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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Eagles ~ Frodo Wakes in Ithilien, plus jan-u-wine's 'There and Back....Again'

Posted on 2006.09.30 at 11:19
Tags: , ,

This is the last of the posts featuring poetry by jan-u-wine — at least for the foreseeable future. I had wanted to post it on its own since it is not part of the previous series.

Jan wrote a wonderful, moving poem, “On the Field of Cormallen”, inspired by the Frodo Art Travesty, made from a painting of St. Sebastian tended by St. Irene, by Francesco Del Cairo.

But this poem is very different in subject and tone. Rather than portraying an unconscious Frodo being tended by healers, this is Frodo waking up for the first time, on the Field of Cormallen in Ithilien.

There is no portrayal in the canon text of this moment for Frodo, but Tolkien does include a depiction of Sam waking (Frodo having wakened earlier but returned to sleep). For my ‘bit of text’, then, here is that excerpt.

From The Return of the King, “The Field of Cormallen”:

When Sam awoke, he found that he was lying on some soft bed, but over him gently swayed wide beechen boughs, and through their young leaves sunlight glimmered, green and gold. All the air was full of a sweet mingled scent.

He remembered the smell: the fragrance of Ithilien. ‘Bless me!’ he mused. ‘How long have I been asleep?” For the scent had borne him back to the day when he had lit his little fire under the sunny bank; and for the moment all else between was out of waking memory. He stretched and drew a deep breath. ‘Why, what a dream I’ve had?’ he muttered. ‘I’m glad to wake!’ He sat up and then he saw that Frodo was lying beside him, and slept peacefully, one hand behind his head, and the other resting upon the coverlet. It was the right hand, and the third finger was missing.


For illustrations, rather than using the simple-but-beautiful, light-bathed images of Frodo beginning to stir in the Houses of Healing (companion shot to Frodo waking in Rivendell), I decided to use the images of Frodo being borne aloft by the eagle, after being rescued from the fires and fumes of Gorgoroth. Not only do they seem to suit better, the scene is one I think the most beautiful in all of film.

Frodo is still conscious in these images, his mind still working: the expressions on his face alternate between muzzy bewilderment, exhausted relief, wondering disbelief, and sheer bliss.

Below is the book text that goes with the Eagles Scene:

And so it was that Gwaihir saw them with his keen far-seeing eyes, as down the wild wind he came, and daring the great peril of the skies he circled in the air: two small dark figures, forlorn, hand in hand upon a little hill, while the world shook under them, and gasped, and rivers of fire drew near. And even as he espied them and came swooping down, he saw them fall, worn out, or choked with fumes and heat, or stricken down by despair at last, hiding their eyes from death.

Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and in a dream, not knowing what fate had befallen them, the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away out of the darkness and the fire.

I thought the Eagles screencaps showed a lot more of what Frodo might be feeling upon waking up in Ithilien. They convey more of the complexity, the variety of impressions and feelings that might be passing through Frodo’s mind than those from the HOH scene.

After reading jan-u-wine’s poem, There and Back….Again (posted below the screencaps), I thought this all the more.

When I look at the caps below, I feel they truly express the lines Renée Fleming sings (with a voice like a Vala) in the vocals under this scene, lines which book-Sam speaks to Gandalf:

’What’s happened to the world? Is everything sad going to come untrue?’


As usual, the screencaps, which come from the fullscreen theatrical version, have been sharpened and brightened.

There and Back....Again

~ jan-u-wine

Waking thoughts.

A confusion of consciousness,
freighted by sleep.




In later years he would remember
the first thing he *did* remember,

the first thought that flashed from
nothing into being with such fierce speed,

that almost he laughed

he was not sure

he *could* laugh,
not certain he might recall such sound from his silenced throat)
at its very oddity:

he wondered
if the Sun's warm fingers


upon a *rounded* ear,

wondered, as the heat of it
fell upon his side,

his arm,
his face,
like a hand placed there in gentle blessing.

Sweet Spring Sun.
Even, it warmed his hair.

And, oh then,


he could smell the green scent
of the field

and even the difference as
dew'd day-break

pushed toward grass-dried noon,
sweet promise holding him in a blanket of dawn.

And he kept his eyes closed,



listening to his heart beat,

soft then hard

(feeling the pain in his hand at that last,
almost as if the bone were still bared,
(nerves strung raw in the crimson'd chamber)
almost as if blood still pulsed and ran
from the wound)

and the birds making small sounds in the brake,

like sleepy lullabies

murmurs of life
about to awaken,


all at once.

'Like *me*, he thought, like *me*'.

And they had laid him down upon a bed of straw,
with just his cloak between,

and it felt...

he had to *think* on how it felt,

think on the homeliness of the straw,
sharp little points sticking and rustle-shifting
if he moved,

and the cloak,

between him and those rough points,
grey weave familiar and soft like a dreme and better than any pillow
beneath his cheek.

And he felt a great tightness about his throat,

(all the tighter for there being nothing truly
*there*, now),

a great unwillingness to open his eyes,
lest there be nothing but darkness,

and a great urgency, as if the opening
were as needful as the taking of a breath
after having been too long submerged.

He reasoned
that if there were naught save darkness,


then all the world should have ended.

He would be quick upon the following.

He did not know,
in that moment

which he feared more:

the darkness

the World with its light, its sound, its


For if the World were there,

like the soft persistance of light against his lids insisted,

why, then

he could not keep his eyes closed,
could he,

not keep them kindly closed until the dremes
of dappled sun and the small sounds of birds
and the smell of sweet earth

folded into dremeless rest.

He had not thought beyond the Mountain,

had not thought
there might yet be Light

nor a rising beyond the Fall.

Courage was not a word he used to himself,

not anymore.

It was a word from tales.

a word*,

he thought, and it might embrace
a lone sword singing its deadly blooded
song amongst a legion of enemies


something as seeming simple as
the unclosing of one's eyes.

In a life split to a nicety betwixt books and bravery,
(bravery, like courage, being just a word,
a word which could know naught of deeds)

it was by far
(or near....

or...There AND Back Again (and readied himself to make the attempt))

the bravest thing
he ever did.


Listing of jan-u-wine's Lord of the Rings-based poetry HERE

For the screencaps (five-part series) that would come before this scene in the film
(Sam and Frodo on the rock in the lava flow), start HERE.

Listing of all Frodo Screencap entries HERE.

~ Mechtild


(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2006-09-30 19:40 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, to everything you have said, Mews. I loved the way she ended that poem, too.

And it does only need a halo. There are many paintings of various holy people being carried bodily into heaven; this ranks as one of the greats.
maeglian at 2006-09-30 18:18 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, apologies for not having commented on your posts lately. I've been away for 2 weeks on vacation. :-)

These caps are as stunning as the rest, and seeing them in still life like this gave me the shivers. The wing(s) of the eagle passing by behind him, against the red glare.... The total composition creates the imagery of an angel ascending, seems to me.

That face, his rapt and transported expression, the golden-reddish light shining through and illuminating the scene, the hint of a set of large wings directly behind him. Especially in no. 9 from the bottom, but also in the ones following that one. An angel, leaving earth behind to reach higher spheres. Poor Frodo.
mechtild at 2006-09-30 19:49 (UTC) (Link)
I loved your comment, Maeglian. This scene, as I confessed, is to me a cinematic masterpiece. The lighting, the music written for it, the composition of the scene, with the other eagle passing below and behind him across the screen (the effect is somewhat lessened by the cropping off of the sides), wings outstretched and slowly beating - the viewer experiences a degree of rapture rivalling that which illuminates Frodo's tired, beaten face.

Yes, the juxtapostion of the wings behind him in that series of frames does make it seem as though the wings are Frodo's own. That's the moment, though, both things at the same time: Frodo as transported (on eagle's wings) and Frodo as transformed (having wings himself).
Gentle Hobbit
gentlehobbit at 2006-09-30 23:52 (UTC) (Link)
I like your choice of the eagle pictures to portray Frodo's thoughts and feelings in the poem. You're right, there is a greater range of thought, questioning, wondering, hesitancy, acceptance during the Eagle flight.

I love how you are pairing the pictures with Jan-u-wine's poetry. You have a way of distilling and capturing a moment in a way that I can ponder and savour all the more.

My favourite moment in the poem was this:

a great unwillingness to open his eyes,
lest there be nothing but darkness,

and a great urgency, as if the opening
were as needful as the taking of a breath
after having been too long submerged.

mechtild at 2006-10-01 01:12 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Gentlehobbit, I love the section you lifted out. It seemed such a true observation of the way Frodo (and we) might think -- the paradox of it -- wanting yet not wanting that very thing. Thank you for commenting.
aprilkat at 2006-10-01 00:32 (UTC) (Link)
Lovely combination of screencaps and poetry once again.

The pain and confusion of survival are very well described - bravest thing he ever did, indeed.

He looks like a martyred saint with the Eagles.
mechtild at 2006-10-01 01:15 (UTC) (Link)
He looks like a martyred saint with the Eagles.

He does, but a martyr bound for paradise. No one deserved it more. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2006-10-01 18:28 (UTC) (Link)
[sorry; I had to re-enter these - I messed up something in Photobucket!]

Oh, the Titian is especially good (I love that painting, by the way).

I looked through my own art files and thought this detail from Guerin's "Iris and Morpheus" that hangs in the Hermitage might do nicely for Frodo's "died and gone to heaven" look.... (snicker)

mechtild at 2006-10-01 18:29 (UTC) (Link)
Seriously, though, Whiteling, if all of LotR is full of subliminal or explicit references to the history of art, this scene has got its share.

Jan-u-wine and I were talking about how the image of Gandalf descending on the back of Gwaihir, peering intently below, reminded us of some famous painting.

Here he is:

After some online gallery-browsing, we agreed that it reminded us of this image from the Sistine Ceiling, the panel of God creating the sea and land:

P.S. I loved what you said about Jan's poetry, that it "touches the ear of your heart." That was so beautiful.

~ Mechtild
whiteling at 2006-10-01 20:01 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I absolutely agree!
Gandalf's look on Gwaihir in this scene also reminds me a bit of the beautiful sculpture of the Creator at the Freiburger Cathedral, from about 1350:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Sorry, I couldn't put my first comment back in its original place)
mechtild at 2006-10-01 20:30 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the only thing I could do to get it back in place would be take the other comments out. I didn't dare after the mess I'd already made. It's just you and me, anyway. We can figure it out.

The sculpture you linked is very beautiful. It that done in wood? What gorgeous work they did in the 14th century! And that was a pretty dreadful one, wasn't it? Wasn't the Black Death in that century, and the huge turmoil in the church because of the split papacy (Rome and Avignon), plus lots of persecutions? I can't remember now.
whiteling at 2006-10-01 19:33 (UTC) (Link)
He does, but a martyr bound for paradise.

*sob* Oh yes. --- This scene always knocks me off my feet. Frodo's martyred face, the tenderness of Gwaihir's grip, the music...

Just a couple of Frodo's relatives in art history, for comparison...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Left: St. Sebastian by Perugino, 1493; right: Maria Assunta by Tiziano, 1516

Needless to say that Frodo is the prettiest though.

Thank you, Mechtild for this whole series, a true labour of love.

And an other cordially thank-you to Jan-u-wine for her poetry which
touches the ear of my heart.

*Hugs you both*
taerie at 2006-10-04 00:51 (UTC) (Link)
I wish I had more time these days to do more than fly over these beautiful entries you have been doing lately, Mechtild.
I'd like to write how truely jan-u-wines poetry strikes the heart and how your pictures are the only illos that could be right with them.
Moving, sick, and visitors from far away have made my days worse than hectic. I'm still here though.
Thanks for my desperately needed fix of Frodo Baggins! Gotta have it.
mechtild at 2006-10-04 03:19 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Taerie, it's been a deep pleasure and satisfaction to prepare this series. I'm glad and sad it's done.

I hope things lighten up for you soon! P.S. I'm just LOVING my picture, you know. It's so beautiful hanging up!
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2006-10-05 10:33 (UTC) (Link)
A beautiful choice of screen caps to go with Jan-u-wine’s touching poetry, Mechtild.

Thank you so much for putting this moving series together and sharing it with us. I have greatly enjoyed your ‘string of pearls’.

I thought I would take the opportunity to say that your quotes from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ have brought to the fore things I might not have noticed. It is such an intricate book - everything has a history and meaning that can be traced and studied. Sometimes it's easier to notice more when the text is swallowed in smaller doses.

Thank you for enriching my experience of the book. Take for example the contrast between the choking fumes, fire, despair on Mount Doom – and then – The Field of Cormallen early Spring, birds, fragrance, beauty, new beginnings, hope. I’ve never pondered that before. There is hope for me though. I will be reading and re-reading it for many years to come.

♥Thank you♥
mechtild at 2006-10-05 12:36 (UTC) (Link)
Your remarks make me feel so good, Este -- that going through the screencap series enhanced your appreciation of the book. I think I learned more about the book, and appreciated it even more deeply by making the screencap series, too. I hadn't planned to talk about the book when I started making these, but the caps seemed to suit book scenes so well -- even when they weren't meant to be from the same scene!

And being able to showcase Jan's poems in this last round was a huge satisfaction. She tends to stick quite close to canon, so it was often easy to let her poems determine what I was going to present around them.

Since making the series, I've read another dozen of her poems, just as good. They make me long for a real book of her work. I have them saved in a file, of course, but they can't be looked at the way one can look at a book of poetry, one after the other, perhaps arranged in narrative order. I'd love that. Not to mention her ravishing love poetry, which did not get posted to the caps because they didn't match up with any scenes. The only love poetry I posted went with the two more erotic-love manips (Frodo and the Enamoured Woman and Bacchus and Ariadne).

Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2006-10-06 13:48 (UTC) (Link)
I would love to have Jan-u-wine's poetry in book form.

I had to read this piece again and saw the following:

he wondered
if the Sun's warm fingers


upon a *rounded* ear,

*warm smile*
mechtild at 2006-10-06 20:46 (UTC) (Link)
Wasn't that a perfect touch?
(Anonymous) at 2006-10-13 03:25 (UTC) (Link)

let's try this again!! -- I never have enough words for these things

-- the combination of the pictures and the poetry and the commentary is overwhelming.

By seeing the screencaps from one of the most beautiful scenes in the trilogy, I can see in even more detail the cuts/bleeding on his neck from the weight of the Ring on that chain. It hurts just to look upon it.

I loved so much the entire poem, but the ending --

In a life split to a nicety betwixt books and bravery,
(bravery, like courage, being just a word,
a word which could know naught of deeds)

it was by far
(or near....

or...There AND Back Again (and readied himself to make the attempt))

the bravest thing
he ever did. "

-- I never had considered that before.. the possibility that opening his eyes again to the (mundane? Ring-less) real world , after losing the Ring, would be the hardest thing he'd ever done.

Brava. I love anything which makes me think more, and love more.

Thanks, to both of you --"Met" [as I call her] and Jan-u-wine.

Sorry this has taken so long. My life isn't my own lately (but then, it never was, truly. It's ok.)
Mary :)
mechtild at 2006-10-13 04:13 (UTC) (Link)

Re: let's try this again!! -- I never have enough words for these things

Oh, thank you so much, Mary. It was a gorgeous poem and I'm so pleased the screencaps worked with it as well as they did, since they were from another scene. But that scene is so sublime, how could caps from it not be a pleasure even if posted all by themselves?

Yes, the poetry of Jan-u-wine is splendid on so many counts: intelligent, Tolkien-faithful, finely-wrought, and always deeply moving.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-02-24 05:30 (UTC) (Link)
How his poor neck must've ached doing this scene and probably for many days afterwards. For us it's just a few seconds on screen, but for Elijah it was probably at LEAST half a day's filming

You are so right! I hadn't thought of that. I suppose when we're watching EW's blissful, eyes-closing swoon it might be the last take, the "One more for luck" one.
verangel at 2007-09-20 22:20 (UTC) (Link)
Recently I had said I wondered when you were doing this scene and you said you already had. I had said that, to me, it was one of the most beautiful scenes and moves me every time because of the all encompassing beauty and artistic purity...It looks like an old world painter created this. Its Elijah who is stunning in his expression and facial angles, his strong neck, he would have thrilled the masters of our past.
Then I saw your comment "the scene is one I think the most beautiful in all of film." I obviously couldn't agree more. The eagles cradling him so gently to safety, the reverence through their gentleness. The cinematic beautfy...sighs.
hugs...I was glad to read this and the poem was stunning.
"The bravest thing he ever did" a small line but so strong.
xoxox v
mechtild at 2007-09-21 00:31 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you so much for responding to this, Verangel. Yes, I do love this scene completely. If I had to choose, it may be my favourite in the films, maybe in all film (of course it has to be prepared for by watching the precious 8 hours of screentime!). I thought Jan's poem about waking in Cormallen and the images of Frodo's face as he was carried, as if in a dream, complemented each other beautifully, too.

I also became a huge fan of classical singer Renee Fleming because of this scene. Her vocals here (and throughout RotK) of Shore's music are absolutely sublime.
verangel at 2007-09-21 01:50 (UTC) (Link)
oh..when you mentioned Renee Fleming I got chills. Yes her vocals fill the screen in as you say a sublime way, carry that tone. I see this in my head at this moment with the eagles coming and picking their almost lifeless forms up and then that vision that I would watch over and over and over...just because of all that went with it. The background, destruction, and the face of this hobbit who went through so much and expected to die...but, is carried away...then peace. Frodo gives himself up to trust and peace whatever may come to him.

Renee Fleming was at the symphony we went to in Pittsburgh with Howard Shore. From start to finish I cried (like an idiot). I couldn't stop the tears...it was so beautiful.
xoxo v
mechtild at 2007-09-21 02:42 (UTC) (Link)
You heard Renee Fleming in Pittsburgh????? I saw/heard the LotR Symphony conducted by Howard Shore in Pittsburgh, too, in July 2005, but the soprano soloist was the one touring with Shore, Sissel. You lucky DOG!!! Sissel was good but Fleming is a vocal GODDESS!!! (Very suited to singing for one of the Ainur!). I adored getting to attend that concert, but if Renee Fleming had been singing I think I might have died of bliss.
verangel at 2007-09-21 10:56 (UTC) (Link)
Oh then I was mistaken. I never realized there were several soloists. I admit I do not follow them. I do love that voice in the film. It is as classically pure as the vision shown with it. I was at the same LotR Symphony in July 2005 so it was Sissel. Having not followed these women's careers I would not know the difference in person. I still feel I was a Lucky Dog to be there though...it was magical.
mechtild at 2007-09-21 13:09 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Sissel was excellent. I don't think I ever read the review of a fan that wasn't ultra-pleased with her performance.

Quickly, here's a Renee Fleming website if you want to peek:

Here's Sissel:

Got to get ready for work now (I'm in U.S. central time), but it was great to wake up your note. It's always fun to talk and gush with a fellow LotR score fan and concert-goer.
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