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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Rivendell 1 ~ Anniversary of March 25th, featuring Jan-u-wine's "They All Imagine".

Posted on 2008.03.25 at 07:56
Tags: , ,

This post is to commemorate March 25, the Fall of Barad-dûr, showcasing jan-u-wine’s poem They All Imagine. In the poem, Frodo recalls the day from the perspective of many years spent in Tol Eressëa.

The film scene.

In the scene from which these caps come (fullscreen theatrical version), there is no dialogue. Frodo has already woken up, talked with Gandalf, been greeted by Sam, and introduced to Lord Elrond. "Welcome to Rivendell, Master Baggins," he says. Then the filmmakers show us what Frodo is being welcomed to.

In one of the most glorious moments in Howard Shore's score, the music swells into the first full-blown statement of the Rivendell theme as the viewer is brought into the mountain gorge where the Last Homely House is nestled. Waterfalls—many and varied—first catch the eye as they spill over ledges and foam down clefts. The camera sweeps in nearer, to the edge of a high terrace onto which Frodo Baggins steps. The light is soft and golden. The music is like a sound version of Celtic art. Like the border of a gold-threaded wall hanging, or a page of illuminated manuscript accented with gold leaf, the closely-woven tonal colours twine in a design that is rich and dense, yet shimmery and translucent at the same time. The chords are otherworldly, but the rhythms are natural, building and receding, rising and falling like waves surging and swirling against a sea wall. I find it utterly intoxicating. Frodo seems to feel it, too, as he absently buttons his shirt, looking about him, coming to stand at the balcony rail, trying to take it all in.

About the entry.

For the purposes of my post, I have put jan-u-wine’s poem directly after the caps on the balcony. Jan’s poem, as I mentioned, is not set in Rivendell, or even on Middle-earth, but across the Sea on Tol Eressëa, on a March 25th many years after the Quest. There are no film scenes set in Tol Eressëa, of course, but the film’s depiction of Rivendell—more than its depiction of any other place, including Lórien—evokes for me what that world might be like. The filming, the music, the way the shots are lit, all make magic for me. Jan-u-wine, looking at these caps for the draft, remarked that when she watches the Rivendell scenes she doesn’t feel like she’s watching a movie, she’s there, in the film's world.

I said in a post last year that, in terms of mood or "feel", the films turned Rivendell into Lórien. Film-Lorien is a beautiful place, but it is also dark, mysterious, and foreboding, quite unlike the place of deep refreshment depicted in the book. Film-Rivendell, instead, becomes such a place. (No wonder Frodo is reluctant to go back home when Sam asks him about it.) Film-Rivendell, not Lórien, is the place of golden light, where art and nature meet; a place that is timeless yet full of time, ancient yet possessed of a “poignant freshness”. It is in film-Rivendell that viewers are offered a glimpse of what book-Frodo perceives in the Golden Wood: a heightened awareness of the beauty and aliveness of the natural world, and a sense of his place in it. This is what is described in the Lórien chapters. In the film, it happens when he walks out onto the balcony (accompanied by that *amazing* music), and in the scene that immediately follows. In that scene, he and Sam walk in slow motion through a golden landscape, in golden light, while golden leaves fall like stars around them. The sequence only last seconds, but that little moment establishes Rivendell as a place in which the hours are truly golden.

Which is why I chose the “welcome to Rivendell” screencaps for jan-u-wine’s poem. Of all the scenes in the three films, I think this sequence gives the best sense of what the Undying Lands would be like for Frodo, visually, and as an experience.

Because in Jan’s poem Sam has not yet arrived in Tol Eressëa, I put the caps of Sam and Frodo walking after the poem. In my mind, the images give a sense of them enjoying together the bliss and peace of Eldamar, with many years (I hope) of golden hours, rich with joy and quiet beauty, before the time when they would pass beyond the Circles of the World.



They All Imagine

~ by jan-u-wine

They all imagine,


that I do not remember.

I remember.

Even here,

held between the Song of the Sea
and the velvet pull of the stars,



I remember.

And I cannot truly say


it is thus,

here, where Ages might pass
like moments

and moments
run like amber-honey
to Ages.

I know not
if a year has flown,

or ten,

or a thousand.

I only know I wake

still'd with fear,
the memory
of a cry


in my throat.

Even here.

In another world,
it is Spring-time,
in another world,
fire touches me with careful

runs its lash through me….

In another world,

it is March 25.

My bed-chamber
(for I cannot, for all my trying,

nor think of it,
as a smial)

lies almost in silver clouds.

Fair towers,

pearl'd rose and ivory
in morning light,

surround me,

and the blue eye of the Sea
waits below.

the Sea has comforted me,

always the twin voices
of Ossë and Uinen
called to me.


I know peace,
held here
in this place
where time seems


more upon
the wheeling of the gulls
than that of the stars,

more defined by the sudden

of a gentle rain
than the bright journey of the Sun
between horizons.

But not this day.

This day,

something beyond the Sea-gate
calls me,

stills my heart,

folds tight fingers of not-quite-desire
about my throat.

If I were Home,

and all the years turned back,
as if they were but days,

if I were Home,

it would be Spring,


caught soft between Rethe and Astron
(Astron, which always I loved for its
tender bringing-back-to-life).

and there would be naught
(in that which caught me)

which speaks to

nor gentle Spring.


fire and fear,

lost pain,
madness and desire.

Even now,
my mind cannot,

will not
call forth that day.

Even now,
in muted memory,


of sound remain…..


smells, sights,

confused and terrible,

like slivered glass
flung upon the floor,

pressed like rotting leaves
held eternal by gold-amber.

In the still rooms of my mind,

(or is it, in truth,
the truth,

and this isle
but my hopeful dreme?)

my hand finds a circlet
of heated gold….

It sings to me……

There is other singing,


all about me.

Its gentle pull leads me back to myself.

The Fair Folk,

bidding the day farewell,

welcoming the blue-lavender
of night.

I go down to them,

walk among them,
feel their Song

through me like light,

into moon-shadowed darkness.

It follows the gentle line of the shore,

where waves lace salt-bitter

upon unyielding rock….

Wrapped around by its mystery,

the ancient paths of its beauty,

I forget what day it might be,


on the other side of the Sea.

Next year,

I shall remember again.


Next year,
assuredly, I shall remember.

Next year,

in a moment shared out
betwixt remembrance
and regret,

between joy and pain

I shall see home


Related entries:

~ jan-u-wine's "Frodo's Journal", posted to commemorate March 25, 2007, with screencaps from the fall of Barad-dûr.

~ "Not So Easily Mended" by jan-u-wine (after Frodo has sailed, Sam reflects in Bag End), screencaps from Sam's rescue from the Anduin.

~ “Across So Wide a Sea” by jan-u-wine (Sam arrives in Tol Eressëa), painting by Nanette-Rosie Gagnon.

Other Tables of Links:

~ All entries with jan-u-wine's poems.

~ Main table for all screencap entries

~ Mechtild


Page 1 of 2
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shirebound at 2008-03-25 13:35 (UTC) (Link)
My goodness, what stunning pictures, and the poem is so moving.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 18:52 (UTC) (Link)
I'm pleased you liked the post, Shirebound. :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
primula_baggins at 2008-03-25 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
"There are no film scenes set in Tol Eressëa"

No, but I can only hope someone is writing this story and it will soon be in a theater near me! : D

Beautiful poem, Jan.

"They all imagine,


that I do not remember.

I remember."

Sometimes I think March 25 is almost like a holy day of a sort. It is in my world. : )

mechtild at 2008-03-25 18:56 (UTC) (Link)
I believe there is quite a lot of fic set in the Undying Lands. I wonder how much of it, if only subliminally, was inspired by this sequence?

Sometimes I think March 25 is almost like a holy day of a sort. It is in my world. : )

I think March 25 is a "feast day" for Tolkien lovers. It would be neat to have a Tolkien calendar marked with the feast days. Maybe I should make one (probably, someone already has). You know, one that notes the important events of the War of the Ring, the birthdays of participants that are known -- that sort of thing. I'd love something like that.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Map-Maker, Lighthouse-Keeper
marinshellstone at 2008-03-25 14:42 (UTC) (Link)
absolutely stunning.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 18:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Hadara. Gosh, that's a moving icon.
lily_the_hobbit at 2008-03-25 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, to know his thoughts in this second set of pictures.

And I don't know why... but I love the leaf that brushes through his hair. It somehow has always made that scene more poignant for me although I could not tell why.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 18:59 (UTC) (Link)
The leaf that brushes through his hair. Yes, that's another great touch. I'm sure it just happened that way, filming, but it says something subliminally to the viewer. Perhaps something like, "even nature here is kind, reaching out with a healing touch".
rakshi at 2008-03-25 16:03 (UTC) (Link)

As always... perfection

mechtild at 2008-03-25 18:59 (UTC) (Link)
Rakshi, thank you. It's a good sort of weeping, I hope. :)
not_alone at 2008-03-25 17:38 (UTC) (Link)
Whenever I see and read your posts, it's always the same word that comes to mind - 'stunning'. And this is certainly no exception!! Exquisite pics and again a deeply moving verse from jan-u-wine.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 19:01 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Not Alone. It is a gorgeous poem, especially for today. I was thrilled to finally find a scene that would provide good images to set it off. I had meant to cap this scene "one day", but might never have done so without this impetus.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
bagma at 2008-03-25 18:20 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much for this beautiful post and the very moving poem! Rivendell is a magical place indeed.

When I saw FotR for the first time, I naively expressed my admiration for the Rivendell decor on a LotR-related French website, and I caused a controversy: apparently film!Rivendell was too art nouveau, it had too much curves, it should have been more austerely medieval, and Jackson's elves were way too effeminate anyway... In retrospect, it was rather funny, -seven years in fandom have inured me to controversy!- but I remember I was appalled at the violence of the argument...:)
mechtild at 2008-03-25 19:18 (UTC) (Link)
From writing these posts, I think I love the Rivendell scenes so much because they take the place of Lorien for me in the films. I deeply love the book's Lorien chapters; they are among my favourites in the entire story. If I had only film Lorien to go on, there would have been a big hole in my LotR film-viewing experience., since film Lorien so little resembles the Lorien of the book (more in terms of 'feel' than in terms of physical structures). But film Rivendell made up for what got taken away from Lorien, in my opinion. They just took all that "Lorien-ness" and moved it west of the Misty Mountains! So while I can see the point of the arguers you mentioned, that the design for Rivendell in the films does not match what one pictures reading about Rivendell in the book, the Rivendell section takes into itself the grace and loveliness, the melding of art and the natural world that bespeaks book Lorien.

As for the Rivendell Elves (I speak primarily of the Elf "extras"), they will never match what I picture reading The Lord of the Rings, even less The Silmarillion. I find them not necessarily effeminate-looking, but haughty-looking--and vain, as if they spent all their time standing in front of mirrors admiring their hair, straightening their robes and checking for dirt. ;)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Estelanui - Francesca
estelanui at 2008-03-25 20:43 (UTC) (Link)
Together, you and jan-u-wine, are a wonderful blend of visual and written feelings. Thank you for this post and happy March 25.

I was enjoying the pics and I remembered that the movie Rivendell is Alan Lee's creation. We owe his poetic soul not only the Last Homely House, but a lot of the movie vision. The magic, the lightness and the poetry of the Rivendell scenography tell also of his love for LotR.
How lucky to have these artists in a film!
mechtild at 2008-03-25 21:27 (UTC) (Link)
Yep, we owe Alan Lee a lot. He adored working on this design, and even on the set. You know how I love Mr. Lee! :)

OT: Estelanui, I just wanted you to know that I started reading the Vorkosigan saga, based on your recommendation. You said they could be read in any order, but I decided to read them according to chronological order according to story content. I liked the first two books very much, about Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan, Sergeant Bothari, Piotr Vorkosigan, the Empress whatever-her-name-was, etc. While I enjoyed the break-neck adventure of the early Miles Vorkosigan books, I still thought of them as "light entertainment", like fun episodes of Star Trek. But the last ones I read, "Brothers in Arms" and "Mirror Dance", dug a little deeper. The introduction of Miles' dark twin was an excellent device, and his development in "Mirror Dance" made that book that much better. His perspective shone the light on the values of Miles and his people (in the Mercenaries and back on Barrayar) that much more clearly, because of his opposition, and gradual conversion.

The best thing about the book for me was the return of Aral and Cordelia (and better than ever!). The further development of Elena, Ivan and Gregor were welcome things, too. But it was the introduction of the character of Mark that brought their development out. I am so glad she invented him! I'm going to start reading "Memory" tonight.

Thanks for the recs, Estelanui. First books by Jean Shinoda Bolen, now Lois McMaster Bujold. I've been enjoying them.
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(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2008-03-25 22:35 (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked them, White Gull!
earths_daughter at 2008-03-25 21:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for yet another perceptive and thoughtful post and for capping those two gorgeous short but emotionally satisfying scenes.
Jan-u-wine's poem, as always, goes straight to the heart.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 22:36 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Brummie. I am so glad Jan wrote this, for its own beauty, but also as a goad to make these caps. I might never have got around to it.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(Anonymous) at 2008-03-25 22:18 (UTC) (Link)
I only know I wake

still'd with fear,
the memory
of a cry


in my throat.

Even here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I often wonder if it was so. Pain may lessen, physical wounds ease or heal, but threads of memories both fond and fearful would surely linger, even in that fair place. How can Frodo ever escape his own thoughts? He was thinking of home in those final lines, a bitter-sweet reflection, but comforting nonetheless. Another beautiful, touching poem, Jan-u-wine.

Mechtild, those screencaps of Frodo and Sam walking together in Rivendell are the most gorgeous I have seen! A fleeting sequence on film, it is one of my favourite moments in the entire trilogy. Frodo is stunningly beautiful here ~ a true halfling Prince! (I love Sam's expression too ~ a look of contentment as he follows close behind his beloved master, whose health is almost restored.)

Thank you both,
~ Blossom.
mechtild at 2008-03-25 22:41 (UTC) (Link)
That was thoughfully expressed, Blossom. Thank you. Yes, the "threads of memory" will linger, maybe for ever. But hopefully in time they will only add to Frodo's pleasure in what he now is able to enjoy, as a sort of dark background that makes bright things brighter.

They really did turn out well, didn't they? I threw half of the captures away, and still felt self-indulgent keeping so many, but they're just so beautiful! I have a particularly strong response looking at the ones in which Frodo appears to be looking directly at the viewer. I feel such a connection to him in that moment, because of it. It goes by in a flash when the scene is actually playing, but in caps, I can rest in the moment. But that's one of the beauties of looking at screencaps. :)

Edited at 2008-03-25 10:44 pm (UTC)
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telstar_gold at 2008-03-26 00:15 (UTC) (Link)
As compelling in combination as ever - Jan's fabulous poetry & your gorgeous screencaps. Thanks to you both.

I find I can't stop staring at the second set of caps. Did Frodo ever look more exquisite? He looks almost ethereal, & the contrast with so-solid Sam, just behind him, could hardly be greater.
mechtild at 2008-03-26 01:08 (UTC) (Link)
"Ethereal": I like that. I think the effect is greater when the images are in motion, because the light is so gauzy, and the motion slowed down. They seem to float along rather than walk, and the viewer floats with them in the golden light. Ah.....

Thanks for commenting, Telstar.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
sams_star at 2008-03-26 01:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for posting these--the poem is lovely and the nuances of Elijah's performance really come across in these screencaps!
mechtild at 2008-03-26 02:45 (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, Sam's Star. I am pleased with the way the whole thing turned out. :)
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melyanna_65 at 2008-03-26 16:35 (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely love the last screencaps. It's a wonderful scene, a tender moment shared between friends, when no words are needed. I love the golden glow and the sense of peace that transpires through those pics.

The poem is really touching!

mechtild at 2008-03-26 17:18 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so pleased you enjoyed the post, Melyanna. Thanks so much for stopping in to say so. *smooch*
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aliensouldream at 2008-03-27 18:16 (UTC) (Link)
I think it's true that Film-Rivendell is depicted as the cradle of peace and art and hope. Film-Lorien, being nearer Sauron's power, was an ambivalent place.

I always pause before coming in here, the way you would before entering an art gallery. I know that I will be invited not just to see something, but to feel something, and I have to prepare myself. It is fascinating to me that moments I think I have experienced richly still have so many undiscovered layers which you are kind enough to uncover so gently through the careful juxtaposition of screencaps and words. Watching these moments in still images is like seeing slowed down footage of a hummingbird's wings, allowing you to see the true grace and beauty.

Jan's beautiful poem left me with somewhat of an ache, at first, as it seemed to imply that Tol Eressea is not the haven of total peace and healing I had imagined, and that dark memories and unsatisfied desires still haunted Frodo even here. On a second reading, I felt that the terrible almost-memory seemed to throb and then recede, like the sound of the waves, and that the Elven-song and natural beauty enfolded him once again. It leaves me feeling that peace would not be possible without utter forgetfulness, but that rememberance is part of identity. Even vanquished evil leaves a trace and Frodo's decision to remain alive, though exiled, is part of his courage to endure the taint of evil and keep it far from those he loves, even in his own person.

Thank you both, as ever, for a beautiful and thoughtful experience.
mechtild at 2008-03-27 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
Watching these moments in still images is like seeing slowed down footage of a hummingbird's wings, allowing you to see the true grace and beauty.

What a poetic way to talk about experiencing the story through the medium of screencaps. I love the way it slows it down, too. Really, what a thoughtful post, Alien Soul Dream. Thank you for taking the time to write it. You have a mind not only attuned to this character and his story, but to the nuances of it, turning its facets over and thinking about them.

Personally, I don't think he'd ever forget what happened, what was done to him through carrying the Ring, but I believe eventually he would get over the desire, and than, at last, let go of the unreasoning sense of failure, and move on. He has not got that far in Jan's poem, no, but I believe he would get to that place one day, certainly before he laid down his life in Arda at last.

Edited at 2008-03-27 10:52 pm (UTC)
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