Henneth Annun, Pt. 3: Faramir asks Frodo if he should shoot, plus jan-u-wine’s Mí Isilmë.
The images from this set of screencaps are my favourites of Frodo in The Two Towers. His beauty in these is astonishing, but his expression is at least as impressive. What the filmmakers took away from Frodo, in terms of what he actually said and did in these scenes, was nearly restored in this sequence. The book's account of Frodo's mixed feelings towards Gollum are played out on his face so clearly it is as if his features were visible words speaking the text.
Jan-u-wine's poem inspired by this scene, Mí Isilmë, expresses further what might be Frodo's thoughts and feelings in this scene. The poem is posted below the screencaps.
Book scene, continued, from “The Forbidden Pool”:
‘Shall we shoot?’ said Faramir, turning quickly to Frodo.
Frodo did not answer for a moment. Then ‘No!’ he said. ‘No! I beg you not to.’ If Sam had dared, he would have said ‘Yes,’ quicker and louder. He could not see, but he guessed well enough from their words what they were looking at.
‘You know, then, what this thing is?’ said Faramir. Come, now you have seen, tell me why it should be spared. In all our words together you have not once spoken of your gangrel companion, and I let him be for the time.’ (…) But now he has done worse trespass than only to go coney-snaring in the uplands: he has dared to come to Henneth Annun, and his life is forfeit. I marvel at the creature: so secret and so sly as he is, to come sporting in the pool before our very window. Does he think that men sleep without watch all night? Why does he so?’
‘There are two answers, I think,’ said Frodo. ‘For one thing, he knows little of Men, and sly though he is, your refuge is so hidden that perhaps he does not know that Men are concealed here. For another, I think he is allured here by a mastering desire, stronger than his caution.’
‘He is lured here, you say?’ said Faramir in a low voice. ‘Can he, does he then know of your burden?’
‘Indeed yes. He bore it himself for many years.’
‘He bore it?’ said Faramir, breathing sharply in his wonder. ‘This matter winds itself ever in new riddles. Then he is pursuing it?’
‘Maybe. It is precious to him. But I did not speak of that.’
‘What then does the creature seek?’
‘Fish,’ said Frodo. ‘Look!’
‘Now I have him at the arrow-point,’ said Anborn. ‘Shall I not shoot, Captain? For coming unbidden to this place death is our law.’
‘Wait, Anborn,’ said Faramir. ‘This is a harder matter than it seems. What have you to say now, Frodo? Why should we spare?’
‘The creature is wretched and hungry,’ said Frodo, ‘and unaware of his danger. And Gandalf, your Mithrandir, he would have bidden you not to slay him for that reason, and for others. He forbade the Elves to do so. I do not know clearly why, and of what I guess I cannot speak openly out here. But this creature is in some way bound up with my errand. Until you found us and took us, he was my guide.’
‘Your guide!’ said Faramir. ‘This matter becomes ever stranger. I would do much for you, Frodo, but this I cannot grant: to let this sly wanderer go free at his own will from here, to join you later if it please him, or to be caught by Orcs and tell all he knows under the threat of pain. He must be slain or taken. But how can this slippery thing of many guises be caught, saved by a feathered shaft?’
‘Let me go down quietly to him,’ said Frodo. You may keep your bows bent, and shoot me at least, if I fail. I shall not run away.’
"‘The creature is wretched and hungry,’ said Frodo, ‘and unaware of his danger" (my emphases). This is enough for Frodo, as it was for Bilbo. As the Prologue of FotR recounted in the history of the finding of the Ring,Bilbo was tempted to slay [Gollum] with his sword. But pity stayed him, and though he kept the ring, in which his only hope lay, he would not use it to help him kill the wretched creature at a disadvantage.
This is my sort of hero.
Film Scene: Frodo observes Gollum.
Faramir and Frodo stand on the ledge high above the Forbidden Pool. He eyes Frodo keenly as he speaks.
Faramir: To enter the Forbidden Pool bears the penalty of death.
Archers step out from the bushes, ready to shoot.
Faramir: They wait for my command. Shall I shoot?
Gollum: (Singing to himself loudly as he whacks a fish on a rock.) The rock and pool is nice and cool, so juicy sweet. Our only wish, to catch a fish, so juicy sweet!
Frodo: (To Faramir.) Wait. This creature is bound to me, and I to him. (Faramir’s face shows astonishment.) He is our guide. Please, let me go down to him. (Faramir nods his assent.)
Mí Isilmë *
head drowned in lemon water-clouds,
light falling all but to naught
within the pool’s dark hunger.
Brittle sharp-bitter rock
they are far
from the gentle paths of Home,
Winter’s dying fingers
make their cold rest beneath my cloak.
there is a blessedness to this place…..
I feel it,
as if the stones themselves yet
from feet glad with the walking,
as if the waters of the pool
the moment their chill beauty gained crystalline voice.
Sudden understanding fills me,
holds me in gladsome silence:
This is my Home.
This, as much as any other.
When I am far from this place,
and weary of my burden,
it will call to me,
its voice a shadow upon the wind,
its memoried touch a comfort
in lands emptied of all but dread.
shall open ever before me,
blood-sun scattering His purse of colour
(spendthrift lord of light)
upon the water’s
In dremes shall I see this moon,
smell the grasses lying tender and sweet
feel the wind which remembers the Sea upon my cheek.
But now there are no dremes.
Only water glinting cold below,
and a voice,
twisted by sorrow and treacherous time,
speaking to itself in the pitiable night.
It is part of me, too,
as much a part of me as the weight
which bows my head,
Or my Home, so many grievous leagues behind.
Memory and madness,
betrayed and betrayer,
I give him over to judgement.
To save him,
I tell myself,
to save him.
In time, perchance, he may
repay this well-intended deceit with one of his own.
he may be
*Quenya: In Moonlight
~ HA 1 ~ Faramir questions Frodo and Sam.
~ HA 2 ~ “Come with me!” Faramir tells Frodo.
~ HA 3 ~ Faramir asks, “Shall I shoot?”
~ HA 4 ~ “Trust Master!” ~ Frodo tries to persuade Sméagol.
~ HA 5 ~ “Don’t hurt him!” ~ Faramir’s men capture Sméagol.
~ HA 6 ~ The Goons of Gondor: the EE interrogation of Gollum.
~ HA 7 ~ “The Ring is taking me, Sam”.
Other screencap entries: