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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Minas Morgul Pt. 2: ‘No one will ever know’, plus jan-u-wine’s “Moon Tower”....

Posted on 2007.06.23 at 21:10
Tags: , , ,
~*~


Other than jan-u-wine's poem, which says volumes about Frodo's experience in the vale of Minas Morgul, I have little else to say about this section. The caps are, I think, spectacular (if a person is a suffering-Frodo fan). They have been cropped and tweaked to better bring out Frodo's facial expressions.


~*~


Book scene: from The Stairs of Cirith Ungol.

At that moment the Wraith-king turned and spurred his horse and rode across the bridge, and all his dark host followed him. Maybe the elven-hoods defied his unseen eyes, and the mind of his small enemy, being strengthened, had turned aside his thought. But he was in haste. Already the hour had struck, and at his great Master’s bidding he must march with war into the West.

Soon he had passed, like a shadow into shadow, down the winding road, and behind him still the black ranks crossed the bridge. So great an army had never issued from that vale since the days of Isildur’s might; no host so fell and strong in arms had yet assailed the fords of Anduin; and yet it was but one and not the greatest of the hosts that Mordor now sent forth.

Frodo stirred. And suddenly his heart went out to Faramir. ‘The storm has burst at last,’ he thought. ‘This great array of spears and swords is going to Osgiliath. Will Faramir get across in time? He guessed it, but did he know the hour? And who can now hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. There will be no one I can tell. It will be in vain.’ Overcome with weakness he wept. And still the host of Morgul crossed the bridge.

~*~


Someone in TORc's "M00bies Reads the Books" pointed out that this moment in which Frodo's heart is wrung at the thought of Faramir facing this vast and terrible army, was virtually the last readers would hear of Frodo's interior life, the last section written from his point of view.

It is a terribly poignant note to end on. Frodo already believes Gandalf is dead when he arrives at Henneth Annun, but after hearing Faramir's account of Boromir's death, Frodo wonders if he and Sam are not all that remain of the Fellowship. Even if he accomplishes his mission and destroys the Ring, who that he loves will ever know about it? No one will be left even to tell Bilbo—should there still be a Bilbo—or a Rivendell—after the full force of Sauron's fist strikes, the first finger of which Frodo sees stretching from Minas Morgul. No wonder, then, that "overcome with weakness he wept."

Frodo weeps frequently in the films, the film portrayal relying on Frodo's feelings being made visible, but Frodo in the book almost never weeps openly. That he should do so here shows how affected he is by the thought that the person so recently his host, the noble and gracious son of the Steward of Gondor, would soon meet a terrible death. Worse, watching the seemingly endless host streaming from Minas Morgul, was the thought that all the folk of the West would soon meet a terrible death, whole peoples annihilated. And Frodo, being Frodo, takes the burden on himself.

I am too late.... I tarried on the way. All is lost.

"I tarried on the way." Such a weight of self-blame lies in that short sentence. And it is not the last time Frodo will anguish, thinking, "If only I had not tarried on the way...."

The terse conclusion of the paragraph is, I think, brilliant:

And still the host of Morgul crossed the bridge.

In one sentence is expressed the experience many have had in the midst of grief, whether over the death of a loved one or a wider catastrophe: no matter what we are suffering, the world does not stop, and harsh reality rolls on.

~*~


Jan-u-wine's Moon Tower follows the caps. It powerfully expands on the Minas Morgul sequence.











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~*~





Moon Tower

~ by jan-u-wine



By the silver’d beacons of the moon was your stone hewn,
the pearl lustre of Him

spilt,
burnished fine-threaded mithril,
from bridge to tower.

Many are the years passed,
(lives lost or forgotten,

overwritten by time)
since these walls echoed with glad voices,

since Nimloth’s tender seedling
sang with the sundered light of Telperion,

since the Ithil-stone gladly spoke
(and heard answer)
from many-tiered Anor.

Ithilduin provison’d the meads,
then,
and fair elanor grew,
golden star-eyes smiling ,

bright,
amongst the grasses.

I dare not name
what grows here now,

or what
dwells

within these walls,

what wakes and walks

and sleeps not
within the bruised towers.

I have come to understand:

there is death.

And there is that which is worse.

The tormented land beneath my feet
knows it.

The wind that carries Spring to other lands
(but dares not breathe within these dark confines)
knows it.

*Some* there are,
even,
upon these dread and be-fouled walls
who know it.

And *I*.

I know it.

It calls me –

*they* call me –

as if evil were a flower
of the most rare and

perfect
beauty,

as if that which lies

beneath
the cloak of green-limned death

is beyond
(and worth)
all price.

Almost.

Almost I might believe,

here,

*here*
upon the bridge of midnight,
fingers of ghost-fog

winding me about,
streaming against the dull’d light,

twisted figures of men and beasts
tortured,

frozen upon razor’d battlements…..

a tainted blade seeking,
still,

my heart…..

Almost,
in the midst of this endless dark,

I might take it for truth.

There is something, else, yet, which I might also take.

Before It takes me.

There is no comfort in reaching for It,

no warmth or light,

no,
nor any truth.

Departed from my own will,
my fingers rise.

My heart beats beneath them,
far-away,

as if it were a drum worn near to breaking.

But not broken.

Not yet.

Alongside the slickened hollow where It lies,
something else calls me.

Starlight.

Through my fingers it runs,
through my mind.

With finality,
my will is set.

It is yet dark when we take the upwards road.

I look down upon the ruin below.

As in a dreme, I see her as she once was.

Fair City of the Moon,
I shall see you restored.

I turn my back upon her and climb.





Author’s Note: Frodo never *saw* Minas Ithil restored. After the fall of Sauron and the coronation of the King, Aragorn decreed that she be utterly destroyed, the lands being made clean for seven years. By this time, of course, Frodo had long since departed over-Sea. It seems unlikely, though, that Minas Ithil, sister of Minas Anor (Minas Tirith) was ever rebuilt, as the memory of the evil that had lived there remained in the hearts of men.





~*~





Related Entries:


~ Minas Morgul Pt. 1: The Dead City.


~ Minas Morgul Pt. 2: ‘No one will ever know’, plus jan-u-wine’s “Moon Tower”.




Tables of Links:



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


~ All Frodo and Elijah screencaps.



~ Mechtild

Comments:


Prim
primula_baggins at 2007-06-24 02:32 (UTC) (Link)
"I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. There will be no one I can tell. It will be in vain.’ Overcome with weakness he wept."

So, so sad and moving.

*weeps with Frodo*

Don't give up Frodo! The others are still alive!
Prim
primula_baggins at 2007-06-24 02:35 (UTC) (Link)
BTW, your screen caps are amazing and show the agony so clearly. Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 13:13 (UTC) (Link)
My god, those pictures are nearly unbearable to look at.

Yet who can look away? Not I.

Even his hand shows the pain he's feeling.

I agree, Mews, his hand is very eloquent in these frames.

And the poem? Super. I love how she follows Frodo through all his inner darkness and comes out in the end with his resolve to go on, with no-frills hobbit-like endurance, in spite of how he feels.
(Deleted comment)
verangel
verangel at 2007-06-24 03:12 (UTC) (Link)
I just have chills and tears reading this, especially with that footnote at the end. I so love this story. Its so beautiful..every bit. These pictures set the stage of the anguish to come in ROTK...the torment and hurt and taking over. That Frodo had to suffer so much is really depicted here. It was always present, always hurtful either to mind, or body or both.
hugs you...I love to remember...its enriched my life totally in so many ways. xoxo v
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 13:00 (UTC) (Link)
It's a beautifully done passage, book and film. They are not the same, but they are both excellent in their way. I adore this passage in the book, which tells me so much of nature of Frodo's sorrow: grief over lost friends, fear that he will lose those that are left, sorrow for those who will be facing (he would think) even worse fates than his, and sadness that no one will ever know his story.

I think that's one of the things that has always twisted my heart, about Frodo and about anyone I've read about who died in extremity and died alone--people lost in the wilderness, trapped in a mine shaft, imprisoned by enemies--never to be heard of again, feeling themselves abandoned by fate and the world.
sams_star
sams_star at 2007-06-24 04:18 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry I haven't commented lately, but I have been reading and enjoying your commentary and screencaps very much the last few months!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 12:53 (UTC) (Link)
Good morning, Sam's Star! I'm glad to know you still are looking and reading. Thanks for stopping in.
Claudia's Cove
claudia603 at 2007-06-24 12:41 (UTC) (Link)
It's so painful to see Frodo's anguished, pained expression throughout but what a fine, fine job Elijah did at portraying that!

And that poem is just exquisite!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 21:35 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for posting, Claudia. Yes, EW was super in this scene. Talk about "utterly convincing". And the poem rises to the challenge.
Ann
aquila0212 at 2007-06-24 13:04 (UTC) (Link)
Those caps really are quite something -- well done, Mech.

You know, I've now seen that so many times that all I keep focusing on is how white his teeth are. I always thought WETA should've knocked that down a little: in the middle of Mordor, I don't imagine brushing his teeth is a huge priority ;)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 13:27 (UTC) (Link)
That is so FUNNY, Aquila. Funny because you're right, his teeth should be looking pretty dingy by now, and because jan-u-wine just said that to me in an email. "Great minds..." etc. I'll forgive him the white teeth.
pearlette
pearlette at 2007-06-24 17:25 (UTC) (Link)
Frodo stirred. And suddenly his heart went out to Faramir. ‘The storm has burst at last,’ he thought. ‘This great array of spears and swords is going to Osgiliath. Will Faramir get across in time? He guessed it, but did he know the hour? And who can now hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. There will be no one I can tell. It will be in vain.’ Overcome with weakness he wept.

OMG, I love this book passage so much. My heart goes out to Frodo AND Faramir!

Ian Holm as Frodo, acting this bit in the BBC radio LOTR, is magnificent. Holm sometimes overacts, but often he pitches the performance just right. This is one of those moments.

Those caps are awesome. Elijah's acting and expressiveness is really something else. *le sigh!*

Oh, and Jan's poem is sheer perfection, as always.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 21:42 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Ian Holm as Frodo. He could do with his voice what EW did with his face and eyes. Both of them are intensely expressive, sometimes over the top, but fully invested in their different versions of Frodo.

That's one of my favourite passages in the book too, Pearl. *sob*

Jan's away but I will tell her to peek in here and see the comments when she gets back. :)
 Paulie
not_alone at 2007-06-24 20:47 (UTC) (Link)
Looking at these pics it's almost impossible to believe that this is just acting, that he isn't actually suffering terribly. He's amazing. Sorry I haven't got round to commenting lately but I do always enjoy your posts and jan-u-wine's wonderful poems:)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-24 21:44 (UTC) (Link)
Looking at these pics it's almost impossible to believe that this is just acting, that he isn't actually suffering terribly.

I agree, Not_alone. The expression is trite at this point in the 21st century, but his performance is so real I can "feel his pain".

Thanks for commenting!
Mona
lame_pegasus at 2007-06-24 22:07 (UTC) (Link)
This is one of the scenes I really loved in the books - because Tolkien gave Frodo more "expression", more emotions, so to speak (this is one of the very rare moments when he makes him weep). You could feel his hopelessness and pain so utterly clear, and even though PJ's version makes him weaker and a lot more vulnerable, it still feels "right". And the poem is breathtaking - but I should be used to jan-u-wines skills meanwhile. *weak smile*

Sorry for commenting so rarely these days - RL is painful and insane right now.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-25 01:06 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting, Belegcuthalion. Yes, even though it is very different from the book (which includes some of our favourite Frodo moments, as you say), this is a scene that the filmmakers did extremely well. I really do think it's super, even if I don't get to have "my" Frodo (i.e. Tolkien's Frodo).

But what's happening in Real Life that is painful? I know your life is continually hectic, but "painful"? I don't like the sound of that, Mona. :(
Illyria
illyria_novia at 2007-06-25 10:59 (UTC) (Link)
The one thought that ran through my mind when I saw these caps was "Pain is ugly!" and kudos for Elijah for conveying that idea so blindingly clearly and with such consummate abandon.

And thanks for the caps, and the quote. What a painful/delicious reminder on how reading those last stages of Frodo's journey was such an earth-shattering experience.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-25 11:20 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Illyria. "Consummate abandon". I like that! I hope EW will have occasion to demonstrate it again onscreen in the future. :)
earths_daughter
earths_daughter at 2007-06-26 16:18 (UTC) (Link)
"I can feel his blade" must be one of the most redundant lines in the entire trilogy. The first time I saw this scene it left me shaking. I have seen other actors display a controlled reaction to pain but never anyone act so utterly overcome and out of control as when the pain strikes his shoulder. Then he gradually gets a grip. It is just brilliant.

The only other example I can think of that is similar is Mark sobbing with fear at the climax of The Good Son.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-27 00:59 (UTC) (Link)
I have seen other actors display a controlled reaction to pain but never anyone act so utterly overcome and out of control as when the pain strikes his shoulder. Then he gradually gets a grip. It is just brilliant.

I shook, too. It created a visceral reaction. Yes, it's totally convincing, the acting in this scene. You make me want to check "The Good Son" out of the library. I only watched it once, but your remark makes me want to see his "sobbing of fear" response at the climax. By "climax" do you mean the hanging-over-the-cliff scene or earlier in the sequence?
(Anonymous) at 2007-06-26 19:46 (UTC) (Link)
The past few screencap entries have been superb, as usual, Mechtild.

Elijah is wonderful here. I can believe the depth of physical pain Frodo is suffering, and this inflicted by a memory (if that is what it is?) - albeit an intense one induced by the evil presence of the witch-king - of his stabbing at Weathertop.

Although, as in the book-text, he experiences the ‘pull’ of the Ring as he is drawn across the white bridge, film-Frodo appears to feel no compulsion to put the Ring on in this scene, either as the witch-king mounted on his fell-beast perches atop the tower wall, or as he swoops through the foul air close (too close it seems) above them.

The screencaps are exceptionally good. Against the darker background Frodo’s face, contorted with pain and distress, is strongly emphasized. Jan’s poem is once again powerful and moving.

Thank you both.

Blossom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-06-27 01:11 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Blossom. Thanks for stopping in! And you are so right that the film scene is not written with a "I want to put on the Ring" moment in it. But it shows him doing what he does in the book version, though, very well:

Frodo felt his senses reeling and his mind darkening. Then suddenly, as if some force were at work other than his own will, he began to hurry, tottering forward, his groping hands held out, his head lolling from side to side. Both Sam and Gollum ran after him. Sam caught his master in his arms, as he stumbled and almost fell, right on the threshold of the bridge.

I think the film version is extremely faithful to this, even down to the choreography. What the film version doesn't have is the moment when Frodo, after the Witch-king approaches the bridge, feels the call to put on the Ring. Instead it shows him re-living the wounding on Weathertop and nearly swooning from the pain and terror of the memory relived while the Witch-king screeches. Maybe they felt it was more important to remind viewers, as exposition, of what had happened before (about Frodo and the Witch-king on Weathertop). RotK was a year after TTT and two years after FotR. This is reinforced in RotK when Gandalf is telling Pippin who the Witch-king is (on the balcony in Minas Tirith), that he "stabbed Frodo on Weathertop".

If so, the scene capped above made for some super-good expostion!

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