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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

The Emyn Muil, Pt. 2-b ~ “A little bit of home”, plus essay, plus poem by jan-u-wine....

Posted on 2007.04.16 at 11:25
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Here concludes the EE scene of Sam and Frodo descending the cliff in the Emyn Muil. The film scene excerpt will be followed by the caps, which will be followed by a poem by jan-u-wine, inspired by the film scene. After the caps I will post an excerpt from the book scene, followed by a longish reflection.


In the caps below, Frodo opens the little box and looks inside, while Sam further defends his reasons for bringing it. The succession of looks on Frodo’s face is wonderful to me. Subtle, yet vivid, they lead the viewer to look more closely into Frodo’s character, suggesting the variety and depth of his feelings and associations as he gazes at the crystals of salt inside.

As Frodo looks, the tone of the scene changes from what it was, signalled by Howard Shore's scoring, which introduces a reflective, melancholy version of the Shire theme. The score shifts to a whimsical figure as the mood of the scene shifts back to light humour, the topic of conversation switching to the Elven rope. When it inexplicably falls to the ground, Sam is comically confounded and astonished. Frodo plays the straight man, matter-of-factly remarking, “real Elvish rope.”

Film scene, concluded:

Sam: It's very special, that. It's the best salt in all the Shire.

Frodo: It is special. It's a little bit of home.

Frodo: (Looking at the rope.) We can't leave this here for someone to follow us down.

Sam: Who's going to follow us down here, Mr. Frodo. It's a shame, really. Lady Galadriel gave me that. Real Elvish rope. Well, there's nothing for it. It's one of my knots. Won't come free in a hurry. (Sam gives a tug, the rope comes free.)

Frodo: Real Elvish rope!

As usual, the screencaps of this scene have been cropped and adjusted for brightness, contrast and focus.


~ Frodo considers the box of salt:

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In the following poem jan-u-wine treats on the little box Sam carries in this film scene, the box of salt from the Shire. I think it beautifully opens out this scene from Sam's point of view.

A Gardener’s Gift

~ by jan-u-wine

'Tis a fair way

(such a very fair way)
'twixt here and the bright
fields of home.

I have carried it
all that long way,

carried it,
plain as a wish
against my heart.

And now I draw it out.

It speaks to me,

it recalls to me the things I've lost

and those I never shall.

And for one moment,
here in this dark land,

you are curious,


as ever you were,
and wonder what
might be contained
within such a homely box.


Yes, it is all of that.

It speaks of Home,
and the simple things
(and folk)
that lie an age and more

My fingers touch the rough carve
of the lid
(picked out by myself one lazy summer's eve
not so long ago),

prize the brass hasp open.

And Home spills out,
shining sweet and fine
as diamonds
upon black rock.


We call it such at home,
these strange pebbles
that of the Sea-Lady's distilled tears are made.

Other tears there are,
spilling silent in this dread place.

Tears of remembrance.

And I close your hand about the plain
solid comfort of the box.

Little enough it is,
little enough to remind us of sweet ale
and bitter leaf,

of Spring-green mornings,
and bonfire Harvest nights…

little enough,

this crystalline bit of home,
a gardener's gift of


There is no “little box of salt” scene in LotR, but there is a retrieving of the rope. The scene is quite different from the film version; not in the bare details, but in the tone, and the way the two characters react to the loosing of the rope.

Book scene, continued, from "The Taming of Sméagol":

Frodo and Sam get down safely, but realise they must sacrifice the Elven rope, still tied fast to the stump above. Sam is dismayed and grieved.

’I don’t like leaving it, and that’s a fact.’ He stroked the rope’s end and shook it gently. ‘It goes hard parting with anything I brought out of the Elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. Galadriel,’ he murmured, nodding his head mournfully. He looked up and gave one last pull to the rope as if in farewell.

To the complete surprise of both the hobbits it came loose. Sam fell over, and the long grey coils slithered silently down on top of him. Frodo laughed. ‘Who tied the rope?’ he said. ‘A good thing it held as long as it did! To think that I trusted all my weight to your knot!’

Sam does not laugh, defending his knot-making skills, learned in Tighfield.

’Then the rope must have broken—frayed on the rock-edge, I expect,’ said Frodo.

‘I bet it didn’t!’ said Sam in an even more injured voice. He stooped and examined the ends. ‘Nor it hasn’t neither. Not a strand!’

‘Then I’m afraid it must have been the knot,’ said Frodo.

Sam shook his head and did not answer. He was passing the rope through his fingers thoughtfully. ‘Have it your own way, Mr. Frodo,’ he said at last, ‘but I thing the rope came off itself—when I called.’ He coiled it up and stowed it lovingly in his pack.

‘It certainly came,’ said Frodo, ‘and that’s the chief thing. But now we’ve got to think of our next move. Night well be on us soon,. How beautiful the stars are, and the Moon!’


Reflection on the Elven rope scene (book version).

To me, this book scene demonstrates a significant difference between the perspectives of Frodo and Sam. This scene shows well how Sam is most likely to take things on faith, operating out of his instincts and feelings, while Frodo tends to put things to the test of reason, acting according to what he judges to be right or just based on what he thinks, rather than what he feels. In fact, Frodo typically undertakes a course of action in spite of his feelings, however strongly felt they are. Sam, on the other hand, feels he's gone wrong when he doesn't follow his feelings. But this relates to the primary concerns of each in the Quest, too. Frodo's goal is to accomplish the Quest, Sam's goal is to stick by and help Frodo in it. Frodo's eye is on the mission, Sam's is on Frodo. It's appropriate that Frodo as Quest leader should make decisions based on his best-weighed judgements, and Sam on his deep feelings of protective loyalty. (These preferences have their limiting aspects, for Frodo anyway, which I will address further on.)

This is one of the differences between them that makes them so complementary as a team, although they do learn to operate (or are forced to learn) in each other's styles.

During the Quest, Sam is forced to use his reason to come up with plans of action as Frodo becomes more and more incapacitated, carrying the Ring. Sam is never comfortable doing that, but he proves himself more than capable, no matter how he berates himself for leaving Frodo in the pass of Cirith Ungol in order to carry out the Quest (a habit acquired from years of hearing the Gaffer call him names). Sam must assume the role of leader, then, and needs to use strenuous thinking in order to do it. I am agog every time, so impressed am I as I read the darker chapters, witnessing “simple Sam” using his wits, trouble-shooting and just flying by the seat of his pants in very tight places, meeting each crisis and challenge as it comes. His example inspires me when I feel at my own wit's end in some new emergency, in which there seems to be no way out.

So, too, Frodo is made to learn Sam’s way of knowing things—made to rely on "feelings": intuition, instinct, "faith", if you will—when his reason can’t be trusted, or he’s too weary to use it. When I read scenes like the Emyn Muil, when Frodo is made blind, I almost get the sense that these situations are put there to *force* Frodo to turn to these other ways of knowing—ways he tends not to use, preferring to know things by reason or “sight”. "Sight" can mean extra-sensory understanding (as in the Tookish Sight), but “sight” also means knowledge obtained by reason. “Yes, I see,” one says to the maths professor or the plumber explaining the new drains, to show a concept is understood.

In the Emyn Muil scene it is comparatively early on in Frodo’s “education”. He has learnt a lot about the “reality under reality” in Lórien—his senses for both the natural and supernatural world sharpened by the wound at Weathertop and having put on the Ring—but he still doesn’t “believe” in, or trust what he’s perceived. This is not true for Sam, even though Sam is not [yet] nearly as observant, hasn’t worn the Ring, and hasn’t had his perceptions changed by a wound from the Morgul blade. But Sam nevertheless seems readier to “see,” in the intuitive sense, to “believe” and "trust" in the world the Elves make visible and which operates through them.

In the scene above, it is Sam who insists that the loosing of the rope, however uncanny, happened because the rope is from the Elves, from Galadriel. Frodo insists it’s due to something physical, something "normal".

Speaking earlier about when he felt suddenly blind on the ledge, Frodo says he saw the rope out of his blindness because it “shimmered somehow”. Sam answers that it does look a bit silver, in the dark, although he hadn’t noticed it before. This exchange tells me that Frodo—plunged into total, inexplicable darkness at the cry of the Nazgul overhead—did *not* see the Elven rope because it was particularly silvery, but because the rope was a gift of the Elves, with otherworldly properties, given to be a help at need. It is characteristic of Frodo, though, to go for an empirical explanation.

In the argument with Sam about why the rope came loose, Frodo similarly tries to establish an explanation from reason. The rope broke. It was frayed. Sam tied it improperly. No, Sam says, showing how none of these could be true. Sam insists—even against the revered Mr. Frodo—that the rope came down of its own accord (i.e. by otherwordly means).

“Have it your own way,” Sam says to Frodo, not budging an inch. “But the rope came when I called for it.”

Even if Sam couldn’t demonstrate why this was so, as he might the lay-out of a planned Bag End marrow plot, he “knew” the rope came because he called for it. He had called on the name of its giver, even if he hadn’t called for the rope intentionally.

“Galadriel,” Sam murmurs after he finishes pining for the Elvish rope that would have to be left behind. That’s when the rope slithers to the ground. I think this is meant to be understood as Sam's unconscious invocation of the Lady of the Golden Wood. Interestingly, it is Frodo, not Sam, who remains sceptical. Frodo, who actually talked more with the Lady, and at greater depth than anyone in the story, is unmoved by the notion, even by the sight of Sam stowing the rope “lovingly” in his pack. Frodo merely concedes the fact of what happened: “It certainly came." He qualifies his concession immediately by stressing the practical aspect, saying, “and that’s the chief thing. But now we’ve got to think of our next move.” Frodo effectively dismisses the idea of ropes that come when called and changes the subject.

Using more contemporary categories, compared to Frodo, Sam resembles a person who goes by faith, while Frodo, whatever he believes, is a rationalist. Sam’s is a simple faith, almost childish, but sustaining and heart-felt. Implicitly, he believes in a power for good, the power that is behind and working through the Elves—working for the good of the Fellowship, which means Frodo and Sam—and he understands without thinking that whatever the Elves make or give carries that power in or with it. For Sam, if Galadriel has given these ropes for their use, then they aren’t just especially well-made ropes, they are imbued with special virtues, virtues that cannot be demonstrated to or appropriated by reason.

One needn’t be a rustic or a simpleton to have this sort of faith in the "charmed" or "supernatural" properties of objects. Sam’s is a strong example, but there are lesser, every-day versions of it. Take the CEO, who holds no conscious beliefs about the supernatural, who nevertheless won’t enter a high-stakes poker game without his “lucky pants” (or some equivalent good luck charm). Whatever his conscious beliefs, his actions show he believes that there is something like providence, if called only “luck”. For this sort of “luck” is not the same as “chance,” because it can be appealed to. Chance "just happens". But people's actions imply that whatever provides "luck" can be influenced. If they do such-and-such, luck will come to them. If they fail to do it, they will be without luck: "luck-less"; "un-lucky".

Frodo would not be this sort of gambler (if he gambled). As a rationalist, even if his belief system included a whole pantheon of divinities, he would not wear “lucky pants,” or carry a rock that had pointed the way out when lost on a childhood camping trip. He’d more likely eschew such things on purpose: pants are pants and rocks are rocks. To insist otherwise is foolishness—like listening to the tales of old gammers. This is a reasonable and recognizable point of view, but it is at odds with the one undergirding LotR, which continually supports the premise that there is more to the world than what can be perceived by the senses, and more that walks and has walked than what this individual or that people judge from narrow experience. There are many instances in which the "stuff of tales", dismissed, is shown by the wise to be greater than "sensible" knowledge.

Think of how Gandalf calls Aragorn to come and tend the sick in the Houses of Healing, as well as the subsequent to-do about finding some athelas. It’s Ioreth who still is in touch with the old lore, knowing the old rhymes and sayings, even if she has been taught to think of them dismissively. Her recited rhyme (about the king who has the hands of a healer) prompts Gandalf to send for the king. And when Aragorn comes, asking for athelas, Ioreth, although she repeats what she’s learned (“it’s a weed”), is open and eager to give the old lore a chance. Her attitude is contrasted with that of the herb-master. Asked about the plant, he trots out a great deal of academic knowledge, but does not, cannot see that “kingsfoil” has any special virtue. Aragorn admonishes the herb-master. He has much lore but little wisdom. He’s lost touch with older, deeper, truer knowledge, and would do well to follow Ioreth’s example.

I think had Aragorn been present in the Emyn Muil during Frodo and Sam’s argument about the rope, he would have taken Sam’s part. Sam’s reasoning would compare to Ioreth’s, but Frodo’s to the herb-master's. At the start of the Quest, Frodo is a gentleman scholar. He has more book-knowledge and lore than anyone in the Shire, after Bilbo. But the deeper wisdom Aragorn represents and encourages is something Frodo gains as the Quest goes on, by increments. Sam, who thinks of himself as foolish because he is unlearned, is often ahead of Frodo in this. But Sam has the advantage of Frodo in this, on account of his habitual perspective. He is at his best operating out of his feelings, which are strong and pure. He would have “known” the rope came when he called, even without the proofs.

Frodo, of all the book characters, is perhaps closest to modern-era people. As Elvish as he is in some ways—highly perceptive, and with a keen aesthetic sense—Frodo is curiously resistant to the transcendent in other ways. He accepts the gifts the Elves give him. He acknowledges that they are beautifully made and fair to see, and useful when put to the test, but it is only gradually that he seems to accept them as gifts that bear virtues he cannot see or understand through reason. Perhaps hardest of all is seeing that they are gifts for him—him in particular—Frodo of the Shire—Mr. Ordinary Person Baggins (so he thinks). While he sees that he has been singled out to bear a unique and dreadful burden, it is far less often that he sees that he has been singled out for rare gifts, too. Similarly, he’s able to believe there are Valar who care in some way for Middle-earth, but that they should care for him, and convey that care in the form of “magical” gifts, gifts for him, seems harder for him to take in.

I don’t mean to imply that Sam believes in the gifts as magical objects. People through the ages have believed in supernatural things—talismans, holy places, magical incantations—but they have not always connected the supernatural things to whatever made or gave these things for their benefit. They just do it. Rub the rock, say the incantation, and it delivers a benefit. Sleep in a special grotto, and a beneficial dream will come to you. Press a button on the remote control and the TV will turn on. Who or what provided the rock or grotto (or TV) is not dwelt upon; these things just *are*.

Sam’s faith is not like this. His faith is more like that of characters in other legends and tales, in which the empowering gifts are seen for what they are: clear signs of favour, to be blessings to their bearers and their endeavours. LotR is full of such empowered objects—tangible things blessed with special powers for good—but objects that are meant to point beyond themselves. Anduril, Sting, Glamdring; the swords of Westernesse inscribed with mighty runes, the fabulous Dwarvish mail, the phial filled with the light of Eärendil, the wonderful Elven ropes and cloaks, the uncanny way-bread that not only sustains the body but hardens the will, trees that bloom as signs to Kings wondering if they will have issue, specially protective gems, boats that won’t sink, restorative liquors—all of these are common things made uncommon, because of who made them and gave them, their intentions passed into them to work for the good of those who receive them.

Frodo sees that the gifts are special, but the sense of these tangible things as bearers of the intangible—especially in so far as they bear these things for him— is not quite there for Frodo, not in this scene, anyway. Only as his situation becomes more dire does Frodo begin to use these gifts with a better sense for what they truly are. I am thinking of when he reaches inside his inside his clothes to clutch the phial in states of terror or trying to resist the Ring, or clutching the white gem in the midst of his travail post-Quest.

Perhaps the greatest instance of Frodo coming to be able to truly accept and trust in tangible gifts that convey the supernatural was his sailing West. A tangible Elf-woman offered him her tangible place on a tangible ship, that would sail to a tangible place—even if in another dimension of the created world—but what Frodo was meant to receive through it was purely supernatural, not tangible: grace that he might be healed. Not just in body, for that was already mended in Gondor (and would remain mortal, anyway), but in heart—mind—soul: the parts that were completely intangible: that which is called, "spirit".

All this goes to offer yet more reasons (to myself and to you) why I love Frodo. I, too, have difficulty resisting the urge to judge and value things according to the tangible: that which can be assessed by empirical means. I know I should not, but I do it anyway. It is the way of the world, or my world. That Frodo, a person of reason, could yet learn to use other, deeper ways of knowing what is important, what is of value, and learn to surrender to it, encourages me in my own journey, as I try to come closer to whatever is “the reality under reality”.

ETA: In an email, jan-u-wine noted that I left out the One Ring, *surely* an object charged with supernatural powers. How true! But in this post I meant only to talk about the objects empowered for the good, not evil.


Recent Entries:

~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 1 ~ “We’re not alone.”

~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 2a ~ "Catch it, Mr. Frodo!"

~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 2b ~ "A Little Bit of Home", essay,
plus jan-u-wine's "A Gardener's Gift".

Other tables of links:

~ Entries with jan-u-wine's poems.

~ Frodo & Elijah Wood screencap entries.

~ Art Travesty LJ presentations.

~ ALBUM of all Art Travesties (images only).

~ Mechtild


shirebound at 2007-04-16 17:12 (UTC) (Link)
This set of pictures, poem, and essay are such a treasure! Frodo's eye is on the mission, Sam's is on Frodo. Well there you, are in a nutshell. Thank you for this lovely post.
mechtild at 2007-04-16 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Shirebound. It was a real pleasure to work on. I learned a lot.
pearlette at 2007-04-16 19:54 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, these wonderful screencaps! Seeing the expressions on Frodo's and Sam's faces like this is very moving.

Now for your essay: this is one of the best you've ever written, Mechtild. Your comment that Frodo, of all the book characters, is perhaps closest to modern-era people is incredibly perceptive. Yes, he is, isn't he? Much more so than Aragorn or even Sam.

Aragorn is very much a 'medieval' hero, a traditional hero cast in that particular mould. And Aragorn has such a sense of the living past: as Isildur's heir, the blood of Numenor flows in his veins, he carries within his genes a mighty spiritual heritage.

As for Sam, he could be a 19th century rural character from a Thomas Hardy novel. (When I read the rustic Dorset dialogue in a Hardy novel, I hear the Gamgees.)

But Frodo has a far more modern sensibility. As for Frodo the rationalist, this is an aspect of his character that I think PJ often missed ... and yet something of it does come through when Frolijah is allowed to show quiet dignity.

There is no doubt that Frodo comes to a fuller and deeper 'faith' by the end of the story, as you say, choosing to sail to the Undying Lands.

I think there is a whole discussion here about faith and superstition ... because I think Sam's simple faith in, for example, the virtue of the Elves, is more than just rustic superstition.

By the way, I love the way Sam challenges his beloved Mr Frodo in the book scene. It amuses me. No way is Sam backing down! He knows it was the Elvish rope responding to his call!

Jan-u-wine's poem is lovely, as always.

mechtild at 2007-04-17 04:35 (UTC) (Link)
Howdy, Pearl! You're sleeping and I've taken forever replying. I'll be asleep myself soon. What a hectic day it's been.

But never mind that. Thanks so much for the extensive comments. I want especially to lift up this one:

Aragorn is very much a 'medieval' hero, a traditional hero cast in that particular mould. And Aragorn has such a sense of the living past: as Isildur's heir, the blood of Numenor flows in his veins, he carries within his genes a mighty spiritual heritage.

Yes, he really is a hero out of legend. But I love how Aragorn, the medieval hero, extends a hand to modern, "regular person" Frodo, and invites him into the realm of the legendary and heroic, where Frodo discovers that it's real and living, and that he has a place in it--that is, even modern people like Frodo--or us--also have "a mighty spiritual heritage." (I love that!)

Map-Maker, Lighthouse-Keeper
marinshellstone at 2007-04-16 20:47 (UTC) (Link)
wow...that is a brilliant essay. I truly enjoyed it.

(something just randomly came to me too - Ioreth: "It's a weed" in the book...in the movie version of FOTR when Frodo is hurt, and Aragorn asks Sam for kingsfoil..."Kingsfoil, ah, it's a weed"...I always liked the way that Sean Astin says that line and now I see where it is coming from)

I see myself as more Sam-like if we are following the way you have brilliantly juxtaposed the two characters...especially in the way that taking the lead and making more of those rational/logical judgments is something I can be quite adverse to...

Jan-u-wine is an extremely talented poet, and you are an extremely talented writer. I could really see some sort of multi-media book coming out of these collaborations...screenshots, essays, poems...I will contribute the music!
mechtild at 2007-04-17 04:41 (UTC) (Link)
Gosh! Thank you, Hadara. I'm glad you got something from it. I don't think we'll be publishing any time soon, though, lol. I did love thinking this reflection through and trying to get it on virtual paper, but I always do. The topic of this one just took off for me. I think it gathered up a lot of things I'd been mulling over regarding these characters for the last few years. (And, yes, that is cool that Sam got the line about kingsfoil being a weed -- love that scene anyway.)

You say you are more Sam-like? That's a fine way to be, that's for sure. Everyone needs a good dose of Sam in their make-up. But I'll bet your work brings out multiple sides of you, the intuitive/instinctive, and the rational/reasoning -- and with a ton of emotion, either way. :)
verangel at 2007-04-16 23:14 (UTC) (Link)
He's so beautiful it hurts..v
mechtild at 2007-04-17 04:43 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, he is. Shall I get you a couple of ibuprofen, or is this a pain you enjoy? (just teasing; the pain of witnessing extreme beauty is one I love to suffer)
Claudia's Cove
claudia603 at 2007-04-16 23:46 (UTC) (Link)
I'm just speechless by the love and thought that you put into this. There is so much to contemplate here. And I adore Frodo's expressions in these pictures.
mechtild at 2007-04-17 04:45 (UTC) (Link)
Claudia, I'm honoured! Feel free to contemplate away. Isn't Frodo just unbearably dear in those "it *is* special" caps? Oh, for the exquisiteness of him, outside and inside.
stillscarlet at 2007-04-17 11:45 (UTC) (Link)
A wonderfully well-reasoned post, as always, dear Mechtild.

I have a rather different view of the rope 'scene' in the book, though. I always thought that there was an element of piss-taking: Frodo's a clever fellow, well able to put two and two together, and he is aware of the peculiar properties of elvish objects, as you said. So I always thought he was merely teasing Sam here, knowing Sam's pride in his knotwork and his faith in all things Elvish. Our Sam took it seriously, of course. That's my story, anyway! :)

Beautiful screencaps!
mechtild at 2007-04-17 12:54 (UTC) (Link)
That's not bad at all, Scarlet! And you could certainly make a case for it. Frodo is certainly doing that in the film scene (taking the piss out of Sam). I suppose I would have to find evidence throughout the book, comparing the tone of their reactions to this or that "magic" thing in order to do a scholarly comparison.

he is aware of the peculiar properties of elvish objects, as you said

Now this I must have said badly, because I was trying to establish that although Frodo knew that Elvish stuff worked, in a functional way (use this slender rope and it won't break, eat this waybread and it will keep you on your feet, sail this boat and although you might fall overboard and drown, it won't sink, wear these cloaks and your enemies' eyes won't be able to discern you), he didn't yet comprehend fully their deep properties to be fully "for" them, being part of the larger effort to ward off or vanquish evil, within and without, and build up and console the users.

I think Frodo expects the Light of Earendil, for instance, which he thinks a beautiful and touching gift, to give some sort of light when it ever should be required. And that turns out to be the case. But he doesn't anticipate that it will weaken or break the power an evil will (like at the Watchers), or that the mere touch of it will console the bearer, or give the bearer strength to endure, or inspire valour when borne aloft advancing on one's enemies (especially when some appropriate incantation, not understood but heart-felt, is thrown in for good measure!). That's more what I meant.

P.S. It's good to hear from you! I hope you still are well and thriving in every aspect of your life. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-04-17 20:25 (UTC) (Link)
You're surely right, Mews. What his friends see, what the great and wise he meets on the Quest see, Frodo doesn't. And that really is all the more endearing.

Jan's poem is wonderful here, doing what she does so well: focussing on the familiar, the homely, in order to talk about the rare and fine. I love the way she is able to give us a feel of Sam's POV with simply observed images and little touches of his rustic speech; yet, because the medium is poetry, she is able to let Sam express his perceptions in ways he could never in his actual speech.

Thanks so much for commenting, Mews! I love these screencaps, too. Well, I love them all, I guess, or I wouldn't keep making them and blabbing about them like this. But they really do make me think and ponder the story and characters in a way that is different from watching the actual film.
julchen11 at 2007-04-17 18:52 (UTC) (Link)
Oh sweetie, I missed the former parts ??!! Yet saved them right now 
Those screencaps are gorgeous, the expressions on their faces… so very touching. Frodo looks so beautiful, it hurts, it’s almost unbearable …
I don’t know how much I read this sequence or watched the movie – both always make me tremble.
Jan-u-wine’s poem, oh my, it made my heart beat faster. So beautiful, emotional and very moving, too.
Your essay – you said you learned a lot? You can’t imagine how much I’m learning here, at this place, right beside you.

“Frodo's eye is on the mission, Sam's is on Frodo.”

This made my sigh… you did an amazing job here, my dear. You put so much time, love and heart in it – one can feel it, I can feel it very deeply.

Don’t you ever stop, go on this way, don’t change anything.

Thank you, mechtild for this treasure. I’ll keep it safe, close to my heart (with all the prints around me it’s not that difficult )

Love and hugs,
mechtild at 2007-04-17 20:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much, Julchen! You are full of kind, encouraging words as always. I am so glad, too, you got to see this series of caps. It really is a super little scene, and such a shame that it didn't make the theatrical cut. It really balances what soon becomes a very moody, broody, neurotic Frodo to come--well, in many of the Two Towers scenes. It balances the impression of Sam, too, showing his most endearing side. Soon he will become Sam the hot-head, even Sam the bully, which is not a fair impression of him.
aspenjules at 2007-04-18 00:43 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I am so impressed. I'm here by way of shirebound's pointing finger (i.e. post). I'll have to be sure to thank her for it.

In your essay you made points that I had felt to some degree or other, but had never clearly worked out what it was I was sensing. You obviously did, and every point you made was one for me of "YES - *that's* what it was!" I really enjoyed your intelligent, well-thought out and well-expressed viewpoint here. Thank you for your work and sharing.

I am, I think, a half Frodo/half Sam person. I am to some extent prone to look for the logical and reasonable, but have strong intuitive senses that I have been learning not only to trust, but to recognize for what they are. It makes life uneasy sometimes, lol... but I'm learning to balance them out. And to believe that there *can* be higher powers who place things in my way expressly for my benefit and use. The concept of "God's tender mercies" is becoming rather real to me lately.

Now I need to go back to read your other essays. Would you mind if I friend you, in order not to miss any more?
mechtild at 2007-04-18 02:05 (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely reply, Aspenjules. Of course you may friend this journal. I have about another twenty posts to go, perhaps more, and I will be done with my screencapping posts for LotR. If you look at the bottom of the post, you'll see a link to a table of screencap entries. That way you can browse, reading or just looking at the images. I have posted the entries mostly in the order they appear in the films, no matter when I actually wrote the posts.

So you think you are part Sam, part Frodo in the way you approach life and understand things? I'll bet that's true for most of us. I often think that there is some of Tolkien in every character, and some of what he thinks true for the human race in every breed or nation. None of it is inapplicable. Me, I always saw myself as a Sam person until I approached middle age, after which I began to see the Frodo side of me.

Maybe we all switch around, as life's demands changes. But whatever the applicability of the characters to my own life, I love them for themselves. I still can't quite take in the enormity of Tolkien's accomplishment, even just looking at LotR and the Frodo story line.
not_alone at 2007-04-18 16:15 (UTC) (Link)
I've just been catching up with your TTT pics, Mechtild. As usual, you produce such amazingly clear and beautiful caps and the accompanying text is always interesting and thought-provoking. For instance:

In the past year I have decided that the credit goes to the actors who played the parts. It’s as if each actor's own intelligence, integrity, and warmth came through in the roles, no matter what the writers had the characters do.

Now that's something that would never have occurred to me, and yet reading it here it makes such sense.

And thank you to jan-u-wine for another beautiful poem. Reading this, I'm so overwhelmed by Sam's yearning for home that I just long to be able to whisk them back to the Shire!!
mechtild at 2007-04-18 16:59 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting, Not Alone.

I was moved by the intensity of Sam's home-longing in "A Gardener's Gift", too. It made me think of all these soldiers who far from home, thinking of it with longing, finding themselves in hostile or alien lands.

Applied to Sam and Frodo, though, I can't help reading the poem as if the box of salt stands for Sam:

you are curious,


as ever you were,
and wonder what
might be contained
within such a homely box.


Yes, it is all of that.

It speaks of Home,
and the simple things
(and folk)
that lie an age and more

He could be talking about himself, a simple "homely" box, full of remembrance and connection, and savouring of everything good about the Shire. That Sam commits himself to be the salt for Frodo (salt being that which preserves, and adds flavour), comes through to me in this line:

Other tears there are,
spilling silent in this dread place.

Tears of remembrance.

And I close your hand about the plain
solid comfort of the box.

I don't know if Jan meant it to be read that way, which was why I didn't post the thoughts above, but that's how I read it.

The snippet you quoted about the actors and how I hadn't really given them enough credit for how the films came out deserves a post of its own.
westmoon at 2007-04-18 20:08 (UTC) (Link)
I'm a longtime lurker who's been enjoying your art travesties and other posts for some time now.

Thank you for sharing these, and adding so much to the fandom. Unfortunately I don't have time to comment on this entry today (and shouldn't even be looking, as I'm at work), but I couldn't let it go. On a purely shallow note, I adored Elijah in these scenes. In fact, it was this movie that made me sit up and say, "Waitaminnit - how come I'm only noticing Frodo's hot NOW????" It hit me like a bolt out of nowhere (I'd adored him in FOTR but hadn't lusted), and I've never looked back.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to friend you so I don't miss anything in the future!
mechtild at 2007-04-18 20:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for coming out of lurkdom, Westmoon! You are very kind.

Yes, even Pearl (she posted up there somewhere) has long said that however she didn't like a lot of the things Frodo was given to do in TTT, he sure looked hot! I think it's the dirty-sweaty-tired-suffering Frodo look. Heck, looking that way worked for Aragorn.... ;)

Feel free to friend the journal if you would like, I would be honoured. But I do keep tables of links on the User Info page and in the side bar (which the wide screencaps always bumps down to the bottoms of posts), as well as links at the bottoms of posts. (I like to be able to find things easily.) So if you merely want to be able to find the various posts again, you could just bookmark a page and use the links.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2007-04-19 11:37 (UTC) (Link)
I love this film scene. The interaction between Frodo and Sam is amusing and also extremely touching.

You have put a lot of work into making beautiful caps, as always, and you are so right when you say:

…they really do make me think and ponder the story and characters in a way that is different from watching the actual film.

And what a superb essay! I thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. You really make my book-enjoyment so much better. Thank you Mechling.

Gazing, lovingly, at Frolijah I believe, imho, that he was born to shine. Mr Wood’s, much recorded, goodness of character shines through.

I don’t have to tell you how much I love and appreciate Jan’s poetry. I have never before read such moving and perceptive Lord of the Rings-based poetry, and I do not expect I ever shall. I wish I had but an ounce of the talent she possesses. I hope that Jan has a broad readership, she certainly deserves it.

I thought the following words really heart-clench inducing:

…it recalls to me the things I've lost

and those I never shall.


Thank you ladies.
mechtild at 2007-04-19 12:53 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Este, for a moving response. And I will send a note to jan-u-wine that she really must come in and read her comments. This poem reads more and more richly, with more and more depth every time I read it. I think that's true for all really good writing, in stead of the other way around. Jan's been pretty busy in real life, but she may get a breather.

Yes, I agree that EW's own goodness and quality shines through into his portrayal of Frodo. I said in another entry, or maybe it was this one, I felt I hadn't given him and the other actors enough credit for how well their characters came across, in spite of various ill-choices in the scripting of their characters.

Once more, you are a gem of a reader, Este, both of prose and poetry, and someone with whom it's a real pleasure to swoon.
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