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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

"In the Ending is the Beginning" by jan-u-wine, with art illustrations.

Posted on 2010.03.19 at 21:43
Tags: , ,
~*~

In this piece, Frodo is thinking back from the vantage point of the Lonely Isle, Tol Eressëa. "Lonely" not because it is home to the lonely, but because it is by itself, off the coast of Aman, just across the Bay of Eldamar, whither it was brought to carry the first Elves to Valinor from Middle-earth .

jan-u-wine and I were discussing the role of the Sea in Frodo's life, and of the phenomenon of "Sea-longing" in Tolkien's stories, as well as its relation to the Music of the Ainur that made the world, still to be heard in all its waters. I asked if Jan had written anything that touched upon the Sea in relation to Frodo. Indeed she had.

This is the first of two pieces related to the Sea I will present. These are not poetry but prose, yet they show Jan's signature use of word-images and rhythm. In it Frodo is thinking of home and Sam, and of the Sea that has sounded at the edges of his waking and dreaming all his life.

I chose the book excerpts below because they are related, but they needn't be read to appreciate the piece. The paintings are identified below.



~*~



Book excerpts.








The House of Tom Bombadil, FOTR:
Before they had finished breakfast the clouds had joined into an unbroken roof, and a straight grey rain came softly and steadily down. Behind its deep curtain the Forest was completely veiled.

As they looked out of the window there came falling gently as if it was flowing down the rain out of the sky, the clear voice of Goldberry singing up above them. They could hear few words, but it seemed plain to them that the song was a rain-song, as sweet as showers on dry hills, that told the tale of a river from the spring in the highlands to the Sea far below. The hobbits listened with delight; and Frodo was glad in his heart, and blessed the kindly weather, because it delayed them from departing. The thought of going had been heavy upon him from the moment he awoke; but he guessed now that they would not go further that day.

Fog on the Barrow Downs, FOTR:
That night they heard no noises. But either in his dreams or out of them, he could not tell which, Frodo heard a sweet singing running in his mind: a song that seemed to come like a pale light behind the grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to glass and silver, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise.






Many Partings, ROTK:
'Well, Mr. Frodo, we've been far and seen a deal, and yet I don't think we've found a better place than this. There's something of Wood and Gondor and kings' houses and inns and meadows and mountains all mixed. And yet, somehow, I feel we ought to be going soon. I'm worried about my gaffer, to tell you the truth.'

'Yes, something of everything, Sam, except the Sea,' Frodo had answered, and he repeated it now to himself: 'Except the Sea.'

The Music of the Ainur, The Book of Lost Tales, Pt. 1:
Then the Ainur marvelled to see how the world was globed amid the void and yet separated from it; and they rejoiced to see light, and found it was both white and golden, and they laughed for the pleasure of colours, and for the great roaring of the ocean they were filled with longing. Their hearts were glad because of air and the winds, and the matters whereof the Earth was made -- iron and stone and silver and gold and many substances: but of all these water was held the fairest and most goodly and most greatly praised. Indeed there liveth still in water a deeper echo of the Music of the Ainur than in any substance else that is in the world, and at this latest day many of the Sons of Men will hearken unsatedly to the voice of the Sea and long for they know not what.




~*~






In the Ending is the Beginning

~ by jan-u-wine





My story begins with the Sea.

I know. Some there are who say it ended there, ended in the division of a curtain of grey rain, ended in a Road which could no longer curve but must perforce run straight.

Understand: I saw it. There, in the house of Iarwain (he that is named 'Eldest') between a night of chiming crystal-dremes and a morn of butter-soft sun, it was gifted me. And, thereafter, no matter the road, nor the swell of seasons, nor the plain or gilded push of life against me, no matter, She was there, her waves, her voice like tender roots twining to my heart, whispering 'peace' and a promise thereof when there was naught left to me (of me) save despair.

Do not mistake me. She was but a fragment of my Road, the beginning and the end of it, but never all.

Sam. The more (and here, I must, in remembrance, smile, at that ‘more’) goodly portion of my Road, as constant and enduring as the other, like to rich-delved solid earth himself, the touch-stone of all that might grow and struggle beneath the Sun.

Even to speak his name, in this far-off place, is to see and be Home. Almost like a dream, it all is to me now, a dreme of darkness absolute, a dreme of calm blue depths, a dreme of a voice (quiet with insistence) calling me back from the doorways of night. He it was held me to hope, at the last, a stubborn determination to go on until the body simply surrendered its will, its breath, its......life.

I did not. Surrender. Oh, I did not surrender to It.

And when and where his voice ended, Hers began, sighing and singing to me as I was granted (or so I supposed) passage to where the depthless heart of her lay. In Her song was the music of the First Day. And I listened until the rush of the wind became one with the tapestry of Her song, twining about the broken threads of me until I knew no more.

Against all thought, against all wanting or not wanting, I woke, but not to peace. The very sunlight was tainted gold, the very wind whispered in foul tongues I could not silence. My heart beat still, my lungs filled and emptied, my voice......

as if it were someone else speaking, I heard myself laughing in the vast, empty chamber of the world....

Never, never could I go Home. The voices whispered it, spectral, persistent as snow-fingered wind. Never. Something broke within me then, something which had not been suborned by the Mountain, something which had lived on the edge of a dulled and retreating hope.

Never. In sorrow, I knew just how long that should be.

Yet, where else, in all the wide World, should I go? I composed myself, took counsel, journeyed……..home. And, oh, the sun rising and pulling mist-ghosts from fields still sleeping in chill dawn, and the deep ancient green of the Brandywine as we crossed the bridge.....





They spoke to my heart in ways which nothing else might. I began to have hope that it should be enough, this home-coming, that these familiar sights, sounds.... places would, in time, replace the despair that too frequently claimed me.

The more filled with them, by them, I became, the more my heart quietened. The more my eyes took in, the less they saw. And the silence within grew until it had a sound of its own.

And, over it all, through it all, the voice of the Sea, the touch of it upon my cheek in dremes, the imagined smell of it tucked within an errant wind, the endless blue of it stretching towards an unseen shore......

the swift sunrise of my long-ago vision, stealing with soft promise upon hills minted new with sweet grass ….


My story
begins

(anew)
with the Sea.












Illustrations:

"Tom Bombadil's House" ~ Alan Lee
"Goldberry" ~ Alan Lee
"Breaking Wave" ~ Emil Carlsen
"The Bridge Over the Usk" ~ J. M. W. Turner
"Clouds Over the Sea On a Still Day" ~ Ivan Aizovsky








Previous Frodo entry: Nor Bid the Star Farewell by jan-u-wine, plus three paintings, 3-10-2010.


Other Links:

~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.



Comments:


Shirebound
shirebound at 2010-03-20 03:09 (UTC) (Link)
And the silence within grew until it had a sound of its own.

And, over it all, through it all, the voice of the Sea, the touch of it upon my cheek in dremes, the imagined smell of it tucked within an errant wind, the endless blue of it stretching towards an unseen shore......


Wow. This is incredibly beautiful. Word-pictures that speak to the heart.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-20 03:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for stopping by, Shirebound. I love anything that touches on the theme of the Sea and restlessness of heart it inspires in those who feels its call. Jan-u-wine has really tapped into it, in relation to Frodo.

P.S. You often have trouble with LJ performing properly when I do not, but I have found LJ utterly sluggish this evening, trying to enter and revise the final draft the last few hours. And it was super-slow opening your reply. Has it been that way for you?
Shirebound
shirebound at 2010-03-20 03:21 (UTC) (Link)
It's been slow for me for several days. Whatever 'upgrades' the LJ folks did seem to have really glitched things up. *sigh*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-20 03:28 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, dear. Is that why? Even just now, getting ready to write this reply, the text box took so long to come up I was thinking of going and washing the dishes. :(
Shirebound
shirebound at 2010-03-20 03:29 (UTC) (Link)
They announced in news about a lot of upgrades this week, and also some bugs that are being found and fixed.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-20 04:05 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, well if they didn't find a bug, *we* did! :)
Elycia
elycia at 2010-03-20 08:48 (UTC) (Link)
Lovely, lovely words and pictures. I'm on a borrowed computer so don't have time to elaborate, but I liked this very much. Thanks for sharing!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-20 12:57 (UTC) (Link)
Elycia, thanks for reading and commenting. No comment is too brief! :)
verangel
verangel at 2010-03-20 21:08 (UTC) (Link)
"The more filled with them, by them, I became, the more my heart quietened. The more my eyes took in, the less they saw. And the silence within grew until it had a sound of its own.

And, over it all, through it all, the voice of the Sea, the touch of it upon my cheek in dremes, the imagined smell of it tucked within an errant wind, the endless blue of it stretching towards an unseen shore......

the swift sunrise of my long-ago vision, stealing with soft promise upon hills minted new with sweet grass …."

Oh my. between the exerpts from Tolkien that hurt me for Frodo with his waiting and the despair of the uncertainty, even though he was certain of his decision. Leaving all and especially his beloved Sam after all they had been through. But, then the blessed peace and the healing of the sea. There is nothing like the ocean to me. It is majestic and sings with every movement of its waves. It is magical and a mystery and heals my soul every time I am by it.
Thank you both so much for this. Early (5:40 am) I was on my laptop cause I couldn't sleep. Annwyn had just posted her new icons. I immediately picked one and marveled at the beauty of it. It reminds me of Frodo waiting for his Sam to come to him, naked, free of pain...his heart healed.

hugs you both so close. Lovely, absolutly lovely xoooxox v
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-21 01:22 (UTC) (Link)
Your comment is so full of love and empathy for Frodo. I feel as though the Sea that called and comforted him does the same for you. Thanks so much, Verangel, for commenting.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-03-20 21:18 (UTC) (Link)
Heart-stirring stuff Ladies. The prose gave me goose bumps, and the images are simply beautiful - the perfect choice.

The Music of the Ainur, The Book of Lost Tales, Pt. 1: That was beautiful.
I wonder if it is the same as the text in the Silmarillion. I must get around to reading TboLT.

The link below is interesting (if you can ignore the piiiip, piiiip, piiiip, in the background.)

http://www.tradebit.com/tagworld.php/sea+sound+effect

This is from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSdkr2eZ1Is

--Estë

P.S. Even as a young child I loved to listen to the crash of the waves on the shore. Especially snuggled down in a warm bed. The sound became louder as the tide came in. Happy memories.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-21 01:42 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, Este, those were great. I bookmarked the sound effects site. The ones with seagulls are especially appealing to me. Loved the storm with lightning, too.

Wasn't that another excellent jan-u-wine creation? I'm so glad you're following along. I expect to have the second post in which Frodo and the Sea are connected tomorrow.

I wonder if it is the same as the text in the Silmarillion. I must get around to reading TboLT.

If you've read the Silmarillion, the material in Pts. 1 and 2 of 'The Book of Lost Tales' will sound very familiar to you, especially the story of the creation of Arda. Tolkien did change many of the names of characters and places over time (the versions in 'Lost Tales' are very early), which you may find confusing, and details and plot points of the stories are different, but they still are quite recognizable. What I like best about the early versions vis-a-vis the published 'Silmarillion' is that many of them have so much more detail. The later versions of 'The Silmarillion' (except things he was working into novelistic prose narratives, like the story of Turin in 'Unfinished Tales') are usually streamlined, terser, cleaner, more elegant. But I like having both. The early stories can be rather cluttered, Tolkien going into too much detail about the way things look or packed with extraneous things that happened, but for me all that helps fill out the world he envisioned, even if, strictly judged as writing, it's not as good.
lindenella
lindenella at 2010-03-21 17:45 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful! Both words and pictures. Thank you both for sharing them.

I always love to visit the seaside. The open expanse of the ocean and the sound of waves are very calming I find.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-21 18:20 (UTC) (Link)
I'm pleased you enjoyed the post! And your icon is lovely, and so apt. :)
telstar109
telstar_gold at 2010-03-21 20:44 (UTC) (Link)
What a gorgeous post, a real feast. Jan is so incredibly gifted, and your choice of images complements her words perfectly. And of course, not forgetting the very apt excerpts from one who has inspired so many! Thank you! :))
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-21 22:54 (UTC) (Link)
"from one who has inspired so many"

Isn't that the truth! He's certainly inspired me, and continues to do so. Thanks for stopping, Telstar. You are so gracious. I appreciate it immensely.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-22 15:33 (UTC) (Link)
I love the passage you cited. I love what it says, but also how Tolkien says it. It warms me that you liked it, too. Many LotR fans balk at some of his writing for the earlier ages of M-E, with its more archaic forms and usages. I think they are put off by it, thinking it sounds odd, or stilted, trying [ineffectively] to capture the 'feel' of the language of ancient legends. I love that stuff.

Yes, I hear that call, too. But I think the call of the Sea, for me, stands for a deeper call which runs underneath it. I'm like the people described in your quote, who "long for they know not what". :)
 Paulie
not_alone at 2010-03-22 21:43 (UTC) (Link)
Love the pics, especially the two by Alan Lee. His drawings are exquisite.

".home. And, oh, the sun rising and pulling mist-ghosts from fields still sleeping in chill dawn, and the deep ancient green of the Brandywine as we crossed the bridge.....
They spoke to my heart in ways which nothing else might. I began to have hope that it should be enough, this home-coming, that these familiar sights, sounds.... places would, in time, replace the despair that too frequently claimed me."


I have to admit I always wish these things had been enough. While understanding that he had to cross the sea to be healed, to me the beauty and comforts of The Shire are far more appealing than the sea which, though fascinating, is cold and alien in comparison. I know I should be able to grasp that what awaits him over the sea will be wonderful - but I can't imagine anything more comforting than The Shire. I know this is one of the reasons I find the parting at The Grey Havens so unbearable:)

Thank you ladies for another wonderful post:)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-22 23:31 (UTC) (Link)
While understanding that he had to cross the sea to be healed, to me the beauty and comforts of The Shire are far more appealing than the sea which, though fascinating, is cold and alien in comparison.

What an excellent hobbit you make! Surely that is just the sentiment that would be expressed around the Shire, including by Sam. Me, I love both; they appeal to different sides of me. :)

Thanks for stopping, Paulie. You love for Frodo and his world fills your comment.
Eandme
eandme at 2010-03-25 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this post. I have loved it. The pictures that go with the text are perfect and made it more of an "experience" than just a read. I felt toward the end that I could really understand Frodo, that there was a sort of sigh of relief in his leaving the Shire. Lovely!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-03-25 19:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, eandme. You attend to the text (and images) and it shows in your comment. I really appreciate your sensitive reading.
antane
antane at 2010-04-10 21:15 (UTC) (Link)
I love most his thoughts about Sam, beloved brother of his heart, and the interesting idea that where Sam's voice ended, the Sea's began. Certainly he was blessed by the Vala Ulmo in many ways throughout his life and he must have wondered why the Sea was integral to his life which he could not have understood until he traveled over it. God bless.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2010-04-22 03:18 (UTC) (Link)
I love the way Tolkien integrated his sea-longing theme into Frodo's story. I think it was there from very early on, that Frodo would sail into the uttermost West at the end of the tale, even before Frodo's character was named Frodo.
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