Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

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Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:55 am

This is sort of a revival of an old debate for those who missed out.

Basically does making Frodo fight Gollum for the Ring then having them fall in undermine the ending of the film, particularly in relation to Frodo?
In the book Frodo fails to destroy the Ring and instead claims it, it is only Gollum intervening which leads to its destruction and Frodo plays no active role in this.
In the films Frodo succeeds, he actively helps in the destruction of the Ring. He is then left literally hanging and when the Ring is destroyed he chooses not to let go but to go on, he chooses hope and a future, the Frodo of the book does not and see's and has no real future once back in the Shire. The others all marry, raise families, Frodo does not, he does not choose a future for himself because in his heart still what he really wants is the Ring.
Frodo thinks he has failed, because he took the Ring he is never quite free of it, and he has the guilt of knowing when push came to shove he choose the Ring. This is the illness of which he needs healing and which is why he is allowed to take ship at the end.
By changing this PJ undermines the ending and what Tolkien is saying.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:30 am

I remember this thread! Very Happy

Pettytyrant101 wrote:In the films Frodo succeeds, he actively helps in the destruction of the Ring.

Frodo did not try to help, the film's clearly presented (and PJ confirmed this intent in the DVD documentaries) that Frodo and Gollum slipped off the edge together while fighting over the Ring. Frodo's role is more active than in the book, but it'd odd to give him more credit when the Ring was still destroyed by an outside force. If I recall correctly I actually took the opposite position in the original thread, and I still would have preferred PJ to stick with the book ending, but I don't think it's accurate to give Frodo as much credit as you do here.

He is then left literally hanging and when the Ring is destroyed he chooses not to let go but to go on, he chooses hope and a future, the Frodo of the book does not and see's and has no real future once back in the Shire. The others all marry, raise families, Frodo does not, he does not choose a future for himself because in his heart still what he really wants is the Ring.

Frodo chooses to live, yes, but you may notice that for the entire rest of the movie he is highly melancholy and regretful. Did you miss his soliloquy about "hurts that do not heal" and how "there is no going back" after he had returned to Bag End? Or the fact that movie!Frodo remains single, does not raise a family, and ultimately leaves Middle-earth the same as his book counterpart?

Also, I just skimmed through the last chapter of the book looking for references to this, and I can't find anything that suggests that Frodo still wanted the Ring (or that, as you mention in a later paragraph, he was consumed by guilt). Frodo's only statement on the matter that I can find at the moment is that "I have been too deeply hurt", and Tolkien mentions Frodo's pain on anniversaries of certain injuries, which suggests that Frodo needed to be healed of everything that befell him on the Quest, not guilt. This is essentially what the film shows, too.

To be perfectly honest, I think that you overstate the differences between the book and the film in this part of the story. Wink
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:50 am

I take the implication Frodo still yearns from the Ring from Arwen giving him a jewel to replace it and saying 'When the memory of the fear and darkness troubles you this will bring you aid."
And it hangs upon a chain around Frodo neck exactly as the Ring would. As a metaphor I always saw it much as methadone is to heroin. Its clear Frodo's hurts are more than just the Nazguls knife wound.

On the mater of feeling guilty, or perhaps regret is a better word over his last actions I seem to remember there was a side discussion about the role of fate and providence in this but I cannot for the life of me remember the argument- can you Eldo?

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:03 am

Huh, I had never thought of the jewel in that way, to be honest. I interpreted it in light of Tolkien's repeated mentions of Frodo feeling pain from his wounds by the Morgul-knife and Shelob. Your point about the chain is very interesting, though. I am sure Tolkien had a reason for the similarity, though I'm not convinced of the methadone analogy. Still, it's a refreshingly different and intriguing argument. Very Happy

As for fate and providence, Tolkien touches on that in the Letters. I think the same letter suggests that Tolkien did not view Frodo as guilty, although that in and of itself does not necessarily mean Frodo shared the idea.

Letter 192 wrote:Frodo deserved all honour because he spent every drop of his power of will and body, and that was just sufficient to bring him to the destined point, and no further. Few others, possibly no others of his time, would have got so far. The Other Power then took over: the Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), 'that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named' (as one critic has said). See Vol. I p. 65.

The reference at the end of the quote is to The Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf says:

The Shadow of the Past wrote:"Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by it's maker."

I don't think it's terribly explicit in the text itself (Tolkien was pretty subtle when it came to religious elements in his work, at least outside of The Silmarillion), but Tolkien's destruction of the Ring was essentially an act of divine intervention. Tolkien's phrase was eucatastrophe and it's more complicated than just divine intervention, but that's it in a nutshell. I have no idea if PJ had this in mind, but the way in which Frodo and Gollum fell over the edge by accident could easily be seen as similar intervention.
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:46 pm

Pity! That came into the old debate too if I remember right. Something along the lines of Bilbo and Frodo's pity meant that although Frodo could not destroy the Ring (am impossible task from the start) he could get it to the one place it could be destroyed and the 'powers' intervention is reward for their pity. Gollum is there to finish the job. I think Tolkien makes it very clear when the Ring goes in with Gollum that Frodo is not capable of doing anything more, he has done his bit, getting the Ring where it needs to be. If PJ's version doesn't fundamentally undermine things it at the very least makes the water muddier than need be. The snarling Frodo that wrestles on the edge for the Ring with Gollum is not displaying pity, the very thing which allows for the Rings destruction in the first place. To me that means PJ got it wrong, he never understood this, his Frodo's last thoughts and acts towards Smeagol are hostile, a far cry from pity.
I don't think PJ and the Coven gave any thought to any of these themes however. They just thought Frodo is the hero in a film, and because it says so in PJ's Big Book of Film Making, the hero must be proactive in destroying the Ring rather than exhausted and just lying there, and we have a cliff above lava therefore he must dangle from it!

With regard the jewel from Arwen there is this from The Grey Havens; "Farmer Cotton found Frodo lying on his bed; he was clutching a white gem that hung on a chain about his neck and he seemed half in a dream.
'It is gone for ever,' he said, 'and now all is dark and empty.'

To me that is clearly still desire and memory of the Ring which haunts Frodo not stab or sting wound. And his clutching of the jewel on its chain exactly as he did with the Ring gives me the impression the jewel is a 'surrogate' Ring, given by Arwen for this purpose, for when the desire and loss of the Ring take hold. And the reason Frodo still desires the Ring is because at the very end he never rejected it, he succumbed. So it is always with him, which is a better way of putting what I called his guilt' previously. I think it is this, more than any wound received, for which Frodo needs healing and for which he is granted passage on the ship.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:04 pm

Can I take your lack of response Eldo as an indication you have coeme round to the idea the jewel given by Arwen is a surrogate Ring and that the healing Frodo needs its not for physical wounds but the mental scarring left by his claiming of the Ring? Wink Very Happy

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:59 pm

You may have actually convinced me Petty, but I don't have as much time to sit down and think hard about it, as opposed to spamming. I will try to make a more detailed post when my quota of serious thought isn't eaten up by school. Razz
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Kafria on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:38 pm

Yes PJs destruction of the ring is wrong!!! I can see where it came from, but for me the bigger problem with it is not so much that Frodo fought for the ring and pushed Gollum over, but that it takes away from what I always felt was the link between Bilbos pity in not slaying Gollum in TH and Gandalfs prediction that Gollum still had his part to play in the end. It was this act at the end of the book of gollum taking the ring when Frodo had lost the will to destroy it (and unknowingly leading to it's destruction), that I felt was the culmination of this.

In terms of Frodo never recovering from his desire for the ring and the loss of it once he had tried to claim it, I had never read it this way. It was always his wound at weathertop and the burden of bearing the ring that I thought he continued to suffer from (from references to the date and continued illness). I have to be honest that I never registered the jewel at all Embarassed. In that sense your theory makes sense, but I still feel it is more about the burden of bearing a ring to me, Bilbo goes too afterall!

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:39 pm

I agree about pity, but not about why Frodo needs healing.
Bilbo is a unique case. Of the examples we have there is Sauron who was temporarily vanquished upon losing the Ring, then Isildur who was killed immediately on losing it, as was Deagol, Smeagol lost it against his will and never ceased trying to get it back, Bilbo uniquely gave it up and passed it on, but first at Rivendell he shows he still has a desire for it and again at the end when he asks Frodo if he still has the Ring. I don't think Bilbo is ever free of it either.
The ship they leave on is a Ring-bearers ship, Gandalf, Elrond,Galdriel, Bilbo and Frodo all go on it. I don't think Frodo goes mainly because of stab and sting wounds received but ones from the Ring, the burden of carrying it and especially the continuing desire for it. And for the same reason Bilbo is allowed to go.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Kafria on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:05 pm

I was not fully satisfied with my description before and this discussion actually sent me back to the book to look for key passages, I haven't actually re-read it for a while, I think the fact it is the burden of carrying the ring is clear, from the fact that Bilbo goes to and that Sam is told he may end up going in the future

'And I can't come'
No, Sam. Not yet anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a ring bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come


But I dispute that it is desire for the ring as much as the toll that is taken on the individual fighting the coruption of the ring.


Whether because Frodo was so worn by his long pains, wound of knife, and venomous sting, and sorrow, fear, and homeless wandering....

This (from when Sam is carrying Frodo up Mount Doom) seems to suggest that the wounds are a significant part of the hurt.

And the passage you quoted about Frodo clutching the jewel and talking about the ring is the start of a section when Autumn (weathertop) and spring (Shelob?) dates are a recurrent theme showing these factors are a part of the hurt he has suffered.
I also had a thought about the jewel, Frodo near the end of the quest to the mountain talks about not remebering anything, or sense anything, just being naked in the dark.... that kind of emotion or feeling is bound to return and made me think that maybe the jewel is like the Light of Galadriel in that it is there to help pull him out of the dark places in his mind he is likely to be pulled back into.

Okay, pedantic bit over, the main reason I was dissatisfeid with my earlier answer is i realised that my comment about Gollums role could be seen to be met by what happened in the film, so to be clearer I think the way it is told in the book continues the idea of this force of good for want of a better description and the mercy of Bilbo is bookended by Gollums unwitting intervention to destry the ring, whereas the violent snarling Frodo does not chime with this.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:12 pm

Letters 246

'Frodo undertook his quest out of love- to save the world he knew from disaster at his own expense...I do not see that the breaking of his mind and will under demonic pressure ..was any more a moral failure than the breaking of his body would have been..that appears to have been the judgement of Gandalf and Aragorn...But what Frodo himself felt about the events is quite another matter.
He appears at first to have no sense of guilt...But then he thought that he had given his life in sacrifice: he expected to die very soon. But he did not, and one can observe the disquiet growing in him. Arwen was the first to observe the signs, and gave him her jewel for comfort.....I think it is clear on reflection to an attentive reader that when his dark times came upon him and he was conscious of being 'wounded by knife sting and tooth and long burden' it was not only nightmare memories of past horrors that afflicted him, but also unreasoning self-reproach: he saw himself and all that he had done as a broken failure. 'Though I may to come to the Shire, it will not seem the same, for I shall not be the same.' That was actually a temptation out of the Dark, a last flicker of pride: desire to have returned as a 'hero', not content with being a mere instrument of good. And it was mixed with another temptation, blacker and yet (in a sense) more merited, for however that may be explained, he had not in fact cast away the Ring by a voluntary act: he was tempted to regret that destruction, and still too desire it.........Frodo was sent or allowed to pass over the Sea to heal him- if that could be done, before he died...So he went to both a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and greatness...Bilbo went too....he needed and deserved the favour on his own account. He bore still the mark of the Ring that need finally to be erased: a trace of pride and personal possessiveness. Of course he was old and confused in mind, but it was still a revelation of the 'black mark' when he said in Rivendell 'What's become of my ring, Frodo that you took away?': and when he was reminded of what had happened, his immediate reply was: 'What a pity! I should have liked to see it again.'


I rest my case your Honour!
Very Happy

I agree Kafria about pity and how the films not only fail to convey that at the end but actually resent the opposite in my view.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Kafria on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:25 pm

Not read the letters Very Happy thanks for the quote!

And I still think it is a little far too suggest he needed the jewel like a recovering addict needs methadone!

The desire for the ring is only a small part of the answer, significant, but the disquiet is founded in the feeling of being a faliure from this letter! Very Happy

(yes I will argue black is white if it suits me! Very Happy )

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:29 pm

"And I still think it is a little far too suggest he needed the jewel like a recovering addict needs methadone!"- Kafria

I admit its not a great way to put it but I was struggling for a metaphor.

"The desire for the ring is only a small part of the answer"

But an eternal one. His physical wounds would be redundant once he was dead but the 'black mark' as Tolkien puts it, thats forever. Thats why he needs healing first and purgatory, otherwise his soul is stained forever- I would say that makes it the most significant.

"yes I will argue black is white if it suits me! Very Happy"

A women prerogative of course! Very Happy

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Kafria on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:31 pm

"yes I will argue black is white if it suits me! Very Happy"

A women prerogative of course!


Always! Razz

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:17 am

"but the disquiet is founded in the feeling of being a faliure from this letter!"- Kafria

That PJ's Frodo doesn't fail, rather he tries to reclaim the Ring and then when given the choice to let go or take Sam's hand, and hope, he takes the latter, was part of my point about why PJ got it wrong. It is significant I think that in the film the Ring goes into the lava a good bit before it sinks and is destroyed, and this only happens once Frodo makes the choice to live on. PJ's Frodo does not fail, therefore though troubled and pained by wound and memory he does not have the 'black mark' that Tolkien says he has of failure and continued longing, and so he does not require healing in the Undying Lands.
And not only did PJ miss that part of the books theme he compounded the error by messing up the theme of pity by making Frodo so aggressive and participatory at the end.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:24 am

Aren't you giving Peter Jackson a little too much of the blame here? Remember, it was his two lady friends that did most of the writing, and, well, they are women after all... Wink

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:31 am

Glad I didn't say that!
As to, the Coven, since the number of female folk loitering about the place and still not doing any dusting has increased, I have been sparing in my use of the phrase, the Coven, in case it causes fainting or such like. However rest assured I hold all those responsible for that script to blame, but PJ was the one who said yes to it.

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:39 am

I suspect one or two persons around here will want to see me hang in the hobbitman thread for what I have said, but someone must say it if Odo is not around to say it himself Laughing

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by odo banks on Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:12 am

Such language! C$#*n! Shocked I fainted Embarassed at such disgusting terminology!!! Mad Mr Tyrant, if you don't mind, keep it nice in future!
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:54 pm

Indeed, Odo! For the respectability of this forum, I shall have to censor this c**** word. It will now be replaced by a far more respectable term (though unfortunately the censor is not retroactive). Very Happy
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Squach on Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:57 pm

tut tut tut

Reminds me of Tutankhamun! I always say: King tut!

farao farao farao farao farao

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:11 pm

I will not be censored! The name C***n implies a group of females up to no good- a perfect description of the female participation in that awful script!! The term is valid!
And as to your cunning Admins word changing ways Eldo I shall instead if you prefer refer to them hencefore as that bunch of harlots!


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Eldorion on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:15 pm

I saw your unedited post saying you like the term "friendly people", Petty. Razz

Any other ideas for word censoring? Laughing
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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Squach on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:16 pm

Petty, you just censored yourself

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Re: Does PJ's destruction of the Ring ruin the ending?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:26 pm

I have no choice Squach- the devious evil, totalitarian Admin has set it up so if I type the word 'co*ven' in the normal way it changes to 'lovely people' not only is that beyond the pale it is clearly an abominable lie! Language should not be censored! Ever! You'll be burning books next Admin!
Rest assured I shall be writing to the NoTP and the DP about this! Evil or Very Mad

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Pettytyrant101
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