Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Hollin: “Who then do I trust?” ~ plus jan-u-wine’s ‘In the Telling’....


The caps below come from a well-done little EE scene inserted between the pass of Caradhras sequence and the approach to the Watcher’s pool before the gates of Moria. (In the theatrical version, the far shot of ruined structures high above their approach to Moria comes right after Frodo’s declaration that they shall go through the mines.)

The restored EE scene does not come directly from the book. The setting and mood recalls the book scene of the trek through Hollin (copied further down), but the dialogue, as far as I can tell, is wholly invented except for the line of Gandalf’s lifted from “Many Meetings”, there spoken for other reasons, but reapplied here.

In “Many Meetings”, in Rivendell, Frodo, finally awake, sees Gandalf and asks him why the wizard failed to meet him in Bree. The wizard tells Frodo that he will hear the full story at the Council, but that he was held captive. “You?” cries Frodo, as if unable to believe it.

”Yes, I, Gandalf the Grey,” said the wizard solemnly. “There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against some I have not yet been measured. . But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come forth. War is preparing!’”

In the FotR EE scene, the line is used to convey Gandalf’s (and our) sense of foreboding, but not about an ordeal to come with the Witch King. This adds to other indicators that Gandalf's trial will come in the mines. Not only are they headed that way, but Gandalf has already told Gimli how much he does not want to enter Moria, and Saruman, in his scene in Orthanc, has remarked that Gandalf fears to go into the mines, because of what now is awake there—followed by a close-up of the picture of the Balrog in his book.

But Gandalf's tone of doom to come only intensifies Frodo’s anxiety, coming as it does right after Gandalf has warned him that the evil power of the Ring is now to be felt witin the Fellowship, and that he must trust no one but himself. Boromir, who only recently has been shown having his “Ring Temptation” moment in the snow of Caradhras, is shown passing the two on the path just before Gandalf says that.

All this, along with Boromir's words at the Council, subliminally reinforce the audience’s perception that Boromir will be the one who will crack first. The viewer can tell, therefore, that the threats ahead are going to be the “shadow and flame” in Moria for Gandalf, and the Ring at work in Boromir for Frodo (whether in the mines or somewhere else).

The scene also serves to showcase the nature of Gandalf’s love for Frodo, conveyed in body language. Gandalf draws Frodo closer as they walk, ostensibly so that they might not be overheard. But the manner in which Gandalf pulls Frodo in to his side is distinctly protective, even tender. The way Frodo yields, too, leaning into the wizard, further conveys a sense of the trust they share, more like the relationship between a loving father and son than mentor and pupil. The sweet, parent-child sort of love between these two is something the filmmakers portrayed well throughout the trilogy (in my opinion).

Also showcased in the scene is the lovely face of film-Frodo, ever sublime in anxiety and suffering. Again, almost like an icon his face recalls the saints and martyrs in old paintings, looking to heaven in their hour of pain or torment. The drape of his hood, too, recalling costuming conventions in biblical paintings, accentuates the impression.

A friend of mine affectionately calls him, “Virgin Mary Frodo” in this scene—one of her favourites—his expressive eyes lifted to Gandalf as he listens, his beautiful face filled with anguish. Personally, if I were to compare him to a subject of religious paintings here, it would be Mary Magdalene the penitent. There are scores of paintings of her looking like this—another beautiful sufferer.


Film scene from FotR ~ The Fellowship journeys to the walls of Moria:

Gandalf: Frodo, come and help and old man! How is your shoulder?

Frodo: Better than it was.

Gandalf: whispers And the Ring? You feel its power growing, don't you? I've felt it, too. You must be careful now. Evil will be drawn to you from outside the Fellowship. And, I fear, from within.

Boromir walks by….

Frodo: Who then do I trust?

Gandalf: You must trust yourself. Trust your own strengths.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Gandalf: There are many powers in this world for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. And against some I have yet to be tested.

Gimli: looking ahead The Walls of Moria!

The Fellowship approaches the walls looking for the doors.

~ From the EE of FotR, slightly cropped, and tweaked for lighting and focus.

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For those who are interested in reading more, below are book excerpts that show how well (I though it “well”, anyway) the film established mood and a sense of place, showing a Hollin become bleak and brooding, stony and difficult to traverse — right down to the narrow trough of a rocky road as they approach. LotR viewers will notice the places from which film lines were taken.

Excerpts from the Hollin chapters:

1. From The Ring Goes South:

Gandalf halts the Company in Hollin, hoping for a more pleasant country than what they have been journeying through.

‘We will rest here, not only today but tonight as well. There is a wholesome air about Hollin. Much evil must befall a country before it wholly forgets the Elves, if once they dwelt there.’

Strider notices the land is strangely silent, no sound of bird or beast, unlike the area in past visits. The crebain fly over during Sam’s watch and the Company remains in hiding all day, Aragorn leading them out at dusk.

Guided by Aragorn they struck a good path. It looked to Frodo like the remains of an ancient road, that had once been broad and well planned, from Hollin to the mountain-pass. The Moon, now at the full, rose over the mountains, and cast a pale light in which the shadows of stones were black. Many of them looked to have been worked by hands, though now they lay tumbled and ruinous in a bleak, barren land.

It was the cold chill hour before the first stir of dawn, and the moon was low. Frodo looked up at the sky. Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for a moment they faded and then flashed out again. He shivered.

‘Did you see anything pass over?’ he whispered to Gandalf, who was just ahead.

‘No, but I felt it, whatever it was,’ he answered. ‘It may be nothing, only a wisp of thin cloud.’

‘It was moving fast then,’ muttered Aragorn, ‘and not with the wind’.

2. From A Journey in the Dark:

In the film story, Frodo is asked up on Caradhras which way they now should go. The Company in dire straits, shivering in snow higher than the hobbits' heads, Frodo makes his decision: “We will go through the mines”.

In the book, the decision takes longer. The Company, having escaped near-disaster up in the pass, has a pow-wow. The Gap of Rohan they now know is being watched. Nor can they go back to Rivendell. “How can I return without shame—unless there is indeed no other way, and we are already defeated?” Frodo asks. Gandalf agrees, adding that the final doom would still reach them in Rivendell. Which only leaves the mines.

No one else but Gimli wants to go through the mines. His memories of them are very evil, says Aragorn, but he will follow Gandalf. Boromir says he will not go through Moria. What do ‘the little folk’ and Legolas say? he asks, apparently looking for support. Legolas says no to the mines. The hobbits say nothing.

Sam looks at Frodo. Frodo finally speaks. He, too, has no desire to pass through Moria, but he agrees with Gandalf that it seems to be their only option. But, noting the party’s weariness, he suggests they sleep on it. A surprise attack by wargs immediately following makes up everyone’s minds, including Boromir’s.

At morning light, they make for Moria, hurrying, hoping to reach the west gate by nightfall.

The morning was passing towards noon, and still the Company wandered and scrambled in a barren country of red stones. Nowhere could they see any gleam of water or hear any sound of it. All was bleak and dry. Their hearts sank. They saw no living thing, and not a bird was in the sky; but what the night would bring, if it caught them in the lost land, none of them cared to think.


After brief halt and a hasty meal they went on again. Before them the mountains frowned, but their path lay through a deep trough of land and they could see only the higher shoulders and the far eastward peaks.

Nearer the west wall of Moria“cold stars”glint in the sky high above the sunset. They find the Sirannon has been dammed, making a dark still lake. “Neither sky nor sunset was reflected on its sullen surface”. At the touch of its dark unclean waters on his feet, “Frodo shuddered with disgust”.

Gandalf now pressed on at a great pace, and the others followed as quickly as they could. They reached the strip of dry land between the lake and the cliffs: it was narrow, often hardly a dozen yards across, and encumbered with fallen rock and stones; but they found a way, hugging the cliff, and keeping as far form the dark water as they might.


I want to post a narrative poem by jan-u-wine at this point. It portrays post-Quest Frodo thinking back on his memories of Hollin, prompted by a holly leaf found in his old pack. In memory, Frodo visits the wonderful realm that Hollin was before Sauron brought war against it, and made it desolate.

Jan's In the Telling evokes for me what might have been Frodo’s thoughts and feelings at that moment, and in that place—the once-fair Hollin of the Elves.

In the Telling

~ by jan-u-wine

I mistook it
for an ill-fated betylle,
life ended by an unforeseen
journey into a fellow wanderer's pack....

almost, I imagined the curled soft-sharpness
close-caged by my searching fingers

flying green-crystal winged beneath
a hot sun.


A curved saw-toothed leaf,
dried and smelling of time

and distance

lies within my hand.

Grey rock and lonely

of Ages which were
and yet are no more

like fog
into my mind.


Silent now,
like the delf beyond,

bereft, even, of the small

songs of birds,
or the sweet whisper of water playing on stone....

More than an age since bright berries

waxen-red against jagged-toothed green,

more than an age since Elven voices

and wove magik beneath a waning crescent...

more than an age since Elven forges

fire-fly eyes within the cave of night.

In my imagining,
like a dreme,
the doors

open before me,
the Trees twined in starlight,
limned by pale moon....

Fair Hollin,
all of your tale I may hold within
the shelter of my hand,

all of your wonder,

all of your woe,
written without words
on this leaf'd parchment of green.

Memory calls forth the story,

softened, (as memory must be)
by time's
smoothing hand.

There was no need then,
for a watch upon the doors,

nor for doors, either,
not really.

Narvi and Celebrimbor wrought them together,
Dwarf hammer and Elven tappet weaving ithildin

and friendship
beneath the quiet stars.

Of Narvi
no more is known.

Just his name remains,
graven upon doors which may ne'er open again,

not even to the voice of

And of his friend, Lord of the Mirdain,
pupil and teacher to seeming-fair Annatar,
this much is known:


he wrought,
weaving star-song to the making.

And died,
within the Circle of the World,

that Dark should not consume
what yet remained
of Light.**

Mine is only but a word
in the fullness of this tale,

only a single breath in all the winds of time,

one life

twined, by this,
to all those who went before,

all that may come after.

My thumb follows the branching veins
of the leaf.

I think on the word-smith of the doors.

My Lord, your servant trusts he acquitted himself


*in fact, Moria was re-opened, though long after
Frodo's departure from Middle Earth.

**Celebrimbor was the primary maker of the Rings of Power,
save the One. Legend has it that he was tortured by
Sauron to reveal their whereabouts. He died from his
torment without the Dark Lord learning where the Elven
rings were concealed.


Recent Screencap Entries:

Moria Pt. 1: "The Pity of Bilbo", plus jan-u-wine's In Durin's Halls.
Moria Pt. 2: Troll attack and "I'm not hurt".
Moria Pt. 3: The Mithril Shirt ~ A Screen Icon.

Links to all other LotR screencaps: HERE.

~ Mechtild

Tags: fellowship of the ring, frodo screencaps, jan-u-wine

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