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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Keisha Castle Hughes would have made such a great 'young Frodo'...

Posted on 2005.07.30 at 08:18
Tags: ,
The weekend before last, I took our daughter to go visit an old friend of mine. What would we do, we wondered, after my daughter had vanquished us at Crazy Eights and Monopoly?

Why, we would rent a film of course. But, horrors! -- her player was broken!

We flipped through the TV listings. Lo, there was listed on public television a showing of Whale Rider! Had she ever seen it? No. Wonderful! We all watched it (only she had never seen it before).

On this second viewing, I thought Whale Rider was even better than I had the first time around. And Keisha Castle Hughe's performance seemed even more exquisite, too. What I most thought about during the viewing, was what a GREAT "young Frodo" she would have made! (Except that she's a girl, of course.)

I was thinking of Frodo at about the time he moved to Bilbo's. That would have been in 1389 S.R. That would make him a hobbity 21. If a hobbit's 33 (coming of age) equals a human's 21, then, let's see.... I am guessing Frodo, at the time he went to live at Bag End, would have been about a human's 14 years -- which would be close to Hughes as she appeared in Whale Rider. (She looks more like 12 to 13 to me than 14.)

I scrounged up some shots off Google images, to better contemplate her in the role of "Thirteen Year-old Frodo Baggins"....

Looking at the shot below, I pictured a Frodo about to leave Brandy Hall: although I think he would be anticipating the move to his colourful's cousin's positively, I imagine him as wistful to leave the place where he grew up. (I suppose I should note that in my imagined life of Frodo, although he would have missed his parents, Frodo actually had enjoyed his life at the Hall; it wasn't the hell it is in some fanfics; if it had been, where would such a lovely, well-adjusted hobbit as Merry have come from?)

I think this must be a publicity still, but it shows the wistful mood I am talking about:

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Here's what looks like the same shot, reversed, and differently coloured (the camera person must have loved this pose of KCH). The colours are so warm and rich. It's gorgeous in its original image, just HUGE, with very high resolution.

I think of this as thirteen-year old Frodo, dreaming by the light of Bag End's hearth:

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Here's one from a poster, obviously digitally altered from the previous shots, which gives a feeling of the "blue Frodo" many of us so cherish from his LothLorien scenes in FotR. I think it's immensely evocative. What mood! What nuance! What a great sense of foreshadowing of the Grey Havens:

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And just look at this one, too. As it demonstrates, not only Elijah Wood as Frodo had mastered the "broken-hearted-but-enduring-trembling-lower-lip" look:

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Here are two more shots, screencaps from the film, which I think offer glimpses into the sorts of faces and moods I imagine for such a Frodo, on the cusp, just entering his 'tweens:

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What a face she had...! Or "has" -- does anyone know what Hughes has been doing since? I haven't kept up at all.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this chance to pore over this face and dream of "pre-quels" that might have been.

~ Mechtild


just_ann_now at 2005-07-30 14:23 (UTC) (Link)
I noticed her name in the credits for "Revenge of the Sith" as the latest Queen Amidala of Naboo; alas, she was all but unrecognizable under the ritual makeup. I would love to see her again!
mechtild at 2005-07-30 16:02 (UTC) (Link)

Thanks for the tip, Ann!

I looked Hughes up as 'Amadalia' and got this:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

She doesn't look very Frodo-ish, though, does she?

Well, maybe some really AU fanfic Frodo. You know, something like...

"Frodo, taken captive by a cruel Harad warlord, is forced to be his concubine. Made to dress as a Harad maiden, Frodo must perform acts unspeakable upon this exotically beautiful yet strapping, suitably waxed and oil-slicked, heavily muscled tormentor. Still, the plucky little hobbit manages to keep his inward purity by fixing all his thoughts on memories of home, even as he is summoned yet again ...

'Come here, my pretty little catamite. Down! Down on your knees to do my bidding'..."

That sort of thing. *winky face*

I am joking, but I am just betting it's already been written.

~ Mechtild
(Anonymous) at 2005-07-30 16:14 (UTC) (Link)
Poor thing! Look at her eyes! I guess that's how you look when the world has just gone to hell in a handbasket.

'Come here, my pretty little catamite. Down! Down on your knees to do my bidding'..."
I'm sure our intrepid, courageous Frodo can get through it by closing his eyes and thinking of the Shire....
just_ann_now at 2005-07-30 16:15 (UTC) (Link)
It's not anonymous! It's me! *stamping foot angrily at LJ*
pearlette at 2005-07-31 13:13 (UTC) (Link)
I am joking, but I am just betting it's already been written.

Erm, yes, it has. 'A Second Darkness' by Mordelhin. (Frodo wasn't made to dress up as a maiden though by his Harad captor. He was pretty enough already. Erk.)

*Pearl looks very sheepish and sidles away with a shame-faced look*

Re: Whale Rider, I cried like a big girl's blouse when her grandpa didn't turn up for her big night of glory in full Maori costume and she makes that wonderful speech about how great he is and how much he has taught her ... and the old git hasn't turned up because he's in a blue funk. Waaaaaaaah. *snuffle, sniff*

mechtild at 2005-07-31 14:31 (UTC) (Link)

Whaaah? There really is such a story...?

Ah ha! My guess was not too wide of the mark after all. (And yes, he is "pretty enough already." Mwah ha ha ha ha!)

Well, at least Frodo's captor was Man and not an Orc. That really would require a suspension of disbelief.

Do Orcs even have sexuality? No women or child Orcs are even hinted at. I had guessed that Tolkien, who would have thought a great deal of sexuality (as a gift from God), might have decided Orcs were too debased, too sub-human (even too sub-mammalian!), to have sexuality. PJ's Orc-birthing-out-of-slime-pits solution wasn't as ridiculous to me as it was to some others. I thought the highlighted "birth" of the Uruk (Lurtz?) was just great, in fact, with his face rolling sideways under the stretched membrane. Both creepy and real-looking, I thought.

On that scene in "Whale Rider" -- wasn't Ms. Hughes fantastic in that? I bibbled terribly watching it (is "bibbled" correct?) But, shucks, Pearl, I liked her grandfather, even if he was a git. He came round in the end, which was a tremendous effort for him (considering his long-held views).
just_ann_now at 2005-07-31 15:14 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Whaaah? There really is such a story...?

Apparenty there's more than one! I found Jah and the Pharaoh in my wanderings today - I've not yet had a chance to read it, though the associated fanart is lovely.

Female Orcs: mooncross has written quite a fascinating tale, about a female orc, Enmities,, but that's the only one that I'm aware of. (Click on her "Lord of the Rings" tab.)

Wibble? is that what you mean? though bibble is quite endearing. maybe wibbling while one is tippling could be described as bibbling?
mechtild at 2005-07-31 17:52 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Whaaa? There really is such a story...?

I clicked "Jah and the Pharoah," Ann. It's not a Frodo fic. But the author sure has given it an impressive presentation! It looks to me like a form of RPF that someone was telling us about ... was it Aisling in the previous journal entry? Anyway, she was telliing about a sort of RPF that wasn't quite RPF -- a fic in which the real people play out a fantasy scenario, as if they were actors in some other drama. I see the author even gives a "cast list."

But I feel so clueless and ancient! I looked at the "cast list" and saw that Billy Zane had been cast as the Pharoah.

I thought, "Who's Billy Zane?" Yeah, I never have heard of him.

So I Googled him up and saw why she had cast him -- mean, hard face; lean, hard body.

EW will have to put some time in at the Shire gym to look anything like that for their inevitable hot scenes together! I did look up his list of film credits and felt even more clueless. I had seen only one film he had been in ("Back to the Future", his first?) and had heard of only a few of the others. D'OH!

P.S. Thanks for the note -- 'bibble' s/b 'wibble', LOL
just_ann_now at 2005-07-31 18:06 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Whaaa? There really is such a story...?

wibbling while imbibing - I think that's what I meant - could equal bibbling. I like that.
pearlette at 2005-07-31 17:01 (UTC) (Link)
Well, at least Frodo's captor was Man and not an Orc.

I felt guilty enough for reading that fic. *sheepish grin* No way would I have read it if his captor was an ORC. *shudder*

And orc sexuality is something I really, REALLY don't want to think about. Lordy. *turns puce* PJ had an acceptable solution to how Saruman created the Uruk-Hai.

I liked the granddad too but she was a brave girl for standing up to him.

mechtild at 2005-07-31 17:25 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, she was brave. If she had not been brave, there would have been no story and hence no film!

Seriously, though, I thought they treated the theme with unusual grace and understanding -- how the granddaughter (and her era) could be at such odds with the grandfather (and his era); fully feeling the tension and conflict between them and their worlds; and yet how the love under it all could yet hold them together, only surfacing at the end.

From the very first frame, the little girl's reactions to her grandfather's rebuffs were unwavering, always indicating that she did not believe in his anger and rough treatment of her as his last word. She was everything strong but, but with a strength that is patient, that perseveres, that has faith. (Another good reason for her to play Frodo). The audience could see him treating her in rejecting ways, but the sheer fact that she never gave up on him and kept coming back -- never giving up her quest but never giving up on showing her love and respect for him -- seemed to show that she knew, even if we didn't, that his love and respect for her as a person was greater than the outrage he felt at what she insisted on doing, which flew in the face of what he believed should be her proper role.
mechtild at 2005-07-30 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
Ann, she does look darned sad, doesn't she? Look at those red rims!

I only saw each of the recent three Star Wars films once (although I thought "Revenge of the Sith" was really good, unlike the other turkeys). If Natalie Portman was the Queen of Naboo (I thought?) in RotS, what was Hughes supposed to be -- Portman's successor or something, after she had died? Was she in the funeral procession, perhaps? I may have blinked and missed it.

Yes, I think fanfic Frodo can handle anything his captors want to throw at him ("throw" might not be the most descriptive verb, however), thanks to his writers. He has to live to cast the Ring into the fire, and then sail into the West, after all. *grin*
just_ann_now at 2005-07-30 18:15 (UTC) (Link)
Strange, now I'm not getting email notification of your comments! How bizarre!

I was confused also about the political situation in Naboo. Padme was queen, which I thought was cool, but then the next thing I know, she's a senator, having been appointed by the current queen. Since when is being Senator better than being Queen? Apparently the Queenhood is a revolving door for the politically savvy young women of Naboo!

Yes, that was Queen Amidala Keisha in the funeral procession. Such a waste of an Academy Award nominee, but then, she's got many more years ahead of her. She can go on to bigger and better things, just like Tatum O'Neal and Anna Paquin! /sarcasm.
mechtild at 2005-07-30 18:23 (UTC) (Link)
Actually, the political workings of Naboo are extremely silly, having read a synopsis of the previous films as a refresher before going to see RotS. On Naboo, queens are elected; they have terms of office. Isn't that a stitch? Who ever heard of royalty being elected? It destroys the whole notion of royalty in tale-telling. The point of royalty in stories and legends (and reality?) is that it's a leadership that is the result of destiny; one simply is born to it; "doomed" to it; it is the royal leader's duty to accept and live up to that doom, whether he or she wants it or not.

Imagine fairy tales working at all if Prince or Princess So-and-so were prince or princess only until their terms were up!! *rolls eyes*
just_ann_now at 2005-07-30 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
Not to mention the drain on the economy to have to keep recreating that fabulous wardrobe. Unless there are physical qualifications other than simply being young and female? Rather like the maidens of Castle Anthrax in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
We are but eight score young blondes and brunettes, all between
sixteen and nineteen-and-a-half, cut off in this castle with no one to
protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life: bathing, dressing, undressing,
making exciting underwear.

Oh, George! What a botchup you've made of Naboo!
mechtild at 2005-07-30 18:51 (UTC) (Link)
HA! Was that a funny scene. Pooooor Galahad!

Do you know, there is a well-known Frodo NC-17 spoofy fanfic [well-known to fans of Frodo erotica] that, while not a parody of Monty Python's bit, does tell the story of a blythely unsuspecting young man [who might that be?] who happens upon a nest of women whose sole intent and purpose is to ravish him utterly. Unlike in "The Holy Grail," however, no one comes to rescue poor Frodo; his pursuers easily manage to Have Their Way With Him (although being the brave, noble Halfling that he is, Frodo manages to "get his own back" magnificently -- if only now and then). It is very funny. If you would like to read it, I will dig up a link.
just_ann_now at 2005-07-30 19:27 (UTC) (Link)
Is that "Too Many Tooks"? Yes, I've read that! poor, exhausted Frodo!
mechtild at 2005-07-30 19:38 (UTC) (Link)
Yep, that's the one! *grin* Ah, exhausted, but one happy hobbit once he had been untied from the bed posts and cleaned up a little.
(Anonymous) at 2005-08-07 04:05 (UTC) (Link)
Hi Mech!

Tex here, strolling at random through LJ territory. I thoroughly enjoyed Whale Rider and was impressed by KCH's performance in it. It's funny how many "Frolijahs" one begins to spot in film, now that the trilogy is over. I've seen several actors who have one feature or another which reminds me so strongly of our Frodo. But you are right, the stills you've posted are convincing. The last one, especially, could be young Frodo, listening with rapt attention to Uncle Bilbo telling one of his stories. (With string to play with, mind you, to accomodate that little bit of Hyperactive Disorder which EW brought to the role. ;o) )

This is not on your main topic, but have you seen Rabbit Proof Fence? Very moving. A (true) story of another young woman with quiet strength and courage, its young main character had many of the same qualities shown by the character Miss Hughes plays. The 30 minute "making of" documentary is almost the best part of the dvd.

mechtild at 2005-08-07 21:55 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, Tex!

I have not heard of "Rabbit Proof Fence". Is it recent?

You wrote:

The last one, especially, could be young Frodo, listening with rapt attention to Uncle Bilbo telling one of his stories. (With string to play with, mind you, to accomodate that little bit of Hyperactive Disorder which EW brought to the role. ;o) )

HA! Does EW strike you as hyper? Is that why he bites his nails and smokes and bounces his knee? I must say, though, I did not see any of that bleed into his performance of Frodo. I thought he projected a really solid center in that role, whether he was the cheerful fellow at the beginning or the possessed, driven hobbit at Mt. Doom. He seems like he is going to fly off the guest celebrity couch in interviews sometimes, but I didn't see that come through in LotR. Or did you mean something else? *inquisitive eyebrows on a smiley face*

Again, thanks for coming by, Tex. I know you are swamped with work.

~ Mechtild
(Anonymous) at 2005-08-08 00:37 (UTC) (Link)

Playing hooky...hookey?...hookie?

*I know you are swamped with work.*

Hi again, Mech! Yup, I'm supposed to be busy right now, but have decided to fritter away this evening. The teachers have been forbidden to go into our school building for the weekend while they do some major repairs. I certainly have plenty of things to do at home, but this evening, "Deep Impact" airs on CBS and I've decided to watch the Elijah parts of it. I can rove around the web for awhile and when I hear his voice, I'll sit back and watch. I'm looking forward to seeing those soft eyes gazing through the telescope at the first of the film. :o)

I agree with you, Frodo did not display many adult symptoms of Hyperactivity Disorder (with the exception of that constant fiddling with the ring :o) ), but I guess I was just remembering the story EW tells about locking his mom out of the house and handily destroying the kitchen. If Elijah really had been Frodo as a young'un, I don't doubt he would have done something similar to the hobbit hole of his youth. Thus the thought that, while listening to a story, he'd be likely to have something in his little, nail-bitten fingers, just to help him avoid a swat to the noggin and a sharp, "Good heavens, boy, can't you sit still for just one minute?"

Mech, you MUST see Rabbit Proof Fence! (Sorry, I don't know how to do the italics and such here.) Mae could probably tell you more about the actual history of the story, since it all happened in her neck of Australia. The film was nominated for all sorts of awards and had critical favor. It's basically about what Australian's call "The Stolen Generation" (I'm going from memory here, so I may be a little off on terms.) In mid twentieth century, it was Australian policy to take any Aborigine child who had any white blood in them away from their homes and raise them in group orphanages. This was to "better their lives", in the hope they would become "more white" (insert good grief emoticon here).

To summarize: three such girls escaped and trekked over 1,500 miles through some of Australia's most treacherous territory, following the "rabbit-proof fence" to find their way home. The main character, Molly, outsmarts a renowned "tracker", carries her little sister at times and urges her little cousin onward. It is an amazing story, but plan to have a box of tissues handy. Kenneth Branagh is the "well-meaning" overseer of the program.

In the short documentary, the filmmaker shows you how they went about finding aboriginal children, non-actors for the roles. What you discover about the actress who plays Molly (Everlyn Sampi) is most interesting, as you learn aspects of her temperament as well. You also get to meet the two sisters who actually made this journey and find they did it not once, but twice!

Once again, my knowledge of events comes from the film and you know how accurate films can be when portraying historical events. But I'm sure Maewyn could correct if anything I've said above is not correct. I don't buy many dvds or VHS tapes, but I do own this one, as well as Whale Rider. They are the type I love to dig out when I have company who hasn't seen either of those films.

WEll, I'm off to TORC to see what's up there. The movie starts in about 30 minutes, so I'll have time to at least check out the Frodo thread.

mechtild at 2005-08-08 04:44 (UTC) (Link)
Tex, that sounds like a fascinating topic for a film and a moving one. I will have to see if they have it at our rental place.

You do a great "trailer" for it, that's for sure!

~ Mechtild

P.S. Hope you liked Deep Impact all over again.
maewyn_2 at 2005-08-08 08:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Playing hooky...hookey?...hookie?

A little reply to Tex here...

You described the film very well. It was an awful time in our history. It was a terrible thing to do to the mothers, as well as the children who were affected.

There were no doubt cases where some children had a greater chance of survival in these institutions, but that would have been more the exception than the rule.

I remember the name of one of the institutions mentioned, where the "whiter" children were sent to Sister Kate's. Would you believe, Sister Kate's is only a few streets away from where I live? Of course, it is no longer an institution for Aboriginal children.

This is an amazing film, especially when you know it's based on fact. Imagine the resourcefulness and strength of spirit of a 14-year-old to walk through the desert, encouraging and protecting her sister and cousin.

Unfortunately, the copy I had rented didn't have the "extras' disc, so I couldn't watch that.

So Mechtild, I agree with Tex in saying this film is well worth watching.
mechtild at 2005-08-08 15:40 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Playing hooky...hookey?...hookie?

Well, Maewyn, that certainly was more than enthusiastic second to Tex's recommendation! Thanks. And it is really eerie that "Sister Kate's" is so close to your home.

Here, they did similar things to the children of Native peoples, pulling them out of families to go live at religiously-run boarding schools "for their own good". Some were well-run, some were horrors, but all of them were founded on a wrong-headed principle. The situation for many of the descendants of the Native tribes that lived here before Europeans arrived remains poor, although such schools have long since been closed.
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