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Subject:A Few ROTK Ramblings - Heavy Spoilers
Time:05:12 pm
Current Mood:gratefulgrateful
Finally I get a chance to write about ROTK after my second viewing last Sat. Have been fighting a flu-type illness and whenever I've got to my pc there's been so much to catch up on I haven't had time for my own LJ!

Anyway, not sure if this is still necessary, but ....

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My first viewing was on the day of release, 17 Dec. Went with husband and daughter, who aren't LOTR fans. My husband goes to please me, my daughter has enjoyed the films but thats as far as it goes. I expected to spend a large part of the film struggling to control the tears - but in fact certain scenes hit me with such emotional force that I seemed to sit there completely rigid, almost like being in shock. I was just totally overwhelmed by the complete splendour of it. When I left I felt incoherent, unable to talk about it to anyone, unable to write about it anywhere. All I could think was .. Frodo, my poor, beloved Frodo.

Viewing No. 2 was a lovely surprise. In the mad lead-up to Christmas I'd wondered just when I'd be able to squeeze in the next viewing & imagined it would not be til the New Year. On Christmas morning my husband presented me with my elven brooch, which I knew I was having, but in the bottom of the box were two tickets for ROTK for last Saturday. Bless him! So off we went, daughterless this time, and me dosed up to the eyeballs as the flu thingy had started. I'm not going to attempt a review, I'm no good at it basically, and there are hundreds of wonderful reviews out there. Just some thoughts:

Throughout all three films Elijah's Frodo has been the heart and soul of the story for me, portraying the beauty and ultimate torment of Frodo's soul to complete perfection. He is amazing, totally mesmerising, and to think he was only 18 when he started this is mind-boggling. He really should get an Oscar. Not that I think he's too bothered about this - Lij being Lij, he'll be far more concerned about PJ and the film getting awards than himself.

As stand-alone films, I much preferred ROTK to TTT. However, FOTR remains my favourite, with ROTK a very close second. To my mind, FOTR was complete perfection and seeing it for the first time was indescribable as I was completely unaware of what was about to hit me. I've had two years to think about ROTK and to get to know the books. My own ROTK scenes have played over and over in my head and I had to force myself to discard them before seeing the real thing, which is difficult. I wish PJ had had at least one flashback to happy, carefree Frodo in the Shire, perhaps at CU when Sam discovers him or on the slopes of Mount Doom - Sam sadly regarding Frodo's pitiful state and then seeing, in his mind's eye, how he used to be. In common with others, I wish that certain scenes hadn't been cut or shortened. Or rather, I wish some of the battle scenes had been shortened and the important stuff left alone rather than vice versa. The lead-up to, and the start of, the battles is dramatic & exciting, but once the actual fighting starts, I'm lost - and have trouble following exactly who is fighting who. I certainly hope we'll see the complete CU scene on the dvd. And I'm amazed that the Mouth of Sauron was left out - apparently that was a 10 minute scene which will be restored to the dvd. Imagine the drama of that scene - MOS taunting them with Frodo's little mithril vest. But these quibbles are really of little consequence, set against the magnificence of this film, which really left me in awe.

I can't name one favourite scene, there are so many. And, having still only seen it twice, its more a collection of images in my head than defined scenes. Needless to say, its the Frodo and Sam images that really get to me - all so heartbreaking: Frodo's palpable fear in Shelob's cave, his face when Sam removes the web - the whiteness and the glassy-eyed, unfocussing stare - he looked so compltely dead it made my blood run cold; the hearbreaking scenes on the slopes of Mount Doom, the rising panic in Frodo's voice as he talks of the wheel of fire, just brilliant; the look on his face just before Sam says "don't you let go"; remembering the Shire; the sublime expression on his face as he's carried by the eagle; the special look between Frodo and Sam when Frodo is in the bed; in the cart with his arm around the ancient Bilbo, that just chokes me up; The Grey Havens was beautiful - as was Elijah's narration at the end of the film. I love his voice so much. It's a beautiful combination of gentleness and strength and always as clear as a bell. And just to show that I do notice other things - I loved Billy's singing - hauntingly beautiful.

I can't wait to see it again - preferably alone next time - but one thing is certain, it will be at a different cinema. If I tell you that on this second viewing a large number of people left around the time of Aragorn's coronation you will understand the type of audience we had to contend with. In a word - moronic. They obviously realised they weren't going to get any more blood and guts and that was all they were there for. There was no chance of seeing the lovely drawings of the cast as the credits rolled and Annie Lennox sang - the mass exodus was blocking most of the screen as we weren't very high up. Just unbelievable.

Anyway, not wanting to end on a negative note, I look forward to the time when I have all three dvds - there are parts of TTT I love as much as FOTR, there are many, many parts of ROTK I love as much as FOTR - so I will just regard it as one massive film, without a doubt the greatest of all time.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!
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ex_grievous_115
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Time:2003-12-31 02:20 pm (UTC)
Your feelings are very similar to mine, I think. Completely dumbstruck for vast passages of the film, and then heartbreak over Frodo. And, for me least, hanging on to that smile at the end - he was going to be healed, he wanted it, he would be happy.

I know that my jaw hit the ground when Minas Tirith was revealed, and again when the beacons were lit - the sheer scale of the shots!

So many, many things stick with me - little things such as the mention in the Red Book that the bravest thing Sam ever did was ask Rosie to marry him - and huge things such as the eagles.

Little touches - Aragorn's "For Frodo." So stunning in its simplicity, and doubly heartbreaking when you realise that they actually think Frodo is dead at this point. Again Aragorn and his "You will suffer me!" I get shivers every time.

But the heart and soul is Frodo, beloved, darling Frodo, who I just love with every fibre. The despair on his face when he was just going to let go and fall into the fire, only held back by Sam's "Don't you let go!" and the joy when he woke and found Gandalf alive.

I could go on and on about this - but I think I've rambled quite enough already. Suffice to say, whatever few minor quibbles I have are swept away in the overwhelming glory of this film.
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not_alone
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Time:2003-12-31 02:38 pm (UTC)
"For Frodo" - how could I have forgotten to mention that!! Wonderful! And yes, we need to feel that Frodo has gone to a better place and will be healed. But .... I have some confusion over this which I will probably write about in my next LJ update - I thought it seemed a bit too sombre to talk about on New Year's Eve. It concerns exactly what is meant by the Grey Havens, and Phillipa Boyens & Elijah recently saying that Frodo was dying .... can't bear to think about it!!
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ex_grievous_115
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Time:2003-12-31 02:48 pm (UTC)
okay, we won't talk about it - well, maybe just a quick mention!

I've read about Philippa saying Frodo was dying (hadn't read that Elijah said the same thing), and I suppose if you take heed of what Gandalf says to Pip after Pip's "I never thought it would end this way," moment, then yes, Frodo is dying. Lots of things point to it really, I suppose - Frodo going with the elves whose "time is over", the fact that he was pale and ethereal when he said goodbye to his friends, but the second he got on the ship, he was rosy cheeked and happy again - as if his earthly pain had fallen away. And of course "over the sea" is a euphemism (I can't spell that word, sorry!) for death, or at least in my part of the country it is, although it tends to be "over the water".

I think perhaps you can take what you want from it. I choose to believe that Frodo went to Valinor to recover from his wounds, not because he was dead, but because he had done a great thing and deserved this reward. I choose to believe that Valinor is parallel to Middle Earth - very close, but just out of reach unless you are blessed enough to be allowed to sail on the ship over the Sundering Sea. And I believe that Frodo waited there for many long years, waiting for his Sam.

After all, nowhere is it said that the people who go to Valinor are immortal, so you could also assume that by the time Sam got there, Frodo was either very, very old, or dead; but not in my mind! In my mind, time stood still for Frodo from the second he got on the ship, and for Sam, it went backwards. They are young together.

And I know that a lot of what I've just said is silly and pointless and will be shot down in flames by more intelligent people than I; but that's what I choose to believe, and it works for me.

And now I must away! I wish you a happy new year, and who knows? Maybe a chance to continue this another day.
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not_alone
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Time:2004-01-01 09:33 am (UTC)
"And now I must away! I wish you a happy new year, and who knows? Maybe a chance to continue this another day."

Yes please - I've never discussed this with anyone because for a long time I felt it was something I ought to know, it's only recently that I've realised the ending is ambiguous. Do you think Tolkien may have done that deliberately, so that we could all have our own ending? I think you're probably a lot more au fait with his work than I am - although I've read the books several times, I can't say I've ever really 'studied' him by going to discussion groups etc. I'm sure this subject has probably been discussed to death in various places - I've just never been there myself. I'd be interested to know what the general concensus (sp?) of opinion is.

When I first read the books I just took the ending literally - Frodo was going to Valinor where he would be healed - and eventually Sam would follow. Even so, I found it quite unbearable - I hated Tolkien for that - I wanted Frodo to stay happy-ever-after in the Shire. I have a very vague memory, so vague that I wonder if may have imagined or dreamt it, that I read somewhere that Tolkien was once asked what the Grey Havens meant and he just replied "Death". Whatever this was, real or imagined, I buried it very deep because I didn't want to confront it. I think it was in TTT where Galadriel says "The Quest will claim his life" that I really started to think more about it. Was the journey from the Grey Havens just a metaphor (I'm not sure if thats the right word), a representation of death? I think what Phillipa said hit me more than anything. Elijah certainly seems to think that Frodo has died - he said this in two separate articles recently, which for the life of me I cannot find, I know I've got them somewhere. But of course, he has admitted that he never finished reading the books so he will only be going by what he has been told by PJ and PB etc. Perhaps that is how they have chosen to interpret it - it would certainly seem so going by Gandalf's talk to Pippin about the far green country. And yes, if I found the book ending unbearable - then this is a hundred times worse:(

"I think perhaps you can take what you want from it. I choose to believe that Frodo went to Valinor to recover from his wounds, not because he was dead, but because he had done a great thing and deserved this reward. I choose to believe that Valinor is parallel to Middle Earth - very close, but just out of reach unless you are blessed enough to be allowed to sail on the ship over the Sundering Sea. And I believe that Frodo waited there for many long years, waiting for his Sam."

Yes, that is much better - and very believable.

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ex_grievous_115
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Time:2004-01-01 10:00 am (UTC)
I don’t think I’m particularly au fait with the book, to be honest, but I’m one of these people who takes something they love and sort of ingests it – and what I took from this book was the love of Sam and Frodo – the fact that they would die for each other – so I do feel capable of talking about them until I’m blue in the face!

“The far green country” –what a highlight of the film that was. Played so perfectly by the two of them. To have a severely filmic moment – I loved the way that Gandalf didn’t try and reassure Pippin by saying that they weren’t going to die. In fact, I think it was quite the opposite – a “yes, we’re going to die, but…” type speech, acknowledging Pippin as an adult, an equal. It was wonderful and touching and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Maybe Tolkien did leave the ending deliberately ambiguous – I think it really is one of the worst endings to a book I’ve ever read, although whether that’s because I’m upset that Frodo has left, or because it is so open, I don’t really know. The only hope in the book is that Sam will eventually go over the Sea as well – although of course, you could also say that he could go over the Sea when he dies. It is so much up to interpretation. Merry and Pippin don’t go over the Sea though, do they? They’re laid to rest in Gondor, I believe, so if Frodo had died, why didn’t Tolkien use the same line for M & P? Plus, Arwen gave up her chance to go on the Ship – she gave it up for mortality and for Aragorn – was she going to be involved in some kind of mass suicide of the elves? Don’t think so!

I think arguments could perhaps be made for either side of the argument, here. It’s what you want to believe, and – moreso since Frodo came to such splendid life – I don’t want to believe that beautiful, good, kind hobbit had no chance to live – I want to believe that he was tired and was taken away to rest.
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not_alone
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Time:2004-01-02 03:17 pm (UTC)
"I think arguments could perhaps be made for either side of the argument, here. It’s what you want to believe, and – moreso since Frodo came to such splendid life – I don’t want to believe that beautiful, good, kind hobbit had no chance to live – I want to believe that he was tired and was taken away to rest."

Yes, I think this is what I want to believe too, and its what I shall believe. When I go to my next viewing I shall just hold onto that beautiful smile of Frodo's and know that he's happy and that Sam will eventually join him, its the only way. I wonder if we'll get more in that scene on the ex. dvd. - hopefully some mention of Sam going one day.
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shirebound
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Time:2003-12-31 02:51 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful summary of your thoughts and emotions! I wasn't able to really do mine justice. (After my first viewing I was so overwhelmed I didn't even know if I had *liked* the film! But after three viewings, I'm just stunned and awed by what PJ and the actors -- and crew -- were able to accomplish.)

Throughout all three films Elijah's Frodo has been the heart and soul of the story for me, portraying the beauty and ultimate torment of Frodo's soul to complete perfection. He is amazing, totally mesmerising, and to think he was only 18 when he started this is mind-boggling.

Absolutely. Utterly mind-boggling. And I think we're all dying to see the Extended DVD, which will probably have a lot of scenes we'll be dumbfounded were cut in favor of a few minutes of Orc time.

After 25 years of reading LOTR, I've finally seen Middle-earth. I can hardly believe it.

(And if I hadn't written "Sing Me Home", I would have been a wreck at the end of the movie. As it is, now I have my own little "happily ever after" fic about Frodo (then Sam) sailing west and finding joy and peace. Sigh.)

Happy New Year! Here's to the fandom and all its magic!

:)
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not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-01-01 08:55 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind comments - writing doesn't come all that easily to me and after my first viewing I literally sat in front of my pc and was unable to come up with anything that would do it justice. I'm always in awe of those who can express themselves so easily and eloquently - including you:) I must read your "Sing Me Home" again - I feel in need of some consolation.
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bagendbabe
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Time:2004-01-04 07:52 am (UTC)
Oh Pauline, I have still only seen it once but hope to see it again on Tuesday - child-free!!! My friend is collecting Fern from school and we are hoping to see it Tuesday afternoon. Then some more viewings, I hope.

I will write more about it when I have time *sigh* but Frodo just tears my heart out, the sweet darling.

Hope you have got over your flu, so many people have been ill over Xmas :(

BTW at long last I am in LJ-land - found out they they are free at last!!! LOL - I have friended you, hope you don't mind - please friend me if you like :D

Julie X
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not_alone
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Time:2004-01-04 09:43 am (UTC)
Hi Julie! I'm hoping to go to my third viewing on Tuesday - alone!!
And I know what you mean about Frodo tearing your heart out - that is how I've felt ever since the first viewing. Images from the film suddenly flash into my mind, sometimes at the most awkward of moments!! I expect you've seen the various screencaps over at the Harem and Faculty - aren't they great? There are so many that just choke me up - Frodo & Bilbo in the cart, remembering the Shire, the end of all things, the farewell kiss - heartbreaking.

I'm so glad to hear you now have your own LJ - I'm going straight over there now to friend you:)
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bagendbabe
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-01-04 10:21 am (UTC)
I really need to go alone too! Just to watch him undistracted.

Yes, I have seen all the wonderful screencaps - so many, and so beautiful.

Thanks for friending me ;)

Take care XX
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(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-01-05 03:04 am (UTC)
Pauli, I just try to use your page for answer. :-)

I´ve sent you just now a small letter with postcard and pic of our sweet boy. How you can read in mail from Saturday, I´ve not seen ROTK yet...grrrrr I can´t wait to see it!
Ok, I think, your message about ROTK is right-everybody can see how deep impact :-)) ROTK had to you and about it your message has to be.!! You´re right!
Bye for now
Allie (Prague)
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not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-01-05 03:24 am (UTC)
Hi Allie!! I look forward to receiving your letter etc. - thankyou. Not too long for you to wait for ROTK now:)
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[icon] A Few ROTK Ramblings - Heavy Spoilers - NotAlone
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