Ride to the Grey Havens, Pt. I ~ Frodo and Bilbo in the wagon (fullscreen version).
I have been in a funk trying to write, so I have decided to post all the screencaps I've done to date and have done with them, at least for a while. The finished screencaps are all from the end scenes of RotK, along with a few sets of caps from "Cameras in Middle-earth" (one of the docs on the RotK EE Extras).
When I first started presenting screencaps a year ago, I primarily wanted to display film-Frodo's classical loveliness, remarking a bit on the film scenes from which any series of caps came. As these posts have continued, however, more and more I have let the canon text take the lead, as if the caps illustrated moments in the book, rather than the film they come from. I will do that in this series of caps, too.
Ride to the Grey Havens, Part I. Although the caps below are from a film scene that takes place as Frodo is leaving the Shire, I am moving it up to its place in the book. The scene in which Bilbo asks to see the Ring again, and Frodo sadly tells him he no longer has it comes not from the last journey to the Grey Havens, but from Many Partings. The hobbits stop in Rivendell on the way back to the Shire. Frodo has long been keen to tell Bilbo of the Quest, and his experiences in it, but he finds a hobbit very aged in mind, drifting and clearly no longer interested in the tales of this world, not Frodo's or even his own. Bilbo is still as dear to him, but the old hobbit is no longer fit to be the confidante and fellow-scholar/historian Frodo had been counting on.
I actually think the screenwriters made a good choice moving this poignant, tender exchange, so full of end-of-the-day melancholy, to the film scene between Frodo and Bilbo in the wagon. In the film, there was no reunion-in-Rivendell scene, and this exchange was too important in mood and content to leave out all together.
Here is the text from the book scene that provided the mood and dialogue for the film's adaptors. Some of this section was quoted in an entry that went with a Bronzino Frodo Art Travesty (talking about how Bilbo's lack of interest diminished Frodo's sense of the part he played in the larger story), but it could bear repeating for another application here.
In the evening they went to say good-bye to Bilbo. ‘Well, if you must go, you must,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I shall miss you. It is nice just to know that you are about the place. But I am getting very sleepy.’ Then he gave Frodo his mithril-coat and Sting, forgetting that he had already done so; and he gave him also three books of lore that he had made at various times, written in his spidery hand, and labeled on their red backs: Translations from the Elvish, by B. B.
To Sam he gave a little bag of gold. ‘Almost the last drop of the Smaug vintage,’ he said. ‘May come in useful, if you thing of getting married, Sam.’ Sam blushed.
‘I have nothing much to give to you young fellows,’ he said to Merry and Pippin, ‘except good advice.’ And when he had given them a fair sample of this, he added a last item in Shire-fashion: ‘Don’t let your heads get too big for your hats! But if you don’t finish growing up soon, you are going to find hats and clothes expensive.’
‘But if you want to beat the Old Took,’ said Pippin, ‘I don’t see why we shouldn’t try and beat the Bullroarer.’
Bilbo laughed, and he produced out of a pocket two beautiful pipes with pearl mouth-pieces and bound with fine-wrought silver. ‘Think of me when you smoke them! ‘ he said. ‘The Elves made them for me, but I don’t smoke now.’ And then suddenly he nodded and went to sleep for a little; and when he woke up again he said: ‘Now where were we? Yes, of course, giving presents. Which reminds me: what’s become of my ring, Frodo, that you took away?’
‘I have lost it, Bilbo dear,’ said Frodo. ‘I got rid of it, you know.’
‘What a pity!’ said Bilbo. ‘I should have liked to see it again. But, no, how silly of my! That’s what you went for, wasn’t it: to get rid of it? But it is all so confusing, for such a lot of other things seem to have got mixed up with it ….
Anyway it’s too late now; and really I think it’s much more comfortable to sit here and hear about it all. The fire’s very cosy here, and the food’s very good, and there are Elves when you want them. What more could one want?
The Road goes ever on and on Out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone Let others follow it who can! Let them a journey new begin, But I at last with weary feet Will turn toward the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet.’
The digital grading for this scene is very warm, a rich yellow like turning leaves. The lighting is quite dark, too, almost dim, like a bedroom with the shades drawn. The warmth and darkness seem to give the scene an almost bed-time look, as if dusk were deepening at the end of a long, sun-drenched September day. The warmth in the wagon only highlights, for me, the coolness of Frodo's response as Bilbo settles comfortably beside him. Not cool in the sense of unfeeling; quite the contrary. It is a coolness that comes from a carefully-maintained reserve as Frodo keeps in check a welling-up of intense feelings, feelings which Bilbo needn't know about.
Frodo has become the guardian, Bilbo the ward.
Here is a copy of an un-tweaked screencap from this set:
As usual, I have adjusted these screencaps for greater brightness, sharpness and contrast. For the sake of greater clarity of expression, I also adjusted the colour, somewhat, bringing down the yellow grading. The caps come from the fullscreen version of RotK.