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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Galadriel’s Glade 1 ~ ‘What will I see?’ plus a new poem by jan-u-wine....

Posted on 2009.05.26 at 07:31
Tags: , , , , ,

I love the caps for this scene. Except for "Nuclear Gladys" (as it was called on the messageboard I frequented while the films were coming out), the scene is uninterrupted cinematic gorgeousness. It's a different animal from the book's Lothlórien scenes, but as cinema it really works. The book's Lórien, with its images of jewel-fresh nature sparkling with "poignant freshness" under a golden sun, becomes a world of shadows , cold and luminous as if lit by a winter moon. Instead of a sense of safe haven, the Fellowship enters a realm pulsing with a feeling of foreboding and danger. Their Elven hosts warn rather than welcome. My book-reading self says, "this is wrong, wrong, wrong!" but my film-going self is mesmerised. Why does it work, and why does it seem faithful, even though it is so wide of the original? I think it's because it strongly evokes what Tolkien elsewhere said about Faerie.

Tolkien, in his fiction and poetry, and in his important essay on the subject, stressed that real Faerie isn't for children. It isn't sweet and safe, it is the Perilous Realm. In film-Lothlórien the tales of Rohan and Gondor are right: if you go in you might not come out -- or, if you do, you won't come out unchanged. The film's Galadriel is not the Elbereth-like Lady of the book, who, while she is strong in wisdom and unflinching in her truthfulness, abounds with consolation for the anguished and grieving, the restorer of flagging spirits and weary bodies. Film-Galadriel is more like the powerful female characters from Homer to D. G. Rossetti, goddesses, spell-weavers, sirens and other supernatural women who lure mortals into thraldom, even death. Even before the companions enter the Wood, when Galadriel speaks words in Frodo's mind the menace is so intense he feels them like a blow. And after Galadriel has met and welcomed the Fellowship, until the time that she sends them off with gifts and benedictions, the Lothlórien scenes are permeated with a sense of danger and deep enchantment.

Cate Blanchet's Galadriel and Elijah Wood's Frodo are superb vehicles for this dark, brooding enchantment, so beautifully lit, scored and filmed. If Wood's character has stepped out of a Caravaggio, Blanchet's is like a Pre-Raphaelite painting come to life. The LOTR films overall are steeped in imagery from great art, but in this scene even the individual frames look like paintings. The close-ups of Frodo are like animated pastels. No wonder so many fans have drawn portraits of him working from screencaps of this scene.

Happily, jan-u-wine has been inspired by this series to write a new Lothlórien poem cycle. The first part appears below the images. Reading it is like entering into the subtext of the scene, a powerful and evocative experience. I hope she will write more for the series.


Book scene: The Mirror of Galadriel.

The remaining Fellowship has been staying in Lothlórien for a while. Frodo and Sam are walking, talking about the Elves, Elvish magic, and the loveliness of the place. Sam says,

‘All the same, I’m beginning to feel that if we’ve got to go on, then we’d best get it over.

‘It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish, as my old gaffer used to say. And I don’t reckon that these folk can do much more to help us, magic or no. It’s when we leave this land that we shall miss Gandalf worse, I’m thinking.’

‘I am afraid that’s only too true, Sam,’ said Frodo. ‘Yet I hope very much that before we leave we shall see the Lady of the Elves again.’

Even as he spoke, they saw, as if she came in answer to their words, the Lady Galadriel approaching. Tall and white and fair she walked beneath the trees. She spoke no word, but beckoned to them.

Turning aside, she led them toward the southern slopes of the hill of Caras Galadhon, and passing through a high green hedge they came into an enclosed garden. No trees grew there, and it lay open to the sky. The evening star had risen and was shining with white fire above the western woods. Down a long flight of steps the Lady went into a deep green hollow, through which ran murmuring the silver stream that issued from the fountain on the hill. At the bottom, upon a low pedestal carved like a branching tree, stood a basin of silver, wide and shallow, and beside it stood a silver ewer.

With water from the stream Galadriel filled the basin to the brim, and breathed on it, and when the water was still again she spoke. ‘Here is the Mirror of Galadriel,’ she said. ‘I have brought you here so that you may look in it, if you will.’

The air was very still, and the dell was dark, and the Elf-lady beside him was tall and pale. ‘What shall we look for, and what shall we see?’ asked Frodo, filled with awe.

‘Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal,’ she answered, ‘and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?’

Frodo did not answer.


Film scene:

It is night and the Fellowship is asleep as Galadriel glides by. Frodo wakes up with a start, and, as if summoned, follows her. Galadriel descends a flight of mossy steps into a sunken garden. She fills a gleaming ewer with water from a spring-fed pool. As if she expected to see him there, she turns to Frodo and speaks.

Galadriel: Will you look into the mirror?

[As he answers,Frodo slowly descends the steps, never taking his eyes of Galadriel.]

Frodo: What will I see?

Galadriel: Even the wisest cannot tell. For the mirror shows many things.

[As she speaks, she pours the water into a silver basin on a carved stone pedestal.]

Galadriel: Things that were, things that are… As she empties the ewer: and some things that have not yet come to pass.































It is peaceful within this land,

to be held

beneath trees
that fairly sing

with the knowing of the Lady's voice,

the time-tide

to all but nothing

'midst the silver web
of her devising,

tender time-fleece
of bronze day

to blue-grey night,


soft upon

jetted crystal fountains,


night-diadem'd elanor.

Within these borders,
close-held by the fair thrall
of her spell,

it is


It is..........


Overthrown by peril,

the dremes which


dremes of nothing....

dremes of

every thing:


and dark
and shadow unnameable....

I may not rest,

beneath the weight of them.

Of more peril this waking

any dreme,

for the Lady calls me.

Without words,
arms adrift upon the winds of night,

feet bare and pale as any maids',
she ......



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is cold within the encirclement of her glade,


the winter-water moon all but spent,
small stars

arrayed upon the dark cloak
of the sky.

Fair crowned with them she is,
the gold-silver of her hair

shining like cold-spun fire
in their light.

Beyond wonder,
her beauty,

beyond all thought,
the peril of her eye,

the magik of her slender hand.

Fine-wrought silver,
her voice, then,

like strings upon a lyre,


the far-off sound of wind-combed

More love than I have ever known blossoms like a wound inside of me.

Hard behind it rides a fear even greater.

Will I look into the Mirror?

Oh, my Lady of Beauty,

my Lady of Wisdom and Light:

What shall I look for?

Tell me,

my Lady of Peril,

What shall I See?

Next Entry:

~ Galadriel’s Glade 2: Frodo looks in the mirror, plus jan-u-wine's 'Lórien Suite 2'.

Other Links:

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

~ Main table for all entries

~ Mechtild


rakshi at 2009-05-26 12:38 (UTC) (Link)
What could be more exquisite than the poems of jan-u-wine coupled with the face of our beloved Frodo. The perfect combination.

Thank you for this glorious moment in my otherwise not so glorious day.

mechtild at 2009-05-26 14:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for stopping in, Rakshi. I hope your day improves as it goes on. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2009-05-26 14:52 (UTC) (Link)
He's pure magic in this scene, yes.
shirebound at 2009-05-26 14:21 (UTC) (Link)
this dark, brooding enchantment

Oooooh. And that poem matches such a phrase perfectly.
mechtild at 2009-05-26 14:57 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for dropping by, Shirebound. I'm glad the post brought you pleasure. It's a dark but beautiful world in this scene, isn't it? And Frodo and Galadriel are the jewels in its midst, like living opals: shimmering, irridescent, all blues and moon-milky silver, but shot through with streaks of fire.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2009-05-26 17:06 (UTC) (Link)
It sure has got peril! "Enchanting" is another great word for the scene, Mews. Not to mix fandoms, watching this scene as a viewer reminds me of looking into the pensieve in the Harry Potter stories, you just fall right into it, completely entering that world.
aredhelebenesse at 2009-05-26 19:42 (UTC) (Link)
This scene in the film is much more outer-worldly than in the book. I think a lot of it does the cool, silvery light, like a kind of dark flame. I wouldn't describe it as fear, but as a sort of sweet, dark presentiment. Something that shows your own pain to you and you start to like it, until you wake up or you don't. The scene is gloomy, but within we see these two angelic creatures. All this is most enchanting!

By the way, I like the term "Nuclear Gladys"!

Your captured the scene absolutely beautiful! And Jan-u-wine's poem describes the scene (or Frodo's situation in this case) perfectly. One suffers with him, but it's a sweet pain, full of anticipation and even something similar to a trance.

Thank you very much for this wonderful post! :)
mechtild at 2009-05-26 19:48 (UTC) (Link)
Why, thank you, Aredhelebenesse, for you thoughtful, appreciative remarks. I so like the notion of "two angelic creatures" in the gloom, and the "dark flame" in the "cool, silvery light": all of which point up the way the scene is full of strong contrasts: highlights and shadows - in terms of mood and look, both.

not_alone at 2009-05-26 20:56 (UTC) (Link)
The beauty of Frodo in these screencaps just takes my breath away! Many thanks, Mechtild and Jan-u-wine, for another stunning post:)
mechtild at 2009-05-26 21:40 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Paulie. We loved making it.
aquila0212 at 2009-05-26 21:44 (UTC) (Link)
There's only one problem with this particular scene (though not to my mind) -- I don't think Frodo is *supposed* to be more beautiful than Galadriel!
mechtild at 2009-05-26 21:55 (UTC) (Link)
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! But that's an issue throughout the three films, don't you think, Achila? Frodo's face is more beautiful than any in the trilogy. No wonder they struck the comic exchange in Ithilien between Faramir and Sam, about how he and Frodo couldn't be Elves, because Elves were supposed to be "wondrous fair" to look upon ("meaning we're not?"). It wouldn't have made any sense! :)
stillscarlet at 2009-05-26 23:51 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, so beautiful. Both of them.
mechtild at 2009-05-27 01:47 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Scarlet! It's good to see you. Yes, they are beautiful.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2009-05-27 02:07 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you two have outdone yourselves! Jan's poem is exquisitely matched to these pictures--such beautiful and evocative word choices.

And your description really helped me look at the film scene in a new light (and all that implies in a Tolkienic sense(-: ) and appreciate the film's deviation from the book so much more. What it does for Galadriel's role and the grandeur of her faerie queenship. Comfort vs peril. In both Lothlorien and Heneth Annun the films take away the comfort the books gave and that I adored so much (and craved and missed in the films), and replaces them with peril. And for an action film, that's standard, and perhaps necessary--a different aesthetic and need that works in it's own right. It's made me realize, though, how much I always read this story of adventure and peril for comfort. Though I've apprecaited the great beauty of this film scene, your post helped me see the artistry of the suspenseful peril PJ and company went for much better.

A beautiful post!

BTW, I now have a Toybiz 12" Galadriel doll I won for a steal on ebay a couple of weeks ago--it is a truly wonderful doll. A good facial likeness and a gorgeous job on her dress. I'm very pleased, and she will be turning up in Bingo's adventures eventually. Bingo and Sam dolls are enjoying her company.
lindahoyland at 2009-05-27 02:27 (UTC) (Link)
Gorgeous photos of Galadriel,I just love that dress!
mole_caz at 2009-05-27 10:07 (UTC) (Link)
One of my favourite scenes - such beauty.
mechtild at 2009-05-27 12:37 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad it's subject matter you enjoy, Mole Caz. There are a lot more istallments to come because I couldn't bear not to present such gorgeous screencaps, even after forcing myself to throw out half of what I made.
(Anonymous) at 2009-05-27 18:04 (UTC) (Link)
What gorgeous, gorgeous screencaps, Mechtild.

It's an eerily beautiful scene, and Howard Shore's evocative score also adds weight to the atmosphere. It is a departure from the book (no Sam), but Frodo being 'drawn' from sleep by Galadriel and being alone with her makes their interaction much more intense. Galadriel is undoubtedly lovely, but Frodo is exquisitely beautiful here.

I love this line of Jan's:

'More love than I have ever known blossoms like a wound inside of me.'

Very Powerful. Thank you both.

~ Blossom.

mechtild at 2009-05-27 22:09 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Blossom. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I hope the next sets will be as much a pleasure to look at; maybe you'll get inspired to work your own special magic on this scene...? :)
addie71 at 2009-05-28 00:22 (UTC) (Link)
That is such a beautiful scene and the poem is just perfect for it.

mechtild at 2009-05-28 02:18 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad it was meaningful for you, Addie. I think it's a beautiful scene, too. And Jan's poem only deepens its impact.
(Anonymous) at 2009-06-01 09:15 (UTC) (Link)

What shall I see?

Hi Mechtild, thank you for this post. I haven't been here for a while, but when I read that you made a post on this scene I jumped over to your LJ immediately. It's always been my favourite (movie) scene in Lothlorien (and it's Frodo descending the stairs I love most - he is (almost) summoned, yes, but he is also alert). I agree with you: it works perfectly, and I don't mind the alteration from bookverse in this case.
I was glad that film-Frodo didn't shed a tear as he was supposed to, because to me there seemed to be a subtle balance between Frodo and Galadriel with respect to strength and intensity on both sides (before he looks into the mirror).

For this scene alone Andrew Lesnie should have received an Oscar.
But you, too, should win some kind of reward, because your screencaps are magic: the filigree, subtle progress from one image to the next: beautiful.

mechtild at 2009-06-01 12:38 (UTC) (Link)

Re: What shall I see?

Dear Anne,

Thanks for responding. I wondered, though, the last times you posted, whether I know you from a fandom. Just curious. :)

Yes, his descent down the stairs is excellently done. It underscores the whole notion of "descent", going down deeper, entering into the depth of the self or spirit or consciousness, and Galadriel's the edgy, beautiful-yet-frighening spirit guide. In the scenes where she's walking over the grass going to the glade, she seems incorporeal, gliding over the surface, luminous as the moon. What a scene.

You are right about Andrew Lesnie, although he with the art design team deserved their oscars for nearly every frame of these films. Whether the narrative was convincingly played in every single scene or not, they all *looked* sensational. Like living art masterpieces. Shore's score was at the same level of magnificence. (Don't you just love Lesnie in all the EE extras? I could squeeze him, he's such a scruffily cute, funny and engaging artist.)

I was glad that film-Frodo didn't shed a tear as he was supposed to, because to me there seemed to be a subtle balance between Frodo and Galadriel with respect to strength and intensity on both sides (before he looks into the mirror).

That's an interesting note on the tear; I'd forgotten all about it. They really do give the sense of opponents preparing to spar as Frodo enters, seems to slowly circle (I think the camera gives the sense; it isn't literal), very wary as if sizing the situation up but never taking his eyes off her.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2009-07-20 18:10 (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh - such beauty.

Thank you, Mechling and Jan.

mechtild at 2009-07-20 20:36 (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome!
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