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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

"Farewell to Rivendell" screencaps ~ FotR EE....

Posted on 2007.02.09 at 22:48
Tags: , ,




I loved this EE scene from the first time I saw it. With its mix of wistful regret and deep-breath-before-the-plunge subdued anticipation, I thought the mood perfect. I liked the way it depicted the Elven world, too. Like the Rivendell scenes throughout, it was filmed with elegiac beauty.

The book talked about the Elven places – Lorien, to be specific – as possessing a beauty both immediate and of great antiquity. Besides the impression of purity (in Lorien there was no stain), a major impression was of it being present and remote at the same time. In Lorien, it was as if Frodo were seeing the Elder Days, an age long past, come to life before his waking eyes, he thought; yet it was more alive than anything he’d seen. The colours were ones he knew, yet they seemed fresh and poignant, as if he were seeing them for the first time.

I think the filmmakers gave a sense of this in their Rivendell sequences, rather than in the Lorien scenes, in which they established a very different mood and look from the book: beautiful but eerie, chilly; even threatening.

Perhaps because time seems to be collapsed in the film, the Fellowship doesn’t seem to stay very long at Rivendell. It still seems mild, not cold or wintry, just pleasantly cool, like early autumn. Leaves fell at the Council of Elrond, but the trees in the farewell scene are leafy and green. In the book scene (excerpt below), it’s branch-snapping winter when the Fellowship leaves, December 25th, at the feet of mountains comparable to the Alps. Bilbo chatters seeing them off.

In the film, the look and feel of Rivendell is more like book-Lorien, where the weather is sequestered from winter, soft and mild, the trees still covered with [golden] leaves. In film-Rivendell, the colours are soft but very natural in the early light, as if mist were still rising off the dewy surfaces of everything. There is a softness to the lighting, as if the scene were painted on old parchment, further implying antiquity. But the verdure is green, not autumnal, fresh and alive, like a cool, ferny forest in which no one has yet trod.

Some fans disliked this scene because of Frodo’s last line (“Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?”), which they found inane. Well, we know by now that PJ really can’t resist those humorous little touches. I never minded, Frodo is so dear and lovely saying it.

He looks even lovelier, perhaps, in the turning of his head as he walks to the gate. In the opening shots, as Elrond delivers his blessing, Frodo looks much like he did in the Council of Elrond; attentive, resolute, chin up. But then comes the head-turn. I can’t think of images from the three films in which Frodo looks more deer-like. His manner and features are as sensitively and delicately nuanced as a fawn’s, stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time.

As for the “Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?” sequence, how can I complain? Yes, Frodo would very well know which way to go when leaving Rivendell, but when he has the face of a Michelangelo, bathed in the dew of the first dawning of the world, I cannot dwell on that. I have interpreted the line as an expression of Frodo’s flusterment, all eyes unaccustomedly upon him – increasingly awed then made resolute by the enormity of what he was doing.*


* ETA: For some excellent observations on appreciating how the "Gandalf, Mordor...?" question can work for viewers, see the comments of chickenlegs and estelanui below.


~*~



When I learned to make screencaps, I knew I would one day make caps of this EE sequence, since I have always wanted more shots from this scene than were available on websites. Now I have them. Perhaps some of you have been wanting them, too.

As usual, I have cropped, brightened, and sharpened the focus of these images. Since there are 35 caps, it may take a while for some of you to open them all. I apologize, but they are best seen together.


~*~



For reference, here are the two versions of the scene, book and film.


Book scene, abridged, from The Ring Goes South:

Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. A gleam of firelight came from the open doors, and soft lights were glowing in many windows. Bilbo huddled in a cloak stood silent on the doorstep beside Frodo. Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him. The others could be seen as grey shapes in the darkness.

(…) Elrond came out with Gandalf, and he called the Company to him. ‘This is my last word,’ he said in a low voice. ‘The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mt. Doom. On him alone is any charge laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the Council, and only then in gravest need. The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way.’ (…)

‘Good . . . good luck!’ cried Bilbo, stuttering with the cold. ‘I don’t suppose you will be able to keep a diary, Frodo my lad, but I shall expect a full account when you get back. And don’t be too long! Farewell!’

Many others of Elrond’s household stood in the shadows and watched them go, bidding them farewell with soft voices. There was no laughter and no song or music. At last they turned away and faded silently into the dusk.

They crossed the bridge and wound slowly up the long steep paths that led out of the cloven vale of Rivendell; and they came at length to the high moor where the wind hissed through the heather. Then with one glance at the Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night.



Film scene, from EE of FotR:

The Fellowship and the elves are gathered in a courtyard in Rivendell [in what appears to be the early morning].

Elrond: The Ringbearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On you who travel with him, no oath nor bond is laid to go further than you will.

Aragorn exchanges looks with Arwen, who looks as if she's going to cry.

Elrond: Farewell. Hold to your purpose. May the blessings of Elves and Men and all Free Folk go with you.

Gandalf: The Fellowship awaits the Ring-bearer.

Frodo looks around at everyone uncomfortably, then starts out on the path.

Frodo: Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?

Gandalf: Left.

The company follows. Aragorn exchanges a last glance with Arwen.

Scene: The Fellowship departs from Rivendell. They travel through the woods, over open plains and hillsides. They pause on a hill in the wild



~*~











~ Elrond's blessing, the head turn and exit through the gate.





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Previous entry:
~ Riv. 15 – Bilbo's remorse, plus jan-u-wine's 'Rivendell Suite Pt. 8'.

Links to other LotR screencaps here.


~ Mechtild



Comments:


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alyrthia
alyrthia at 2007-02-10 07:46 (UTC) (Link)
His manner and features are as sensitively and delicately nuanced as a fawn’s, stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time.

Oh, Mechtild!! These are just the best. That sensitive, intelligent beauty. Keen and attentive, and without any pretense, it's all himself,so within himself. Frodo still just takes my breath away. These are just so beautiful they make my mind whirl!!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Alyon. "Sensitive", "intelligent", "attentive", "keen", "without pretense" -- yes, he looks all these things.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 17:56 (UTC) (Link)
Chickenlegs, this was a great little reflection. Do scroll down and see what Estelanui wrote; the points both of you make what would be a very good addendum to that part of the post. Might I do that?

Isn't it often the case that scenes which shouldn't move us, based on logical inconsistencies on the upper-most level of sense (i.e. "How could Frodo not know which direction was east and south of Rivendell?"), nevertheless do? The deeper effect of Frodo, younger and more vulnerable looking than ever, asking, "Mordor, Gandalf, which way is it...?" makes an impact. It brings a smile because there is humour there. He says not, "which way should I go/take?", but "which way is Mordor?" Someone here preparing to drive across the country to NYC might ask, "Which way is the highway entrance?", but they wouldn't ask, "Which way is New York?" The humour of the *way* he asked which way to go endeared him to me, eliciting an, "Aw, isn't he cute?" smile. But, as you say, since the viewer knows he's heading toward dreadful things to come, the smile dies away and is replaced with tenderness even greater than before.

Heck, you said it better:

In my view the writers use a seemingly humorous line to grab the viewers attention and push them further along to the realisation of just WHO is taking on this massive quest. Not a king or a warrior or an elf. Just one wee hobbit armed only with this love of the shire. Oh I gotta stop now as I just get so emotional about this beloved character!!

P.S. I love love love those lines on his cheeks, too. I don't think there are images of him in which they are more pronounced than these. Perhaps Elijah Wood the actor was particularly tired in real life. His schedule was often gruelling. Perhaps it was the lighting in this scene. But they only underscored the viewer's sense of him as vulnerable -- not a super-hero, but a maimable, killable person like the rest of us.

(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 17:57 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thanks for the comment, Chickenlegs. I'm glad you found them. I always link them in screencaps post and keep the link in the table of links on the menu bar. I recently added thumbnails, too, to make it easier to know which caps are being referred to.
shelbyshire
shelbyshire at 2007-02-10 13:38 (UTC) (Link)
These caps are gorgeous, Mechtild. I especially love the ones that show a pointy ear. Off for a cup of coffee before I read the rest of the comments. Thank you.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:05 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shelbyshire. There are not that many shots that offer really nice views of the ear; this series has many.
Shirebound
shirebound at 2007-02-10 13:58 (UTC) (Link)
His manner and features are as sensitively and delicately nuanced as a fawn’s, stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time.

As for the “Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?” sequence, how can I complain? Yes, Frodo would very well know which way to go when leaving Rivendell, but when he has the face of a Michelangelo, bathed in the dew of the first dawning of the world, I cannot dwell on that.


Your commentary really enhances the impact of these pics! And I completely agree.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:06 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shirebound. Have a look at the posts of Chickenlegs and Estelanui on the "Gandalf, Mordor, is it left of right?" moment. You'll perhaps love what they wrote, too.
Alchemie
alchemie at 2007-02-10 16:11 (UTC) (Link)
Frodo is absolutely breathtaking in these shots.

*has heart pains*

This is one of my first icons...from this series of shots.

Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:07 (UTC) (Link)
Greetings, Alchemilla! Yes, it's a lovely series and an excellent scene.
Gentle Hobbit
gentlehobbit at 2007-02-10 16:56 (UTC) (Link)
As for the “Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?” sequence, how can I complain? Yes, Frodo would very well know which way to go when leaving Rivendell, but when he has the face of a Michelangelo, bathed in the dew of the first dawning of the world, I cannot dwell on that. I have interpreted the line as an expression of Frodo’s flusterment, all eyes unaccustomedly upon him – increasingly awed then made resolute by the enormity of what he was doing.

*chuckle*

I thought that it was a little inane, but I also, for the same reasons you have given, found it endearing. I've often been in two minds about extra bits or extrapolations that Jackson did (very confusing to always have two minds arguing!) But I'm quite content to enjoy the scene anyways, and to enjoy these lovely screen caps that you've made. I also enjoy your own descriptions and commentary. Thank you! :)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:08 (UTC) (Link)
Take a look at the comments of Chickenlegs and Estelani, Gentlehobbit. I think they give better and deeper reflections on why what seems like an inane question nevertheless makes an affecting moment.

Thanks for commenting!
Estelanui - Francesca
estelanui at 2007-02-10 17:15 (UTC) (Link)
Your beautiful screencaps made me again savour a loved scene without the action speed and my involvement in the plot.

In the opening shots, … Frodo looks much like he did in the Council of Elrond; attentive, resolute, chin up. … I can’t think of images from the three films in which Frodo looks more deer-like. His manner and features are as sensitively and delicately nuanced as a fawn’s, stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time.

You described the scene so very well.
Indeed he seems a fawn looking the surroundings in trepidation, nearly smelling the air. Still his look shows more than frailty or simplicity, there is also an iron resolution to take on his task.

I never disliked Frodo’s question to Gandalf. I always paired off it with his “I will take the Ring to Mordor. Though-- I do not know the way.” during the Council of Elrond. It shows beautifully the soul of the Ringbearer that offer himself knowing his inadequacy.
If there is humour in the ‘left or right’ question is the contrast between the ‘gravity’ of the elves and the humility and simplicity of Frodo that tell also of his confidence in Gandalf.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 18:03 (UTC) (Link)
I never disliked Frodo’s question to Gandalf. I always paired off it with his “I will take the Ring to Mordor. Though-- I do not know the way.” during the Council of Elrond. It shows beautifully the soul of the Ringbearer that offer himself knowing his inadequacy.

Wonderfully expressed, Estelanui. That's just what I was thinking of this morning, re-reading the post. "Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?" serves to restate what Frodo says taking on the Quest at the Council, but it poses it as a question. The effect (for some of us) is that it touches us even more. Frodo's vulnerable, young, even delicate looks in the Farewell scene only underscore how trusting and true-hearted is the person who says he will take the Ring, "although I do not know the way".

I want to highlight what [Bad username: chickenlegs] wrote above, too (this is just part of it, she wrote more, if you want to take a look):

I'm rather dismayed to learn that there are some people who thought that "Mordor" line as innane. I think they completely miss the point. And I've never taken it as just a straight jokey line either. It has a slight hint of humour yes, but for me, the overwhelming impact (and I've always assumed intent of the writers) was to show the absolute simplicity and humility of this dear hobbit. The monomental task he is about to undertaken is heart-breakingly highlighted by this utterly innocent question. He could be asking the way to the post office, but in fact his question is actually which way to my death and agonising destruction (for Frodo fully expected to die on his quest). In my view the writers use a seemingly humourous line to grab the viewers attention and push them further along to the realisation of just WHO is taking on this massive quest. Not a king or a warrior or an elf. Just one wee hobbit armed only with this love of the shire. Oh I gotta stop now as I just get so emotional about this beloved character!!


Isn’t that great? Together, you two make quite a team on this issue of the value of the "Mordor" line. I may want to incorporate your and Chickenlegs remarks into an ETA if I have time. Would that be all right?
 Paulie
not_alone at 2007-02-10 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
So glad to see you back, Mechtild!! And I'm overjoyed that you've chosen to screencap this wonderful scene - I will never understand how they could bring themselves to cut this from the theatrical version.

But then comes the head-turn. I can’t think of images from the three films in which Frodo looks more deer-like. His manner and features are as sensitively and delicately nuanced as a fawn’s, stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time.

There are so many moments throughout the trilogy where I always think "Why, oh why didn't they give him an Oscar?" -and this is certainly one of them - it brings tears to my eyes every single time. You have come up with the perfect description of Frodo here - the fawn stepping into a clearing by itself for the first time - absolutely spot-on:) He looks so vulnerable. And have you noticed the change in the music here? It turns into a most beautiful, heartbreaking melody. I have no problem with the Mordor question - I think it's rather sweet. Thank you so much for these lovely screencaps and the wonderful, descriptive text:)


Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 17:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting, Not Alone. Do look at the comments of Chicklegs and Estelanui, who say excellent things in defense of the Mordor question.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 22:54 (UTC) (Link)
Frodo's so afraid, and dreads leaving the comparative comfort and safety of Rivendell, but he's going on in spite of that.

He's not the blithe lad in Gandalf's cart, that's for sure. Lovely comment, Mews.
sams_star
sams_star at 2007-02-10 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thanks you--these are so gorgeous, as is your commentary and so many others too. I wish I was so eloquent--your comments are often reflecting exactly what I was feeling but could never put into words so clearly! *hugs you tight*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-10 22:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting, Sam's Star. Yes, the comments to this were worth eliciting. People keep adding thoughtful, heartfelt observations. I appreciate it.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-02-11 13:11 (UTC) (Link)
This is so beautiful, Mechling! The screen-caps are beyond beautiful. Film Frodo is beyond beautiful. I am smitten all over again. I really became quite nostalgic looking at the images. It is a strange and wonderful feeling indeed. A trip down Memory Lane with all the related emotions washing over me. I shall spoil myself with another view of the EE FOTR as soon as may be.

I hope you don’t mind if I swoon a little.


So through the eyes love attains the heart:
For the eyes are the scouts of the heart,
And the eyes go reconnoitring
For what it would please the heart to possess.
And when they are in full accord
And firm, all three, in one resolve,
At that time, perfect love is born
From what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.
Not otherwise can love either be born or have commencement
Than by this birth and commencement moved by inclination.

By the grace and by command
Of these three, and from their pleasure,
Love is born, who its fair hope
Goes comforting her friends.
For as all true lovers
Know, love is perfect kindness,
Which is born - there is no doubt - from the heart and eyes.
The eyes make it blossom; the heart matures it:
Love, which is the fruit of their very seed.

- Guiraut de Borneilh (c. 1138-1200?)
julchen11
julchen11 at 2007-02-11 15:10 (UTC) (Link)
What a beautiful poem, my dear. It fits so well to this wonderful post.
Thank you for sharing! *waves and smiles*
julchen11
julchen11 at 2007-02-11 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
Rivendell in the films looks for me like a part of a fairy tale, so surreal and gorgeous.
Your description of Frodo is absolutely perfect, my dear. The beauty of this face is indescribable … he looks so vulnerable, exhausted, fully aware of the quest. The fine lines on his face blow me away. There’s so much I wanted to say but it’s all said above.
Thank you, my dear, for this wonderful post. The caps, your comments … it couldn’t be better.
Hope you’re doing well and your Sundays is running as wonderful as mine.
Big tight Sunday hugs for you.
Love
Julchen
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-11 18:36 (UTC) (Link)
Greetings, Julchen. Yes, the Rivendell sequences were all beautifully shot, scored, and designed. (The actors weren't bad, either *grin*.)

Yes, I love those lines on his face, too, and it was so cool that chickenlegs lifted them up for notice. When comments are good and noticing like that, it's a real gift to us all.

My weekend is going fine, Julchen. I hope you are feeling all right yourself. I know you've had a lot of ups and downs, although you tend to show only your cheerful face to us.
melyanna_65
melyanna_65 at 2007-02-11 21:03 (UTC) (Link)
Awww, another fantastic set from one of my favorite movie scene!

Thank you so much, my dear!

*lots of hobbity hugs*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-11 23:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Melyanna, it was a pleasure to make these. The only difficulty was culling half of the frames out!
pearlette
pearlette at 2007-02-12 01:21 (UTC) (Link)
That first screencap at the top is simply one of the most beautiful shots of Film Frodo ever. He looks so noble and pure and other-worldly ... and also somehow in control, resolute and determined - you can see it in the set of his chin. There shines the spirit of book Frodo - his inner beauty incarnated in the shape of an extremely fetching 20something American actor from the 21st century. Here he looks like a Renaissance statue. The wonder of it is, his beauty is forever captured on film, frozen in time.

The screencaps below show the vulnerable young hobbit. OK, young in the film ... young-ish in the book (sort of).

I love this scene. It really pulls at the heartstrings. I love the music, I love everything about it. The line 'Mordor, Gandalf which way is it?' made me laugh with affecionate amusement (at PJ's choice of line) the first time I saw the EE. It's beautifully delivered.

And I love those lines under his eyes, for all the reasons people here have said.

Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-02-12 14:42 (UTC) (Link)
Pearl, it's good to see you. Yes, he does look lke the noble Frodo in those opening shots. See? There was plenty there for book lovers to love. (Yes, the music was great; new round of hugs for Howard Shore.)

I saw your Matthew Bourne-Swan Lake posts while browsing through the f-list for posts I missed while away, Pearl. You made it sound so beautiful, but it's a production about which I know nothing. I've never even seen the traditional Swan Lake, in person or on film, although I own a recording of the ballet.
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