Saturday, July 9, 2016

Flight to the Ford

A part of the movies which severely disappoints me

Can we talk about the part of the movie in which Frodo is carried across the Bruinen and into Rivendell by Arwen?

This part comes from the chapter of The Fellowship entitled Flight to the Ford.  In this chapter Glorfindel encounters Aragorn and the Hobbits who he has been searching for for days.  Glorfindel, as a High Elf, is able to successfully pursue the Nazgul and chase them away.  Frodo is set upon Glorfindel's Elvish horse and has to ride alone to Rivendell because he and the Ring will be safer that way.

Frodo takes his first really courageous stand during this sequence.  As Glorfindel urges Frodo to turn and flee, something moves in the young Hobbit's heart and he turns and confronts the Nazgul:
"But the pursuers were close behind. At the top of the bank the horse halted and turned about neighing fiercely. There were Nine Riders at the water's edge below, and Frodo's spirit quailed before the threat of their uplifted faces. He knew of nothing that would prevent them from crossing as easily as he had done; and he felt that it was useless to try to escape over the long uncertain path from the Ford to the edge of Rivendell, if once the Riders crossed. In any case he felt that he was commanded urgently to halt. Hatred again stirred in him, but he had no longer the strength to refuse. 
"Suddenly the foremost Rider spurred his horse forward. It checked at the water and reared up. With a great effort Frodo sat upright and brandished his sword. 
"'Go back!' he cried. 'Go back to the Land of Mordor, and follow me no more!' His voice sounded thin and shrill in his own ears. The Riders halted, but Frodo had not the power of Bombadil. His enemies laughed at him with a harsh and chilling laughter. 'Come back! Come back!' they called. 'To Mordor we will take you!'
"'Go back!' he whispered. 
"'The Ring! The Ring!' they cried with deadly voices; and immediately their leader urged his horse forward into the water, followed closely by two others. 
"'By Elbereth and LĂșthien the Fair,' said Frodo with a last effort, lifting up his sword, 'you shall have neither the Ring nor me!'" (emphasis mine)
Look at Frodo's courageous moment--he confronts the Nazgul and he wins. The name of Elbereth actually wounds the Nazgul and he safely crosses into Rivendell.  What a triumphant moment for our protagonist--a turn of events, a sign of his growth.

And then in the movies we get this:

Not quite as epic.

I have to admit that with all the things I like about the movies, this is one thing that really bothers me.  Not only is my glorious Glorfindel omitted (I can actually understand that--too many characters would bog the movie down) but Frodo doesn't get his epic moment...he jut whimpers and moans.

The fact is that book-Frodo was in pain as well, but he overcame it (however briefly) in order to confront the Nazgul.  Where is the strength of book-Frodo in the movie?  

Fabulous Glorfindel

I have another problem that relates to Arwen.  I can't really fault the film makers too much for this one--I understand they need Arwen in the films more and Glorfindel less, so this change makes sense--but it still bothers me.  Forgive me for my mock trial language here, but it seems like unfair extrapolation to take what we know about Arwen in the books and apply that to the movies in the form of a warrior(?) who rides horses (faster than Aragorn apparently) and wanders around for days alone (which seems odd considering Elrond's wife--Arwen's mother--was just killed in the wild even with an escort of Elves).

I'm fine with having Arwen in the movies more--she's a great character--but can we keep her character actually in character?  I mean, let's have more Arwen, but more actual Arwen...her screen time would be better spent delving into the themes of her sacrifice and love rather than trying to create some short-lived and unnecessary (not to mention improbable!) warrior complex.

That's the rant I have for you today.  To sum up the probably incoherent things I have just typed spontaneously, I have a problem with the Flight to the Ford in the movie as it concerns Frodo courage (or lack thereof) and the altering of Arwen's character.  

Does this part of the film bother you or do you like the new changes?


  1. As I've stated before, the additions to Arwen's character didn't bother me. She was barely present in the book, so we can only imagine what the text does not infer.
    However, I do wish they had given Frodo his heroic moment. Those quotes are awesome.
    And GLORFINDEL! I believe I was in love with him for a little while... until I discovered Beleg Cuthalion. But Glorfindel was great, and I wish he hadn't been cut.
    Still, Arwen's moment in the films did get us to root for her, and I really, really loved her outfit. I'm just thankful they abandoned the alternate storyline they contemplated for the Two Towers, in which she arrived at Helm's Deep with the Lothlorien elves (also uncanon) and fought alongside Aragorn.

    1. They bother me because if it's such a big deal for Eowyn to sneak into battle, why is it not even worthy of mention in the books that Arwen does dangerous war-like things seemingly quite often? It just seems like a bit of a stretch to me but I guess technically the text never says she doesn't do stuff like that.

      Yes, it's impossible to resist Glorfindel and Beleg's Elvish charms--they're just too cool XD

      Oh yes I would have completely lost it if Arwen was in the Battle of Helm's Deep. That would have actually ruined the entire movie and quite possible the franchise in general if it had been included. So happy that was cut!

    2. I've seen footage of her there in a red dress- also a cool outfit, by the way- and I couldn't believe they almost went that far!

      Did you know they also shot footage of Aragorn facing off against Sauron in the Flesh? He appeared first as a beautiful, angelic being, then changed back to his war form to fight Aragorn.

    3. Sorry to double post, but I've nominated you for the Daily Quotes Challenge! Check it out here if you're interested:

    4. I did like that dress and her hairstyle is pretty neat too!

      I read about that--I heard the actual footage of Aragorn fighting the troll in ROTK was originally meant to be him vs. CGI Sauron, but when they decided to take Sauron out, they replaced him with the troll.

      Yay, a challenge! Thanks, I'll do it :)

  2. The thing that bothers me most about this part is that this is the only time Arwen shows any spunk, before spending the rest of the movie basically in tears. I would've hated to have her at Helm's Deep but at least if they had, it would have made her rescue of Frodo not stick out so much.

    1. True, she is upset for a lot of the rest of the movie although I think it is in those crucial moments as she makes her decision to become mortal that she shows true strength, even more so than when she is rescuing Frodo.

    2. I see what you mean... but still, I don't believe it to be out of (movie-verse) character. I can go out and sling hay bales and defend valiantly against mean goats intent on goring the new one, but there are times when I become emotional and only want to sit in my room and stare into space with teary eyes. With Arwen facing a choice between leaving the man she loved, or forsaking her family forever, it's only natural that she should spend a great deal of time in inner turmoil. Even the most hardened of warriors can't escape emotional pain.

    3. True, there's a lot of strength evident in Arwen's choice. I don't think Liv Tyler played it that well, though.

  3. As always, I agree one hundred percent with what you write! :)

    1. Wow, thank you so much! I appreciate that :D