I was inspired to continue on with screencaps because I wanted to showcase another poem of jan-u-wine’s. The poem, however, is set in Minas Tirith after Frodo has recovered, and there are no film scenes that directly correspond to it. The film scene of Frodo waking up in Minas Tirith might do, but I’d already made multiple sets of it to go with other poems.
Hmm, I thought. Perhaps its companion piece, the scene of Frodo waking up in Rivendell, might do very well? It’s not Minas Tirith, but it depicts the same sequence of events, inviting comparison: Frodo wakes up bathed in morning light to the sight of Gandalf, then is happily reunited with Sam and his cousins. Yes, it would do. So here it is, a series of screencaps of Frodo’s joyous reunions—but in Rivendell, not Minas Tirith—plus jan-u-wine’s poem, “The Gifts of the Three Hobbits”.
Just a note....
It's worth comparing the two scenes, actually, if only to provoke reflection on how much has happened to everyone between the two "bookend" scenes—Frodo waking in Rivendell and Frodo waking in Minas Tirith. The film shows a lot, with no words at all, but only in the interchange between Frodo and Sam. If one had only the Minas Tirith reunion scene to go by, it would seem that Pippin and Merry had not grown much from the frat-boy cousins who illicitly set off fireworks, or raided Farmer Maggot's fields, or scampered out from behind the potted plants at the great Council to present themselves as companions on Frodo's "quest", or "thing". But the difference between what is exchanged between Frodo and Sam in the two scenes is extremely telling. In Rivendell, Frodo is simply ecstatic to be alive, and to see Sam alive. Sam, in his turn, is ecstatic to see Frodo alive. In Minas Tirith, Frodo is joyful to see his cousins, but, even in the midst of their gleeful bed-bouncing, the look he gives Sam shows how much beyond jumping on beds he has come. And the look Sam gives him is so full of love and knowledge and shared experience—the darkest and the most radiant—words cannot express it.
I love the way the Minas Tirith "Frodo-wakes-up" scene recalls yet goes beyond the first version, in terms of Frodo and Sam, and Frodo and Gandalf. It is too bad that Merry and Pippin get short-changed, still portrayed as the juveniles they were at the beginning of the Quest. Like Gimli, the cousins have been assigned as primary bearers of the films' light and comic moments. But I am sorry the scene gives no sense of their intervening experiences of growth and sacrifice and maturation. Perhaps it is the case that the mere sight of Frodo triggers regression (and a desire to bounce on beds).
Before the caps and poem, I am providing excerpts of the scene from the book and the film’s screenplay. I think the filmmakers did a very good job abridging this scene for the film, even though the process necessarily changed a number of nuances. In the film, for instance, Sam rushes in and grasps Frodo’s hand (thanks to Ian McKellen?). The motivation appears to be a simple, unthinking expression of love and Sam’s happiness at Frodo’s recovery. In the book, Sam grasps Frodo’s hand not merely out of love and happiness, but to satisfy himself that Frodo is indeed recovered. “It’s warm!” he exults—it’s been cold since Frodo was pieced by the Morgul blade, over two weeks prior. But there would be no way to convey this aspect of the story without additional dialogue.
What does come through in the Rivendell reunions is more than sufficient: no viewer can doubt the happiness everyone feels at Frodo’s recovery (including Frodo), the love they share, or their joy at being reunited with each other again. So, whatever the changes from the book, the filmmakers managed to convey what they needed in not much film time, and not very many words.
Book scene, from “Many Meetings”.In the House of Elrond, four days after being carried unconscious from the Ford of Bruinen, eighteen days after his wounding with the Morgul blade on Weathertop, Frodo has woken up at last. Gandalf sits at his bedside in the morning light. After being assured that his companions are safe, they talk. Frodo wants to know what happened to Gandalf (he’ll find out at the Council), and at the Ford, and how he got to Rivendell. Answering in a roundabout way, Gandalf mentions Frodo’s bravery in the Barrow. Frodo asks how he could know about it, since he hadn’t spoken of it to the others. Gandalf says that Frodo has talked long in his sleep, revealing much of what is in his mind and memory. Frodo then listens to the tale of what happened at the Ford of Bruinen, and how the Black Riders were swept away. “Now we are safe!” Frodo says, closing his eyes. “Yes, you are all safe”, Gandalf replies, but qualifies his answer, adding, “for the present”.
“For the present” appears to be enough for Frodo, and he sleeps again. There will be a celebration that evening, at which all the Fellowship will be guests of honour. Frodo wakes refreshed, rises, and dresses in clothes of green cloth laid out for him.Looking in the mirror he was startled to see a much thinner reflection of himself than he remembered: it looked remarkably like the young nephew of Bilbo who used to go tramping with his uncle in the Shire; but the eyes looked out at him thoughtfully.
‘Yes, you have seen a thing or two since you last peeped out of a looking-glass,’ he said to his reflection. ‘But now for a merry meeting!” He stretched out his arms and whistled a tune.
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and Sam came in. He ran to Frodo and took his left hand, awkwardly and shyly. He stroked it gently and then blushed and turned hastily away.
‘Hullo, Sam!’ said Frodo.
‘It’s warm!’ said Sam. ‘Meaning your hand, Mr. Frodo. It has felt so cold through the long nights. But glory and trumpets!’ he cried, turning round again with shining eyes and dancing on the floor. ‘It’s fine to see you up and yourself again, sir! Gandalf asked me to come and see if you were ready to come down, and I thought he was joking.’
‘I am ready,’ said Frodo. ‘Let’s go and look for the rest of the party!’
‘I can take you to them, sir,’ said Sam. ‘It’s a big house, this, and very peculiar. Always a bit more to discover, and no knowing what you’ll find round a corner. And Elves, sir! Elves here, and Elves there! Some like kings, terrible and splendid; and some as merry as children. And the music and the singing—not that I have had the time or the heart for much listening since we got here. But I’m getting to know some of the ways of the place.’
‘I know what you have been doing, Sam,’ said Frodo, taking his arm. ‘But you shall be merry tonight, and listen to your heart’s content. Come on, guide me round the corners!’
Sam led him along several passages and down many steps and out into a high garden above the steep bank of the river. He found his friends sitting in a porch on the side of the house looking east. Shadows had fallen in the valley below, but there was still a light on the faces of the mountains far above. The air was warm. The sound of running and falling water was loud, and the evening was filled with a faint scent of trees and flowers, as if summer still lingered in Elrond’s gardens.
‘Hurray!’ cried Pippin, springing up. ‘Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!’
‘Hush!’ said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. ‘Evil things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world! We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark.’
‘Gandalf has been saying many cheerful things like that,’ said Pippin. ‘He thinks I need keeping in order. But it seems impossible, somehow, to feel gloomy or depressed in this place. I feel I could sing, if I knew the right song for the occasion.’
‘I feel like singing myself,’ laughed Frodo. ‘Though at the moment I feel more like eating and drinking!’
‘That will soon be cured,’ said Pippin. ‘You have shown your usual cunning in getting up just in time for a meal.’
‘More than a meal! A feast!’said Merry. ‘As soon as Gandalf reported that you were recovered, the preparations began.’ He had hardly finished speaking when they were summoned to the hall by the ringing of many bells.
I just wanted to note how well I thought the sequence screencapped in my last post—Frodo and Sam walking through the gardens in Rivendell—captured the visuals and mood expressed in this passage from the excerpt above:"Sam led him along several passages and down many steps and out into a high garden above the steep bank of the river. He found his friends sitting in a porch on the side of the house looking east. Shadows had fallen in the valley below, but there was still a light on the faces of the mountains far above. The air was warm. The sound of running and falling water was loud, and the evening was filled with a faint scent of trees and flowers, as if summer still lingered in Elrond’s gardens.”
Only part of the screenplay below has been capped for this entry. The caps begin after the flashback to Gandalf's escape, when Frodo says, troubled, "Gandalf? What is it?"After the Ford, Frodo is shown waking in a wash of strong morning light, all white and gold. Dressed in a clean night shirt, he is in a large carved bed; Gandalf sits nearby. Frodo raises himself with difficulty, looking about him.
Frodo: Where am I?
Gandalf: You are in the house of Elrond, and it is 10 o'clock in the morning, on October the 24th, if you want to know.
Gandalf: Yes, I'm here. And you're lucky to be here, too. A few more hours, and you would have been beyond our aid. But you had some strength in you, my dear Hobbit.
Frodo: What happened, Gandalf? Why didn't you meet us?
Gandalf: I'm sorry Frodo. I was delayed.
In a flashback, Gandalf’s last confrontation with Saruman and rescue from Orthanc is shown. Gandalf's face is pensive.
Frodo: Gandalf? What is it?
Gandalf: Nothing, Frodo.
Sam: [offscreen] Frodo! [entering] Frodo!
Sam: Bless you, you're awake!
Gandalf: Sam has hardly left your side.
Sam: We were that worried about you, weren’t we, Mr. Gandalf!
Gandalf: By the skills of Lord Elrond, you are beginning to mend.
Elrond: [coming near] Welcome to Rivendell, Frodo Baggins.
Frodo is shown up and dressed, walking onto his balcony in Rivendell and through the gardens with Sam, as seen in screencaps from the previous entry. Then, Sam and Frodo see Merry and Pippin. A joyful reunion ensues.
The screencaps below, taken from the fullscreen edition of the theatrical version, have been adjusted for brightness, contrast, and focus.
Note: In case you skipped the introduction, this poem is set in Minas Tirith after the war, not Rivendell after the crossing of the Bruinen.
The Gifts of the Three Hobbits
~ by jan-u-wine
A March Mathom
Merry came to me today.
Cousin though he is,
he waited upon me
as even a soldier of Rohan might.
upon his princely helm,
with war-abandon upon
the blood-wine of his breast-plate.*
He tells me of Théoden King.
Both of us know,
what it is to be an orphan
of the heart.
As the tattered grey ending of day
to uncertain night,
he finds himself
still of a soldier's mind,
of a soldier's discipline.
A dull glimmer of tears
stains his cheek
as he kneels before me,
sharp-toothed reminder of Westernesse
within upturned palms.
I touch the bright blade,
remember those whose craft formed it.
Would they be grieved to know it had
as surely as it has drunk blood?
Never again shall it be my part to bear a blade,
nor receive even the promises which might be
upon their fearsome faces.
Grant me only the gift of kings,
the unspoken pledge of you to him,
of he to you:
I wish only for your love. .
For a little while, cousin.
For all the time which is given us.
On a day of sunlight,
Pippin tells me of the siege.
High upon the walls we are,
shards of grey stone
like fallen warriors at our feet.
Even an odd bit of metal glints
amongst the ruin:
a last remainder of a soldier in the Great War.
I close my eyes and wonder what device
upon his helm.
Within my heart, I know it matters not.
It matters not, now, whose blood ran
upon these stones,
it matters not whose life ended within this lonely circle.
Or, perhaps, in mattering not,
most of all.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A wind smelling impossibly of the Sea touches my face.
Pippin is yet speaking,
his voice small and high,
as ever it was.
My thoughts drift along the music of his voice,
following only the sound of his tale,
twisting and spinning like leaves
upon a moon-drenched stream. .
He touches my shoulder,
(from what has become his great height)
to kiss my brow.
Within my hand is his gift to me,
one such as only a hobbit
might think to bestow:
The last of the winter apples.
(and how not long devoured by my small cousin, I cannot say)
They are still sound, Pip.
And ever so sweet.
It is eventide within the Stone-City.
and no lamp within the silence of my room.
Heavy footsteps mar the quiet of the hall-flags..
It is no man that treads thus.
No man should hear these steps, even.
I hear them.
I know them,
though I cannot yet
upon these feet,
by rust-stained windings.
I look, instead, upon simple
into wisdom gleaned from the warmth
of good earth,
into depths unplumbed and quiet,
serene as a summer-hazed river.
I need not hear your story, Sam,
nor speak to you of mine;
I need not shrink from all that you have borne,
nor beg the simple gift of your love.
It is writ there,
in eyes that have seen me
than ever I have seen myself.
Never could you be
for too long,
and so your eyes fill with laughter,
weighted by the small salt
Within the confines of our journey,
have found what I have lost:
You shall know peace,
You shall be whole and well
Whether or no,
shall be all that never more I can be.
*Merry's helm was that of Théoden, when he was yet a young prince of his people. The blade that he offers to Frodo is his barrow-sword. I have made free with a "hole" in the story. In the accounting of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, after Merry stabs the Witch-King, the text reads:
"....there lay his weapon, but the blade was smoking like a dry branch that has been thrust into a fire; and as he watched it, it writhed and withered and was consumed"
In my fancy, only the blade was destroyed: the hilt remained and was reforged for Merry, who certainly had cause to have great fondness for this sword.
Did this really happen? I think not, for in the book, the next line reads, "So passed the sword of the Barrow-Downs...."
The survival of this sword is only a fancy of mine, the use of which I hope you will forgive.
~ Riv. 1 – Frodo recovered in Rivendell, with jan-u-wine’s “They All Imagine”, in honour of March 25th.
~ Riv. 16 – Farewell to Rivendell: caps from the widescreen EE version.
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