Rivendell 6 ~ ‘Ready to go home’, plus jan-u-wine's "Soon".
The FOTR sequence screencapped below, the scene in which Sam argues persuasively that they ought to be heading home, is original to the film. It has no direct book equivalent. I decided to use a book scene from the opening of the Ring Goes South to go with it, even though the film scene takes place before the Council, not after it.
The connection I see between the book scene and the film scene is a strong sense of Frodo’s reluctance. On the terrace in FotR, Frodo is resistant to Sam’s urgings; he’s clearly reluctant to leave. I am not sure what the filmmakers meant to convey with this reluctance, but I have thought the reason two-fold. Because the film scene is set before the Council, I thought his unwillingness to dash off home expressed his reluctance to turn his back on a destiny that he felt in his bones was his, even if he did not yet know it. Also, I thought it was meant to pick up book Frodo’s reluctance to leave a place he so much enjoyed. The film’s Rivendell scenes don’t show the hobbits enjoying themselves that much, but in the book they experience their months in Rivendell as deeply refreshing: a tonic and a delight.
In the book, Frodo clearly loves staying in Rivendell, so of course he is reluctant to leave on that account. But, unlike film Frodo, in the book scene below he has already offered himself as Ring-bearer. He’s answered the call, but, while he doesn’t precisely regret making the offer, the enormity of what he has done is beginning to hit him. If Frodo is reluctant to leave Rivendell as a place of wonder and refreshment, he’s even more reluctant to leave knowing he’s going into toil and want and terror. All the endings he sees for himself, he says to Bilbo, are “dark and unpleasant”. Bilbo tries to assure Frodo that Elrond won’t send him and Sam off alone, which bucks Frodo up a little. When Gandalf tells him he thinks he will come, Frodo seems weak-kneed with relief and joy. So Frodo’s reluctance is again two-fold, but not identical.
One more note about the book scene. In Rivendell Pt. 4, I talked about the high regard in which Bilbo was held among the Elves of Rivendell. Typing out the book passage for this post, I have decided to modify that. The Elves might think well of Bilbo, but Gandalf’s remarks show that even they were unprepared for Bilbo’s and Frodo’s offers to take the Ring into Mordor. “If you want to know, the only real eye-openers, as you put it, were you and Frodo,” Gandalf informs Bilbo, “and I was the only one that was not surprised”.
The poem I have chosen for this post is jan-u-wine’s Soon. It was not written to this scene, but to the Field of Cormallen. Sam is watching recuperating Frodo sleep—which is what he did in Rivendell, watching over Frodo as he recovered from the Morgul wound—Sam’s thoughts full of home. Although it was not written as such, I think the poem captures beautifully the “inside” of film-Sam’s efforts to persuade Frodo to go home in the scene on the terrace. Sam’s images in Soon are so vivid and compelling, it’s as if he were willing them into Frodo’s head, so that the sight and sound and scent of the Shire, and the feel of being in his old haunts and going about his old routines, might make Frodo well and whole again.
At the end of the previous chapter, Frodo has just announced that he will carry the Ring to Mordor. Elrond accepts the offer—if Frodo has made it freely. Sam bursts in at that point, demanding that he be allowed to accompany Frodo. Elrond agrees to it. The excerpt below follows immediately after, the opening of the new chapter.
Later that day the hobbits held a meeting of their own in Bilbo’s room. Merry and Pippin were indignant when they heard that Sam had crept into the Council, and had been chosen as Frodo’s companion.
‘It’s most unfair,’ said Pippin. ‘Instead of throwing him out, and clapping him in chains, Elrond goes and rewards him for his cheek!’
‘Rewards!’ said Frodo. ‘I can’t imagine a more severe punishment. You are not thinking what you are saying: condemned to go on this hopeless journey, a reward? Yesterday I dreamed that my task was done, and I could rest here, a long while, perhaps for good.’
‘I don’t wonder,’ said Merry, ‘and I wish you could. But we are envying Sam, not you. If you have to go, then it will be a punishment for any of us to be left behind, even in Rivendell. We have come a long way with you and been through some stiff times. We want to go on.’
‘That’s what I meant,’ said Pippin. ‘We hobbits ought to stick together, and we will. I shall go, unless they chain me up. There must be someone with intelligence in the party.’
‘Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!’ said Gandalf, looking in through the window, which was near the ground. ‘But you are all worrying yourselves unnecessarily. Nothing is decided yet.’
‘Nothing decided!’ cried Pippin. ‘Then what were you all doing? You were shut up for hours.’
‘Talking,’ said Bilbo. ‘There was a deal of talk, and everyone had an eye-opener. Even old Gandalf. I think Legolas’s bit of news about Gollum caught even him on the hop, though he passed it off.’
‘You were wrong,’ said Gandalf. ‘You were inattentive. I had already heard of it from Gwaihir. If you want to know, the only real eye-openers, as you put it, were you and Frodo; and I was the only one that was not surprised.’
‘Well, anyway,’ said Bilbo, ‘nothing was decided beyond choosing poor Frodo and Sam. I was afraid all the time that it might come to that, if I was let off. But if you ask me, Elrond will send out a fair number, when the reports come in. Have they started yet, Gandalf?’
‘Yes,’ said the wizard. (…) ‘So cheer up, Frodo! You will probably make quite a long stay here.’
‘Ah!’ said Sam gloomily. ‘We’ll just wait long enough for winter to come.’
‘That can’t be helped,’ said Bilbo. ‘It’s your fault partly, Frodo my lad: insisting on waiting for my birthday. A funny way of honouring it, I can’t help thinking. Not the day I should have chosen for letting the S.-B.s into Bag End. (…)
Gandalf elucidates on the fact that the Ringwraiths are not destroyed, even if their horses were. Admitting the right of Pippin’s statement—that someone of intelligence would be needed in the party—Gandalf says he thinks he will go with them.
So great was Frodo’s delight at this announcement that Gandalf left the window-sill, where he had been sitting, and took off his hat and bowed. ‘I only said I think I shall come. Do not count on anything yet. In this matter Elrond will have much to say, and your friend the Strider. Which reminds me, I want to see Elrond. I must be off.’
‘How long do you think I shall have here?’ said Frodo to Bilbo when Gandalf had gone.
‘Oh, I don’t know. I can’t count days in Rivendell,’ said Bilbo. ‘But quite long, I should think. We can have many a good talk. What about helping me with my book, and making a start on the next? Have you thought of an ending?’
‘Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant,’ said Frodo.
‘Oh, that won’t do!’ said Bilbo. ‘Books ought to have good endings. How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?’
‘It will do well, if it ever comes to that,’ said Frodo.
‘Ah! Said Sam. ‘And where will they live? That’s what I often wonder.’
For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.
So the days slipped away, as each morning dawned bright and fair, and each evening followed cool and clear.
~ from The Ring Goes South
Sam is crouched in front of a pack, muttering to himself as he stows something away.
Sam: Now, what have I forgotten?
Frodo, strolling onto the terrace, draws near.
Frodo: Packed already?
Sam: No harm in being prepared.
Frodo: I thought you wanted to see the Elves, Sam.
Sam: I do!
Frodo: More than anything.
Sam: I did! It’s just … we did what Gandalf wanted, didn’t we? We got the Ring this far to Rivendell. And I thought, seeing as how you're on the mend … we'd be off soon. Off home.
Frodo: You're right, Sam. We did what we set out to do. Frodo takes out the Ring. The Ring will be safe in Rivendell. Decisively: I am ready to go home.
Frodo and Sam stroll away as the camera pulls back to reveal that Gandalf and Elrond have been watching the two.
~ by jan-u-wine
It does me good to watch your sleep.
It puts my heart to rest
to see the swift rise
and fall of your breath and know:
it is only that the air
is sweet and new and that somehow,
even in the midst of dreme, you find an end to wandering,
a finish to weary care, a joy
in simply being alive.
Your eyes move beneath sleep-weighted lids,
the least bit of a smile finds your mouth…
your fingers curve,
as if they held the warm smoothness of a walking stick.
I know what you dreme of:
You are standing upon the top of the Hill….
a summer day shuttering
its fierce gold with purple'd dusk.
Within stark tree-fingers,
grey smoke curling
its fragrant fog into chilled night.
It has been a long day, hasn't it……
and you are tired.
Only a few steps more and you will be Home.
See, there is the door,
and the almost-warm brass of the knob.
There are no lights within,
Soon enough, there will be.
and warmth spilling from the grate.
Soon, of a morning,
you will take tea and a bit of warm
seed-cake (you never did eat so well)
upon the disordered table.
Soon, I will pause
in the midst of sun-drowned gardens, to hear the scratched protest of quill upon parchment,
or see, through the window's round,
ink-blotched fingers following the thread of silvery Elvish.
Soon, you shall take your ease, of an evening, in the deep
forgetfulness of Bilbo's old chair.
Soon, you will find rest,
and dreme-less sleep within the soft confines of your own *small* bed.
It will do me good to watch your sleep then, too.
It will ease my heart to know you have come Home..
~ Riv. 5 – The Red Book: ‘I’m not like you, Bilbo’, plus Pt. 3 of jan-u-wine’s ‘Rivendell Suite’.