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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Frodo Finishes the Red Book, plus jan-u-wine’s “I Have a Little Shadow”.

Posted on 2008.03.01 at 22:45
Tags: , ,
~*~


When jan-u-wine first showed me this poem (which imagines Elijah Wood’s last take playing Frodo, finishing the Red Book), I had already posted my screencaps for that moment in the RotK EE extras. I thought, "What a shame I hadn’t seen this poem before!" I had already presented caps for the writing desk scene, too (see links for those below).

But, uncomfortable with the idea of seeming presumptuous—as if she thought her conjectures represented Elijah Wood's real thoughts and feelings—jan-u-wine wasn’t sure she wanted this poem made public, anyway. I argued for posting it. It wasn't as though the poem was an RPF (“real person fiction"). She wasn't inventing relationships or making up an imaginary life for him. No, she was imaginatively “filling out” a real moment, a visual moment and a verbal moment. The visual moment, the filming of Elijah's last take as Frodo (and subsequent farewell), was done openly, the results appearing for anyone to see in the DVD extras. The verbal moment was a remark from an interview, also offered for public consumption.

After the end of principle photography for Everything is Illuminated, Elijah gave an interview with Raymond Johnston ( click here to read the whole piece). In it, Elijah conceded that he and the other LotR actors would, in all likelihood, be perpetually associated with their roles in the films. But he didn't "disavow" Frodo. "I'll do other things", he said. "But Frodo I think will always be there, like my little shadow."

Yes, Jan's poem involves conjecture, but conjecture based on publically accessible material. Arguing with her to let me post it, I asked, would she balk if I wrote an essay reflecting on Elijah Wood's thoughts and feelings as he did his last take? No. Why should a poem be different?

While I do not think EW consciously thought all the things presented in this poem, or not until later and only in fragments, this poem has the ring of truth for me. I think that most of what anyone thinks and feels at any given moment (and not just Elijah Wood), happens at a profound level, deeper than conscious thought—certainly deeper than what can be expressed in words. It is into this otherwise unarticulated level that poetry reaches, speaking the unspoken. Perhaps because I care so much for the character he played, and want him to have valued it accordingly, it is wishful thinking on my part to believe this poem gives voice to what Elijah Wood experienced acting this role, that in its words—words that he did not have and perhaps still does not have—is something true. But that is my hope.

For images to set the poem off, I have capped the part of the desk scene in which Sam enters the study, Frodo having finished his last entry in the Red Book. The new caps appear below the poem.




~*~



















~*~






I Have a Little Shadow

~ by jan-u-wine


He won't be wearing these clothes anymore.

No.

Won't feel the odd thickness of wooden buttons,
or the now-customary line of breeks,

lying chocolate-warm mid-calf.


No longer espy his feet
and wish

(a wish that another voice in his head subscribes to as well)
he might wake and find them ....

well...

coiffed.

No more the mirror-silver'd reflection of an elegant ear,
(shapely as a dancer's curvéd leg)

lying,
like some cast-up and tender shell,
beneath a tangle of midnight and leavened russet.

And.

*It* won't be there,

either,
will it?

Strange, as weeks ran into months
and

months
bled

to years....

strange
how It did become....

weighted.

Weighted,

lying there
so

innocent
against where the vein in his throat

sang with life,

pushing against him.

Oh, but he's an actor,
isn't he,

and that weight
informs

him,

it feeds him,

feeds
from him,

until his voice,
even,

quiets,

softens
beneath the weight,

beneath the knowledge of what It might do,

if It were,
of course

(of course!)
real.

He knows how to be this person now,

loving the feel of the quill in his hand,
the darkened curl of ink upon the page,

the line like a quirked eye-brow that frames
the

"o" 's

of his adopted name.

And the three diamond-dots,
like the trace of a star-field,

which grace the 'a' of his surname....

Well.

He loves them, too.

And he writes it, his borrowed name, for the last time,
the "f" falling small and simple,
(like the person it recalls).

He writes it, and closes the book,
softly,

thumb resting upon the cover
though

there is no footage
(and he laughs, inside, at the word)
being shot now.

Not now.

Not ever again.

And there are so many
moments

caught within this last one...

So many.

There are tears rising in his throat,
his eyes.

These aren't just *his* moments,

no.

Nor just
his

tears.


And of all of the things in the world he might be,

all of the things which at this moment
he was, is.....

boy......


man….

of all those things,
he finds

being
a hobbit

closest to his heart.



~*~














~*~






Film Scene:

Frodo is writing at his desk until a moment of pain interrupts him. He is rubbing his shoulder when Sam comes in.

Sam: Mister Frodo? What is it?.

Frodo: It's been four years to the day since Weathertop, Sam. It's never really healed.

The moment passes and Sam looks and sees what Frodo has been writing.

Sam: "There and back again: A hobbit's tale by Bilbo Baggins." And "The Lord of the Rings, by Frodo Baggins." You've finished it.

Frodo closes the book and looks up.

Frodo: Not quite. There's room for a little more.



~*~






















































































~*~







Related screencaps:


~ Frodo Returns to Bag End - establishing shots.

~ Frodo Writes the Red Book, Pt. 1, featuring "Star of the Sea", by Pearl, Pt. I.

~ Frodo Writes the Red Book, Pt. 3, with "The Tale of the Tale" by jan-u-wine; screencaps from “Cameras in Middle-earth”, from the EE of RotK.

~ Elijah Wood’s final take, from “Cameras in Middle-earth”, from the EE of RotK.






Other Tables of Links:


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

~ Main table for all entries



~ Mechtild

Comments:


Shirebound
shirebound at 2008-03-02 13:51 (UTC) (Link)
What a beautiful poem, and the screencaps complement it perfectly.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 19:28 (UTC) (Link)
the screencaps complement it perfectly.

Thanks, Shirebound. I figured I'd screencapped that sequence to death, but, lo, there was still part of it undone, and it just happened to be the part that best reflected the content of the poem. Fate? :)
mews1945
mews1945 at 2008-03-02 16:03 (UTC) (Link)
I think that most of what anyone thinks and feels at any given moment (and not just Elijah Wood), happens at a profound level, deeper than conscious thought—certainly deeper than what can be expressed in words. It is into this otherwise unarticulated level that poetry reaches...

That expresses something I feel in my heart as well. The poem is lovely, and it feels true, especially in light of that picture of Elijah with Peter. All the other pictures are of Frodo, so I can't see Elijah's feelings in them, but in that one picture, his face reveals so much, and if a 19 year old could articulate those thoughts, they might sound very much like Jan's poem.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 19:31 (UTC) (Link)
Isn't that picture wonderful? Well, all those pictures of their embrace are fantastic. I feel so honoured and privileged that they let us fans into that moment by filming the extras at all, but then including that farewell in the final DVD. That farewell--to the films and to the experience of shooting it--the one between Elijah and P.J.--seemed to stand for all the farewells. Everyone in the cast and crew standing around seemed to feel it.
Prim
primula_baggins at 2008-03-02 16:36 (UTC) (Link)
This reminds me somewhat of my leaving my job this last week. I would walk through the halls or in the cafteria or see various people and think "this is the last time I will see this". So, the poem really rings true for me. What emotions Elijah must have had. He certainly seemed to express them after that final scene, didn't he?

Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 19:35 (UTC) (Link)
He certainly seemed to express them after that final scene, didn't he?

I was just commenting to Mews about that, Primula. Yes, it was a powerful moment: emotionally intense, even naked; yet both people retained their human dignity--maybe even increased it in the vulnerability of the experience. I was so wowed and moved that they shared it with us by putting it in the DVD. I thought it helped all of us fans process the ending in a moving but positive way.

You left your job? Was it something you wanted to do, needed to do, were forced to do? All of the above? Don't answer if I am prying. :)
Estelanui - Francesca
estelanui at 2008-03-02 16:38 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful poem!
I felt similar feelings during my first-run of ROTK. The feeling of 'let it go' with the certainty that it will be forever with me.
*happy sigh*

You and jan-u-wine are always lovely together: an image & word bliss
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 19:38 (UTC) (Link)
The feeling of 'let it go' with the certainty that it will be forever with me.
*happy sigh*


That is turning out to be so for some of us, ey? Perhaps many. Thanks for expressing your appreciation, Estelanui.

P.S. I finally read "Crossing to Avalon" by Jean Shinoda-Bolen, did I tell you? I found it enjoyable and enlightening, and bought a copy for my sister. It didn't matter that I didn't agree with every bit of her premise, it was full of insights that I could use. Thanks!
Estelanui - Francesca
estelanui at 2008-03-02 20:56 (UTC) (Link)

"Crossing to Avalon" made me desire to have my journay too.
Now I'm reading "Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women" by Jean Shinoda-Bolen (1984). OMG, I needed it! It's a sort of popular psychology book that describe the woman psychological inclinations by means of Greek goddesses. It's amazing how this point of view enlighten some woman's behavours.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 22:30 (UTC) (Link)
Ha! You'll laugh: I read that, too! After I read "Crossing to Avalon" I emailed my sister, asking if she'd read it; I wanted to send her a copy for her birthday. She said, no, but that she had read and enjoyed another book by the author years ago, "Goddesses in Everywoman". She said it was a fun book, kind of like a horoscope book and a Myers Briggs book combined. So I read that, too! I enjoyed it. After that I just skimmed "Goddesses in Older Women" (it sort of recycles the material from the other book). My daughter was so much like an "Artemis" I made my husband read it. He was astonished. It was amazing how closely our daughter matched that type. Of course, she's only 19, and has her life before her to tap into the other ways of being. Maybe I'll photocopy that section and send it to her. She hates reading, but she may read it, since it's about her.

My own type I found a mis-mosh. Like when I read my horoscope or try to assess my Myers-Briggs type, I never fit into any of them neatly. That is, some of the goddesses were *not* much like me at all, but although I did see myself in others, I resonated with none of them consistently--just with parts. I guess the longer you've lived, the more roles you've been called on to play in life, and the more likely you will have tapped into various aspects of the ways of being a woman. Was that so for you, or did you find a really strong match?
julchen11
julchen11 at 2008-03-02 19:46 (UTC) (Link)
Sweetie, what a post!
Jan's poem ... it's a KILLER, isn't it?
It feels soooo real, I'm sure Elijah felt that way on this special day.
Watching the extended version for I don't know how many times, I'm always in tears. This farewell hug of Elijah and Peter Jackson, there is something special going on.
It's OVER. It was hard for me to believe the movies have come to an end but how must have the actors and all those other people like PJ and the crew must have felt??
The screencaps are simply gorgeous and bittersweet, too.

Thank you and thank you Jan for this treasure!
Poem and your words will always be close to my heart.

Love and hugs,
Julchen
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 20:41 (UTC) (Link)
Julchen, how good to hear from you! I'm hoping this is a sign of increasing strength and that you are feeling better. Thanks for stopping in to comment.

That farewell is tremendously moving to me, too, as if it stands for my own farewell--or an attempt at it. I know the films are over and will never be repeated (or not in the same way), and I have gone on in my real life, in my work and reading and projects and relationships. But, as is the case with the book, the films loom large in my mind and imagination. It's as if their visual and aural images have been added to the word-images from the book, forming a vast background, usually veiled but always there, bursting or peeping through from time to time. So I also have "a little shadow", only mine isn't very little. ;)

Edited at 2008-03-02 08:41 pm (UTC)
verangel
verangel at 2008-03-02 21:25 (UTC) (Link)
"But Frodo I think will always be there, like my little shadow."
You know how I feel about Elijah and Frodo and what it brought me. I love that comment that Elijah made. I honestly can't imagine what weight hit his heart when that last scene was shot. All those so close to his heart there with him. Shooting it over and over and over and they all knew that it was so hard for PJ, which had to add to that emotional weight. I watched that scene so many times on the DVD. I could feel the tears over the finality of it.
This poem, to me, brilliantly relays what I can only imagine Elijah might have felt when it was done. Maybe he kept those last peices of his costume, maybe the makeup artists were thinking these same thoughts. They were all so intimately joined in this effort. When I read this poem, all I could think is that I wished they could have read it, because it perfectly touched the end.
hugs you tight...xoxo v
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-02 22:38 (UTC) (Link)
maybe the makeup artists were thinking these same thoughts. They were all so intimately joined in this effort.

I think things like that, too. This was such a huge, intense group project, how could the behind-the-scenes people not have been deeply affected by the end of it? From having read the Brian Sibley book I know that some people had worked so long and so hard they were wrecks by the end, or crashed and burned along the way; marriages ended over the amount of time this film required from the lives of artists and crew members. But if one had really thrown one's self into it: living it, breathing it, for all that time, whether hating it or loving it or both, how could the Last Shot (and of Frodo, the hero with whom the story opened, finishing the Last Line of the book?) not be momentous? Their passion helped create our passion, of that I'm certain.

Thanks so much for commenting, Verangel.
Claudia's Cove
claudia603 at 2008-03-03 00:42 (UTC) (Link)
That's a beautiful poem! And thanks so much for these beautiful screencaps. I'm never tired of looking at Frodo!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-03 01:22 (UTC) (Link)
Claudia, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting!
aliensouldream
aliensouldream at 2008-03-03 13:24 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful marriage as always of wonderful screencaps and sublime poem!

I always remember another quote from Elijah when asked why he so much wanted to play the part: (paraphrased) "I didn't have to be a human, I could be a hobbit!"

That summed up for me why he so organically 'got' the naturalism and mindset of hobbits and why the 'fit' of actor and part seemed so right. We often say something was 'destined' but is that because destiny is created by someone's heartfelt wish and desire?

The last stanza of jan-u-wine's poem perfectly encapsulates that feeling of Elijah's that he could instinctively embody this 'non-human' creature, that he already was, and in many ways - the very best ways - still is and may always be, a hobbit.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-03 16:34 (UTC) (Link)
I always remember another quote from Elijah when asked why he so much wanted to play the part: (paraphrased) "I didn't have to be a human, I could be a hobbit!"

I kind of remember that quote. I thought he was joking, but perhaps there was truth under the joke.

We often say something was 'destined' but is that because destiny is created by someone's heartfelt wish and desire?

Do you think he felt destined to play the role (with an inner sense directing him to make the tape that secured his casting, etc.), or that he was destined to play the role--something external guiding him to do these things, such as friends telling him, "You ought to audition for this! Come on, make an audition tape; we'll help you")? Or was it a coming together of both: friends who knew the book saw something in him (apart from his being short) that made them push him to audition, at the same time EW responding from that "something" they saw in him, and saying yes to it? I don't know my EW lore enough to give an informed opinion. (I sure hope the audition reel goes into the extras for the next edition of LotR!!) But you sound like you've given his process a lot of thought. Did EW, playing Frodo, tap into his inner hobbit, so to speak?
aliensouldream
aliensouldream at 2008-03-03 21:09 (UTC) (Link)
"Did EW, playing Frodo, tap into his inner hobbit, so to speak?"

That's exactly what I was trying to express. I'm no expert but Elijah said in interviews of that period that The Hobbit was his favorite book as a child and that's what led him to strongly wish to play the part. He seemed to exude perfect confidence that he could bring such a role to life.

I don't know whether the question of 'destiny' was ever raised with him in interviews. I mentioned it because it has been a frequent comment of critics and fans that, not just Elijah, but all the cast seemed destined for their roles because they were so perfect. I think I was wondering aloud whether what we sometimes call destiny is a combination of luck, timing, judgement, desire and 'fit'.

Also, it may be simplistic and fannish to say this, but Elijah as a person does seem to have that zest for enjoying and celebrating life and the simple strong affections that characterize hobbits. :-)

Thanks again for the wonderful celebration of this moving moment in the filming! *hugs*
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-03 22:20 (UTC) (Link)
You are good to clarify, and fully--I am grateful. Yes, destiny is a maleable concept, having a lot to do with the way people interpret their lives. But it can be extremely affirming, even motivating, to have a sense of destiny to a certain action one is called to do.

Thank you for bringing so much thought to these comments, Aliensouldream. They make the posts that much more worth doing.

(Anonymous) at 2008-03-03 22:56 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful screencaps and a beautiful poem. So bitter-sweet! One can only imagine what emotions stirred as Elijah sat at Frodo's desk for the last time. Jan-u-wine imagines the actor's own thoughts and feelings with the same depth of empathy she shows the beloved hobbit he portrayed.

~ ~ ~
Quote:
I think that most of what anyone thinks and feels at any given moment (and not just Elijah Wood), happens at a profound level, deeper than conscious thought—certainly deeper than what can be expressed in words.

~ ~ ~

I believe that to be true, Mechtild. There is a moment I love after Elijah and PJ have hugged (screencaps of which you included in your ealier 'last scene' entry). Acknowledging the studio applause, Elijah takes a bow. Shaking his head almost as if undeserving, he brings a hand to rest flat against his chest. I have always thought that simple gesture ~ hand on heart ~ tells more than any words he could have spoken. It's very touching.

Thank you both.

~ Blossom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-04 04:12 (UTC) (Link)
Jan-u-wine imagines the actor's own thoughts and feelings with the same depth of empathy she shows the beloved hobbit he portrayed.

You say it better and more clearly (and more briefly) than I have done, Blossom. Thank you.

And that moment you described when EW is acknowledging the cast and crew's applause (hand to heart), yes, that's a lovely, true moment. I almost chose it for the image for the post above (just after the poem, before the new caps), but his face in that precise cap wasn't focussed enough for a stand-alone image.

But what an emotional ending to the trilogy that was!
Eandme
eandme at 2008-03-04 03:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for those lovely screencaps, they really made me see things that I had not seen before. I love the poem too, the feelings are exquisite and only someone who has "been there" in her mind with Elijah at that moment could write it. I loved being brought into that moment, even though it fills me with sadness. Beautiful! I appreciate it very much.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-04 04:15 (UTC) (Link)
It is sad, but it is "beautiful-sad". Sadness made beautiful through eloquence--which is what, for me, "brought [me] into that moment". Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Eandme.
Millilicious is Delicious
millilicious at 2008-03-19 15:03 (UTC) (Link)
So cute and sad at the same time~ I can only imagine what he felt like~ Something so big and beautiful that affects you whole-heartedly coming to an end~ I would be heart-wrenched~ I know that I've had beautiful things end and every time I look back on them, I become nostalgic and wishful of the days to come back~ It almost sounds like that's what he feels like~ Those are really fantastic screen caps, also~ They really portray emotion~ What a fantastic post~! :'D
Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-03-19 16:03 (UTC) (Link)
I can only imagine what he felt like~ Something so big and beautiful that affects you whole-heartedly coming to an end~

I think any of us fans can appreciate this to a lesser degree. It was huge for so many of us, and a soul-shaking experience when it ended, even if the impact of its ending came slowly for some. I'm one of those. I'm still not quite out of its clutches--the film experience, I mean--not the book, which I'll read and love for ever.

Thanks for posting, Bhoay!
frodosweetstuff
frodosweetstuff at 2008-04-05 13:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the great screencaps - some of them were so hard to look at without getting tears into my eyes...

Mechtild
mechtild at 2008-04-05 13:45 (UTC) (Link)
The scene and the text do it for me, too. Very poignant.
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