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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Riv. 7 ~ Council of Elrond 1: ‘Bring Forth the Ring, Frodo’, plus "Rivendell Suite 4".

Posted on 2008.11.27 at 12:42
Tags: , , ,

Note: Long opening post with lots of pictures and text. My apologies to dial-up users.

Here begins a five-part presentation of the Council of Elrond. The filmmakers said they worked long and hard trying to make the extended historical accounts that fill this chapter into an interesting film scene. I think they succeeded. They greatly condensed what is a rich, complex collection of tales, and created a scene that tells the story the film needed to tell, establishing key plot points and crucial inter-character dynamics. The pacing of the scene flows, but slows down where it needs to, stopping for crucial beats underscoring dramatic impact.

Almost all of the film dialogue comes from The Council of Elrond, which ends with Elrond’s response to Frodo’s offer to take the Ring to Mordor. Additional dialogue comes from the chapter that follows, The Ring Goes South. But the ordering of the dialogue elements is different. I trimmed a great deal from the book chapter in order to relate the material to the caps, but unless I pulled the book’s sequence to pieces, I could not get the book excerpts to match the screenplay. I was not willing to do that. Still, it’s nice to be able to read the book text while following the film scene, even if it doesn’t always match. The images from the film are wonderfully evocative. For me it’s better still when I can ‘flesh out’ the film scene with what Tolkien wrote.

For instance, when film Frodo obeys the command to bring forth the Ring, I see some but not all of what the text says regarding Frodo’s interior state:

There was a hush, and all turned their eyes on Frodo. He was shaken by a sudden shame and fear; and he felt a great reluctance to reveal the Ring, and a loathing of its touch. He wished he was far away. The Ring gleamed and flickered as he held it up before them in his trembling hand.

I see and hear the hush in the room; the hairs on my head lift from the suspense as all eyes turn to film-Frodo. I see the Ring gleam as he draws it forth and places it on the stone pedestal. And I see Frodo’s reluctance to rise and step into the spotlight, obviously wishing he were anywhere else. But I do not see his reluctance as ‘a great reluctance to reveal the Ring’. I do not see ‘a loathing of its touch’. Nor do I see Frodo ‘shaken by a sudden shame and fear’.

This is not necessarily a fault, since the filmmakers (and Frodo’s actor) dramatize these feelings elsewhere in the trilogy. But by reading the book text while looking at the caps, I find myself imaginatively completing, or filling in, what I didn’t see on screen. That’s one of the things I’ve come to love about making these posts. It is a way, if a small way, to have my cake and eat it too. I can revel in the dramatization provided in the trilogy, with its unforgettable portrayals, wonderfully imagined visuals and powerful musical score, but let the experience be deepened by the book’s rich text. I hope you find enjoyment in this series, too.


Jan-u-wine has written a fourth installment of her Rivendell Suite for this first set of caps, but also with the book in mind, opened up by her own imagination. I have always wanted to experience this scene from Frodo's point of view at a deeper, more intimate level. Jan has made that wonderfully possible. I think it is magnificent. The poem appears after the last caps.


Book scene: from The Council of Elrond.

[Frodo has woken up feeling “ready for anything”. Outside, talking with Gandalf, he even says he’d like to go for a walk and explore the valley.]

Suddenly as they were talking a single clear bell rang out. ‘That is the warning bell for the Council of Elrond,’ cried Gandalf. ‘Both you and Bilbo are wanted.’

Frodo and Bilbo followed the wizard quickly along the winding path back to the house; behind them, uninvited and for the moment forgotten, trotted Sam.

Gandalf led them to the porch where Frodo had found his friends the evening before. The light of the clear autumn morning was now glowing in the valley. The noise of bubbling waters came up from the foaming river-bed. Birds were singing, and a wholesome peace lay on the land. To Frodo his dangerous flight, and the rumours of the darkness growing in the world outside, already seemed only the memories of a troubled dream; but the faces that were turned to meet them as they entered were grave.

Elrond was there, and several others were seated in silence about him. Frodo saw Glorfindel and Glóin; and in a corner alone Strider was sitting, clad in his old travel-worn clothes again. Elrond drew Frodo to a seat by his side, and presented him to the company, saying:

‘Here, my friends, is the hobbit, Frodo son of Drogo. Few have ever come hither through greater peril or on an errand more urgent.’

[After more introductions, Elrond speaks of Númenor and the Last Alliance, of Gil-galad and Elendil.]

‘I remember well the splendour of their banners,’ he said. ‘It recalled to me the glory of the Elder Days and the hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and captains were assembled. And yet not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended for ever, and it was not so.’

‘You remember?’ said Frodo, speaking his thought aloud in his astonishment. ‘But I thought,’ he stammered as Elrond turned towards him, ‘I thought the fall of Gil-galad was a long age ago.’

‘So it was indeed,’ answered Elrond gravely. ‘But my memory reaches back even to the Elder Days. Eärendil was my sire, who was born in Gondolin before its fall; and my mother was Elwing, daughter of Dior, son of Lúthien of Doriath. I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories.’

[Elrond, leading up to the account of the Ring, summarises earlier history. Then Boromir stands to speak. He tells of the trials he and his men have endured defending Gondor, then comes to his reason for attending to the Council.]

'I come to ask for counsel and the unravelling of hard words. For on the eve of the sudden assault a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came oft to him again, and once to me.

‘In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur’s Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.

Of these words we could understand little.’ (….)

‘And here in the house of Elrond more shall be made clear to you,’ said Aragorn, standing up. He cast his sword upon the table that stood before Elrond, and the blade was in two pieces. ‘Here is the Sword that was Broken!’ he said.

‘And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?’ asked Boromir, looking in wonder at the lean face of the Ranger in the weather-stained cloak.

‘He is Aragorn son of Arathorn,’ said Elrond; ‘and he is descended through many fathers from Isildur Elendil’s son of Minas Ithil. He is the Chief of the Dúnedain in the North, and few are now left of that folk.’

‘Then it belongs to you, and not to me at all!’ cried Frodo in amazement, springing to his feet, as if he expected the Ring to be demanded at once.

‘It does not belong to either of us,’ said Aragorn; ‘but it has been ordained that you should hold it for a while.’

‘Bring out the Ring, Frodo!’ said Gandalf solemnly. ‘The time has come. Hold it up, and then Boromir will understand the remainder of his riddle.’

There was a hush, and all turned their eyes on Frodo. He was shaken by a sudden shame and fear; and he felt a great reluctance to reveal the Ring, and a loathing of its touch. He wished he was far away. The Ring gleamed and flickered as he held it up before them in his trembling hand.


Film scene:

[Gathered together are representatives of the various Free Peoples, listening intently as Lord Elrond presents the situation.]

Elrond: Strangers from distant lands, friends of old, you have been summoned to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle-earth stands upon the brink of destruction. None can escape it. You will unite, or you will fall. Each race is bound this fate, this one doom. Bring forth the Ring, Frodo.

[Frodo rises and places the Ring on a stone pedestal in the middle of the chamber.]

Boromir: So it is true….

[Frodo returns to his seat beside Gandalf. Whispering is heard as all regard the Ring.]


Note: The screencaps for this series are all taken from the fullscreen edition of the theatrical version, except for the set for the EE extended addition (below). The EE edition only comes in widescreen, so I trimmed off the sides of the frames to make them the same width as the fullscreen caps. The widescreen caps are, however, less high. As usual, all the screencaps have been adjusted for brightness, contrast and focus.














Extended scene continues:

[The Ring is heard whispering, and close-ups of Gimli, Legolas and Boromir show they notice it. Gandalf glances at Boromir. Boromir rises and speaks, moving slowly towards the Ring. Reaction shots of Frodo and others show they notice this.]

Boromir: In a dream, I saw the eastern sky grow dark. But in the West a pale light lingered. A voice was crying: "Your doom is near at hand. Isildur's Bane is found. Isildur's Bane….

Elrond: Leaping up before Boromir can touch the Ring:Boromir!

Gandalf: Ash Nazg durbatulûk... (Translation: "One Ring to rule them all")

[ The council chamber is overshadowed and thunder is heard. Boromir draws back in fear, Gimli shouts, reaching for his axe, Elrond puts his hand to his head, and Legolas shuts his eyes. Frodo looks at the Ring, distressed.]

Gandalf: rising as he speaks...Ash Nazg gimbatul. Ash Nazg thrakatulûk agh Burzum-ishi krimpatul. (Translation: "One Ring to Find them. One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them.")

[ The light in the chamber returns to normal.]

Elrond: Never before has any voice uttered the words of that tongue here in Imladris.

Gandalf: Recovering himself: I do not ask your pardon, Master Elrond, for the Black Speech of Mordor may yet be heard in every corner of the West. The Ring is altogether evil.













Theatrical version resumes:

Boromir: It is a gift. A gift to the foes of Mordor. Boromir rises to address the group. Why not use this Ring? Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him!

You cannot wield it. None of us can. The One Ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master.

And what would a Ranger know of this matter?

This is no mere Ranger. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance.










Rivendell Suite 4

~ by jan-u-wine

in the Last Homely House
of the Sea.

leaves falling gold-red and

beyond the rounded

great blue-tumbled sky-bowl

a season-weary Sun.

In another time,

an Age of Adventure simple
and unlooked-for,

I should have walked within
this deep-tangled forest,

wove tales beneath stars


from Elbereth's diadem'd

sought tail-tipped fox
in their dens of night,

parted lofty mist-curtains
with hands

burdened with naught worse


is not the time
given me.


I am fearful

this gathering of the mighty and the wise.

Even the road-scarred and weary Ranger,
a King of ancient House,

even the stone-plain dwarf,
blood-kin to the Seven Fathers.

I listen as the great tale
spins out,

my heart at once joyous and

with the largeness of it all,
the sound of my own blood

in my ears

at the dreaded thought of what my part
might be.

Muted words reach me,

with parts equal

of release
and desperate desire.

He is calling for It.

The Lord of Rivendell
summons forth

the Ring.

Never before
in my small life

have I known such

of spirit,

of thought,
of needful deed.

As if I had been asked to wait,

(and *more* than naked)
before a company of strangers,

I find my feet.

The sweet-dark touch of Its whisper falls upon my ear.

Almost beyond me, the resolve to step forward,
all but impossible,

the will to let go of It,

It to the gaze of these others.

But so I do,
Its voice

twining to me,

Its warm weight
still imagined upon my palm,

desire sharp and prism'd as a
bone-nicked blade

rising alongside loathing.

A voice, then,


born of flesh,
the sound of it

falling heavy
and dull as a blunt'd
sword-stroke upon my ear.

The man of Gondor.

In my heart,
I know:

already It calls him.

It promises

that all shall be as once it was:

his people, bold and bright,
noble, true,

his city,
shining beneath a Sun

of gold,

his father.....
returned to him

healed and whole.

I know what it is to lose a father,
a home,

a life-book.

It does not surprise me
that a warrior's hand,

a *son's* hand,

darkened by the road
and whatever blood it has shed,

driven by despair and desire
in harsh and equal measure,

reaches out.....

The light leaves the world,

foul words
like the wings
of some carrion bird

beating against the doors of my heart,
stripping me of all but horror.

In the midst of it all,
two voices twine,

the forging of my fate captured between them.

Unlooked for,
these words,

erasing even
the memory of

from the world.

Unlooked for,
the mouth which utters them.


the Other voice.....
answering with joy
the evil call of those word-sounds,

Its veiled whispers
running like night
within me,

*starless* night,
foul and triumphant.


There is light
and sound

within this glade of autumn.

From far away, birds call,
their small music

a comfort to me.

The sky is yet cloud-wisp'd
and harvest-tide blue,

the Sun warm and winking in Her place.

Fair autumn stays,
still, in this haven of the Eldar.

The winter-wolves of war
have not yet breached

the amber of these spell-woven gates.

Many words, then,
the endless count of them

bound about by the fury
of an angry pride,

long-held fear
over-borne, in the ending,
by love turned to hope-less



He that my Lord well-named speaks.

Quieted with simple truth,
his words,

with the burden'd inheritance,

the fearful choices
which shall be his.

His destiny,
twined to this *thing* of gold,



There is yet

Previous entry:

Photobucket ~ Riv. 6 – ‘Ready to go home’, plus jan-u-wine's "Soon".

Next entry:

~ Riv. 8 – ‘Never trust an Elf!', plus jan-u-wine’s 'Rivendell Suite 5’.

Other Links:

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

~ Main table for all entries

~ Mechtild


shirebound at 2008-11-27 19:30 (UTC) (Link)
It's wonderful to see this scene "up close", and Jan's poem is full of Frodco's tumbling, conflicting, doom- and hope-filled emotions.
mechtild at 2008-11-28 02:27 (UTC) (Link)
It was a rich read, Jan's poem. Thanks for stopping in, Shirebound. :)
mole_caz at 2008-11-27 19:52 (UTC) (Link)
I found this all very interesting as it is such an emotional scene to capture. The dialogue works without being wordy and Elijah's range of expressions are actually best seen in caps.
mechtild at 2008-11-28 02:28 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they did a great job paring down the dialogue to just the bits that needed to be there for the scene to work. I didn't always love their adaptation work, but I think they did really well by a very intimidating (to put on film) scene.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-11-27 23:21 (UTC) (Link)
Just responding to the first part thus far, and what a treat to have this today for the holiday--thank you, mechtild!

I do see fear and reluctance on Frodo's face and in his carriage as he walks to the pedestal, but no shame. I see reluctance and deliberation as he puts the ring down.

I hadn't seen before the way he looks at Gandalf until these stills--whoah! Watching the film in motion, I thought he was looking at Gandalf for approval: Did I do it properly?" But in those stills he looks pissed off as hell--"Fine, I did it and left it there. Are you satisfied?" Then his looks in succession are stress and regret, re-centering and resignation, then relief and pleasure at release. Quite a sequence Lij took us through!
mechtild at 2008-11-28 02:31 (UTC) (Link)
It's a very satisfying sequence to look at in caps, I agree. Frodo's look at Gandalf surprised me, too. But when the film is rolling, he doesn't look angry, just flogged, having done what was asked -- an almost sulky, sullen dropping into his seat, but it passes almost instantly.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-11-28 21:21 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's all I saw in passing, but in those frames you could cut a knife through the angry looking tension he's directing toward Gandalf and Gandalf's scrutiny of him. This scene is the one place in which the film adaptation's more timid Frodo is much more fiercely brave than Frodo of the book, and so maybe Lij translated the book's shame into resentment.

Plus his nose looks so rounded in the first frame of sitting back down--a whole different shape. I remember when first watching the film I was struck by how wholly different his features could look from frame to frame. That looks like a whole different nose from that angle.
mechtild at 2008-11-29 14:28 (UTC) (Link)
his nose looks so rounded in the first frame of sitting back down--a whole different shape.

I never even noticed, but you are right, Lavender. Fascinating. I wonder how that effect could have been achieved? The frame isn't blurred, yet that is simply not his profile.

It's interesting how different his face could look in various parts of the film, I agree. I think the main difference, for me, depends on whether he is shot from above (typical tall person perspective) or below (e.g. in the midst of attacking Sam or Gollum, or in the opening: looking down at Gandalf as he passes in the cart below, Frodo standing, arms folded, on the grassy bank). His face looks really different in these shots, not just his expression. I suppose it's gravity draws the fleshy parts of the face either backwards or forwards.

Edited at 2008-11-29 02:28 pm (UTC)
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-11-28 00:53 (UTC) (Link)
The poem is lovely--I love how Jan puts the scholar Frodo of the book back into Frodo of the film. Frodo's scholarship and language skill is one of the changes from the book that I really miss in the film adaptation, so I thank her for this.

The film does a magnificent job of sorting through the book's info dump and rearranging it dramatically by giving us pieces of that info dump in the prologue and in Gandalf's earlier scenes, thus distilling this scene into interactions that define the members of the fellowship. The scene also creates a bond between Legolas and Aragorn that doesn't exist in the book, but I think serves to help Legolas become more than the token elf I find him to be in the book. PJ/FW/PB did an amazing job with the screenplay of the first film and this is one of the scenes in which their adaptation work really shines for me.
mechtild at 2008-11-28 02:39 (UTC) (Link)
The film does a magnificent job of sorting through the book's info dump (...) distilling this scene into interactions that define the members of the fellowship.

Yes, yes, yes. "Their adaptation work really shines for me," you wrote of this scene. I think so too. This note of yours was a high-five moment, too:

The scene also creates a bond between Legolas and Aragorn that doesn't exist in the book, but I think serves to help Legolas become more than the token elf I find him to be in the book.

He is sort of a token elf in the book. It's not until they get to Lorien and he tells/chants/sings the tale of Nimrodel that I really begin to get a feel for Legolas, his conversation with Gimli about dreams and memory, etc. Just as Gimli doesn't become more than token dwarf for me until he chants/sings the Khazad-dum poem. Some readers just skip over the poems when they get to them, but I think the poems the characters recite (like Aragorn reciting the Lay of Luthien, Sam his poems, Frodo his, the cousins theirs, Treebeard his, Bilbo his Earendil poem as well as his homelier poems). Because the poems matter enough to the characters to know them and recite them (and even write them), the poems are very character revealing, if in an indirect way.

Thanks for this comment, Lavender.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-11-28 21:29 (UTC) (Link)
I don't like reading the verses in LotR so much--just read, they fall flat for me as poetry. They're much better as songs, and read so much better when set to music--not all poetry needs to be set to music, but I think JRR's does--for me at least. When I was a teen and had just read LotR, I found that the town library had a copy of the LP of JRR singing some of the poems, and took it out to listen to many times. I only enjoy the poems if I have time to apply a tune to them in my head as I read them.
mechtild at 2008-11-29 14:22 (UTC) (Link)
I agree about them being better as songs, but in almost every case they were designed to be sung. Tolkien's alliterative verse, none or little of which shows up in LOTR, is very beautiful as spoken poetry. I would have to disagree about the Khazad-dum poem in LOTR, though. On the BBC radio version of the trilogy, Gimli recites it does it so well (and the actor so in character), I find it a fully fully involving piece merely spoken.

Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-12-04 18:44 (UTC) (Link)
I have yet to listen to the BBC version, so more treats await me.

Now I can catch up on your breathtaking entries.

BTW, I have more Bingo Doll Adventures up, which is why I've been absent--and a couple more episodes will be coming in the next week.
mechtild at 2008-12-04 22:28 (UTC) (Link)
The BBC production has some real clinker moments in it (the people who like it love laughing and rolling their eyes together over them), but it has much to recommend it. Bill Nighy's Sam really opened my eyes to the character for me. I felt like I hadn't been reading with real attention all these years.

Ian Holm's Bilbo took some getting used to, having watched Elijah do it fifty times. But while EW has got Frodo's "Elvish" side down, Ian Holm makes him incredibly human, the hobbit who stands for the English men, not soldiers, often well-educated and sensitive-souled, who nevertheless went to war in WWI. At first he seemed over the top to me in his performance. Another fan told me to bear in mind that Ian Holm was acting the role to be heard, not seen. Just as EW had to bring book Frodo's unexpressed thoughts and feelings to the surface for viewers visually, using mostly his face and eyes, Ian Holm, for radio listeners, had to bring all that unexpressed feeling to the surface using only his voice.

I'll have to take a look at Bingo doll's adventures. :)
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-12-05 02:21 (UTC) (Link)
Having the books, having the films, having the soundtracks, it's hard to make time for the radio play, but I do have it and will get to it.

I link the first episode of this adventure on my LJ here. I was really happy with the compositions of some of the frames and thought of you on those ones. The second will go up sometime this weekend.
telstar_gold at 2008-11-28 09:51 (UTC) (Link)
How very interesting to have this scene anatomised like this. Elijah had to do a lot of acting here, despite having virtually no dialogue! Thanks for this, and also to Jan for yet another fabulous and insightful poem.
mechtild at 2008-11-28 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, he did have a lot to do. I think that was one of the hallmarks of his acting in the role, the way he played the non-speaking side of scenes. He was always 110% present in every scene, never just holding up the wall waiting for "his turn". But it's sort of built in, with everything geared to not only tell the story in general but to work Frodo up to the point that he feels compelled to volunteer.

And that is a wonderful poem, or "verse fanfic". Thanks for commenting, Telstar. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2008-11-28 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
Lovely words, Mews. Yes, that light you have pointed out since Riv. Pt. 1 is still there, the light as of the golden age, but a passing age.

And you're right about Frodo's hope in Aragorn. As Frodo tells Aragorn with relieved joy, when Aragorn says would it would suit Frodo if he came, too (in an excerpt that won't appear until a later post), "I would have *begged* you to come!"
earths_daughter at 2008-11-28 19:00 (UTC) (Link)
I love being able to savour these screencaps, especially the close-ups, which pass too quickly in the film to absorb all the information that's there. I am particularly impressed by the last cap in the first series where the right side(as you see it)of Frodo's face shows relief, the left, sadness.
mechtild at 2008-11-28 19:07 (UTC) (Link)
I am particularly impressed by the last cap in the first series where the right side(as you see it)of Frodo's face shows relief, the left, sadness.

You know, I never noticed that, Brummie. That is so cool! The two sides really are that different.

Yes, it's great to be able to "slow down" the scenes. There is some distortion, taking frames and looking at them out of context, but there's always so much visual food for thought, looking at the scenes this way. Thanks for commenting.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2008-11-28 20:11 (UTC) (Link)
A wonderful post.

Thank you Mechling. Thank you Jan.

mechtild at 2008-11-29 14:29 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it all, Estë!
not_alone at 2008-11-28 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
Another really enjoyable post, Mechtild and another wonderful poem from jan-u-wine - thank you both:)

In the film I love the look of (sadly short-lived) relief on Frodo's face which turns into a little smile - Elijah did that so well:)
mechtild at 2008-11-29 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
I do, too, Paulie, but I never noticed (as was pointed out by Earth's Daughter/Brummie above), that one side of his face is a little sad, even as the other side is smiling. A trick of the light?
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