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And before someone jumps on me about Sam, yes, it wouldn’t have got done without him.He is the common man evolving into an uncommon hero.Even if you argue that this is simply another instance of Frodo stripped of his will by the Ring, why wouldn’t the Wraiths be hot on the Ringbearer’s trail after such a display?
I’m one of those geeks who wore a “Frodo Lives” pin through the 60’s.
Frodo Baggins was my hero, then and now, and not even the glorious spectacle created by Peter Jackson can make me forget that.
Is a sort of 21st Century inverse snobbery at work here? I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to know, but Peter Jackson’s Frodo isn’t Tolkien’s.
It’s like revisionist historyrevisionist Tolkien--and I don’t buy it.
Frodo is still recovering from the Weathertop stab wound. In the book, it is a powerful Elf warrior, Glorfindel, who finds the wounded Ringbearer and his friends in the wildness. Suddenly the foremost Rider spurred his horse forward. With great effort Frodo sat upright and brandished his sword. ” His voice sounded thin and shrill in his own ears. Frodo’s diminishment in is capped during the Osgiliath scene, another major departure from the book. I guessed how it would be from the moment of that preachy “what are we fighting for” speech delivered by Sam in the ruins of Osgiliath.
The later decision is even more heroic, because Frodo has faced the enemy, and knows now that he may die during the quest. Glorfindel sets Frodo on his horse for the flight from the Wraiths to the Ford of Rivendell. He felt the quick surge and heave as the horse left the river and struggled up the stony path . His enemies laughed at him with a harsh and chilling laughter. This scene, written to give Faramir’s character a conflict to overcome, does little but shrink Frodo yet again. As full of marvels as the Peter Jackson movie is, I was truly disappointed by his interpretation of Frodo.
The first time he assumes the terrible responsibility is in Hobbiton, in order to protect his beloved Shire. At the top of the bank, the horse halted and turned, neighing fiercely There were Nine Riders at the water’s edgeand Frodo’s spirit quailed before the threat of their uplifted faces. His sword broke and fell out of his shaking hand At that moment there came a roaring and a rushing: a noise of loud waters rolling many stones. to resist that is significantthat even the small resistance of a small being can make a difference in the battle for freedom.
The second time is at the Council of Elrond, which has degenerated into a shouting match between the races of Middle Earth. If one woman warrior per thousand pages Eowyn was sufficient for Tolkien, that was good enough for me, too. He knew of nothing that would prevent them from crossing as easily as he had done... “Go back to the Land of Mordor and follow me no more! Dimly Frodo saw the river below him rise, and down along its course there came a plumed cavalry of waveshe half fancied that he saw amid the water white riders upon white horses with frothing manes . Frodo’s hopeless but enduring fight against overwhelming odds is a major theme, but Jackson passes up nearly every opportunity to give his courage a similar weight. Still, it’s pretty clear that Samwise is Peter Jackson’s stage center hero.
Frodo, by himself, in agony, manages this with the help of Glorfindel’s splendid steed, Asfaloth. Under the influence of the Wraiths (now mounted on dragons instead of horses) he goes up onto the city wall to offer his enemies the Ring. That tears the beating heart out of the book--the friendship and loyalty that binds those two characters is the core of Tolkien’s story. Jackson’s creation is little more than a sacrificial lamb, the sweet guy who pulls the short straw, a soldier who comes home from the war broken beyond repair.
Instead of being merely Arwen’s semi-conscious baggage, as he is in the movie, Frodo is the one who, alone, turns at the Ford to defy the Wraiths. When Sam seizes him before the Wraith does, they roll to the bottom of a stairway, and Frodo comes up sword in hand ready to kill Sam, who has just saved his life, and the quest. Poor, beautiful Frodo Jackson made him contradictory, fading, expendable, perhaps so we don’t have to cry too hard at the end, when Frodo sails away with the elves, facing a lonely demise in the Valinor V.