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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

"In Dremes" by jan-u-wine, with three paintings.

Posted on 2010.03.22 at 09:18
Tags: , , , , ,

In this second Sea-related prose piece, jan-u-wine shows Frodo after the War. Rosie and Sam and Elanor are living in Bag End, which Frodo enjoys and appreciates, but he's thinking of the Sea and everything the Sea stands for. I have chosen paintings to complement the piece, as well as excerpts from Tolkien's writings.


Book excerpts.

The Fall of Gondolin, The Book of Lost Tales, Pt. 2:

In this part of that riverway there were islets of rock amid the currents, and fallen rocks fringed with white sand at the gully-side, so that it was ill-going, and seeking a while Tuor found a spot where he might with labour scale the cliffs at last. Then came a fresh wind against his face, and he said: "this is very good and like the drinking of wine," but he knew not that he was near the confines of the Great Sea.

Then Tuor found himself in a rugged country bare of trees, and swept by a wind coming from the set of the sun, and all the shrubs and bushes leaned to the dawn because of that prevalence of that wind. And here for a while he wandered till he came to the black cliffs by the sea and saw the ocean and its waves for the first time, and at that hour the sun sank beyond the Rim of Earth far out to sea, and he stood on the cliff-top with outspread arms, and his heart was filled with a longing very great indeed. Now some say that he was the first of Men to reach the Sea and look upon it and know the desire it brings but I know not if they say well.

On the sea he adventured not as yet, though his heart was ever egging him with a strange longing thereto, and on quiet evenings when the sun went down beyond the edge of the sea it grew to a fierce desire.

The Valaquenta, The Silmarillion:

Ulmo loves both Elves and Men, and never abandoned them, not even when they lay under the wrath of the Valar. At times he will come unseen to the shores of Middle-earth, or pass far inland up firths of the sea, and there make music upon his great horns, the Ulumúrui, that are wrought of white shell; and those to whom that music comes hear it ever after in their hearts, and longing for the sea never leaves them again. But mostly Ulmo speaks to those who dwell in Middle-earth with voices that are heard only as the music of water. For all seas, lakes, rivers, fountains and springs are in his government; so that the Elves say that the spirit of Ulmo runs in all the veins of the world.


In Dremes

~ by jan-u-wine

It has been a part of my life as far back as I may remember. The imagined sound and sight and smell of it visited me in gentling dremes even when I was a lad.

Since Elanor's birth, I have taken to staying late abed. Oh, not for laziness sake, no, but to hear the muted sounds of her (of them) as she wakes. To hear life going on once again about the place.

I must also admit that, of late, I feel disinclined to rise. Even the books which my Lady has sent on to me from the City, books which Sam tells me are from her own library, do not tempt me.

And so I stay abed, and think on nothing, until the clamour of Rose and Sam and the flower-child breakfasting becomes almost loud through the closed door. Rosie will, after all, have tea waiting for me, steam curling from the familiar mug like spent-autumn. And seed-cake, fresh from the baking, butter sliding yellow upon its face…….

Today, though, I cannot find it within myself to leave the enfolding comfort of bed. Inevitably, there is a knock upon the door. A stout knock, not soft and hesitant, like Rosie's is. Sam. There is a good-natured scolding in my future.

The door opens, none too gently. How well I know this look: mouth struggling betwixt turning up and turning down, eyes crinkling, snapping in almost-amused worry.

"Did you…….."
(no-longer amused eyes take in the state of the bedding. I had not realized how very disheveled it was).

"Did you have a bad night, Mr. Frodo?"

did I?

no, I don't think so, it was…..it was only…..

"No, Sam, not - not bad. Just…….I was dreming, is all."

Sam looks as if he has spotted a three-legged coney in the back garden.

"And what," he says softly, pulling the comforter up from the floor, "on what might you have been dreming, to have made such a tangle?"

Sometimes, the telling of simple truth is not so very simple. I well knew what he thought, what he expected to hear: a mountain, running red with consuming fire, a blooded whip falling within a darkened chamber, the unbearable desire for that which I may never touch or see or name as mine own……

"The Sea."

His head came up at that.

"Beg pardon, sir?"

Patience……patience. I had never thought on it, but it is not, after all, what any (even Sam, who knows me like no other) would expect to fill a hobbit's dreams.

My voice grew smaller, nonetheless, as, of a sudden, I knew the import of those two words. It would not do now, would not do at all, for me not to have the courage to meet his eyes. The sad certainty I saw there only matched my own.

"The Sea. I dreamt of it, Sam. I have, for many years, now."

We have been through worse things than the unraveling of the hope I saw in his eyes. But we had been through them together. He would not be my Sam, though, were he not to find some bit of homely comfort in even the most desperate strait.

A large hand reached out, grasped mine.

"Rosie's waiting on us, Mr. Frodo, and you well know she don't like bein' kept waiting, so come along."

I could scarce believe I should escape without further comment, but he was rounding the door……


My name, and without the title. Half on the other side of the door he was, voice muffled by the division of it, but I could hear tears and a stubborn holding-on, even so.


"Just you keep in mind……just…..". His voice dimmed, stopped. I did not speak, could not speak.

"Just you keep in mind, Mr. Frodo, it might be a lovely place to visit, but 'tis not a place you'd want to be livin'. Sir."

And the door closed, finally, he on one side, me on the other.

And I was left there to consider dremes, and the consequences thereof.


"Weymouth Bay from the Downs above Osmington Mills" (detail) ~ John Constable
"Bilbo in Bag End" ~ Alan Lee
"Sea and Sky" ~ Albert Bierstadt

Previous entry: In the Ending is the Beginning by jan-u-wine, with art illustrations, 3-19-2010.

Other Links:

~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.


shirebound at 2010-03-22 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
And the door closed, finally, he on one side, me on the other.

That really sums everything up perfectly, doesn't it?

Dear Frodo. Dear Sam. Someday they'll both meet again on the other side of the door.
mechtild at 2010-03-22 15:43 (UTC) (Link)
I never noticed, Shirebound, reading this poem so many times and preparing this post, how that line works, in just the way you say. Thank you!

Yes, they will meet again. I think knowing that is what makes the ending of LotR bearable (side note: and, for me, that Gimli will go too; I so want his sigh to be negated, that he looked his last on what was fairest leaving Lórien).
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2010-03-22 15:46 (UTC) (Link)
Your remarks about the choice of illustrations warms the cockles of my heart, Mews. Those are the connections I made, too. Thanks so much for stopping in.

ETA: I just checked to see when that drawing of Bilbo as a small figure in the halls of Bag End, awash with filtered light coming in through the windows, was made. It's a scan from my copy of "The Hobbit" illustrated by Lee. Since the copyright is 1997, Lee did these before the trilogy went into design and production. I wonder if this illustration was in the back of someone's mind when that scene at the end of RotK was conceived? I mean the one of Frodo wandering around Bag End alone, the voice over wondering how someone so wounded can go back to his old life. That scene and this drawing really, really remind me of each other.

Edited at 2010-03-22 03:51 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2010-03-22 16:20 (UTC) (Link)
[Revised for better clarity]

*Just* what I thought when I saw the drawing in "The Hobbit", and what I hoped people would see when I posted it here.

I bought the book new this year, not realising it wasn't a recent release, until now -- because your comment made me check. But several months ago when I purchased the book I saw the resemblance at once. I think I was assuming Lee really liked the shot in RotK and based his Hobbit drawing on it, or else Lee did the concept drawing for the RotK scene, then redid it for Bilbo. Now that I see the Hobbit illustration predates the film, I am sure the RotK scene was based on a Lee concept working from this drawing, or else PJ saw this illustration before they began filming and said, "Alan, I want the shot of Frodo after the War to look just like this."

I actually think the drawing works beautifully for Bilbo. The plate appears in the book early, when Bilbo is introduced, and, as readers know, the Bilbo Gandalf persuades into joining the expedition already had a secret place inside him that wanted something more, something beyond his home and Hobbiton. I think this drawing says that, too.

Edited at 2010-03-22 04:25 pm (UTC)
telstar_gold at 2010-03-22 23:32 (UTC) (Link)
"Just you keep in mind, Mr. Frodo, it might be a lovely place to visit, but 'tis not a place you'd want to be livin'. Sir."
Poor, dear Sam. If only his determination could keep Frodo where he wants him. :(

Another lovely story from Jan, thank you!

Btw, I got very interested in the Constable painting, as I grew up on the south coast, and I spent a day on Weymouth beach back in the summer. I think you can just see it way in the background on the right of the painting. The "island" on the left is the Isle of Portland, where Portland stone comes from. It's not really an island, because it's joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach, which you can also just see there. :))
mechtild at 2010-03-23 01:40 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Telstar. And your remarks about the location in the painting, that you were actually there, are so cool! Here is a link to the whole painting (open it up all the way to save it, it's a big file):


You'll be able to see many more details. I'm sure you will recognize every feature. I cropped the painting to use in the post (which is why it says "detail" next to the title). I thought the figures on the right took away from its applicability to the poem, in which I sense Frodo envisioning the Sea with no one else present.
telstar_gold at 2010-03-23 11:58 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thanks for that link - it's an amazing sight! LOL, I don't know about recognising every feature. Weymouth itself looks rather different now, as you can see in this photo, which is a similar view, though taken from closer to the town. You can see how developed it is now - and don't be deceived by the empty beach. I can guarantee that the further end, where all the action is, is packed solid! It's still a quaint old town, though, and much of the surrounding countryside would probably still be recognisable to Constable.
mechtild at 2010-03-23 12:51 (UTC) (Link)
That's quite a difference! It reminds me of a set of images in the newish book on Tolkien's art, showing the view of the town he painted, and a photo of the town today. All the fields and woods he painted are covered up. He'd probably weep, poor love.

P.S. Love your icon. Is it a detail from am old painting?
telstar_gold at 2010-03-23 13:47 (UTC) (Link)
The icon is by semyaza, as is this one, and the previous one of a ship. She's an expert at iconising exquisite details from old illustrated books, manuscripts, maps etc. :)
mechtild at 2010-03-23 13:51 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, that's wonderful too! I think I've seen her icons before, back when I'd see her posts in people's LJ's. Very beautiful,intriguing icons they were.
elycia at 2010-03-23 09:22 (UTC) (Link)
We have been through worse things than the unraveling of the hope I saw in his eyes.

OUCH. I can picture this, just so. Poor, dear Sam, who does not yet understand how all he and the rest of the Fellowship have to give is not enough to keep his beloved master healed and whole.

Lovely words, as always--and lovely illustrations, too. Thanks so much!
mechtild at 2010-03-23 12:53 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for stopping and for you comment, Elycia. It's such a hard thing, Frodo leaving - for the engaged reader as much as Frodo's friends, I think.
belleferret at 2010-03-24 00:57 (UTC) (Link)
And the door closed, finally, he on one side, me on the other.
Oh this is so very sad, it makes me weep. But one day, though it will not be for many years, the door will open again, never to separate them.

The pictures enhance the mood of the story so well.
mechtild at 2010-03-24 02:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Belleferret. I'm so pleased you found the post worthwhile. Yes, one day there will be no closed door.
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