Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Sammath Naur Pt. 8: ‘Take my hand!’, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Claiming”.


Warning: Some gory images.

As every reader knows, the incident of Frodo hanging suspended from the side of the Sammath Naur never happened in Tolkien's book. But here it is, in four posts of screencaps. I know, it's hard to believe, considering how many of these caps look the same apart from variations in the lighting, but these represent less than half of the caps I actually made before forcing myself to throw the majority of them out.

When I first saw RotK, having decided I hated the film half an hour in, I hated this scene, too. In quite a huff, I thought it ridiculously over the top—shameless, in fact—frankly *begging* the audience to care. Which only made me more determined not to care, digging in my heels, refusing to respond to what I thought was blatant emotional manipulation. Peter Jackson planned the whole thing (I told myself), the plunge of both Gollum and Frodo off the cliff, just to make one of his signature "book-ends". I was thinking of the moment when the hand of Sam, who is drowning in the waters of Anduin, is clasped by Frodo, who pulls him up to life. I thought the moment in the Sammath Naur was surely meant to be the reversal of that scene, with Sam saving Frodo, instead, the close-ups focusing on the very same hand-to-wrist clasp. In my I-hate-the-film mode, I thought it far too obvious.

But, when I gave up protesting what I felt were the film-version's betrayals of the book, I came to love this scene for providing a wonderful window into Frodo's internal struggle: wanting to die, having "failed", but being urged to live by Sam's solid, saving presence as he pleads with Frodo to choose life. It's difficult now to remember that I once thought this scene pandering, but, ah, that's how things change when looked at through the eyes of love.

Proofing this post, jan-u-wine said, assuring me about my radical change of heart towards this scene, apparently against my principles,

Re: your being taken by love, instead of logic: Love can, indeed, be blind. But it isn't stupid. Like the movies, the form is not always correct, but the substance, that which is at the core of the thing, the cornerstone of it all, the raw and wonderful and triumphant *spirit* of the thing, is all there.

Speaking of jan-u-wine, I want to draw the attention of readers to yet another of her stellar poems, The Claiming. As the title suggests, this is an interior look at the moment of Frodo as he claims—and is claimed by—Sauron's intrument, the Ring.

I have said so before, but, for me, reading Jan's poems is like reading great fanfiction, but in a highly concentrated form. I don't know how she does it. Another admirer of her work said, jan-u-wine's poems both enlarge and condense each moment she addresses. She can take discrete images—this leaf, that cracked yellow mug—and make them vivid, while also making them portals into multiple levels of meaning and experience. I can't do this sort of thing, but I appreciate it when done by others. It's as if she can put her ear right up to the hearts of her characters, then write beautifully about what she has heard.


Sam: Take my hand!

Sam: No!


Book scene:~*Mount Doom, cont'd.

‘Well, this is the end, Sam Gamgee,’ said a voice by his side. And there was Frodo, pale and worn, and yet himself again; and in his eyes there was peace now, neither strain of will, nor madness, nor any fear. His burden was taken away. There was the dear master of the sweet days in the Shire.

‘Master!’ cried Sam, and fell upon his knees. In all that ruin of the world for the moment he felt only joy, great joy. The burden was gone. His master had been saved; he was himself again, he was free. And then Sam caught sight of the maimed and bleeding hand.

‘Your poor hand!’ he said. ‘And I have nothing to bind it with, to comfort it. (...)

The Claiming

~ by jan-u-wine

It didn't hurt,
you know.....

at least, not in any way
I can name
with words.

Yet name it I must,
find words
where there are none.

It was as if I were not there.

Even now,
my mind
will not look behind the door
of the after-moment,
and see what went before.

I suppose that means
was not there.

terrible sound
and visions
that fall
from my mind alone
are the only memories
that stir.

You see,
It made my mouth
say those words.

I did not claim It.

At the last,
as It had always
It claimed me.

Like a rope,
drawn too tightly,
too often upon
sharp-cornered rock,
the fibres of my
being parted,
fell away to nothing.

My own shadow
black nightmare
upon the wall,
like the will that held
my body,
by the furious intent
of flame.

The small part of me
that remained
twisted and cried
in a darkened corner
of my mind.

In a moment,
even that,
I knew,
would be gone.

I would never
know the fullness
of my failure.

How many days -

how many

I waited for death,

looked for it -
wished for it.

I had not thought
that this
might be the manner
of it.

I wonder how long
my body
might go on
when the small voice
which is me
has left.

if It wills,
I suppose.

It grows even blacker
within the confines
of my mind:

Even here, Its shadow hovers,
grows large.

It knows.

It is coming for me.

It does not lie anymore,
and whisper that I shall
know peace.

There will be no golden beauty
to wrap my dremes about.

It is here.

As the man of Gondor
I beg.

Oddly, my last thought is of him:

I wonder, in this terror,
if I shall see him soon,
or if even the promise of Light beyond
death is devoured
by evil.

I do not deserve the keeping of that Promise
in any case.

I have delivered my world to consuming night.

I know....

I know who
I am…..

what I am:

Frodo Baggins,
simple Hobbit of the Shire.


My knees bend upon heated,
cutting rock,

my hand.....

There is blood upon my hand.

Blood and the stark whiteness
of blunt-ragged bone.

Nothing else.

No dragging weight about the curve
of my neck,

no voice caressing me,
driving me,
pushing me to madness.

Only the final echo
of a scream
within the close walls
of the chamber.



I do not know.


I know that soon,
I shall be no more…

know only darkness.

It is well.

This will be sweet darkness,
fed by peace and unborn


He is here…

I remember…..

I know him
and he,

It is all I would ask,
(too much, I know),

all I would ask…

for us to end,
as we began,

He takes my hand.

He is asking me if it hurts.

Not in any way I can name
with words,

my Sam.


Entries in this series:

~ Sammath Naur Intro: "Why I fell for Frodo” ~ Main essay for series (this essay is friends locked).

~ Sammath Naur 1: ‘I’m here, Sam.’

~ Sammath Naur 2: ‘Throw It in the fire!’

~ Sammath Naur 3: ‘Just let It go!’, plus three poems by jan-u-wine.

~ Sammath Naur 4: ‘The Ring is mine’, plus jan-u-wine’s “That Which Is My Own”.

~ Sammath Naur 5: Gollum Bites, plus jan-u-wine’s “Frodo’s Remembrance of Gollum”.

~ Sammath Naur 6: Gollum Falls, plus essay on Gollum’s oath.

~ Sammath Naur 7: ‘Give Me Your Hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “Within the Chamber”.

~ Sammath Naur 8: ‘Take my hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Claiming".

~ Sammath Naur 9: ‘Don't you let go’, plus jan-u-wine’s “In the Garden of the Mind".

~ Sammath Naur 10: ‘Reach’, plus jan-u-wine’s “And I Don’t Mean To".

Other Tables of Links:

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

~ Frodo & Elijah Wood screencap entries

~ Mechtild

Tags: frodo screencaps, jan-u-wine, return of the king

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