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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

The Dead Marshes, Pt. 1: “So Bright, So Beautiful…” plus poem by jan-u-wine….

Posted on 2007.04.23 at 11:25


ואם לא עכשו אימתי
karin_woywod at 2007-04-24 10:04 (UTC) (Link)

Part 4 of 4 (conclusion)

But that Frodo should resolve to the night, to the darkness, when everyone is seemingly asleep, to stroke the Ring, is not only because he knows what he's doing is wrong, it's also a very intimate act, and Frodo is not the type of hobbit who would expose his - - - erhm "love live" for all to see.

The Ring, for him, and for Gollum as shown by their parallel acts in the Dead Marshes scene, was like a Siren, a Siren made of gold. Irresistible, alluring, it is intent on dragging them down to destruction and death.

Yup, exactly. And this is what makes this interlude in the Dead Marshes, and your essay on it, interesting. It is a stage of the journey that shows the effect the Ring has on Frodo. "A most unlikely creature, a hobbit" he might be, with a built-in resistance to the Ring, but he is not unaffected by it, and Frodo is portrayed here not only having to fight (and hide from) his obvious enemies (like Sauron's servants) but having also this struggle within himself (fighting the ring and his inner demons), that takes up all his thoughts and all his energy ! Here are the beginnings of that exhaustion we are to see later on in Mordor and near Mount Doom. And it seems to me, this is Frodo's real achievement as the hero of this story - not succeeding in outward battles (this is the role attributed to the rest of the Fellowship : Aragorn, Merry, Pippin etc.) - but resisting his inner battles for so long. This is a quiet hero and a quiet battle he is fighting - and it makes me admire him all the more ! ! !

But Frodo might also have rushed to hide the Ring because he was interrupted by Gollum in particular. In the book scenes, Frodo pointedly declares he won’t let Gollum even see the Ring, on the grounds that the mere sight of it would drive Gollum mad with desire. So it would be just prudence to put it away when Gollum approached. But the idea interests me that Frodo not only did not want Gollum to see the Ring, he didn’t want Gollum to see him with the Ring. To be caught fondling it would drastically undermine his injunctions to “Sméagol”, if Frodo appeared to be as besotted Gollum was.

Couldn't agree more ! Who would understand what Frodo's doing with the Ring better than Gollum ? Frodo probably would be able to hide his addiction and his falling for the Ring from Sam, but he never would be able to hide it from Gollum, who would know exactly what was happening in Frodo. Frodo and his actions would become transparent to Gollum.

Yes, Frodo feels shame, and Gollum, of all people, noticing what Frodo was doing, increases that shame. And, as you stated quite rightly, how can Frodo lead Sméagol to recovery when he's succumbing to temptation himself, how can someone afflicted by this raging illness cure someone recovering from the same illness ?

Mechtild, I really like what you are doing here - drawing our attention to certain aspects of book and film. It intensifies the "message" these stories have. The more we watch and the "slower" we watch, the better it is for our understanding.

So thanks a lot for bringing the scenes "closer" to us, so that we can appreciate them even more, the way they were written by Tolkien, and the way they were envisioned by Peter Jackson and his excellent actors !

Which was the reason in the first place why I eventually friended you. In the past, I encountered your excellent essays only when they cropped up in one of my random blog searches for "Elijah Wood". But now, I want to get notice of you publishing another one as soon as it happens.


- Karin.
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