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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Sammath Naur Pt. 8: ‘Take my hand!’, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Claiming”.

Posted on 2007.10.13 at 22:04
Tags: , ,
~*~

Warning: Some gory images.


As every reader knows, the incident of Frodo hanging suspended from the side of the Sammath Naur never happened in Tolkien's book. But here it is, in four posts of screencaps. I know, it's hard to believe, considering how many of these caps look the same apart from variations in the lighting, but these represent less than half of the caps I actually made before forcing myself to throw the majority of them out.

When I first saw RotK, having decided I hated the film half an hour in, I hated this scene, too. In quite a huff, I thought it ridiculously over the top—shameless, in fact—frankly *begging* the audience to care. Which only made me more determined not to care, digging in my heels, refusing to respond to what I thought was blatant emotional manipulation. Peter Jackson planned the whole thing (I told myself), the plunge of both Gollum and Frodo off the cliff, just to make one of his signature "book-ends". I was thinking of the moment when the hand of Sam, who is drowning in the waters of Anduin, is clasped by Frodo, who pulls him up to life. I thought the moment in the Sammath Naur was surely meant to be the reversal of that scene, with Sam saving Frodo, instead, the close-ups focusing on the very same hand-to-wrist clasp. In my I-hate-the-film mode, I thought it far too obvious.

But, when I gave up protesting what I felt were the film-version's betrayals of the book, I came to love this scene for providing a wonderful window into Frodo's internal struggle: wanting to die, having "failed", but being urged to live by Sam's solid, saving presence as he pleads with Frodo to choose life. It's difficult now to remember that I once thought this scene pandering, but, ah, that's how things change when looked at through the eyes of love.

Proofing this post, jan-u-wine said, assuring me about my radical change of heart towards this scene, apparently against my principles,


Re: your being taken by love, instead of logic: Love can, indeed, be blind. But it isn't stupid. Like the movies, the form is not always correct, but the substance, that which is at the core of the thing, the cornerstone of it all, the raw and wonderful and triumphant *spirit* of the thing, is all there.


Speaking of jan-u-wine, I want to draw the attention of readers to yet another of her stellar poems, The Claiming. As the title suggests, this is an interior look at the moment of Frodo as he claims—and is claimed by—Sauron's intrument, the Ring.

I have said so before, but, for me, reading Jan's poems is like reading great fanfiction, but in a highly concentrated form. I don't know how she does it. Another admirer of her work said, jan-u-wine's poems both enlarge and condense each moment she addresses. She can take discrete images—this leaf, that cracked yellow mug—and make them vivid, while also making them portals into multiple levels of meaning and experience. I can't do this sort of thing, but I appreciate it when done by others. It's as if she can put her ear right up to the hearts of her characters, then write beautifully about what she has heard.


~*~












Sam: Take my hand!


























Sam: No!
















































































~*~







Book scene:~*Mount Doom, cont'd.



‘Well, this is the end, Sam Gamgee,’ said a voice by his side. And there was Frodo, pale and worn, and yet himself again; and in his eyes there was peace now, neither strain of will, nor madness, nor any fear. His burden was taken away. There was the dear master of the sweet days in the Shire.

‘Master!’ cried Sam, and fell upon his knees. In all that ruin of the world for the moment he felt only joy, great joy. The burden was gone. His master had been saved; he was himself again, he was free. And then Sam caught sight of the maimed and bleeding hand.

‘Your poor hand!’ he said. ‘And I have nothing to bind it with, to comfort it. (...)











The Claiming

~ by jan-u-wine



It didn't hurt,
you know.....

at least, not in any way
I can name
with words.

Yet name it I must,
and
find words
where there are none.

It was as if I were not there.

Even now,
my mind
will not look behind the door
of the after-moment,
and see what went before.

I suppose that means
I
was not there.

Sound,
terrible sound
and visions
that fall
from my mind alone
are the only memories
that stir.

You see,
It made my mouth
say those words.

I did not claim It.

At the last,
as It had always
wished,
It claimed me.

Like a rope,
drawn too tightly,
too often upon
sharp-cornered rock,
the fibres of my
being parted,
fell away to nothing.

My own shadow
sprang,
black nightmare
upon the wall,
fed
like the will that held
my body,
by the furious intent
of flame.

The small part of me
that remained
twisted and cried
in a darkened corner
of my mind.

In a moment,
even that,
I knew,
would be gone.

Blessedly,
terribly,
I would never
know the fullness
of my failure.

How many days -

how many
ways

I waited for death,

looked for it -
wished for it.

I had not thought
that this
might be the manner
of it.

I wonder how long
my body
might go on
when the small voice
which is me
has left.

Forever,
if It wills,
I suppose.

It grows even blacker
within the confines
of my mind:

Even here, Its shadow hovers,
grows large.

It knows.

It is coming for me.

It does not lie anymore,
and whisper that I shall
know peace.

There will be no golden beauty
to wrap my dremes about.

It is here.

As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg.

Oddly, my last thought is of him:

I wonder, in this terror,
if I shall see him soon,
or if even the promise of Light beyond
death is devoured
by evil.

I do not deserve the keeping of that Promise
in any case.

I have delivered my world to consuming night.
____________________________

I know....

I know who
I am…..

what I am:

Frodo Baggins,
simple Hobbit of the Shire.

Simple.

My knees bend upon heated,
cutting rock,

my hand.....

There is blood upon my hand.

Blood and the stark whiteness
of blunt-ragged bone.

Nothing else.

No dragging weight about the curve
of my neck,

no voice caressing me,
driving me,
pushing me to madness.

Only the final echo
of a scream
within the close walls
of the chamber.

His…..

or
mine?


I do not know.

Again,

I know that soon,
I shall be no more…

know only darkness.

It is well.

This will be sweet darkness,
fed by peace and unborn
Light.

Sam.

He is here…

I remember…..

I know him
and he,
me.

It is all I would ask,
(too much, I know),

all I would ask…

for us to end,
as we began,
side-by-side.

He takes my hand.

He is asking me if it hurts.

Not in any way I can name
with words,

my Sam.





~*~







Entries in this series:


~ Sammath Naur Intro: "Why I fell for Frodo” ~ Main essay for series (this essay is friends locked).

~ Sammath Naur 1: ‘I’m here, Sam.’

~ Sammath Naur 2: ‘Throw It in the fire!’

~ Sammath Naur 3: ‘Just let It go!’, plus three poems by jan-u-wine.

~ Sammath Naur 4: ‘The Ring is mine’, plus jan-u-wine’s “That Which Is My Own”.

~ Sammath Naur 5: Gollum Bites, plus jan-u-wine’s “Frodo’s Remembrance of Gollum”.

~ Sammath Naur 6: Gollum Falls, plus essay on Gollum’s oath.

~ Sammath Naur 7: ‘Give Me Your Hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “Within the Chamber”.

~ Sammath Naur 8: ‘Take my hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Claiming".

~ Sammath Naur 9: ‘Don't you let go’, plus jan-u-wine’s “In the Garden of the Mind".

~ Sammath Naur 10: ‘Reach’, plus jan-u-wine’s “And I Don’t Mean To".



Other Tables of Links:


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

~ Frodo & Elijah Wood screencap entries



~ Mechtild


Comments:


verangel
verangel at 2007-10-14 04:12 (UTC) (Link)
Oh more tonight..and I just finally left my comments on part 7...which are soo long. I will comment to this moment:
"But, when I gave up protesting what I felt were the film-version's betrayals of the book, I came to love this scene for providing a wonderful window into Frodo's internal struggle: wanting to die, having "failed", but being urged to live by Sam's solid, saving presence as he pleads with Frodo to choose life. It's difficult now to remember that I once thought this scene pandering"...I think there was an issue with most hard core Tolkien lovers of this kind of thing.
But...sometimes what is in a book isn't enough to relay on screen. Words are so different than a visual. I think this moment was so powerful after Frodo's struggle and failure and his feelings of insignificance. I truly felt he wanted to let go, he wasn't worthy of the fight any more. He wasn't worthy, period.
But Sam, in his love and desperation screams to tell Frodo Not to let go..You (Frodo) are more than that...you always were..more than that. This moment is done, they did do it...Frodo...really did do it. His motives were always pure and he sacrificed himself. He never let anyone else carry this burden..he felt the evil, but...even in his weakness...he remained Frodo, and such a loving good heart. Beginning to end..an amazing and achingly painful journey.
hugs...xoxoxo v

Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-10-14 20:14 (UTC) (Link)
I think there was an issue with most hard core Tolkien lovers of this kind of thing.
But...sometimes what is in a book isn't enough to relay on screen. Words are so different than a visual. I think this moment was so powerful after Frodo's struggle and failure and his feelings of insignificance.


I think you are right, Verangel. Sometimes what works on the page doesn't work transferred directly onto the screen. PJ and the writers were often *brilliant* at making the book into film. I think, too--in their version of the Sammath Naur, in which Frodo does actually get up and fight furiously with Gollum to get back the Ring, after he'd had the Ring taken from him, so violently that they both went tumbling over the side--that more was required, dramatically, to resolve the scene emotionally than what was described in the book. When Frodo finally speaks in the book, answering Sam, who is rejoiced to see his master "himself again", with peace in his face, it is appropriate, their tender, low-key exchange. But in the film what has just gone before has been very intense and violent for Frodo (the fight over the Ring). It makes sense that he'd be radically affected by what he'd just done and been through. That he'd be devastated by what happened, and have to be coaxed back into life, follows perfectly out of what just took place. (Maybe I'll talk about this in the next installment....)

He never let anyone else carry this burden..he felt the evil, but...even in his weakness...he remained Frodo, and such a loving good heart.

That moves me to the heart.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-10-14 11:21 (UTC) (Link)
Mechling, the images are fantastic, what a film and what actors! Thank you for all the work you are putting into this project.

I do not always comment but I always read your insightful essays and the interesting comments you receive. It goes without saying that I adore Jan-u-wine’s poetry. Thank you jan!

You said:

It's as if she can put her ear right up to the hearts of her characters, then write beautifully about what she has heard.

That was so well put. That is exactly how it seems.

Jan-u-wine’s The Claiming, is just devastating.

Like a rope,
drawn too tightly,
too often upon
sharp-cornered rock,
the fibres of my
being parted,
fell away to nothing.


Frodo’s soul, bit by bit, fibre after fibre, slowly tormented in what must have felt like an eternity, with no end in sight.

As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg.


*weeps*

--Estë
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-10-14 20:16 (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely, loving comment, Estë. And you chose the line that most killed me (out of all the killing lines) in the poem, too.

As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg.

Whaaaaaaaaaaah!

mews1945
mews1945 at 2007-10-14 14:14 (UTC) (Link)
I never had a problem accepting this scene. I love movies, and I love the ways they can arouse and move us, bring us to laughter or tears. A great book does that too, but it's a different encounter, one we experience alone, usually in a quiet place, where we can turn from the world and get lost in the world the author, if he's as great as Tolkien, has created for us.

The film maker creates a world too, but it's done in a much different way, where sight, sound, lighting, music, and the actor's skills work together to evoke emotions and reactions. Things that work in a book, where the author is whispering to us, wouldn't work in a movie, where we're taking everything in through our senses of sight and hearing. I absolutely love that experience, and ROTK gave it to me so powerfully I left the theater feeling like I'd been poleaxed. I hardly knew how to feel for a while, but I knew I wanted to go back and experience it again.

This scene, with Sam's desperation and hope warring against Frodo's sense of failure and his exhaustion and desire to let go, just slammed into me and I was gripping the arms of my seat, completely immersed in their world. I was crying without even knowing it. That's why I go to movies, to be taken out of myself and let to feel all those emotions the director and the actors are portraying for me.

These screencaps are magnificent. All the things I felt when I watched it onscreen are there in those faces, especially Frodo's face. He's so hurt and tired and he wants to let go. You can see all of that in his face as he looks up at Sam.

And Jan's poem is a perfect illustration of the experience an author and a reader share. She's painting these vivid pictures with words, and showing us what Frodo's feeling, and it works, my God, how it works. She has a gift that very few are given.

Thank you for the screencaps and your essays. And thank you for introducing me to Jan's poems.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-10-14 20:25 (UTC) (Link)
Things that work in a book, where the author is whispering to us, wouldn't work in a movie, where we're taking everything in through our senses of sight and hearing. I absolutely love that experience, and ROTK gave it to me so powerfully I left the theater feeling like I'd been poleaxed. I hardly knew how to feel for a while, but I knew I wanted to go back and experience it again.

Me, too. I couldn't stay out of the theatre once I fell for the film. I went back the second time only because I had promised to take our daughter. Mind you, I had driven three hours to the Cities to see the opening show at their best theatre, at midnight. I couldn't have been more excited. And I'd read a lot of spoilers, so the changes weren't all surprises. But it was so *not* what I was expecting and hoping for, I was in a state of grief, although it was expressed as anger and fault-finding (not that I discussed it with anyone much, but inwardly). It was a week before I saw it again, and I kind of liked it. My daughter loved it and asked to see it again after we'd had some lunch. We did, and I was hooked. I fell for the film *big time*. I suppose the more opposed one is the harder one falls, when and if one falls, experiencing a change of heart.

But like you say, it was an experience that I couldn't repeat enough, not that any two viewings were the same. When I finally got my sister to see it with me, afterwards she was devastated. "How can you stand watching this film over and over?" She asked. She found it too painful to even think of watching it twice. That showed how differently I experienced being "poleaxed", I guess. I just wanted to be whacked again! For me, it was almost like therapy.

Jan's poem really is outstanding, and does best what poetic narrative can do. You're right, film and written forms are very, very different, each with their own gifts. Lucky us to receive so much beauty, and in every sort of form.

Thanks so much for writing from your heart, Mews.
Prim
primula_baggins at 2007-10-14 19:19 (UTC) (Link)
From the first time I saw ROTK, the whole part at Mt. Doom from when Frodo says "The Ring is Mine" through to where Frodo hangs from the cliff and looks up at Sam, pleading, questioning "can I just let go" without one word, was my absolute favorite part of all the movies. I was completely blown away by it, and by Elijah's acting, and Sean's, in these scenes. Every time I watch these scenes, I am transfixed.

Sometimes, I guess, it helps not being a Tolkien purist.
: )
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-10-14 20:52 (UTC) (Link)

Sometimes, I guess, it helps not being a Tolkien purist.

Ha ha! Oh, Primula! *fit of mirth* That's probably very true!

But, you see? Even I saw the light, even if it took three viewings. :)
frodosweetstuff
frodosweetstuff at 2007-10-27 14:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Such gorgeous caps!
julchen11
julchen11 at 2008-01-05 23:22 (UTC) (Link)
This post, your word, those gorgeous caps, jan's poem, the lovingly comments - it's more than I could ever express.
I read it, looked at the images, read jan's incredible poem ... - I started anew and couldn't stop.
I can't tell you how I feel right now, emotional, touched, at a loss for words ...

"As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg.

Oddly, my last thought is of him:

I wonder, in this terror,
if I shall see him soon,
or if even the promise of Light beyond
death is devoured
by evil."

*weeps*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-01-06 00:24 (UTC) (Link)
That part killed me, too, Julchen. *gets weepy with you*

This brought me to my knees:

"As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg.


~ M
julchen11
julchen11 at 2008-01-06 00:31 (UTC) (Link)
"As the man of Gondor
foretold,
I beg."

I cried about this for more than one hour.
This is soooo intense.

*weeps on*

I'm sure when I'll write this into my new sketch book - many of them are filled with your posts - the pages will look like watered ...
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-01-06 00:51 (UTC) (Link)
An hour! That's worse than me. But it really is, "soooo intense".
(Anonymous) at 2008-01-06 01:56 (UTC) (Link)
((((((((((((((((((Julchen & Mechtild))))))))))))))

Somehow, these comments beg for an apology (from me), and yet they do not, truly, do they? It's another beautiful sadness. I think that all that I might offer, by way of comfort, is to say that he is at peace now.

In my selfishness, that makes *me* cry.

jan
julchen11
julchen11 at 2008-01-06 13:18 (UTC) (Link)
There's NO apology needed, my dear. Who could resist this beautiful sadness? Who won't resist?

I'm listening carefully to my tears
When my tears start to speak slowly
In their special and secret language
I know you can understand it perfectly…

Julchen

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