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25 March 1419 (SR): 'for eyes to see that can'
This post is to celebrate March 25th of the year 1419 of the third age (by Shire reckoning).

As a long-time addict to the Lord of the Rings book and a recent one to Peter Jackson's film trilogy, I keep discovering unexpected links between the book and the films. One of my favorites is a section of text from the chapter 'Many Meetings' in 'The Fellowship of the Ring' that resonates with a breathtaking shot at the end of the third film.

In the book, Frodo has just woken up in the house of Elrond, where he has lain ill after having been stabbed by the Lord of the Nazgûl at Weathertop. Here is the text from the book:

Gandalf moved his chair to the bedside, and took a good look at Frodo. The colour had come back in his face, and the eyes were clear, and fully awake and aware. He was smiling, and there seemed to be little wrong with him. But to the wizard's eye there was a faint change, just a hint as it were of transparency, about him, and especially about the left hand that lay outside upon the coverlet.

'Still that must be expected', said Gandalf to himself. 'He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.'

And Gandalf was very prescient. Here are some screen-caps of Frodo when he is waking up 'in the end' in the Houses of Healing, when the Ring is no more. 'A glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can'.

One of the reasons why I love the films so much is that they give an extra dimension to the book text, and Gandalf's reaction at this emotional moment is a perfect example. The book doesn't tell us anything about the first encounter between Frodo and Gandalf after Frodo's awakening ('The Return of the King': 'The Field of Cormallen'), and all readers must regret that we are kept in the dark. The scene is described form Sam's perspective as he wakes up a few hours after Frodo. About Gandalf's reaction we read:

'A great shadow has departed', said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land, ....'

In the film we do see the first post-Ring encounter between Frodo and Gandalf. Gandalf's feelings appear to be much more complex than we read in the book. As he stands at the foot of Frodo's bed, his face first shows pity and regret, perhaps even guilt, for all Frodo has had to endure. And only gradually does he start laughing: 'and the sound was like music'. I really love this extra glimpse into Gandalf's feelings!

                           '.... a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing .....'

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Interesting thoughts... Thanks for sharing :-)

You're welcome. It's nice to see people reading your posts. Thanks for commenting. :)

I love your thoughts here. While I do have issues with the movies, there are also many moments like this that are more satisfying than the books. Thank you.

Thanks Addie. Like you, I have many issues with the movies but for me they have added to the overall LOTR experience.

'He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.'

That's the very line that caused me to fall in love with LOTR back in the 70s when I first read it.

I also read the book for the first time in the 70s and it is still my all-time favorite. I love the phrase you cited, especially "for eyes to see that can".

Lovely. That phrase ("a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can") is the perfect description for Frodo waking in Rivendell. And I love to watch Ian McKellen's face move from grave to mirth-filled in the Houses of Healing -- it's such a beautiful transition.

Thanks Robin. As you can see, I'll use any excuse to post some screencaps of Frodo. And the Gandalf screencaps showed me, once again, that you really see and understand more of a scene by looking at individual frames.

What a lovely moment, and amlso a perfect bookend to their meeting in the first movie. Frodo has come full circle....he can laugh again

It is a lovely moment and Gandalf's face is so touching at the start of the shot.

Ian McKellen is such a wonderful actor! I saw him on stage in London some years ago, long before he was in Lord of the Rings. I was blown away by his talent, even then. You can see it in his portrayal of Gandalf, too.

I love how Frodo's light from within is shown in the screen caps you posted here, even though perhaps it's only suppose to be him waking up. It's a beautiful scene.

How nice to see you here! Gandalf's face in the first few frames of this shot is so touching. I think he is magical throughout the films.
You may be right that the only purpose of the shot of Frodo's light within may be to show him waking up. But I love to add my own interpretation as a viewer. ;-)

It's a wonderful book and you have reminded me that I need to read it again thanks love:)
How is your Dad ?

You're welcome Carol. :)
We'll have to wait and see with my dad. He is going to have treatment once a week for the next 6 weeks and then they'll do more tests to check the results. All we can do is hope for the best.
BTW, I hope you are coping with taking care of your gran. (hugs)

"coping with taking care of your gran" yes, thanks for asking, I have some help with her care but it still takes up a lot of my day, with so little time for anything else, and she is such a darling !
Love Carol X

Thanks for posting!:))


You're welcome mumis. :)

for someone who has only read part of the book (after watching the films) my take is only on the movies. i loved the way they showed gandalf's reaction to frodo's awakening. i got the message right away with their performances.

Yes, Gandalf is really human in this film scene. I love it.

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