Note: I have time for just one more post. I'll be flying out for a two-week visit to the computer-deprived home of my mother tomorrow afternoon, so if you comment after that, I probably won't answer until I get back.
I have screencapped this scene previously, but in fullscreen. Also, I did not include any frames of Gandalf. Showing Gandalf’s responses helps heighten the interaction in the frames, and adds to Frodo’s ‘twinkle’.
This is a scene invented by the screenwriters that I think really works. In the book, Frodo has no dialogue at all until after the Farewell Party. The adaptors had to create it. They could have given him any sort of lines, but the lines they gave him are very good. Taken from Tolkien’s tongue-in-cheek narration, and even from Gandalf (the “disturber of the peace” line is spoken by Gandalf to Frodo), they introduce him as someone who sparkles with good-humour and wit, the sort of wit that is able to see the foibles in others, yet still enjoy them.
There’s little enough of “humorous Frodo” in the films, so I’m grateful they invented this opening scene for him and Gandalf. Frodo’s first line (“You’re late!”) sets the tone for the sparring banter of the cart scene. Their back-and-forth is the sort of affectionate sniping that carries the two not only through the scene in the cart, but, in the book, through the Quest, where humour will aid them in some very dark times indeed. After this, Frodo's next scene is the party scene. At the party, Frodo is shown as someone very able to enjoy himself, but, except for his push of Sam into Rosie’s arms (to Sam’s befuddlement and Frodo's giggling delight), he isn’t really shown as humorous, per se.
Other good scenes that show Frodo’s humour are not in the theatrical version. I am thinking of the EE scene I just presented, inside the party tent, which opens with Frodo laughingly rescuing Bilbo from the dreaded S-B’s, and quipping gravely about “the Gaffer’s home brew”. This is a lovely little moment, offering an insight into the sort of easy, affectionate, mutually teasing relationship he and Bilbo must have had. Or there is the EE scene in the opening of TTT, when Sam nearly gets them both killed trying to rescue the box of salt. “I think I’ve found the bottom,” Frodo calls, showing that even lost in the wilderness he can still crack a joke. And his bemused disbelief when he hears how the salt might come in handy, “just in case we’re having roast chicken some night”, is *perfect*. The writing for Frodo in TTT is so bleak, showing him nearly always as either dispirited or in a state of distress, I think moments like these are sorely missed.
Jan-u-wine’s poem, Halimath 1389 S.R., is set (as the title implies) in the year Frodo moves to Bag End. I love the spirit he shows in this poem, so true to Bilbo and Gandalf’s opinion of him ("the best hobbit in the Shire!"), and his own high hopes for his new life with his enthralling “uncle”. I love Jan's word-pictures of little Merry, too, who, as an only child, was sure to miss Frodo as his surrogate big brother. Merry had many friends, but no siblings.
In the film dialogue copied below, the EE additions are indicated by the use of this colour. The caps for this post begin when Frodo says, “All right, keep your secrets.”
Frodo, reading a book under a tree, hears Gandalf, in the cart, singing as he approaches.
Gandalf: [Singing] The road goes ever on and on,
down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
and I must follow if I can. (& etc.)
Frodo: [Having run down the hill] You're late.
Gandalf: A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.
They both try to keep a straight face, and fail. Frodo throws himself into Gandalf’s arms for an embrace.
Frodo: It's wonderful to see you, Gandalf!
Gandalf: You didn't think I'd miss your Uncle Bilbo's birthday? So, how is the old rascal? I hear there's to be a party of special magnificence.
Frodo: You know Bilbo. He has the whole place in an uproar.
Gandalf: Hmm. Well, that should please him.
Frodo: Half the Shire's been invited. And the rest of them are turning up anyway.
Gandalf and Frodo laugh.
Bilbo (narrating): And so life in the Shire goes on very much as it has this past Age, full of its own comings and goings, with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. For things are made to endure in the Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There's always been a Baggins living here under the Hill in Bag End, and there always will be.
Frodo: [In the cart] To tell you the truth, Bilbo's been a bit odd lately. I mean, more than usual. He's taken to locking himself in his study. He spends hours poring over old maps when he thinks I'm not looking.
Bilbo, in Bag End, suddenly realizes he's missing something. He starts looking, more frantically with each passing moment, when he can't find it.
Bilbo: Where's it gone?
He suddenly finds the Ring in his pocket and relaxes at once.
Frodo: [In the cart] He's up to something.
Gandalf looks around, as if noting the scenery.
Frodo: All right then, keep your secrets.
Frodo: But I know you have something to do with it.
Gandalf: : Good gracious me.
Frodo: Before you came along, we Bagginses were very well thought of.
Frodo: Never had any adventures or did anything unexpected.
Gandalf: If you're referring to that incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door.
Frodo: Whatever you did, you have been officially labelled a disturber of the peace.
Odo Proudfoot gives Gandalf a grumpy look. A group of children see Gandalf and come running.
Children: Gandalf, Gandalf! Fireworks, Gandalf!
Frodo gives Gandalf an imploring look. Gandalf pauses, then sets some off. The Hobbit children cheer and Gandalf laughs. Odo Proudfoot chuckles. His wife comes out and gives him a scandalized look, and Odo quickly resumes his scowl. Frodo smiles at Gandalf.
Frodo: Gandalf, I'm glad you're back. [Smiles and jumps off the wagon, waving.]
Gandalf: So am I, dear boy, so am I.
Halimath 1389 S. R.
~ by jan-u-wine
Halimath 1389 S.R.
There is not much left now
in the small space that was my room.
The round back of a scarred trunk
shadow lengthening along the floor.
All of my life…
all of my life
Great silver-spined books,
covers dark with age,
over-laid in spider-webbed runes,
rest within the safety of my best
(Aunty says it is the exact shade
of the unending Sea).
All is in order.
The narrow bed is made,
my old yellow blanket
lying like a spill of late sunshine
across the white of the pillow.
A small breath of wind
bothers the curtain,
finds its way through the window,
touches my face with chill fingers.
The worn wood of the floor,
warms my feet.
green-grey face sparking in the sun,
beyond the arms of the trees.
This is where late I played,
clambered and hid,
in summers and springs,
winters and falls.
This is where my old life
What will it be like,
I wonder, seeing the roof,
rough blue-dark tile
bounded by green-forest thatch,
what will it be like,
to live beneath a hill….
beneath earth's gentled curve?
How cold the room is of a sudden.
My hand does not tremble
as I lock the trunk lid,
nor do I cry when Merry
will not let me go
as we say farewell.
He stands in the window of my room
as we ride away.
upon the road,
I see his hand,
small as a child's,
lost and lonely,
upraised to gathering
He is yet just a child.
Aunty will care for him now.
I shall have adventures.
In the wide fields of the World,
in the grey rock of far-away mountains,
in the crystal rush of little streams,
they await me.
They shine and tumble,
spilling with ribbon-bright light
through my mind.
And in the midst of my waking dream,
centered and caught within wonder,
I yet see
Merry's outstretched hand.
And I wonder if I shall ever find my Home.
Previously posted fullscreen versions of the same scene:
Most recent entries:
~ EE Party Tent Scene, plus jan-u-wine’s ‘Dremes and Dragons’.
~ Ride to the Havens in widescreen, plus jan-u-wine’s “A Visit to Hobbiton” and “The Portrait”.
~ EE Cart Ride with Gandalf, plus jan-u-wine’s 'Halimath 1389'.
~ EE ‘Wood Elves!’ scene, plus jan-u-wine’s ‘Bell’ and ‘Mellon’.
Other Tables of Links: