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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Frodo caps, cont'd: The Eyes veiled, in a Purple Lorien....

Posted on 2005.11.16 at 19:43

Comments:


taerie
taerie at 2005-11-18 02:20 (UTC) (Link)
>It's as if film-Frodo has been a figure haunting our aesthetic and erotic imaginations, perhaps all our lives,

I love how you make me think about these things.
Frodo was already a big part of my life too. I fell in love with the soul that shined out of Tolkien's books as Frodo a very long time ago and have honoured him every way I could think of for literally most of my life. THEN he walked out of my imagination onto the screen and became a fully realized vision. And his form matched the soul I so loved beyond ANY expectation I dared to have! I guess I have good reason to go a little crazy.
(Okay a LOT.)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-11-18 03:47 (UTC) (Link)
I fell in love with the soul that shined out of Tolkien's books as Frodo a very long time ago and have honoured him every way I could think of for literally most of my life. THEN he walked out of my imagination onto the screen and became a fully realized vision. And his form matched the soul I so loved beyond ANY expectation I dared to have!

I think this happened to many fans, from what they have said in posts. I loved Frodo in the books, too, but I didn't think of him as a "soul" person in the books, mostly as honourable; noble-spirited. But, on film, he became ... I don't know ... accessible, emotionally, to a high degree. And, yes, he was, "soulful". Literally, full of soul. I didn't think of book Frodo in this way. Book Frodo has a lot of soul, of course, but he's not what I would call, "soulful."

I never sensed or saw the "dreamy" or "magic" quality in Frodo in the books, either, and Elijah's Frodo has it in spades. I still don't see it when I am reading. When I am reading, Frodo is perceptive, decent, kind, honest, fair; warm and funny but a little reserved: an utterly lovable and admirable hobbit: brave in spite of terrible fear, and strong-willed in spite of despair.

I think it's the eyes. Elijah Wood's eyes really are out of this world. Book Frodo has nice but normal eyes. He's "fairer than most," not drop-dead beautiful. He is a hobbit, not an Elf dressed as a hobbit. I mean, film Frodo was the best-looking person, male or female, in the whole film. That would not be so in the books. As Faramir said to the two hobbits in Henneth Annun, he had thought they might be Elves at first, but closer to, he could see that they could not be Elves, "for Elves are very fair to look upon."
taerie
taerie at 2005-11-18 18:14 (UTC) (Link)
will admit that fairer than most was about the only thing in Gandalf's description that really fit movie Frodo. I wouldn't have expected him to have waxed rhapsodically given the typical male aversion to get enthusiastic at all about another males looks. LOL!
If elves are fairer than movie Frodo as Faramir implied then you are right, elves would presumably burn your retinas out to look at.. but standards of beauty can vary. (Another rationalization, but Hell, there were certainly worse discrepancies in the movie than Frodo's extreme appeal to the female of the species that you would really think would cause him to be at LEAST walking around with a line of cow-eyed hobbit girls hanging on to him. :-)
You know, not everybody sees him as the heart-stopping picture of glowing perfection that we do. My husband, for instance, thinks he's a cute little guy but doesn't see any special reason to consider him gorgeous. (And he will and has admitted to me if he thinks a guy is handsome.. even if I AM swooning. I have always been able to trust him for a straight opinion.) I have even talked to women who feel that way. Certainly, there are a bazillion teenage and not so teenage Legolas fans who would argue with you on who is the best looking person. (Shrug. (Fine with me.. that's just a bazillion less women to compete for a place in line for Frodo. The world, I have noticed, is full of strange people.. with to me, incomprehensible tastes :-))
I did, indeed, see him as very filled with Soul.. AND I also saw him as dreamy and a bit glowy.. and yeah.. I wouldn't even rule out the word magic. I certainly saw no big discrepancy in that though I would have to read the book over again to tell you what gave me those impressions. If I had been in charge of creating Frodo for the screen.. I don't think really it would have varied much from what we saw. Those things were part of how I perceived Frodo from the beginning.. although admittedly it doesn't fit Tolkien's physical description of him. Maybe the people making the movie subconsciously saw him as I did.. the extreme beauty within him showing on the outside.
Still, I suppose that is also a question of who is reading the book and individual interpretation. I have always obviously had that particular hobbit on a huge pedestal of love and affection. Seeing him looking like this on top of it as I said, was a powerful experience to say the least.
Thank you again and again for performing the vital service of putting up gorgeous screen caps and I am REALLY enjoying your travelogues of the Frodian landscape and comparisons in art. Very fun reading.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-11-18 19:01 (UTC) (Link)

On the possible uneasiness Frodo's attractiveness can provoke

Taerie, yes, you did see a lot more to Frodo than I did, reading the book. I think that's why people like me (who saw a noble but very hobbity Frodo) were so floored to see him in the films and to find themselves responding to him with erotic love. We just hadn't felt a glimmer of that, reading the book. Readers who most saw Frodo as beautiful and Elvish and magical in their pre-film days, seem to be the ones who most experienced moments of delighted recognition upon seeing him on the screen ("That's just how I pictured him, but even better!!!"). I am in the group that thought, "Never in a million years did I envision Frodo to look and be like this!!!! -- and I'm loving it!"

The matter of how men perceive Frodo, failing to see his attractiveness for women, or acting like they don't perceive it, is something I addressed in a very enjoyable email discussion with a K-D friend who is a strong Elijah Wood fan. We were discussing how fed-up we were with reading reviews subsequent to LotR that always referred EW as, a "hobbit," "Elfin," "fragile," and so forth. They seemed to be used to belittle him even while complimenting him. This led to a deeper discussion on the sometimes unsettling nature of film-Frodo's appeal.

I'm going to paste parts of two of the letters below, in a series of comment boxes. (I have not asked permission to post A,’s replies, I am afraid, so I will have to leave them out.


Sept. 28, to A:
I may put it in The Faculty one day, as a whim remark, but one of the things that struck me in reading all these recent reviews of GSH and EII is how often they throw in something about how little and cuuuuute he is. They don't say that; they usually say it negatively like, "former hobbit", "doe-eyed star of ....", "elfin actor....", "big trembling blue saucers for eyes...." etc.

What I think these comments really are saying is something like this (even if the writers don't know it, esp. if they are men and don't want to sound as if they have a "thing" for EW, which I don't think they generally do).... I think they throw this stuff in because they find him so intensely appealing when they meet him in person (again, I don't mean sexually, necessarily, but the way fans always talk about when they go all prickly over him), they are a little embarrassed or put-off by the power of their own response. So they toss in back-handed compliments, by saying something slightly dismissive about his looks (for those comments really are about his looks more than anything else). But I think what they really are trying to dismiss is not his looks, but the effect those looks have on them. Just a hunch.

One interviewer said that to look at EW was to want to pick him up and protect him. (Well, we all know about that!) No one says that about Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino, now, do they? EW's special appeal has a great deal to do with his looks, I am sure, speaking as a fan. He is beautiful the way children, fawns, puppies and the aliens who come out of the ship at the end of Close Encounters are beautiful. Some people call it, "magical," or, "otherworldly," or ,"uncanny," or, just "cuuuuuute" -- but it has to do with his very diminutiveness, not just his fabulous eyes and face. If he looked exactly the same as he does, but was half a foot taller, I don't think he'd provoke quite the same response. (He might get more parts, though, except not Frodo - whaaah!) But when people meet him -- adults -- an awful lot of them feel powerfully drawn to him, drawn to him as someone they want to pick up and squeeze (or fondle), and they don't want others to see that. Not if they are men, anyway.


To A., 10-02-05:

A, you wrote:

I will hazard to say that there easily could have been quite a number of straight men out there who had an uncomfortable attraction to Frodo. Then they get all gruff and dismissive--to show their indifference.

I wouldn't at all be surprised.


(….cont’d…)



Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-11-18 19:04 (UTC) (Link)

"Possible uneasiness," pt. 2

(…cont’d from previous post…)

I think it's not just that they are straight and responding to a man. Otherwise they would feel more odd remarking how handsome Orlie was as Legolas. Even my macho brother was able to see that Orlando was very handsome and very attractive. When guessing whom it was I secretly liked in the LotR films, his first guess was, "the Elf -- the blond killing machine -- right???"

I think straight men can usually see the attraction in an Orlando or a Sean Bean (or any of the other "manly men"). They usually are not threatened to know they can see it. Maybe they even feel a little something of it themselves (being attracted to another man), which they may not approve of in themselves, but they don't seem worry about it that much, unless they are very straight-laced -- thinking, "Am I latent homo?????!!!!!????"

But when a fully grown-up straight man feels things for Frodo/EW, I think he worries about it the same way the fully grown-up women often do .... He feels the shadow of "paedophilia" lurking somewhere in there (which most consider far worse than garden-variety homosexual feelings, after all.) Some of EW/Frodo's fans -- male and female -- do feel very comfortable about feeling a strong affection towards him. I think (per the recent discussion in The Faculty) that Peter Jackson would be one of those. They, like him, feel a strong affection for him (EW), but a purely parental one. Others (and I would say this includes most of his male cast-mates like Dom or Sean, with whom EW is usually portrayed as having a sexualized relationship, but which I don't believe in) feel a strong affection for him that is "brotherly," or, even "little-brotherly." But still others feel an affection for him that really is muddied by sexual feelings (*raises hand*).

I think that for older men and women, the issue of having sexualized feelings for a child or teenager is touched on in this. They may have no sexual designs on him at all, really, but the mere fact that they feel physical affection towards him -- that they would like to cuddle or hold him or "pet" him -- makes them feel extremely uneasy, as if this affection were a sign that they were closet child-molesters. This may be true in some instances. But, more often, I think this nearly-paranoid feeling is probably the result of our cultural conditioning: our culture is hyper-vigilant about child-molestation -- and litigates it heavily -- so that anyone who feels a desire to be physically affectionate towards a child or teen (or those who seem like children/teens), feels as though their normal urge might be deviant. Just guessing.

(I hope I didn't mess up any of the sequencing during this cut-and-paste process!)
taerie
taerie at 2005-11-18 20:18 (UTC) (Link)

Re: "Possible uneasiness," pt. 2

Interesting.
And I think valid for some guys. People are funky and easily disturbed when it comes to sexual identification. I always thought that some of the reviews I have seen seemed unfair. It has occurred to me to wonder why.. and wonder from whence it came. As you know, my focus is on Frodo.. but I blink sometimes and step out of Middle Earth briefly and admire EW for his astonishing talent. (How does he DO that?) is usually the thought when he pulls something off with apparent ease that no amount of makeup, lighting or script help could have accomplished.
I really believe that at his young age he has done some of the greatest acting I have ever seen. And at MY age I have seen quite a bit. I feel so lucky that he played my Frodo.. so of course, I too get a bit snarly when I see some things written.
I have to also admit that it really did occur to me that book Frodo was sexy years ago.. in addition to just reacting to him as an especially beloved character. I wasn't alone in this. I was joined in my yearly Frodo feast in September by friends who fantasized about him. I can only imagine what they think of him now. Film Frodo definitely exacerbated this.
(I am going to tell my husband that you think he is a perv cause he DOESN'T think Frodo is handsome. Or that you think that HE thinks he is a perv cause he secretly DOES. Hahahahah! Just joking.)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-11-18 21:22 (UTC) (Link)

Re: "Possible uneasiness," pt. 2

(I am going to tell my husband that you think he is a perv cause he DOESN'T think Frodo is handsome. Or that you think that HE thinks he is a perv cause he secretly DOES. Hahahahah! Just joking.)

Oh, don't tell him THAT, LOL! After all, there even are women *gasp* who don't think Frodo's looks are any great shakes. "Funny-looking." "Pop-eyed." But far more I have heard women, older women like me especially, swooning dreadfully over him, especially over how breathtakingly beautiful he is, like a doll in a box. And I also hear an awful lot of ambivalence in that swooning. "I know he is old enough to be my son, but...." "I know he's just a kid, but...." "I know I am too old to feel this way, but...."

If they were 30- 40- 50- year-old men swooning for a 18-21-year-old actress, they woudld think themselves perfectly justified in their response. The older ones might feel a little foolish ("as if she'd like an old git like me!"), but they wouldn't feel sort of pervy the way so many of film Frodo and EW's fans do.

I did have to wonder, though, at all those articles in which the writer seemed to feel compelled to remark on EW's appearance in a way that recognized its power, while at the same time putting it down a little. "Yeah, I can see he's an adorable, amazing looking little guy. Who wouldn't want to pinch those rosy cheeks? But, hey! I'm immune to that sort of thing. And I've got pets at home to cuddle and squeeze if I feel an, "oh, isn't he the cutest thing!" attack coming on."
taerie
taerie at 2005-11-18 22:40 (UTC) (Link)

Re: "Possible uneasiness," pt. 2

>an awful lot of ambivalence in that swooning. "I know he is old enough to be my son, but...." "I know he's just a kid, but...." "I know I am too old to feel this way, but...."

If they were 30- 40- 50- year-old men swooning for a 18-21-year-old actress, they woudld think themselves perfectly justified in their response. The older ones might feel a little foolish ("as if she'd like an old git like me!"), but they wouldn't feel sort of pervy the way so many of film Frodo and EW's fans do.>>>

I wonder why that is. Even I, as shameless as I am have paused to wonder if I OUGHT to apologize to somebody for it. Stupid, really.
I have said before that sometimes I don't know whether to feed or snog Frodo.. ( Snogging usually wins.)As you said though.. He's a hobbit so you can do both. The PERFECT male! LOL!

This all makes me think of a BBC television episode of "Father Ted." (A show that seems hilarious to me.) In it, his older housekeeper is crazy for a man on TV who purposely excites the mother instinct of his audience. Hordes of middle aged and older women find out that she has won a personal visit by him and they converge on the house in a parody of the Night of the Living Dead movies wanting to feed him cake and knit him sweaters.:-)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-11-18 22:53 (UTC) (Link)

Re: "Possible uneasiness," pt. 2

I wonder why that is. Even I, as shameless as I am have paused to wonder if I OUGHT to apologize to somebody for it. Stupid, really.

If you had hung around on messageboards more (focussed on Frodo/EW), you would have heard A LOT of apologizing. I could understand the impulse, having had it myself, but, really, I have come to accept the fact that desire and love know no age limits. What does have a limit is acting on that desire and love. In the film "American Beauty," the protagonist, a man in his forties, has a huge idealized crush on his teenaged daughter's best friend. Is it weird or abnormal that he should feel this way? I don't think so, personally. But would it be terribly unwise, even tragic (not to mention illegal) for him to act on it? Yes. But the desire itself seems within the range of "normal" to me, even though it cannot be satisfied.

This all makes me think of a BBC television episode of "Father Ted." (A show that seems hilarious to me.) In it, his older housekeeper is crazy for a man on TV who purposely excites the mother instinct of his audience. Hordes of middle aged and older women find out that she has won a personal visit by him and they converge on the house in a parody of the Night of the Living Dead movies wanting to feed him cake and knit him sweaters.:-)

Oh, I have never heard of this "Father Ted" series. What a hilarious premise! It sounds like 50% of Frodo/EW fandom; me, I want to feed him, but I'll skip the sweater-knitting. On with the petting and cuddling and stroking!
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