May It Be & Frodo's Song
May It Be
argued a lot about the character of Frodo in the film; some said he was
too weak, too scared, too timid. In the book he is a much feistier,
more aggressive even cranky hobbit. But Elijah's big blue eyes and
sweet expression seemed to make Frodo a more lovable and vulnerable
person than in the book.
Whatever the pros and cons of Elijah's interpretation, when Enya wrote
May It Be, she put Elijah into a song. My favourite piece of music from
all the soundtracks (except maybe Pippin's song) it perfectly catches
the film Frodo, his beauty and sadness, his yearning for home.
In the end, I think Elijah said more than perhaps I was listening for.
In the end, when he stands with his cup of tea in his hand, goes to
drink it then sets it down untasted, staring out of the window, he
conjures up all the pain that will not heal. But, being a quiet person
who does not want to alarm his friends, he bears his pain silently,
until the very last moment when he leaves.
That scene, in the dusty, dark Bag End, no more sunny and full of light
as at the start, was where Elijah won the war for Frodo.
It seems that now all three films are out many people are less critical
of Elijah Wood’s Frodo, especially for his portrayal of the character
as always timid and fearful. It must be because of his performance in
The Return of The King. It gives a more complete picture of Frodo.
In the cave, Frodo is terrified of Shelob, and who wouldn’t be? But
he fights her off and gets away. Then he draws on his friendship with
the Elves to go on, remembering Galadriel’s words;
‘If you do not find a way, no-one will’
Galadriel never had much time for heroics, she looked beyond that to a
character’s inner moral power. She also understands that Frodo was
meant to do this; not that he is a puppet of fate, but he is fated to
carry the ring, and no-one else. So it is actually almost irrelevant
how he feels about it; he is simply the one who must do it.
And Frodo understands this as well and it gives him a strength beyond
mere physical heroism. He shows this when he asks Sam to return the
Ring in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. A few moments before he had cowered
before the orc; now he demands the return of something that could
destroy him more surely than any orc, because it can destroy his mind
and spirit as well as his body.
It is my favourite scene. (well, a front contender….) He gets the
unwilling Sam to give him the ring then puts it on, closing his eyes as
if he does not want to see it, then says to Sam;
‘You must understand, the ring is my burden’.
He has been frozen, baked, stabbed, bruised and stung, yet he
quietly says; this is my burden and voluntarily takes back the thing
that is destroying his mind as it destroyed Gollum’s.
Courage? No wonder Aragorn kneels to him….
I love Into The West, but I think May It Be should have been called
Frodo’s Song, if only on account of the words;
‘You walk a lonely road
Oh how far you are from home…’
Even with Sam at his side, Frodo faces the loneliest path, that of
responsibility that is his alone and cannot be shared, a burden he
bears with the greatest courage.