Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Frodo Writes the Red Book, Pt. II....


Frodo Writes the Red Book, Part Two ~ featuring "Vision of Galadriel" screencaps and "Star of the Sea", Pt. II...

From Tolkien’s text, The Grey Havens:

In the next day or two Frodo went through his papers and his writings with Sam, and he handed over his keys. There was a big book with plain red leather covers; its tall pages were now almost filled. At the beginning there were many leaves covered with Bilbo’s thin wandering hand; but most of it was written in Frodo’s firm flowing script....

‘Why, you have nearly finished it, Mr. Frodo!’ Sam exclaimed. ‘Well, you have kept at it, I must say.’

‘I have quite finished, Sam,’ said Frodo. ‘The last pages are for you.’


Pearl's (pearlette’s) Star of the Sea concludes, illustrated by what might seem some unlikely screencaps, but I think they work well with it.

Decide for yourself after you read the conclusion whether or not they are a good fit.


As usual, the caps have been tweaked for contrast, lighting and focus.

~ From Frodo’s vision of Galadriel, in the pass of Cirith Ungol; RotK, full-screen theatrical edition.

Star of the Sea....cont'd.

~ by pearlette

Ch. 4 ~ Frodo’s Dreme

He lay listless on his bed, staring up at the ceiling.

He could not bear this. He could not relive this, again and again. For he knew the illness would come again. Every October, every March. And that was not the worst of it.

He could summon the strength to ride the terrible wave of memory. In a grim way, he wanted to remember every single detail, as much as he could, so that he could record it accurately in the Red Book. People had to know. They must know what their beloved land had been saved from.

Frodo gazed up at the ceiling, his eyes unblinking. No, remembering was not the worst of it. The worst was what followed after each nightmare. After his soul had been scoured of each terrible memory, after his body had relived each injury … even as the hideous memories faded, and the fear became a dull pain in his heart, he felt the grey emptiness yawning before him like a chasm. A grey nothingness. A not-feeling. Nothing. This was worst of all. It was worse than the throbbing, nauseating pain of Shelob’s bite. It was worse than remembering the hot greedy orc-claws scampering over his body, the repugnant knowledge that he had become nothing more than prey. It was worse even than the pain of October the sixth, when the dreadful memory of the Witch-king’s malevolence and the horror of wraith-world had summoned him. It was worse than the last few horrible moments at Mount Doom, which he could only remember fitfully: Sam had told him in a low and gentle voice the exact sequence of events. It was even worse, if possible, than the searching Eye of Sauron, of which he had become fully aware when he claimed the Ring for his own and set it on his finger, not knowing what he did – that he did remember, and he could recall the scorching hatred and rage and despair of the Dark Lord, for he had merged into the Ring, and the Ring had become part of him, and they were both part of Sauron. All of these things were hellish, but the not-feeling was worst of all.

‘I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?’ he had cried to Gandalf.

The wizard had said nothing, but turned and gazed at Frodo steadily, with compassion and understanding in his deep eyes. Eyes which saw beyond the furthest horizons … what lay beyond the Sea.

Gandalf’s thought had spoken gently in his mind.

'You know the answer, Ring-bearer'.

No, Frodo had thought. No, I am not ready to leave. I am not ready to go to the Sea. Let me go home first. Give me time!

Restlessly he tossed and and turned on his bed. It was two o’clock, and he could not sleep. The dreary hours stretched before him.

His fingers sought Arwen’s jewel on its silver chain, hanging against his breast. A faint light glowed within it, the light welled up between his fingers as he ran them over the cool white gem. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Touching the jewel had a calming effect. As he had relived the torment of Cirith Ungol and the dreadful shock of finding the Ring gone, he had unconsciously clutched at Arwen’s jewel, and slowly his thudding heartbeats had stilled, and his panting moans quietened, and he became still and limp on the bed.

But it was not over yet.

For the grey chasm yawned before him. Where nothing mattered anymore. This was what the Ring did to you … it called you into wraith-world and it sucked the life out of you. So that all you desired was It. It had drained Gollum dry and left him a poor pathetic husk. And now that It was gone forever, its effects could not be undone. For him to be haunted by something which didn’t exist any more was Its final triumph. Something of himself had died with it, because something of himself had merged with it, and in that painful knowledge lay his bitterest shame, because his soul had been seduced by the essence of Sauron the deceiver, Sauron who now gnawed the shadows and crawled in the Void.

Walking in the Void. He might as well be there himself. A grinding despair filled him. For months now it had been like this: sometimes all the joy and pleasure drained out of life so that he could feel nothing. Of course there had been moments of reprieve. Blessed moments, healing moments: the flowering of the mallorn tree in the Party Field, Sam and Rosie’s wedding, Merry and Pippin’s glamorous parties, the kindness and solicitude of his friends, messages from the King and Queen in Minas Tirith and from Lord Faramir in Ithilien, even a helpful talk with Paladin, Pippin’s father … but slowly, slowly, he felt as if everything was turning to ash inside him. He would prefer pain to this dreadful emptiness. The pain at least helped him write the Book. But the emptiness was unbearable.

Tears welled up in his eyes.

‘Help me, Lady,’ he whispered into the dark, his fingers desperately caressing Arwen’s gem.

Arwen. One day she would face the darkness too. She could not go West. She had given up her inheritance in the Blessed Realm for the sake of the King she loved. She had thought it a price worth paying.

Her gift to him, Frodo realised suddenly, was one of hope. He did not have to stay in Middle-earth and suffer like this. Saruman’s last parting shot –‘do not expect me to wish you health and a long life. You will have neither’ -- was vicious, but it did not have to come true.

‘What shall I do?’ Frodo whispered into the dark. ‘Arwen. Galadriel. Tell me.’

He closed his eyes.

Please, Lady. Tell me what to do.

Words formed soundlessly on his lips, as he held Arwen’s jewel between his fingers.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel … silivren penna míriel … o menel aglar elenath … from tree-shadowed mortal lands I look to thee … Snow-white, O Lady Clear … I call to thee from across the great ocean.

He closed his eyes. There was a soft breeze in the trees outside. It sounded like so much like the Sea that he could almost see the waves, ebbing and flowing on the margins of his mind.

As he continued to whisper the ancient elvish words, there came a strong impression that a soft hand was stroking his hair.

His eyes flew open.

He sat up, feeling his heart bang in his chest. He stared around the bedroom, dark in the moonless night. There was nobody there.

‘Sam?’ he said, not expecting a reply. It was the memory of Sam’s arms around him that had pulled him out of the darkness of Cirith Ungol. Sometimes Sam had come to comfort him during a nightmare and to fetch him a drink for his bedside table.

But it could not be Sam.

The touch had felt more like a woman’s hand.

But not a hobbit-woman’s.

Frodo lay back. All was completely silent. That soft whisper of wind outside had died down. It was that dead time, the hours before dawn, when the world is deeply asleep. No dogs barking far off. No cocks crowing. No birds singing. It was a watchful, wakeful silence, and he was the most wakeful thing in it.

He pressed his lips to Arwen’s jewel.

Slowly and sweetly a presence was flooding into his room which only a few seconds ago had seemed so cold and dark and empty. A warm presence, from which he felt nothing but goodwill.

His head dropped back into his pillow. His body arched and he breathed deeply. Oh … it felt as if all his strained muscles were being soothed. Once more he imagined that slender, womanly hand caressing his brow, like a memory of his mother, long ago.

Can’t you sleep, little elven-eyed son? Always so wakeful! Hush now. I’ll tell you a story, a tale from long ago, just like your uncle Bilbo does.

‘Tell me,’ said Frodo aloud to the darkness. ‘Show me!’

'If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed.'

'For about this time of the year, when the leaves are gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I shall be with him.'

‘Yes,’ said Frodo, ‘but when? Please … tell me when.’

He shut his eyes again. His whole body felt expectant, waiting for he knew not what.

It was then that the Dream came. He could not remember afterwards if he had actually been asleep. Not that it mattered one way or the other.

He was gazing out at a dark and glittering Sea, heaving beneath the light of the Moon. A light was growing on the horizon which was not moonlight. The light was streaming outwards, coalescing into a strange formation, as if a star had burst. It flickered and flashed until it took shape in the figure of a woman, a woman as tall as a mountain, crowned with stars, her hair a cloudy veil streaming across the night sky. Stars glittered in her crown, starlight filled her eyes and her whole form shone with a silver glory in the depths of the night. Clouds drifted around her head and the midnight sea rolled to the foot of a great, ice-crowned mountain looming behind her. Jewels flashed in the surf.

Frodo could only gaze upwards, utterly transfixed, his eyes so filled with light and beauty that he was unable to speak or even think. He wished only to gaze upon this great Lady of the mountain, this Lady of the stars and clouds, to be absorbed by her, to hear her silent song and hear the eternal waters of Arda forever falling into his mind. Starlight streamed from her hair and spilled from her upraised hands. He knew then that the Lady had spoken, and the stars had come to be.

Her face was too full of light for him to gaze directly upon it, and yet he knew who she was. She was Galadriel, full of power and beauty, in whose eyes were the wisdom of the ages. She was Arwen, with her radiant and searching gaze. She was his mother, with her light blue eyes and dark curly hair – the light dazzled him but he thought he recognised the sweetness of his mother's face from so long ago. And yet the Lady was none of these, and more than any of these, but he knew beyond doubt she was the source of light and love and healing. And he knew that he wanted to sail upon the Sea and find her, and perhaps even make his way to that white Mountain, and gaze upon its peak veiled in cloud and haloed with the stars of Varda.

The soft light washed through him and cleansed him. He was drenched and drowned in a river of starlight.

Then, at last, sleep stole sweetly through his veins, lulling him, rocking him as if he was floating upon a warm sea in the depths of a summer night.

Deeper and deeper he fell into sleep.

And still his lips moved soundlessly.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel.

Ch. 5 ~ The Stars Tremble in the Song of Her Voice

There were so many memories.

Of himself as a small boy, together with his Took and Brandybuck cousins, crammed into the parlour at Bag End at Yuletide, listening eagerly to Bilbo’s marvellous stories about dwarves and mountains and dragon’s gold. When he had been older, and Merry was like a little brother to him at Brandy Hall, they had pretended to hunt for dragon’s gold in the woods.

More precious memories, as a young man getting used to his strange and exciting new life at Bag End, where he could read all the books he liked, and stay out as late as he liked, because Bilbo never worried: indeed, he often came with Frodo on midnight jaunts under the stars. There was the remembrance of that unforgettable first meeting with the Elves in the woods at twilight, when they had softly greeted Bilbo and young Frodo had hardly been able to speak, wondering how the Elves knew both their names.

Watching Sam and the Gaffer work in the garden on a summer afternoon. Listening to Bilbo giving Sam reading lessons in the kitchen while he himself curled up with a book in the window-seat. Then there were the years after Bilbo left the Shire: small dinner parties with a select group of friends, tramping around the Four Farthings for days on end with Merry and Pippin, evenings spent chatting to Sam after Sam had finished working for the day, the pair of them smoking beside the fire, Sam shyly confiding about this and that and visibly growing in confidence as Frodo encouraged him with his reading.

All these memories were like a succession of small bright painted pictures in Frodo’s mind. They brought comfort. All those years the Ring had lain in Bag End, deadly, biding its time … but the Ring could not sully these memories. They were pure and untouched.


Frodo stood in the doorway of Bag End, staring southwards. The morning was cold and fresh. It was half past five, and still semi-dark. Slowly the world was waking up. A cock crowed halfway down the Hill.

He had barely slept three hours, but he had awoken feeling better. There was no phantom pain burning in his shoulder. There were no vile fragments of nightmare leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. He felt weak and exhausted, and there were huge dark shadows under his eyes, but his mind felt cleansed.

His dream had confirmed the nagging suspicion in his heart. He knew now what he had to do, and he had all summer in which to do it. This would be his last summer in the Shire. He would spend the rest of the spring finishing the Red Book, and the summer could be spent polishing it up if need be, and enjoying to the full the companionship of his friends.

In two weeks’ time (according to the Hobbiton midwife), Sam and Rosie’s child would be born.

Had anyone been able to observe Frodo at that hour, they would have seen a slender gentlehobbit in his early fifties, dressed in a crisp white cotton shirt and plum-brown velvet breeches, a light grey cloak tossed over his shoulders. Slightly slimmer than most hobbits of his age and station, with a strangely youthful face … but the touches of grey around his temples were the tell-tale signs that he was not as youthful-looking as he had been when he went away two years ago.

He gazed fixedly in front of him. His maladies would increase if he stayed in Middle-earth. It was beyond doubt. Yet there was a way to break the cycle. He knew that now.

He turned, and went back inside the hobbit-hole, to make his way towards the study.

It was still cold, so he found a warm jumper to pull over his shirt, and lit a fire in the kitchen. Having made himself a cup of warm milk, and toasted some bread, Frodo sat down at his desk to begin the business of the day.

He paused, considering, and then dipped his pen in the ink. The Cirith Ungol chapter was finished. He could either get onto the next part – the journey into Mordor itself – or go back and polish something which had been bothering him.

He turned the pages backward to the chapter on Lothlórien. There he found his account of the Fellowship leaving the Land of the Dreamflower, riding their boats into the current of the Anduin and sorrowfully gazing backwards, watching Lórien fade away like a bright dream of gold from the margins of the waking world. Their hearts had ached, and Frodo had wondered if he would ever come there again.

Then he had seen the Lady Galadriel, standing on the tongue of land between the Silverlode and the Anduin, a shining white figure raising her hand in farewell. The distant dazzle of Nenya flashed like a white star on her finger. He knew that he and he alone could see the Ring of Adamant. Galadriel's voice had come to him over the water. He had known she was singing farewell, but he had not understood the words, and he had not thought he would ever be able to remember them.

Legolas had remembered some of them, and they had talked softly in Minas Tirith at one point. Yes, Legolas could remember some of the Lady’s song, and Frodo had copied it down.

But now the fragments of memory came together, like a miraculous jigsaw. Frodo could remember that beautiful melody, and what was more, he could understand the words themselves. He did not know how or why, but the words flowed through his mind easily and he began to write furiously, determined not to lose the precious memory before it left him.

At last he was done, and he glanced down at the page. There inscribed on the page was the farewell song of the Lady Galadriel in the tongue of the High Elves across the Sea, perfectly transcribed by himself not from notes but from memory alone, as if someone had spoken the words, bell-like, into his mind.

Ai! Laurë lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimie ve ramar aldaron!
yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
ni oromardi lisse-miruvóreva
andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
nu luini yassen tintilar ieleni
ómaroyo airetári-lírinen …

… Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.
Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!

The years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the song of her voice, holy and queenly …

‘For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds,’ Frodo whispered. His pen trembled in his hand. Not only could he remember exactly what Galadriel had sung, but he could understand the words, imperfect as his knowledge of the High-elven language was.

Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!

As the Fellowship had left Lothlórien behind them, disappearing forever beyond the curve of the Anduin, lost in time, Frodo had not understood Galadriel’s song, nor had the beauty of her singing comforted him. Now at last the words appeared like bright gold in his mind, as if printed clear on a page of memory, and he understood them with the sweet illumination of reason. And they did comfort him. Because now he knew – at last he knew – that her song had been for him.

He was shaken to the core. He thought again of the brilliance of Galadriel’s ageless eyes, of her penetrating glance that dissolved all defences of the mind and spirit.

I come to thee, Frodo’s spirit cried.

‘I will sail with thee,’ he said, his voice calm and clear. A sigh shook his frame, and he bent his head over his desk.

Bilbo, he thought. Bilbo will sail in the autumn. And I shall go with him. I will leave Bag End to Sam and Rose.


Frodo returned to bed before Sam and Rosie rose at half-six.

He slept deeply and soundly. Rosie, peeking in on him around eight o’clock, found him drowned in sleep, his wounded hand lightly clasping Arwen’s jewel to his breast. She smiled, and closed the door as quietly as she could. She tiptoed back to Sam and whispered that the master was looking very much better.

When Sam came home around mid-day, Frodo had arisen and was setting the table for lunch while Rosie cooked a rich and pungent beef stew.

‘Mr Frodo’s been down to the cellar to get some good wine,’ said Rosie, kissing her husband. ‘And Marigold has brought up a great big apple pie. I don’t suppose you and the master will have much trouble in finishing it.'

‘You will have to help us, Rosie,’ said Frodo, uncorking the wine (a rich red), ‘you are eating for two, you know.’

Sam laughed. He smiled eagerly at Frodo.

‘Is all well now, Mr Frodo? Are you feeling better today?’

Frodo’s eyes rested on Sam for a moment. Rosie, bringing in the casserole dish to set it on the table, caught the glance. There was an infinitely tender expression in those blue eyes.

‘Yes, Sam,’ said Frodo. ‘All is well.’


Dante’s Prayer

Music and Lyrics Loreena McKennitt from her album ‘The Book of Secrets’ (1997)

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me

A Hymn to the Virgin

(Anon. c. 1300 AD, music by Benjamin Britten)

Of one that is so fair and bright
Velut maris stella (like a star of the sea),
Brighter than the day is light
Parens et puella (mother and maiden),
I cry to thee, thou see to me,
Lady, pray thy Son for me,
Tam pia (thou holy one),
That I may come to thee,

Author’s note: My intention in this story is not to draw a literal comparison between Tolkien’s depiction of Elbereth, the Vala who created the stars, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tolkien himself – a devout Catholic – would not have approved of that type of analogy, for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, there is a strong sense of the divine feminine in Tolkien’s mythology, and it is that aspect of his work which I wanted to tap into.


pearlette’s fic may be found at WotM and Henneth Annun under Diamond of Long Cleeve, and at Frodo’s Harem Fanfic Archive under Nienna.

Previous screencap entry, "Frodo Writes the Red Book, Pt. I", with Pt. 1 of "Star of the Sea", HERE.

Next entry, "Frodo Writes the Red Book, Pt. III", HERE.

Listing of all Frodo screencap entries HERE.

~ Mechtild
Tags: frodo screencaps, pearl, return of the king

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