Even though this isn’t a worldwide holiday, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is my gift to you all, brought to you after much blood, sweat, and tears. Actually, more like headdesking, cursing, and more headdesking. For those of you who’ve never read the previous LOTR recaps, Arwen and Shadowfax join me once again in commentary and analysis. Blue for Arwen and purple for Shadowfax. Since this recap is quite long — even longer than the other two, if you can believe it — let’s cut to the chase and get started, shall we?
Recap: Balin’s Tomb-The Road Goes Ever On…
As Gimli mourns the loss of a beloved cousin, Gandalf notices one skeleton that holds a book that gives a detailed account of what happened to all the Dwarves of Moria. As Gandalf reads to the others, Pippin backs into a well and sees another skeleton sitting on top. Out of curiousity [S: “Oh look! A crusty dead guy! Let’s touch it!” Oh, Pippin…] and without thinking too deeply about the consequences, he reaches out and twists the arrow embedded in the dusty skeleton.
This likely severs the spine in the process, for the helmet-clad skull detaches to fall into the well, dragging the rest of the corpse behind it with a series of heavy, resonant echoes that no doubt serves to alert who-knows-what out there to their presence. Clunk clunk clunk!
Oh, the look of horror and anger on Gandalf’s face deserves a nice screencap. [And serves as a nice counterpoint to the abject looks of resignation on the rest of the Fellowship who know that their fates are very nearly sealed. Is it possible to express a sigh on your face? Well, they’ve done it.]
For a moment, there’s complete silence and the others breathe a sigh of relief as Gandalf berates Pippin. “Fool of a Took!” he says [Probably could have said @$#%^! in the same tone, actually…], as Pippin grimaces. But relief is short for the sound of beating drums and the shrill cries of Orcs bring everyone back to solemnity. Aragorn and Boromir barricade the wooden door with whatever they have on hand, barely dodging the flying arrows from afar. [I still think they could have just run instead of barricading..]
They wait for the Orcs AND the cave-troll to come with swords drawn and arrows ready. In mere seconds, Orcs arrive. Commence the first battle scene! *munches on popcorn and Reese’s peanut butter cups* The four Hobbits join the bigger people in fighting, charging and finally putting those sword-fighting lessons to use. Sam, however, uses his pots and pans to bash the heads of Orcs. LOL!
The cave-troll has obviously never heard of a commercial break, so he bursts onto the scene roaring and swinging his spiked club like he’s about to win the lottery. Since he’s a mean bully, he goes after the small fries first which, in this case, means our beloved Hobbits. Aragorn tries to stab the troll (where it really hurts) but is easily flung aside, consequently brought into a state of unconsciousness.
Frodo hurries to his side, but is attacked in turn by the troll. The poor guy tries his best to dodge the troll’s attacks but ends up being pierced anyway with a scarily stout spear [ooh, alliteration]. Somehow, in the chaos of this epic first battle, everyone else somehow manages to hear Frodo’s cries and grunts of pain, pausing for a split second to see him crumple to the ground, apparently dead.
Enraged, Merry and Pippin jump on top of the troll’s back while Sam gives everything he’s got to run to his friend. [Sam is a revelation in himself. Gone entirely is the bumbling gardening boy from the Shire as he cuts an unrelenting swathe with sword and frying pan through the wave of oncoming Orcs to reach his master’s side. It’s extraordinarily touching how the members of the Fellowship, although they were already beating massive Orc butt, kick it up a notch with crazed, frenetic style now that one of their own is down.] [Meanwhile, Arwen is wondering how Gandalf manages to stand there in a daze without getting stabbed while the battle is raging around him..] The cave-troll is eventually brought down by group effort. A now awakened Aragorn crawls to Frodo to discover that he’s still breathing. How is this possible? Because Mr. Frodo Baggins was wearing the chain-mail coat called Mithril underneath his clothes, which Bilbo had given to him at Rivendell. I wonder if Mithril could withstand bullets and shark bites as well. Hm…
The fellowship’s happiness is short-lived when the cries and beating drums return. With no place to hide, they run to the Bridge of Khazad-dum from the back opening, since the cave-troll had smashed the walls to pieces earlier. Unfortunately, our nine companions find themselves trapped by a mob of hundreds of thousands of Orcs. [They’re kind of like ants actually–there are so many of them that they turn the stones black… *shudder*] That is, until something bigger roars in the dark so that even the Orcs scurry off to their original hiding places. It’s probable that these Orcs must’ve also been bitten by a spider so they’ve developed Spiderman-like abilities, because they have the ability to crawl up on columns too. Kidding, kidding.
Gandalf knows what’s coming ahead and even takes the time to tell the others that what approaches them is a Balrog, a demon of the ancient world. Okay, now would be the time to run! Explanations come later. Boromir stumbles into the stairways and almost falls over the edge but is saved by Legolas. Several of the descending stairs leading to the bridge have been damaged. Of all moments, it’s interesting that Gandalf orders Aragorn to lead the others ahead, rather like handing the baton of leadership to him. [Exactly like that, actually. Aragorn evidently understands, seeing how his incredulous expression fairly screams, “Wtfs, mate–you know how I feel about leadership of any kind.”] They come across a point where there’s a big gap in between the stairs. Three of the Hobbits are tossed across to get to the other side while arrows fly and miss them by inches.
When it’s Gimli’s turn, he doesn’t care that he may die because pride comes first. He tells Aragorn, “Nobody tosses a dwarf.” He propels himself forward, barely making it to the other side and would have fallen backwards if not for the help of Legolas, who grabs him by the beard. Heh. [Funny, considering elves apparently like to laugh at dwarves’ beards or something and that just happens to be the part that is easiest to grab at this point.]
Aragorn and Frodo are the only two left standing on the other side of the bridge behind the others, the gap now widening (symbolism?) as parts of the staircase fall. As the Balrog edges closer, other staircases fall and break the one that these two are standing on, propelling them forward towards the group. It’s no mere coincidence that the Gandalf’s staff is shining brightly as the group (namely Legolas) welcomes them into their arms. Man, I love how Aragorn was holding onto Frodo and protecting him all this time. How I love you so!
They finally come to the bridge just as the Balrog comes upon them. Gandalf crosses the bridge last, but instead of following the rest of the fellowship, stops midway on the Bridge to face the demon head-on. The others are already safely across, but they watch as Gandalf wields power from within to counter the flaming whip of the demon.
“You shall not pass!” And with that, Gandalf uses his staff and strikes it on the ground, breaking the bridge in half and taking the Balrog with it. Gandalf: 1, Balrog: 0. Okay, Gandalf. Please run. Do it. Now! It’s too late because the falling Balrog manages to use its whip to grab Gandalf by the heel, dragging him down to the edge of the bridge. Balrog: 1. Gandalf: 1.
It looks as if Gandalf is going to pull himself up at first, but instead, he looks at the gang one last time and says “Fly, you fools!” and promptly lets himself fall into the darkness. [NUU GANDALF!! Is so sad that bamf Gandalf could just fall like that..]
Frodo’s cries shrilly, mindless with grief, and is dragged out bodily by Boromir as they all flee outside. Aragorn is the last to leave, his gaze lingering at the place where Gandalf was, just seconds ago. I love that nothing is audible except for the music, and we can see their pain expressed through the haunting vocalization as they mourn. But time is against them and Aragorn, who takes over for Gandalf now, instructs a dazed Legolas to “get the Hobbits moving”. Boromir intervenes, shouting for Aragorn to give them a moment longer to mourn. [See Shadow’s comments below!]
They can’t, however, afford to be here for much longer, for Orcs will swarm the mountains by nightfall. They help the Hobbits up when Aragorn notices that Frodo’s already wandered aimlessly ahead of them and calls his name.
Frodo turns around, tears silently streaking down his face and doesn’t say a word. I LOVE THIS MOMENT. FRODOOOOOOOOO (is so pretty when he cries)! [Yes even I shall admit that Frodo is wondrous in this scene.] [I can’t help but agree–it’s not even as though Frodo is consciously crying. Elijah Wood perfectly portrays that point where grief has gone beyond words, where the only outlet for such an overwhelming hurt is through tears, dropping listlessly from his eyes.]
The Nine Minus One reach the eerie woods of Lothlorien. *cues creepy music* Something great is amiss here and Gimli cautions Frodo to be mindful of an Elf-Witch who lives around these parts. His warning barely leaves his lips when Frodo hears a female voice speaking to him. Whoever she is, she knows he brings the Ring and consequently, great evil with him.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, guards with bows and arrows appear, aiming them at their faces. Our Fellowship is outnumbered. An Elf emerges, whom Aragorn recognizes. He’s HALDIR OF LORIEN (Craig Parker) [ARWEN LOVES YOU, HALDIR! <3], marchwarden of the woods. Aragorn requests for his protection, despite the protests of Gimli to leave, and Haldir takes them to see the Lady of the Wood, who is already expecting their arrival.
To quote Arwen, “shiny lights!” So pretteh. Gotta love Pippin and Merry’s expressions here when they see Galadriel for the first time. I’d probably pee in my pants if I was there. [Or something else entirely, just as messy. Their expressions strike me more as adoration and acute wonder rather than fear…]
The rulers of Lothlorien, GALADRIEL (Cate Blanchett) and Lord Celeborn greet them, and find out immediately that Gandalf has already fallen. Able to peer into the hearts of all men, Galadriel silently addresses their individual weaknesses and fears. None escape her piercing gaze, least of all Boromir.
Aloud, she welcomes them to rest, but in Frodo’s mind, he can hear her personally speak to him. “Welcome, Frodo of the Shire — one who has seen the Eye!” Yeah, creepy. *hair stands up straight*
Frodo’s not the only one who hears Galadriel inside his head, for when Aragorn approaches Boromir later that night, Boromir relates that Galadriel spoke to him of hope for Gondor. The fall of Gondor during the rule of his aging father is a burden that he carries, a constant weight on his mind since it’s expected that he should be the one to restore Gondor to its full glory. He cannot see hope for his country in the future, and that worries him. His love for his country cannot go unnoticed when he describes the White City so passionately. He tells Aragorn, “And the tower guards shall take up the call, ‘The Lords of Gondor have returned!’”
In the middle of the night, Frodo wakes abruptly and sees Galadriel walking. He follows her to what’s known as the Mirror of Galadriel and in it, he sees the consequences of what will happen if the Ring is not destroyed — Hobbits enslaved and the Shire destroyed. Galadriel sees all this unfold as well, and tells him telepathically that the Fellowship is already breaking.
Frodo offers up the Ring to Galadriel of his own voilition. Now why would you do that, honey? Actually, I know why: Frodo hands her the Ring, both out of a desire to rid himself of this burden to someone more authoritative and because he simply has no idea what the heck he’s doing. Galadriel resists the temptation, but not before transforming in the dark CGI-filled light, saying that if she did take this Ring, she would become Dark Queen over all. Uber freaky. [To be honest–when reading the book, I never imagined Galadriel shining in negative light like that, but she’s certainly as “beautiful and terrible” as she was meant to be. Yay, Peter Jackson?]
Frodo laments carrying this burden alone, but Galadriel sets him straight, reminding him that “this task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.” Galadriel reminds him that, even though he’s just a small Hobbit, Frodo can change the course of the future by accomplishing his task.
Meanwhile, the dark side has been gathering its forces together. Saruman dispatches a legion of Uruk-Hai — fallen Elves — to capture the Ring-bearer alive and to kill the others in the Company.
The Fellowship of eight continue onward in their journey across the Anduin River by boat. Before they leave, Galadriel gives Frodo the Light of Elendil, saying that it will be useful for him when he finds himself in dark places. (In the extended version, almost all the others are given a gift that’s seen later in the movie.) [It’s such a tragedy that Gimli’s gift didn’t make it out of the extended version. It’s significant, okay?? Gimli’s gift reflects his one-hundred-eighty degree transformation from elf-hater to, well, not exactly an elf-lover, but less enough of a bigot to appreciate Galadriel’s benevolence, wisdom, and indisputable beauty. Said simply, Gimli develops a massive elf-crush on the Lady of the Wood which greatly serves to smooth the way for a bromance between him and Legolas. Without this scene in the original movie, Gimli just magically loses his hatred for Elves which doesn’t make sense. Legolas isn’t that attractive…] [Shadow, don’t make me bury you in poop..] [He’s not…] [<is offended>] Enough, you two. LOL. [Yes, mother.]
As the crew reaches Parth Galen, it’s hinted that the Uruk-Hai are trailing not far behind them. Their plan is to wait there until the cover of nightfall to set out on foot. Legolas has a sinking gut-feeling that something dark looms ahead, and warns Aragorn that perhaps they should leave instead of resting at Parth Galen. It’s then that Merry comes back from wood-gathering and calls to everyone’s attention that Frodo’s disappeared. Aragorn also notices that Boromir’s gone as well, but has left his shield and bags. Double oh noes.
Boromir is “gathering wood” when he “stumbles upon” Frodo wandering alone, commenting sardonically that much depends on Frodo and attempts to convince him to use the Ring for Gondor’s aid. This is hardly a surprise, for Boromir had originally been against taking the Ring into Mordor during the meeting at Rivendell. He grows angry (read: crazed) under the influence of the dark powers of the Ring, so when Frodo recoils from him, recognizing that something is wrong, Boromir chases after him and seizes him. Since one large step for Frodo is probably three small steps for Boromir, Frodo is easily overtaken. Possessed by an all-consuming desire for the Ring, Boromir turns grabby and fights to get the Ring for himself.
In an act of desperation, Frodo puts on his invisibility cloak, er, the Ring and runs away. Unable to see him, Boromir curses Frodo and all Hobbitfolk, accusing him of siding with Sauron and of betraying the Fellowship to their deaths. [Watching a proud, self-possessed man like Boromir transform into that pathetic, raving madman scrabbling about in the dirt… It’s hard to describe that sort of gut-wrenching discomfort.] He trips and his fall returns him to a normal state of mind but the damage has already been done. Guiltily, he calls out for Frodo’s forgiveness, weeping as he asks himself, “Oh, what have I done?”
Aragorn finds Frodo, who tells him of Boromir’s attempted betrayal. Aragorn immediately asks the whereabouts of the Ring which frightens Frodo, having just witnessed Boromir succumbing to Its evil influence. In his panic, he has lost all confidence in the strength of Man’s will to resist the temptation of the Ring and even Aragorn, who has been his faithful guardian all this time, is not exempt from his paranoia. Aragorn’s attempts to pacify him (tone and stance soothing, as though approaching a spooked horse) are met with a bitter challenge: “Can you protect me from yourself?” [Read: “How could you possibly swear to be better than your bloodline?” The very question that’s kept Strider from truly being Aragorn all these years.] [And Aragorn responds with a look that kind of says “Oh yeah good point..”]
The Ring calls out to Aragorn, who approaches closely. Just as it looks like he’s about to reach out to take the Ring for himself, Aragorn instead closes his hand over Frodo’s, shutting out the Ring’s voice.
Kneeling before Frodo with tears in his eyes, he says, “I would have gone with you to the end — into the very fires of Mordor.” Aw. This bromance is killing me. [You’ll notice there is no direct response to Frodo’s question. Aragorn barely resisted the call of the Ring this time, but what about the next time? The time after that? With this quiet, heartfelt pledge, Aragorn acknowledges his weakness yet makes the assurance that his heart is in the right place–were it possible for him to do so without fear of the Ring’s corruption, he would have fought his way into the Enemy’s stronghold at Frodo’s side. And that is why Frodo responds with a quiet vindication, “I know…”]
Knowing that he must finish this quest alone, Frodo asks Aragorn to look after the others. Aragorn wishes him off, but there’s no time for a proper goodbye because he immediately notices that Sting has just turned blue. Hide and seek is over, and the Uruk-Hai are here.
If I were to give a score on a scale of 1-10 of just how freaking awesome and sexy Aragorn looks here, it would be a 100. SQUEEEEE! I just love the vengeance in his gaze and how he showcases complete dominance despite overwhelming odds. It’s the first time the hero in him comes out to shine. Just look at that predator’s stance! Time to show these Uruk-Hai noobs who’s boss. [Oh yes yes Aragorn is so incredibly yumyum here ^0^]
While the others are fighting the Uruk-Hai, Frodo finds himself forced to hide behind a tree while another group of Uruk-Hai are out searching for him. He spots Merry and Pippin hiding underneath a tree trunk and some bushes nearby. The other two Hobbits motion him to hide with them, but Frodo stays put. Merry, being the more perceptive of the two, understands that he’s leaving. In order to give Frodo time to flee from the scene, he and Pippin jump out of their hiding spots to lure the Uruk-Hai away.
However, the Uruk-Hai easily catch up. Just as one raises his ax towards Merry and Pippin, Boromir comes running out to save them. This is his act of redemption as he fights to save these two Hobbits. He blows the Horn of Gondor to alert Aragorn that they need help and continues fighting, trying to usher the Hobbits away to safety. In the midst of all this commotion, one Uruk-Hai aims his bow at Boromir, landing the arrow in his chest. Thunk. That was my heart sinking to my stomach. [And that high-pitched squeal was Shadow wailing in grief. Arrows? Those are freaking spears!] This scene really gets to me every time.
Merry and Pippin watch in horror as Boromir falls, only to stand back up again and fight on. He continues to attack until two more arrows pierce through his body, and now he watches, completely helpless when the Hobbits are being taken away. His Uruk-Hai attacker approaches him, bow in hand, ready to finish him off. And Boromir is there kneeling on the ground, just waiting for the end to come. [The Orc Captain stands just beyond arm’s reach, still too afraid of a dying man to get any closer. You could learn a thing or five from the man before you, coward.]
The Uruk-Hai aims his bow and arrow right at him but before he can shoot, Aragorn leaps at him and tackles him to the ground. It’s a battle of wills and despite a near-miss, Aragorn comes out the winner. (Hello, where the heck is Legolas and Gimli?) Aragorn hurries to Boromir’s side, who confesses that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo. Boromir apologizes for failing them all and asks for forgiveness.
Even in his dying state, Boromir mentions the fall of Gondor and laments that the world of men will fail. Aragorn reassures him, “I do not know the strength that is in my blood but I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail.” Encouraged, Boromir reaches for his sword and crosses it over his chest. With his dying breath, he tells Aragorn, “I would have followed you my brother, my captain, my king.” (And finally Legolas and Gimli arrive at the scene, just moments before Boromir dies.) Excuse me, I need a moment. *blows nose* [*sobs in corner*]
Meanwhile, Frodo stands alone on the river shore, holding the Ring tearfully, about to embark alone on the journey to Mordor. He doesn’t want to do it and in voiceover, wishes that none of this had happened to him. It’s then that he remembers what Gandalf’s wise words the last time he complained about his responsibility. “So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All you have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to you.”
Just reminiscing on Gandalf’s words of wisdom brings a newfound determination and sense of purpose to Frodo’s eyes. Tucking the Ring in his breast pocket, he takes off in a boat on his own. He doesn’t get very far before he hears Sam calling out to him. Frodo yells back that he must go into Mordor alone, and while Sam understands that he must do so, he isn’t about to be left behind. He jumps into the waters to reach Frodo, even when he can’t swim and begins to drown.
Frodo reaches Sam just in time, pulling him out from under the water. Sam tearfully reminds Frodo of the promise he made to Gandalf that he wouldn’t leave Master Frodo, and it’s a promise he’s bound to keep. I love seeing the depth of their friendship and that mutual understanding between them, that they need the other to lean upon. Theirs is the bromance to top all other bromances. [I have to respectfully disagree with Endodo here–I believe that Frodo relies more on Sam than Sam has ever needed him in turn. The way Sam stubbornly follows Frodo speaks more of his own fierce loyalty than anything Frodo has reciprocated in their relationship. But that’s the beauty of their friendship, isn’t it? Regardless of what Frodo does to push Sam away, or how many times he tries to, Sam is always at his side, offering his unwavering support and asking nothing in return. Would we be as lucky to have even one such friend!] [I have to agree with Shadow here..It’s definitely an unequal friendship, which does make it even more beautiful because it shows true unconditional love on Sam’s part. On the other hand..it makes Frodo look like a total douche too………….]
After sending Boromir’s body off on a funeral boat down the Anduin River, only three are left standing on the shores. Legolas wants to follow Frodo and Sam, but Aragorn plans otherwise, having already decided that Frodo’s fate is not in their hands any longer. Gimli groans that their efforts have all been in vain, but Aragorn encourages them by saying that as long as they hold true to one another, their efforts will not have been without purpose. Gathering all the strength that they have left, they set out to rescue Merry and Pippin. [“Let’s hunt some Orc.” Epic stud moment right there, marking the start of an even more epic bromance. See? Some good has already come of the Fellowship breaking up: bromances galore!]
Frodo and Sam have crossed the Anduin River safely into Emyn Muil They see Mordor in the far horizon, and while Frodo supposes that they will probably never see the others again, Sam says that it’s still too early to tell. This is probably the first of many moments throughout the entire journey when Frodo tells Sam, “I’m glad to have you with me.” [Of course he is. Without Sam, he would have been dead before stepping into Emyn Muil.] With that, the two continue onto the rocky path — both literally and figuratively — to Mount Doom.
Woot woot! The end to the first movie. Never have I been so relieved to have finished a recap for a series and I’m rather appalled that it took me eight months to get this recap written. But better late than never, right?
I’ve never noticed this before during my numerous rewatches of this movie, but during the bridge scene and on their way to Parth Galen, Aragorn and Frodo are set apart from the others for a brief moment. Which is interesting because it speaks volumes about their characters and the future development they’ll undergo. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Peter Jackson had Frodo and Aragorn held back on the bridge scene and that it was almost a near-death experience for them; it foreshadows all the upcoming holes and bumps in their paths that they’ll need to overcome.
Also in this scene, we see that the gap on the bridge grows further apart in mere moments, and I just love how the gap displays such symbolism — about their relationship with the others and the similarities they have with one another. As the gap physically widens before our very eyes, it also figuratively widens the gap between the two who will ultimately decide the fate of Middle Earth.
For Frodo, he (finally) comes to the realization that, as the Ring-bearer, he carries this heavy burden alone. He can’t get out of this task, nor can he set the clocks back in time and press a “redo” button. When Aragorn is first thrust into a(n unwanted) role of leadership in the midst of chaos, his reaction is similar to Frodo’s in a way because he doesn’t want to be placed in this position.
It’s not so much about the curveballs that Fate throws at ’em, but about their responses to adversity that I want to point out here. The fact that both characters eventually come to accept their responsibilities is pivotal not only for their personal character growth, but for the very purpose of the Fellowship. How Frodo and Aragorn embrace their fates mark the beginnings of maturation. Another thing to note is that even though they’re set apart in their tasks, they’re not completely alone, but are continually supported by the others in the Fellowship.
The greatest and most obvious example would be the relationship between Frodo and Sam. I don’t disagree with either Shadowfax or Arwen about Sam contributing more in his friendship with Frodo; it’s also true that Sam doesn’t need Frodo as much as Frodo needs him. But then again, Sam’s not the one with the heavy burden of carrying the Ring, which is why I’ve never dwelled on the fact that Sam’s much more loyal to Frodo. As sad as it is to say this, but Frodo’s got more to worry about than making sure he returns Sam’s unconditional love and loyalty. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to justify Frodo’s apparent douchiness as I am emphasizing that the Ring is an enormous task. His burden needs to be taken into account — constantly carrying the Ring around gradually takes its toll on Frodo, and this becomes increasingly obvious by the third movie.
Furthermore, it doesn’t bother me that their friendship is unequal because I’ve always felt that all friendships are often that way. No matter how I see it, there’s almost always one person serving and giving more than the other. I’ve resigned myself to thinking this way based off of all my friendships in real life. Sure, some friendships are totally unequal while others come as close to equal as can be, but one could always argue that one person out of the two just gives more or gives less. It all depends on perspective, no? Plus, friendships aren’t supposed to be an equivalent exchange. It’s not about tallying up scores of altruistic acts between two people; instead, it’s about doing what you can, when you can for someone else.
Sam, then, is a prime example of the kind of friend that doesn’t know the bounds of friendship. One who sets the bar for any other friendships to follow.His loyalty to Frodo is limitless, his love, never ceasing. Sam puts Frodo’s livelihood above his own, and never, ever stops to ask himself, “Am I doing too much?” For if he did, he wouldn’t be the “Sam” we all love so much and adore.
Before I close, I just wanna give a huge shout of thanks to my lovely commentators, Arwen and Shadowfax. It took us (read: me) almost a year to finish recapping one movie, yet they’ve never complained throughout the entire time-consuming process. I don’t think I really knew what I was signing up for when I decided to recap LOTR, for it’s a tremendous undertaking in of itself. Without their input and encouragement, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Thanks so much, loves!
One down, two more to go!
You’re joking me, right?
Whoaa… I can’t believe I managed to make it through three of these. I mean, what am I talking about? It’s not like I actually wrote the recap [THANK GOODNESS]. Trust me, making snide comments is so much easier than recapping a 3-hour long movie. Many kudos to Endodo for her perseverance. Pfft, 8 months? That’s nothing.
On a more commentary-ish note, having finally read through Arwen’s comments, I’ve realized that some of my in-recap asides mirror some of hers, and blatantly contradict others. Oops-but-kinda-cool to the first, oops-what-happened-there to the second. Anyway, in the interest of not running over into her all-encompassing commentary, I’ve decided to focus on the character of Boromir. [I’m running a posthumous PR campaign for him, you see. Anyone care to join me? *waves flag and hands out pamphlets*]
For obvious [but totally unjustified] reasons, Boromir is a largely disliked character, to the point that Sean Bean’s deliciously rugged features cannot redeem him. How dare he attack Frodo? How dare he insult Aragorn? How dare he be so utterly human? [Oh wait, that last one is part of the PR campaign.] I believe that Tolkien originally wrote Boromir as Aragorn’s foil, but the screenwriters for the movie trilogy have turned him into one of the most complex characters on screen. [The Stop Boromir-Hating Commission approves.] It’s such a pity that he only appears in the first movie…
We first meet Boromir in Rivendell as the Council of Elrond prepares to convene–he appears to be exploring the halls of Rivendell when he comes upon the pedestal honoring the shards of Narsil. It is interesting to note that there is a look of wonder upon his face as he picks up the hilt of the shattered sword, rather like the awe of a little boy who has the once-in-a-lifetime chance to hold the weapon of a legendary hero.
[At the same time, his actions speak of an entitlement that only being the firstborn son of a ruler can bring. The shards of Narsil have practically been enshrined in this hallway that largely resembles that of a cathedral, yet Boromir picks up the hilt of Narsil without hesitation–he comes off as more than a little irreverent that way, actually. We see this manner of self-assurance, sense of entitlement, even semblance of arrogance from Boromir as the Council convenes.]
The broken edge of the blade nicks his finger, drawing blood [rejecting him?]. Boromir is amazed that the sword is still sharp even after so many years. However, the moment Boromir realizes that Aragorn is watching him, the expression drops quickly from his face. Exactly like the cool kid in the schoolyard who was caught reading superhero comics, or listening to Mother’s fairytales. It’s kind of adorable actually, the way he immediately tries to reclaim his macho image by overcompensating with apathy.
As the Fellowship continues along their journey, it becomes clear that Boromir isn’t the aloof, I’m-too-good-for-you-lowly-Ranger princeling he’s been coming across as so far. He takes the time to teach Merry and Pippin how to fight with their swords, even tussling with them in the dirt like a fond older brother. [Did he play with Faramir that way as a kid?] And in a complete turnaround, after Gandalf’s death, it is he who makes the objection to a suddenly brusque, business-like Aragorn to give everyone a chance to grieve and proves that he actually has a heart. Is this the act of an uncaring, prideful man? Certainly not!
This brings me finally to Boromir’s real fatal flaw. As you should have suspected by now, it’s not his pride–it’s that he simply cares too much. In Lothlorien, Boromir confides his fears to Aragorn about the fate of his beloved White City and reveals as well in the process how desperate he is for anything that will save his people–he cannot bear to see his country in decline. Whatever Galadriel said to him in his mind uncovered a fear so visceral and so overwhelming that he could not hold back his sobs even in the presence of others though his public image has been shown to be important to him.
This is the mark of a true leader, isn’t it? Desiring the good of the people one leads? Unfortunately, it is through this all-consuming passion for his people that the Ring finds a foothold in his heart. No doubt the Ring has been calling to him throughout the journey, reminding him of the infinite power carried in the hands of weak, little Frodo Baggins, if only he would reach out and take it… The susceptibility of the race of Man to the Ring is undeniable and, heir to the Stewardship of Gondor he may be, but Boromir is still only a Man. Worse, he is a man who cares so much that caring ruins him in the end.
In some ways, Boromir still acts as a foil for Aragorn in the movie as well, though I think this is a little unfair. Boromir managed to throw off the influence of the Ring once, on the slopes of Caradhras, just as Aragorn did in the ruins of Amon Hen. However, Aragorn was never tempted by the Ring again, as Boromir was–rather than take that chance, Aragorn let Frodo go on alone [with Sam] to Mordor. How can you say with absolute certainty that the Ring would not have corrupted him as well, given time?
Still, I believe the movie did Boromir a greater justice than Tolkien did, by putting Aragorn under the Ring’s temptation. Neither men were completely immune to the Ring’s influence and thus Boromir cannot be made into an icon of the weakness of Man. [Nope, we leave that honor to poor Isildur, who was apparently overtaken by the Ring without even a hint of struggle. Well, other than the monumental effort it took to defeat Sauron in the first place, I mean.]
In fact, the heart-wrenching emotionality of Boromir’s death following his ultimate act of redemption provides his legacy for the fate of Middle Earth. Although he has failed to save Merry and Pippin from being kidnapped [really not his fault, by the way–could you have done what he did after getting shot with three spears–err, arrows?], how can Aragorn choose to escape his responsibility to the people of Gondor for fear of failure when Boromir had given his life for love of his people? [Granted, he may have failed but remember, it was because of a fatal flaw (in the Greek tragedy sense)!] How could Aragorn but choose to be a Captain, a King worthy of Boromir’s regard?
In sum, this has been a public service announcement from your local Boromir’s Public Image Rehabilitation Program. Thank you for watching–err, reading and we hope you have a very nice day. Coming up next on our program…
Need I mention that it’s loverly how out of this tragedy, Aragorn begins his growth as a character. When before, he would not even stand but behind everyone in a line, now it falls upon him to lead the fellowship. Who woulda thunk? Not he, certainly. Everything happens for a reason, in Tolkien’s world.
So I didn’t think that the bridge scene that Dodo talks about was very significant at first, but now that she mentions it, maybe it kind of is. At least in the sense that Frodo will of course later isolate himself from the fellowship, and Aragorn’s place among them alters after Gandalf’s fall. I’ll let her describe her take on it.
Speaking of Gandalf’s fall, I don’t entirely believe he couldn’t have pulled himself back up. I don’t remember if we discussed already, but Gandalf had some inkling as to what would happen if they entered Moria. That’s why he avoided it for so long, but then in the end he still led them through it. And as he’s hanging on for dear life, I think he just didn’t want to hold the rest of them back and endanger them. Ultimately, he embraced this path that he had tried to avoid and released his hold willingly at last.
On a lighter note, I think it’s quite amusing how Gimli speaks of Galadriel as an elf-witch who puts people under her spell and then they’re “never seen again.” Indeed he himself fell under her “spell” and the old angry resentful Gimli was really never seen again. After this experience, he relinquished his hatred towards elves and even began a deep friendship with Legolas. Age-old enmities aside, this elf queen has ruined it thousands of years of valuable tradition here! Tsk. What a shame.
Side note: I think I’ve always loved Lothlorien more than any of the other sites of Middle Earth. Now that I think about it, it’s probably been because of the shiny lights.
Personally, I rather like the scene with Boromir and Aragorn. It’s the first time Boromir shows anything besides his poopy prideful self. I actually like Boromir as a character, but this first film doesn’t do him justice. Here we see that actually, all he does is for the sake of his beloved country, and he would do anything to protect it. As such an important guardian of Gondor, I can understand his fierce pride in his race and in the strength of Gondor. It makes me root for the good side even more, seeing as how the Ring can corrupt even the best of intentions and transform someone so honorable and bamf into a monster.
Aragorn rebukes his ancestry in the scene with Frodo near the end. Ah it’s so wondrous I could marry him right then and there. He faces the same temptation and rather than falling into darkness like the rest of his line, he finally defeats it. Even with the Ring so close within his grasp, a tiny hobbit evidently unable to defend himself were he to attack him, Aragorn rejects it. In so doing, he breaks the chain of weakness and corruption to which he has been tied. And just btw, Arwen [the real one] totally called it some couple of scenes back. =p Hehe oh Arwen, how encouraging and perceptive you are. This is exactly why I love you. ^-^ Anyways, Aragorn is clearly juxtaposed against Isilidur, who failed the same test.
The scene with Frodo and Sam in the boat is probably my all-time favorite of the trilogy. Probably. If not, it comes pretty darn close. Even though I’m a Frodo-hater and all, I absolutely love his friendship with Sam. To put it more accurately, I love Sam’s devotion to Frodo. I could go on and on about how wondrous he is in this regard, but for now I’d like to say that theirs is the kind of friendship I truly admire. I hope everyone has a Sam in their lives. The depth of sacrifice and love goes beyond reason or expectation of compensation.
I’ve written about Aragorn’s choice to pursue Merry and Pippin rather than Frodo in another place, but it’s worth taking note of. Just consider that he had to make a choice, and though he questions this decision on some level, it proved to be the right one later on. All works out the way it would not have had he done anything differently. Again the theme of fate will come into play.
Ok I’ve definitely gone way beyond my quota, I believe. But yay for finishing the first LOTR film recap! I can never decide which one is my favorite. They all have such amazing aspects to them. Anyways, many thanks to Endodo, whose cutesy writing never fails to amuse me. It’s been a fun ride. The next film is Arwen’s to recap, which she will definitely get to as soon as she can. ^-^ Stay tuned!
Screencap Credits: All taken by endodo. Don’t steal! Or else we stab out your eyses!