC) (Link)
Like Prim, I hadn't fully appreciated the importance of gifts but they are important and especially the intangible ones as they inform and aid where they are needed. Many thanks for this and the beautiful poem.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-07 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Mole Caz. I'm glad the themes appealed to you. :)

Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2009-02-07 22:48 (UTC) (Link)
This is one of the most beautifully filmed scenes in the movie, I think. Thank you for the gorgeous images, Mechling.

The old hobbit's wonder begets wonder anew, and the legacy continues.

This is so true. I remember watching my father’s expression of delight over the family-gifts, which had been passed down from generation to generation, that my sister and I would one day pass on to the next generation.

You wrote: She [Jan-u-wine] has such a feel for Frodo from the inside.

Jan’s poetry is truly wonderful.

--Estë

Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-08 01:13 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it is beautifully filmed. I'm sure you've see the big production stills of Frodo and Bilbo in the opening of this scene. I wish I had saved a copy for my files. The camera is further back and you can see the full setting more clearly. It's so exquisitely designed, executed and lit.

I love it that your father got so much pleasure passing on the family treasures. It's lucky for him, too, that he had children who appreciated receiving them. Not all children do; or perhaps you didn't then, but came to appreciate them later. I've found I do.
(Anonymous) at 2009-02-08 22:37 (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful screencaps and commentary, Mechtild, and yet another moving poem from Jan.

How I wish there had been more Frodo and Bilbo scenes in the films. We didn't even see them together at Bag End. But this is a lovely exchange, portraying the obvious affection between these two. Film-Frodo is at his most ethereal here, I think.

~ Blossom.

P.S. I have to say thank you for linking to the story and video in your previous entry. Just lovely!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-08 23:48 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, he's like a fairy. Stop laughing. :) I mean it in the sense of 18th and 19th century illustrations of fantasy creatures characterized not only by beauty, but a radiance, even a translucence about them (not to mention pointed ears).

Yes, I'm sorry we saw so little of them together, too, but you have no doubt guessed that, lol. I'm grateful for the fanfic that has helped remedy that lack.

P.S. right back to you: glad you liked the story of the dog and elephant. I thought it was not to be missed. So I posted it for those of us who hadn't seen it.
Whiteling
whiteling at 2009-02-09 11:59 (UTC) (Link)
Such a wonderful post, Mechtild. I always loved this scene in the film, both ring-bearers united in the admiration of the beautiful gift.

I can't see him holding the beautiful, storied weapon aloft in the same way again.
Jan's poem is so wistfully beautiful... and it conjures such a differnent, darkend image of Frodo looking at Sting... sigh.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-09 14:20 (UTC) (Link)
both ring-bearers united in the admiration of the beautiful gift

Ooooh, that's stirringly put, Whiteling. And I can't agree more on the poem. I love this about good fan literature. It's not only good in itself, it opens up the text -- and films -- to me with levels and nuances I didn't always appreciate before. It informs and deepens my pleasure.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2009-02-09 20:46 (UTC) (Link)
Your essay and Jan's poem are such an exquisite counterpoint to each other set around the scene--just a gorgeous piece! Sweet and then the bitter.

The "Oh." and the "Please." are so heavy and plaintive in Jan's finely crafted poem. His wounds are manifested, not in a loss of the sense of gratitude, but a loss in "the joy of gratitude" that you so sagely posit above. He can no longer feel the gifts that anchored him to Middle-earth. And gratitude is so central to Frodo's loving nature--his love of history and of Bilbo so peppered throughout the early chapters. The scene where he tells Farmer Maggot his regret that he has missed a good friend all these years is so lovely in the twining of Frodo's graciousness and gratefulness. He can't feel Smeagol's parting gift that granted him life because--as Jan shows--he can't untangle his connection to Smeagol enough to hold Smeagol's image at arm's length and bid him thank you with love. These are all the things I think all us hobbit fans wish he could have regained in the Shire, but hope he finds again across the Sundering Seas before his soul travels on.

I know the history embodied in the phial, but I forgot about Sting being from Gondolin and I didn't know or remember that the fall of Gondolin was the first story Tolkien wrote down, so thank you for noting that level of history.

I'm having the most wonderful email exchange with Jan discussing our hobbits--and thank you for bringing me her poems and then herself, because I wouldn't be having this pleasure without your introducing us. :-D And she brought up a point which made me want to transcribe some lines from the HoME that are now fresh in my mind and apropo of your points here on gift-giving, gratitude, and communal ties between the living and dead, all of which Sauron, and anyone who thinks he made it all by his own little bootstraps lacks, when Frodo says to Sam:

"There's never only one hero in any true tale, Sam, and all the good folk are in others' debt."

I love this line and the whole scene in this early draft of "The Scouring of the Shire," but reflecting on Jan's poem, this line was uttered by a Frodo who came back to the Shire bearing Sting, and his wounds, lightly. I don't think the draft-ripened Frodo could have uttered such a line--he might think it still, but he couldn't feel it, so cut off from the mainland as he was by the pain enveloping him. What he could feel during the scouring is the hobbits in danger of losing themselves by falling into the shadow of their vengence, and those he could reach out to and hold back from the abyss, or maybe he was pushing them away from the mouth of the abyss he was straddling.

The gifts, too, were the only means through which Bilbo could go on the quest with Frodo and protect him as best he could. It must have been a small comfort to Bilbo to imagine Frodo warding away harm with the armor and the sword he had hard won to give him. Then senility was a gift that comforted Bilbo from seeing the full impact of the toll the quest took on Frodo in the end until the healing of the Blessed Realm enveloped them both.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-10 02:11 (UTC) (Link)
Lavender, your reply is so interesting and eloquent. You give so much in the space of a comment box. I pump my fist in the air and say, "Yeah! What she said!"

Your distinction between experiencing "the sense of gratitude" and "the joy of gratitude", was a fine one and made me think and think. One can know one *ought* to be grateful, and desire to be grateful, but still find it joyless. Perhaps that happens when a person feels not quite gratitude, but beholden, indebted. Maybe that's where Frodo is regarding Gollum/Sméagol. He does not yet experience gratitude, only the sense of being beholden to Sméagol -- indebtedness. Being an honourable person, and a person steeped in the way of gratitude, perhaps it bothers Frodo all the more, not being able to feel grateful towards Sméagol.

But, no, wait (*light bulb*). Preparing for a future installment I was reading Tom Shippey about the Sammath Naur scene, and he cited Tolkien in a letter saying the guiding images under the writing of that scene was the Lord's Prayer. To make his point in his discussion, Shippey cites particularly, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". But what about, "and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"? Frodo went through the crucible of the petitions Shippey lifted up within the Sammath Naur, yes, but he had to deal with the ones about forgiving and being forgiven for a long time. You wrote above that he had the sense of gratitude, and perhaps he did, literally. He knew rationally, according to "sense", that it was right and fitting that he be grateful to Sméagol, he wasn't able to experience it, thus there was no joy component to his gratitude. That part would have to come. I wouldn't, couldn't happen until, as you wrote, Frodo could...

untangle his connection to Smeagol enough to hold Smeagol's image at arm's length and bid him thank you with love."
"Bid him thank you with love." Gosh, that's brilliant. Maybe "bid him thank you with love" and experienceing "the joy of gratitude" amount to the same thing?

I had not remembered that quote from the draft of the Scouring at all. Thanks so much quoting it here. I just loved your comparison between the draft's sword-wielding Frodo and the Frodo who emerged by the time the story was published. Yes, Jan's poem really brought that one home.

The idea of Bilbo's senility as a gift, to cushion the blow of seeing the toll taken on Frodo by the Quest, is not one I had thought of before. I had been looking at it from Frodo's point of view, what it would be to come back at last, bearing the tale of all that had happened to him, anticipating in Bilbo the best, most eager, most informed, and most beloved hearer he could get, only to find someone who was no longer interested in hearing his tale, or any tale, for that matter. I find it very bittersweet, that reunion. But it feels true to life, and true to the bittersweet nature of the tale.

Thanks for a wonderful, very thought-provoking reply, Lavender.

[Sorry for all the edits; I kept screwing up the html codes!]

Edited at 2009-02-10 02:13 am (UTC)
 Paulie
not_alone at 2009-02-09 22:27 (UTC) (Link)
Another amazing post and poem - as always, I am in awe!!

I thought you might be interested in this little snippet by Bill Welden who I believe is a weapons expert who visited the LOTR set:

The actors are as different from one another as the seven races of Middle Earth. Elijah Wood (who plays Frodo) is warm, sincere and enthusiastic. He unsheathes Sting and shows it to me. It is a product of Weta Workshop: a perfectly functional sword, or rather a knife, scaled up (though it has not been sharpened). At the base of the blade is a beautiful filigree design incorporating Elvish lettering. In fact, the words are Sindarin. In the middle I read "dagnir in" meaning "...killer of the...", but then Elijah must dash off to resume filming. He is delighted that his sword has a history

Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-10 02:14 (UTC) (Link)
What a great quote, Paulie. I had never read that. I hope that is going to be in an up-coming chapter -- or has it already been included and I've forgotten it?
 Paulie
not_alone at 2009-02-13 15:46 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks Mechtild - you know, I'm not certain if I've included the quote or not!! I'd definitely got it put aside for inclusion but I've a feeling it got left out. I will have to check and perhaps edit it in somewhere:)
Maeglian
maeglian at 2009-02-12 21:43 (UTC) (Link)
Mechtild, I saw your hug message. You're such a sweetie. Thank you. Give the cats a cuddle from me!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2009-02-13 00:07 (UTC) (Link)
*Mrrrrowwwww* They loved those cuddles!
Previous Entry  Next Entry