Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

HA # 6 of 7: 'The Goons of Gondor' ~ How the EE interrogation of Gollum screwed Faramir and Frodo.


Note: Long, ranting post. If you love this film scene, don't proceed. Also, if you are here only for Frodo screencaps, he does not appear in this series. His face will be back in the next (and last) Henneth Annun installment.

Henneth Annun, Pt. 6: "Ithilien’s Finest 'Interrogate' Sméagol", plus some thoughts on how the films made Gondor look bad.

More than Gandalf whacking Denethor with mighty whacks, more than Aragorn beheading an official ambassador in an official parley, more even than Frodo sending Sam home, this for me is the most disturbing and distressingly un-Tolkien scene in the LotR trilogy. The treatment of Gollum at the hands of Faramir’s men is unparalleled for its gratuitous brutality. It is gratuitous because it is uncalled for. Yes, Gollum is a suspicious character. Yes, he's trespassed [unawares] where it is death to trespass. But he has attacked or threatened no one. He is merely where he ought not be. Yet before he is asked a single question—supposedly the point of taking him captive instead of killing him on the spot—they beat him savagely. "Softening up the prisoner" I believe this is called. But Tolkien did not write LotR like an episode of 24.

When I say the brutality is unparalleled, I mean it is unparalleled in other LotR scenes, not in the entire world of cinema. And it is unparalleled even in scenes of violence meted out by "the bad guys". The one exception is the brief flashback early in FotR when Gollum's torture is glimpsed in Barad-dûr. We can tell he is being racked, his fingers flexing over his head while he screams, "Shire!" "Baggins!" But that's not a fully dramatized scene, and the torture was being administered long before the time frame of the film, and (most importantly) by the ultra-bad guys, Sauron's captains, not rangers of Ithilien.

Think of the scenes in which Merry and Pippin are captives of the Uruk-hai, the "baddest" of the film's bad guys apart from Sauron and his chief operatives. Although they were attacking the Orcs when they were intercepted and abducted, not even they are treated like Gollum. Merry is shown with a fresh gash on his forehead, it is true. How he came by the gash is not shown, but I think it is fair to assume he got it resisting his captors, or being insolent, not just because they were "softening him up". Otherwise Merry and Pippin don't appear to have been beaten or assaulted by the Orcs, who were, after all, supposed to deliver their prisoners "alive and unspoiled". Or think when Frodo is seen in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. It's clear he’s a captive; he's been stripped of his upper clothing and his wrists bound. But although he is filthy, and he bears the marks of the spider's sting and the Morgul blade, he appears to be untouched. Since he is shown just waking up when Sam bursts in and rescues him, all the more would he not have been beaten. He hasn't been conscious to "soften up". Unlike book Frodo, he hasn’t been whipped, threatened, or questioned.

Perhaps the Orcs might have got around to roughing Frodo up had not Sam rescued him in time. They weren't to harm him, but what might "harm" mean to an Orc? If they delivered him to Sauron with all his limbs and still able to talk, that might have been adequate. But as far as film audiences saw the worst treatment a captive character received in all three films was the beating of Gollum in Henneth Annun—not by Orcs, not by the Nazgûl, but the good guys!

I dislike this scene so much I skip it when I am watching TTT. I had found the theatrical version of Gollum's "questioning" bad enough. It made a travesty of the book characters, making Faramir seem like a ruthless pragmatist and Frodo a feeble-willed excuse for a protagonist, and a faithless master. But when I saw the EE of this scene, I was truly appalled. I nearly wept for Tolkien and his beautiful characters, especially Faramir.

However suspicious and repellent Gollum is to Faramir, for all he knows the creature he has captured is what he appears to be: a weak, pitiful person less than half his height and a third of his weight, old, starved, and naked—plainly bearing the marks of previous abuse and a hard life. Faramir and his men are supposed to be Gondor’s finest, descendants of Númenor. Instead, they are portrayed as professional soldiers whose better natures have been compromised, even corrupted, by the grind of hard, dirty warfare.

But the scene is not only hard on Faramir and his rangers. It is hard on Frodo. Frodo son of Drogo, purportedly the best Hobbit in the Shire—the Halfling prince, the sacrificial Ring-bearer and tireless defender of those entrusted to him—lets this happen to Gollum without a protest. “Don’t hurt him,” Frodo urged when Faramir’s men hustled Gollum away from the Forbidden Pool. And when he looked up and saw Faramir’s satisfied smirk, he seemed to know he’d been used, tricked. Was that realisation the beginning of film Frodo's despondency up in the hideout? Did his spirit become quenched by the conviction that Gollum would soon be made to tell everything by these brutal, powerful Men, and that he himself would be next, beaten and maybe tortured until he told all, and the Ring taken?

Whatever the reason, something makes film Frodo say and do nothing while Gollum shrieks and is beaten only yards away, on the other side of the low wall of rock where he and Sam are sitting in a make-shift storage area. In the same situration, I am sure book Frodo would have planted himself in front of Gollum at once. If he were pulled away, he’d protest, calling on them to remember who they were, Men of the West. If they stopped his mouth, he’d still struggle until either they relented or beat him unconscious. But film Frodo doesn't do any of these things. So deep in self-absorbed gloom is he, he is deaf and blind to everything. I hate the scene for the way it weakens the good characters involved in it: Frodo, Faramir, his men, and, by extension, the people of Gondor.

My outrage and repugnance aside, does the scene work? Yes, amazingly, it does. It plays like an interrogation scene in a modern hard-nosed action drama, but not Lord of the Rings. In the film version, the harsh treatment of Gollum by Faramir can even be seen as justified. Lacking the idealism and kindliness of Faramir of the book, film Faramir is distinctly not a man to be trifled with. Yet Frodo trifles with him. If film Faramir is cruel to the creature he believes is Frodo’s operative, this can be somewhat explained by the fact that film Frodo lies to him.

In the book, Frodo answers Faramir honestly, if incompletely, about Gollum, telling what he may. What remains hidden, he says, is not his to reveal. The subsequent irenic relationship that springs up between them proceeds from a basis of mutual trust and respect. This is not the case in the film. “Where is your skulking friend? That gangrel creature,” Faramir asks when Frodo and Sam are brought before him. “There was no other,” Frodo answers evasively, obviously nervous under Faramir's piercing gaze. If his nervousness didn't raise a flag, Sam’s sidelong glance does, confirming Faramir's instinct that Frodo is lying. And if Frodo is lying about knowing Gollum, perhaps he is lying about other things....

Didn't Frodo realise the three of them would have been seen together? Faramir would not have asked the question otherwise. Why should Frodo tell such a tale, getting caught in a lie? Because of that lie, Faramir is given good reason to be hard on Frodo and those connected to him. Ah ha, I thought, that's it! "Because of that lie, Faramir is given good reason to be hard on Frodo and those connected to him".

For the screenwriters to accomplish their objectives, it was necessary to make Frodo look suspicious precisely so they could justify (dramatically, not morally) the ruthless interrogation scene and tense bullying of Frodo that follows. It is another case of "upping the ante". (For you who never heard them use this term, "upping the ante" was the reason given for many controversial changes where the writers felt the book scene would not play dramatically enough on screen.)

Still, even with this "upping the ante" agenda, Faramir’s harshness is unquestionably excessive. It hurts his character because he orders and condons such brutality. It hurts Frodo's character because he does nothing about it. It hurts Gondor's character because what Faramir and his men do reflects on their people and country.*

* See related rant about the diminishment of Minas Tirith and Gondor in the film treatment below, if interested.

To see how severely Faramir's character was damaged by this scene, I compared the portrayal of Faramir in TTT with that of his brother, Boromir. When I stopped to consider, it occurred to me that if I were asked before seeing the films which son of the Steward I thought was more noble and worthy, my answer without a second's thought would have been, "Faramir". But if I had never read the book, and had seen only FotR and TTT, asked the same question I probably would have answered, "Boromir". Film Boromir is a very sympathetic character. Film Faramir (until RotK, before which he is cured of multiple personality disorder) is not.

As every viewer knows, Boromir falls to the Ring at the end of FotR, but throughout the film (and in TTT flashbacks) he is portrayed as noble and high-hearted, with deep feelings. Even when he is tense and brusque, such as when he says to Aragorn in Rivendell, “I care not!” the opposite seems to be true. Boromir does care passionately about things; too much, perhaps. And not just about the Ring. Beside Boromir TTT Faramir seems calculating and cold, a man motivated by self-serving ends. In flashbacks we learn Faramir really does love his brother. This makes him far more sympathetic to EE viewers on that account, but he broods negatively on old hurts. Perhaps these old hurts are what poison his spirit as a film character, so that he behaves the way he does. In Ithilien and Henneth Annun he projects an aura of sullen impenetrability, however poignant he appears in the scenes with his father. It is not difficult to see why film Denethor, not the sharpest at seeing into the hearts of men, should prefer the ardent, laughing, high-hearted elder son to his more retiring younger brother, which Denethor interpets as lukewarmness.

Or put it this way: if Faramir had gone to Rivendell, in the film, and Boromir been the one to run into Frodo in Ithilien, is it conceivable that Boromir would have treated Frodo the way Faramir did, or allowed the brutalizing of Gollum the way Faramir did? No. Not the character we saw carousing with Merry and Pippin in Eregion, who taught them to handle a sword and saved them at the cost of his life. Not the man who defended the cousins to Aragorn as they sobbed outside the east gate of Moria, or consoled Frodo as he sat alone, waiting for the Elves of Lórien to grant them entrance. Not the man who anguished for his city under the mallorns, confessing to Aragorn his consuming worry for the plight of his people,. Not the dying knight of Gondor whose last wish was that Aragorn might save his city.

And that is the key difference between the two sons as portrayed in the film. Film Boromir disgraced himself on Amon Hen succumbing at last to the Ring, but he succumbed out of love, love for his people, whom he ached to save. As Gandalf said of himself to Frodo, “the way of the Ring to my heart is pity, pity for weakness and the desire to do good.” So it is true of film Boromir. Faramir, on the other hand, succumbed to the Ring as soon as he knew of it, not to save his people but as the means of earning his father's esteem.

Not a very noble reflection on Faramir.

Am I trying to make a case against Boromir? Not at all. I love film Boromir! He will forever inform and enrich my reading of book Boromir. But I grieve that film Faramir was made into a man so much less admirable.

Why did the filmmakers do this to Faramir in TTT? All I have been able to come up with is the "upping the ante" answer. In Brian Sibley's book on Peter Jackson (invaluable to a film-LotR fan, I think), the filmmaking team admitted they were frequently at a loss to make TTT into a film that could stand on its own, and hold an audience's interest (and so not sink the project, and infuriate the producers constantly breathing down their necks). I think that in their desperation to make TTT more dramatic they made Faramir, temporarily, into a bad guy. They didn't have anyone else. Boromir was dead and couldn't menace Frodo anymore. And they'd made Gollum so sympathetic he wasn't much of a villain, either. With Shelob's Lair moved to RotK, they didn't have a character in the last part of the film for Frodo to be pitted against. For the sake of "upping the ante", they created a picture of Númenor brought low in the younger son of the Steward. I'm sure the filmmakers did not mean to do ill. Being modern people, they probably could not imagine a world in which certain actions are simply wrong, and certain behaviours always dishonourable, no matter how expedient or plausible by modern standards.

I think that in tainting the nobility and honour of Tolkien's exemplary characters, for the sake of "upping the ante", the filmmakers succumbed to their own version of the Ring, and in the way Gandalf described. That is, wishing to do good (i.e. to make a good film), they adopted the world-view and methods of the enemy, becoming like him to a degree.


*Related rant, about the diminishment of Gondor in the films.

In messageboard discussions after the release of TTT, it came up how unflattering the film portrayal of Gondor was compared to Rohan.

In the book, it is made clear that Gondor is a nation in decline. People look nostalgically to the past, people spend more on tombs than houses; fewer and fewer bear and raise children—all signs of a loss of faith and investment in their common future. This line of thinking makes an appearance in LotR explicitly in the RotK EE scene in Minas Tirith in which Gandalf tells Pippin, standing on the prow of the Citadel after their disastrous interview with Denethor, something of how Gondor’s people and princes once were great but since became self-absorbed, looking to a lost past, rather than taking care for the future. But in the book the critique is balanced. Minas Tirith and Gondor are portrayed as a city and nation that still cherish honour and still inspire devotion.

As book Faramir says to Frodo,

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.

The portrayal of Faramir and his men in TTT tends to negate the notion that Gondor has—or had—such leaders or people.

The EE scene would be negligible in ten hours of film; an aberration, if it did not reinforce the generally poor impression made by the people of Gondor and Minas Tirith in the latter films. Rohan’s people are very sympathetically portrayed. Rohan is the younger, newer people, still full of vigour, unlike the dwindled Gondorians. I wonder, sometimes, if PJ, a proudly resourceful Kiwi, didn’t personally identify with the people of Rohan, and look askance at the people and culture of Gondor, who seem to represent Europeans whose glory days are past.

Whatever PJ's reasons, except for Éomer’s opening insult to Gimli, and Grima’s thugs who roughly seize and eject Éomer, the people and leaders of Rohan are shown in a very favourable light. (Grima, it should be noted, appears to be from elsewhere, evidenced by his black hair and bad teeth.) Its soldiers are fierce and formidable in battle, but never low. They fight foes that are their match, and with honour. Théoden (once he is cured) and his household are persons valiant, able, and true-hearted.

The lesser film characters of Rohan, too, are notably admirable and likable. There are stalwart Gamling and Hama, the young boy Aragorn encourages at Helm’s Deep, the mother who sends her children away from their burning village both to save them and bring word to Edoras. On the Deeping wall, the line of men and boys, farmers and craftsmen and their children, are frightened but determined, standing shoulder to shoulder with far more famous heroes and Elves, sharing their fate. And before the battle of Helm's Deep, the weaker people being evacuated do not scatter in their fear when the Wargs attack but stay together, following Éowyn’s directions. In the Glittering caves, old people and women tremble but stay calm, quieting terrified children. Viewers of the battle of Helm’s Deep care about the people of Rohan, longing for their rescue. In RotK, what makes their eleventh hour charge across the Pelennor so moving and thrilling is not the fact that the people of Minas Tirith will be rescued, but that viewers have come to care about Rohan. Viewers are for them, so they want them to win through.

Compare this with the portrayal of the people of Minas Tirith. At the top of the heirarchy, the city’s steward is crazed and malicious, spitefully treating his son, contemptuous of the visiting wizard expert, as well as his newly-sworn hobbit squire. In the films, the only truly good leader of Gondor is Boromir, but Boromir is dead. The younger son, although he is massively improved in RotK, is still not a leader upon whom the people can count. He fights well and valiantly in the film’s battle of Osgiliath, but when his father cuts him in the throne room scene, pressuring him to retake Osgiliath, Faramir caves in. He is moving in the scene, but he leaves Denethor's presence a beaten man. He walks out like someone headed to martyrdom. He will, in fact, lead his men on a beautiful but utterly hopeless suicide charge—his small company on horseback spread in a thin line across the plain, riding with swords drawn against a huge, dug-in adversary armed with bows.

Book Faramir was obedient to his father, too, but he never stopped caring first for the welfare of his men and the city. And the people of the city did not just stand around and watch him as his men were cut down. They watched in breathless horror as their barns and houses burned on the Pelennor, Faramir’s men coming back in ordered retreat. The Steward had a force held in reserve to back Faramir up, but did not let it go until the retreat was a rout, the Nazgûl appearing out of the sky. Then Prince of Dol Amroth led the sortie to rescue them, thundering across the plain, the people on the walls shouting, Gandalf streaming ahead on Shadowfax, again forcing the Nazgûl back by the light from his upraised hand. (He was not sitting about on an upturned crate pondering the folly of Men and their stewards.)

Faramir had stayed behind, guarding the rear. When Prince Imrahil returned with Faramir in his arms, gravely wounded, he told of Faramir’s great deeds before he fell. In the film no one comes back, only Faramir dragged by his horse, miraculously or purposely spared. A dramatic moment, beautifully scored, but what sort of picture does this give of Faramir as a leader of men? And what sort of people does it make the citizens of Gondor look, who watch the slaughter of their last and best and send no help?

So. In the film, Faramir is effectively out of the picture (except as an unconscious victim), and the leadership of Minas Tirith is left to Denethor. The people seem as resigned to death and defeat as their steward. There is no Éowyn shouting, “Keep together!” in Minas Tirith. Other than Gandalf, who is not of Gondor, there is no one who acts for the welfare of the people. In the siege of the city, people are shown panicking, running hither and thither, but no one is helping the other. Denethor tells soldiers under attack to abandon their posts, and they actually begin to wander away. When he says to burn him and his son alive, zombie-like, members of the elite guard follow orders. There are no shots of them exchanging pained or even puzzled glances, they just do it. "Duh" is their sub-text. They are featureless and affectless.

In the book, the city is oppressed by anxiety and dread, its mood swinging between hope and gloom as events unfold, but the mood is not one of enervated despair. They care. So hopefully desperate are they, rumours spread that Pippin is a halfling prince, the first of a host of warriors, small but doughty.

In the film, the people seem far less concerned for the fate of their city. When the White Rider streaks dramatically across the fields of the Pelennor to rescue Faramir attacked by the swooping Nazgûl, people standing on the city wall appear to be watching a mildly interesting horse race. Before the rescue, when Faramir and his men ride through the streets to go on their suicide mission, one or two seem truly (if quietly) broken-hearted to see their men ride out to certain death, but others are made to strike sadly picturesque poses. Still others drop flowers before the feet of their horses, but in a formal, decoratively listless manner as if they were dropping flowers on a grave. Even the children look mournful in a pretty way.

But what are children doing there? Why is that terrified woman running about in the siege carrying a baby? What sort of people is it that under threat of dire conflict doesn’t send its women and children out of harm’s way? In the book, they have been evacuated (by Denethor's order). That there are no children in the city is noted with sadness by Pippin. Bergil, Beregond's son, is one of the few boys allowed to stay. But watching the film, I have to ask what sort of people are they who would let their future (i.e. their children, and the women who care for them, and who might bear more) remain at such risk?

Again, all these details contribute to a picture of the Gondorians as people who just don’t care, who, like their steward have given up even before a blow is struck—that is, a people who aren’t much worth rescuing in the minds of viewers.

But, perhaps, even more harmful than the not very sympathetic portrayal of Gondor (its people and leaders), is the lack of recognizable characters to make the scenes of Gondor’s travails matter to viewers. It is difficult to feel empathy, watching the battles and crowd scenes, without particular characters to focus on and care about. There’s plenty of horror in the siege scenes, and it ought to move us. Heads of the city's men fly over the wall, civilians are killed and trampled, soldiers dropped from the sky to bounce painfully off rooftops below. But these people are all anonymous. Rohan had Gamling, Hama, Morwen (the woman with the children), Haleth (the boy whom Aragorn encouraged) and many unnamed men. Where are such characters in Gondor? Whis is a Beregond, Bergil or Ioreth? A Forlong, or Prince Imrahil? These, or characters like them, would have given the siege of Gondor the emotional impact it lacked.

The only Gondorian character I can think of that is shown in a fully sympathetic light is Faramir’s second-in-command in Ithilien and Gondor, Madril. I only know his name from looking at the cast list, but he is the old campaigner who advises Faramir in the Henneth Annun map scenes. In his brief moments in TTT and RotK, he manages to projects a sense of experience, steadiness, wisdom, and basic decency that is otherwise lacking in Gondorian characters. His complete loyalty to Faramir can only be a compliment to the steward’s younger son. Madril is not present for the beating of Gollum, and fights courageously and ably along side Faramir in the RotK battle of Osgiliath. There he falls, sadly. I am always sorrowful when he is killed by Gothmog, so early in the film. Apart from Faramir in RotK, he is the only Gondorian character I ever come to care about.

~ End of related rant.


Book scene: Faramir, as portrayed in The Window on the West.

Faramir, Frodo and Sam are walking behind the rest through the woods on their way to Henneth Annun. Sam is silent but Frodo and Faramir talk as they go.

‘War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.

‘So fear me not! I do not ask you to tell me more. I do not even ask you to tell me whether I now speak nearer the mark. But if you will trust me, it may be that I can advice you in your present quest, whatever that be—yes, and even aid you.’

Frodo made no answer. Almost he yielded to the desire for help and counsel, to tell this grave young man, whose words seemed so wise and fair, all that was in his mind. But something held him back. His heart was heavy with fear and sorrow: if he and Sam were indeed, as seemed likely, all that was now left of the Nine Walkers, then he was in sole command of the secret of their errand. Better mistrust undeserved than rash words. And the memory of Boromir, of the dreadful change that the lure of the Ring had worked in him, was very present to his mind, when he looked at Faramir and listened to his voice: unlike they were, and yet also much akin.


‘Here, alas! I must do you a discourtesy,’ said Faramir. ‘I hope you will pardon it to one who has so far made his orders give way to courtesty as not to slay you or bind you. But it is a command that no stranger, not even one of Rohan that fights with us, shall see the path we now go with open eyes. I must blindfold you.’


Book scene: The interrogation of Sméagol, from The Forbidden Pool.

A man came and beckoned to the hobbits, and took them to the recess at the back of the cave. Faramir was sitting there in his chair, and the lamp had been rekindled in its niche above his head. He signed them to sit down on the stools beside him. ‘Bring wine for the guests,’ he said. ‘And bring the prisoner to me.’

The wine was brought, and then Anborn came carrying Gollum. He removed the cover from Gollum’s head and set him on his feet, standing behind him to support him. Gollum blinked, hooding the malice of his eyes with their heavy pale lids. A very miserable creature he looked, dripping and dank, smelling of fish (he still clutched one in his hand); his sparse locks were hanging like rank weed over his bony brows, his nose was snivelling.

‘Loose us! Loose us!’ he said. ‘The cord hurts us, yes it does, it hurts us, and we’ve done nothing.’

‘Nothing?’ said Faramir, looking at the wretched creature with a keen glance, but without any expression in his face either of anger, or pity, or wonder. ‘Nothing? Have you never done anything worthy of binding or of worse punishment? However, that is not for me to judge, happily. But tonight you have come where it is death to come. The fish of this pool are dearly bought.

Gollum dropped the fish from his hand. ‘Don’t want fish,’ he said.

‘The price is not set on the fish,’ said Faramir. ‘Only to come here and look on the pool bears the penalty of death. I have spared you so far at the prayer of Frodo here, who says that of him at least you have deserved some thanks. But you must also satisfy me. What is your name? Whence do you come? And whither do you go? What is your business?’

‘We are lost, lost,’ said Gollum. ‘No name, no business, no Precious, nothing. Only empty. Only hungry; yes, we are hungry. A few little fishes, nasty bony little fishes, for a poor creature, and they say death. So wise they are; so just, so very just.’

‘Not very wise,’ said Faramir. ‘But just: yes perhaps, as just as our little wisdom allows. Unloose him Frodo!’ Faramir took a small nail-knife from his belt and handed ti to Frodo. Gollum misunderstanding the gesture, squealed and fell down.

‘Now, Sméagol!’ said Frodo. ‘You must trust me. I will not desert you. Answer truthfully, if you can. It will do you good not harm.’ He cut the cords on Gollum’s wrists and ankles and raised him to his feet.

‘Come hither!’ said Faramir. ‘Look at me! Do you know the name of this place? Have you been here before?’

Slowly Gollum raised his eyes and looked unwillingly into Faramir’s. All light went out of them, and they stared bleak and pale for a moment into the clear unwavering eyes of the man of Gondor. There was a still silence. Then Gollum dropped his head and shrank down, until he was squatting on the floor, shivering. ‘We doesn’t know and we doesn’t want to know,’ he whimpered. ‘Never came here; never come again.’

‘There are locked doors and closed windows in your mind, and dark rooms behind them,’ said Faramir. ‘But in this I judge that you speak the truth. It is well for you. What oath will you swear never to return; and never to lead any living creature hither by word or sign?’

‘Master knows,’ said Gollum with a sidelong glance at Frodo. ‘Yes, he knows. We will promise Master, if he saves us. We’ll promise to It, yes.’ He crawled to Frodo’s feet. ‘Save us, nice Master!’ he whined. ‘Sméagol promises to Precious, promises faithfully. Never come again, never speak, no never. No, precious, no!’


Film Scene: The interrogation of Gollum from the EE.

Two henchman are holding Gollum by his arms, when they push him down onto the floor with a blow to the chest. Gollum is scrambling back up when Henchmen #1 swings a booted foot at Gollum, catching him under his midriff and lifting him into the air, the impact sending him sprawling. The camera turns to Faramir, who is shown pointedly not looking, but not saying anything. The camera returns to Gollum who is shown trying to scramble away again, but Henchman #2 walks behind him, striking his back and knocking him down. Catching him by the leg, he drags Gollum back screaming and flailing. Henchman #1 holds Gollum up off the floor while Henchman #2 delivers a punch full-force to Gollum’s midriff. Faramir finally turns and speaks.

Faramir: That's enough.

Henchman #1 hurls Gollum against the jagged wall of the cave, Gollum bouncing off onto the floor. Crawling to the wall he huddles against it, drawing himself into a fetal position, sobbing. His Gollum voice begins to speak, the Sméagol voice answering between sobs.

Faramir: Where are you leading them? Answer me!

Gollum’s voice: Sméagol... Why do you cry, Sméagol?

Sméagol’s voice: Cruel men hurts us. Master tricksed us.

Gollum’s voice: Of course he did. I told you he was tricksy. I told you he was false.

Sméagol’s voice: Master is our friend... our friend.

Gollum’s voice: Master betrayed ussss!

Sméagol’s voice: No, not it’s business. Leave us alone.

Gollum’s voice: Filthy little hobbitsesss! They stole it from usss!

Sméagol’s voice: No... no

Faramir: What did they steal?

Gollum’s voice: My Precious!!!!


Gollum is shown being hauled into the chamber, a Ranger holding each arm.

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Gollum is pushed to the ground with a blow to the chest. Note the lighted area to the right and back of Faramir; that is the storage area where Frodo and Sam are sitting on the floor.

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A ranger swings his foot back to kick Gollum, catching him underneath and sending him flying, as shown in the cap that follows.

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Faramir is shown pointedly not looking at the proceedings, but says nothing.

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Gollum, fleeing, is knocked down before he is grabbed by the leg and dragged roughly back.

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Faramir turns and watches as Gollum is held up off the floor by one Ranger and punched full-force in the stomach by the other.

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"That's enough," says Faramir.

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But the Ranger holding Gollum hurls him into a rocky outcropping on the cave wall. Gollum falls to the ground.

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Gollum crawls away to huddle against the wall, sobbing. Faramir pauses a moment, then begins the verbal part of the interrogation.

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Related Entries:

~ 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:

~ All Frodo and Elijah screencaps.

Tags: essay, frodo screencaps, the two towers

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