LOTR II. Concerning Hobbits

A forum for our members to collaborate on scripts adapted from Tolkien's works, patterned on the massive LOTR screenplay authored by ToshoftheWuffingas.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Thanks Di. There is something a little child-like about Sam to start with though he grows up quickly and I tried to convey that by his initial reaction and deafness to what Frodo was trying to say. He gets plenty of his bon mots as the story progresses. Lots more foreboding to come too :help:
Merry and Pippin need careful delineation this early in the story and I have tried to pay attention to them.
I am no musician and hoped to suggest tunes that would help the 'viewer' get the experience. A lot of Tolkien's poems and songs have a regular 8 syllable structure and not many folk tunes fit. All suggestions are welcome. Using the whole poem doesn't work in a half-hour format and I am trying to be creative in truncating them to fit the pace. I am loth to miss them out entirely.
Anyway I am having fun and I hope others are too. There's lots more I've completed so this can continue for a while yet. Criticisms from major grumbles to little niggles are welcome, though I won't necessarily agree with them. :P
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

As I have been a bit slow in continuing the story I will post instalments a bit quicker for a while. So, here is the final part of episode three.

Cut to the hobbits walking along a straight lane raised above the fields with broad ditches on either side. They look behind themselves nervously.
Pippin: ‘Oh I know where we are now. We are on Farmer Maggot’s land.’

Frodo groans: ‘Oh no! Out of the frying pan into the fire. I’ve been terrified of him and his dogs since he caught me taking mushrooms when I was just a lad in Buckland. "See this?”, he said to his dogs, "Next time you see him you can eat him.” '

Pippin, laughing: ‘Well, it is time you made up. He is a good friend of Merry’s but if we do meet let me do the talking.' Sam scowls at this story and we shortly hear dogs baying. Frodo falls back behind the others and when dogs run up he looks terrified. Cut to a stout figure of a hobbit striding rapidly up the lane towards them, brandishing a thick stick in the air. As he approaches camera his angry face softens.

Maggot: ‘ Oh, it’s you Master Pippin. I thought it might be that funny customer back again. You are all covered in mud. Why walk across the Marish when there’s a dry road ? (speaking to Frodo as he is sniffed by the dogs) They won’t hurt you. Heel boys! Are you young Baggins? That is mighty strange and no mistake. Come back to the farm and tell me what this commotion is all about.’
Cut to the parlour of Maggot’s farmhouse, dogs in front of the fire, the group are around a meal table drinking from tankards.
Maggot: ‘…..Never mind mushrooms Mr Baggins, I was asked for your name this very day. (glances are exchanged) One of the Big People, all covered in black came riding up on a great black horse right up to my door. Tall as a roof it was. He spoke in a hiss, enough to make me shiver and the dogs all ran away. “Where is Baggins?”, he asks. “No Baggins here, you have to go west all the way to Hobbiton to find that name” I say. “He comes here and I will give you gold to find him.”, he hisses at me. “Oh no you won’t, you’ll leave my farm now.” I said. He hissed again and rode about the yard for a bit sniffing then rode off fast.' ( Maggot pauses and drinks from a mug then looks at each of them in turn ) 'Now you people seem to be in trouble. I reckon I can get you to the ferry a bit quicker and without being seen. I’ll get a wagon ready.’

Frodo: ‘Farmer Maggot, I have been in terror of you and your dogs for 30 years now and so I have missed a great friend.' Frodo reaches across the table to take Maggot's hand as Maggot rises to get a coat.
Cut to a wagon in the yard, mist swirling and the ponies stamping their hoofs. The hobbits clamber in with baskets. Cut to Maggot driving the wagon in the mist, looking grimly from side to side. We hear the soft sound of ducks. Cut to the hobbits getting down from the wagon and shouldering their packs in the dark and mist. There is a wooden sign to the Ferry. As we hear hoofs the hobbits stop and gather together and look into the dark.

Sam: ’Hide in the wagon fast Mr Frodo!’ As Frodo gets in the wagon Maggot takes a thick stick from it and the three stand shoulder to shoulder in the lane facing into the dark as the sound of the hoofs get louder and louder. A shape of a rider can be seen through the mist. It halts just out of clear view.

Merry:’ Have you seen Mr Baggins?’

Pippin, running forward,: ‘Merry? Is that you?’ As Merry replies, Frodo joins the group from behind.

Merry: ‘Who else did you expect? I’ve been looking out for you all day. Where did you find them Mr Maggot? In your duckpond?’
Cut to Sam on the ferry, the sound of water lapping against the sides, a guttering torch nearby. Sam looks back at the Shire and looks forward and pulls a face to himself. As he does so we hear Frodo’s voice: ‘All those lights on the hill Sam (Sam looks up) are from Brandy Hall, the home of the Brandybucks where I grew up.’ Sam nods.
Cut briefly to the ferry nearing a staithe. Cut to Merry tying up as the others get off. He looks up then points into the distance.

Merry: ‘What in all the Shire is that?’ Cut to a distant shapeless figure on horseback on the far side of the wide river. Cut back to Merry, Frodo standing behind him.

Frodo: ‘Something that has been following us. I will tell you more when we are safe inside. How far is it to the Brandywine Bridge and back here?’
Merry:, still staring: ‘Twenty miles there and back. Let’s get to Crickhollow then.’
Cut to a hobbit house in darkness, the party approaching it with torches. We hear an owl calling. Cut briefly to Fatty opening the door, his face beaming. Cut to the group crowded in the hallway. Some of the doors to rooms are open.
Cut to three steaming wooden tubs with Frodo and Sam in the open doorway. Pippin pushes his head between them.

Pippin: ‘O blessed Meriadoc!’ The three enter the room and start to loosen their cloaks and waistcoats. Cut to a steam filled room with two hobbits submerged in their tubs and a third standing up in his, his back to the camera. The bath song is heard sung as an exaggerated patter song. Cut to the kitchen where we hear the muffled song amid shouts. Merry and Fatty are chopping food, piling mushrooms from baskets into pans and grinning to each other.
Frodo comes in with a towel round his waist, with another he is drying his hair: ‘I’ll never dry properly in there. Will the meal be long?’
Cut to the hobbits relaxed before a fire.

Merry: ‘……I’d think you were making this up if I hadn’t seen that shape at the ferry. Is this about Bilbo’s treasure?’

Frodo, carefully: ‘ I am not safe here……….in fact I have something to tell you.’

Pippin: ‘It’s coming out.’

Cut to Merry: ‘You are miserable because you don’t know how to say goodbye.’ Cut to Frodo looking confused.

Pippin: ‘We’ve seen you planning to leave the Shire for ages but you won’t escape so easily.’

Frodo: ‘ Does the whole Shire know? But I have to go. It cannot be helped. As friends, help me and do not hinder me.’ Cut to Pippin, Merry and Sam.

Pippin: ‘We know you must go so Merry and I are coming too. Sam is a stout fellow who would jump down a dragon’s throat for you if he didn’t trip over his feet.’

Cut to Frodo, touched: ‘ My dear hobbits! I cannot allow it. Understand that this is no treasure hunt like Bilbo’s. I fly from peril into deadlier peril.’

Cut to Merry: ‘We know. The Ring is no laughing matter but we will help you against the Enemy.’

Brief cut to Frodo, looking around the group: ‘ Ring?’

Cut back to Merry: ‘We know about Bilbo’s Ring. I saw him pop it on once to avoid Lobelia coming down the lane. You don’t forget seeing Bilbo disappear in front of your eyes. When our spy told us Gandalf’s plans, we decided you needed help.’

Brief cut back to Frodo: ‘Spy?’ Cut to the group.

Merry: ‘Step forward.’ as he pats an awkward Sam on the back.

Brief cut to Frodo again: ‘Sam?’ Cut back to the whole group.

Sam: ‘Begging your pardon, Mr Frodo but Gandalf said, ”Take someone you can trust”. ‘

Frodo: ‘But can I trust anyone?’ Sam looks miserable. Merry puts his hand on Sam’s shoulder.

Merry: ’It depends on what you want. You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone. We are your friends. So that’s it! We are horribly afraid too but we are coming with you.’ Merry and Pippin fold their arms.

Sam: ‘After all, Gildor did tell you to take those who were willing. I heard him say so.’

Cut to Frodo, misty eyed: ’I will never believe you are sleeping again and will kick you to make sure. You are all a set of deceitful scoundrels but bless you, I give in. I am happier than I have felt for a long time. I had dreaded saying farewell to you. (he pauses) Now Merry, how soon can we set out?’

Cut to Merry: ‘We have ponies ready and stores packed so we could leave in an hour. Those Riders with their great horses could be here before long but only if they find out where we are. Buckland’s guards at the bridge couldn’t hold off a really fierce attack.’

Cut to Frodo looking at the ground as he thinks: ‘ I will start after a short rest but I cannot go by the East Road. It will be watched and patrolled. Someone has to stay to tell Gandalf – I hope he arrives soon.’ Cut to Fatty and Merry.

Fatty: ‘But the road is the only way around the Old Forest and beyond that are the haunted Barrow-Downs.’

Merry: ‘And the Old Forest is the only way to avoid the road, Fatty. We Brandybucks have ventured in there during daylight.'

Fatty: ‘The stories about the Old Forest give me nightmares. Let me stay behind to tell Gandalf.’

Merry, rising to usher the group to a door: ‘Go get some rest then and I will call you for an early start.’
Fade to the outside of Crickhollow in the darkness. We hear the hoofbeats of several horses.
Cut to Fatty standing in the hallway before the door. He opens it a fraction. Cut to a view through the opening to three riderless horses outside the boundary. We hear his indrawn breath and the sudden sound of a pounding heartbeat. Cut to Fatty closing and bolting the door. We hear him whimpering in fear. He turns to run to the door at the end of the hallway.
He cries to himself over and over: ‘No, no, not me! I don’t have it! I don’t have it!’ He runs out of the back door and into the night.
Cut to black and the closing credits.

Rough estimate for the whole episode, 28 minutes 30 seconds.
Last edited by ToshoftheWuffingas on Mon May 26, 2008 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

And continuing the story, here is the first instalment of episode four.

The front of the house at Crickhollow in darkness but with some dawn light in the sky. We hear a cock crow loudly. As a low thudding rhythm starts softly we see two formless black shapes slip across the front lawn and position themselves by the round shuttered windows. Then a third black figure moves more slowly and confidently to the front door. The rhythm gets louder and faster.

It pauses and a low chilling voice calls out: ‘Open in the Name of Mordor!’ There is a dull red flash and the door bursts apart. The rhythm resumes faster and louder as the camera cuts to Fatty’s face as he runs in the dark shrieking.
Fatty: ‘Not me, no, not me! I don’t have it! I don’t have it!’
Cut to silence and a dark entrance to a mossy, brick-arched tunnel. We hear a creaking metal gate sound that echoes and then a loud clang. We hear the sound of hoofs. The opening credits come up: JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Episode Four – The House of Tom Bombadil etc. A pony’s head appears followed by the rider, Merry. The camera pulls back and we see the other hobbits emerge from the tunnel.

Merry, turning in the saddle to face the others: ‘You have left the Shire completely now. Most of the bogey-stories about the Old Forest aren’t true but it is a queer place. The trees here are almost alive and we think they talk to each other at night. It is not a friendly place. The strangest parts of the whole forest are around the Withywindle River. There are beings there….’ We hear horns blowing in the distance then a louder single horn blowing out harsh single blasts. Merry pulls his pony around and the others look leftwards too.
Merry: ‘That is the great horn of Buckland! It has not been sounded for a hundred years! Fear! Fire! Foe! it calls out.’ Looking grim, Merry leads the others on towards the camera.
Cut to the three Black Riders rushing out of Crickhollow in the grey dawn, tossing clothes and small smashed boxes on the path. Cut to the three on horseback galloping along a road, hobbits coming out with burning torches behind them. Cut to a shattered gate near a stone bridge, some hobbits blowing horns, others lying in the road.
Fade to the hobbits riding their ponies through dark entangled woodland. They look around nervously.
Frodo starts to sing:
’ O Wanderers in the shadowed land
despair not! For though dark they stand
All woods there be must end at last
And see the open sun go past.’
As the song is sung, cut to the top of a silver and yellow-leafed willow. As the words ‘must end at last’ the branches shudder and quiver. We hear the sound of a buzzing like bees in a hive. Cut to another tree rustling then cut to another. Cut back to the hobbits and a thin branch whips across Frodo’s face.

Merry: ‘They didn’t like that song about woods ending. ( they ride on a little) There should have been a path here but it seems to have shifted. I think we are lost already’
Cut to several shots of Arthur Rackham-like grotesque and contorted trees with hollows like eyes. The images move towards the camera at awkward angles. Trees with bracket fungus on them and black rotting hollows.
Cut to Merry looking upwards a little: ‘That hilltop is bare; it should give us a view.’
Cut to the ponies riding up to the open top of a small hill. As they halt the camera pans around the forest, golden and brown in the autumn sun. We see ribbons of mist.
Cut to Merry, gesturing:’ East of the Forest are the haunted downs where the Barrow-wights walk. No one dares go there after dark. South is the valley of the Withywindle river, the queerest part of the whole forest. We have to head north out of the forest and meet the road again. I don’t think it is far.’
Cut to the hobbits descending the hill and entering the trees again. Cut to them riding up to a steep bank inside the wood.
Merry: ’Every time we try to strike north the path turns east and south.’ A heavy branch falls behind them. Cut to the willow branches again waving as if someone strong is shaking them and the sound of buzzing. We hear Merry say: ‘ Every turn we make is leading us towards the Withywindle.’

Cut to an extreme close-up of curly brown hair. It turns to reveal a single intense blue eye, looking into camera.
Cut to the hobbits by a stream. Merry: ‘At last a clear path!’
Cut to the hobbits leading their ponies along a narrow path bordered by rushes. Cut to a path overgrown by brambles. We see the brambles unwind themselves from the path to make it clear and we hear a noisy rustling. Cut back to the hobbits plodding and yawning. We hear a faint buzzing.
Merry: ‘It’s no good, we started at night-time and I am so sleepy.'

Pippin, nodding: ‘ We must stop for a nap.’

Frodo, looking around uneasily: ‘I think we should get clear of this forest first.’
Cut to the group in front of an enormous willow bole, perhaps ten foot from side to side, split and hollowed with massive roots snaking in all directions. Curtains of yellow-leafed branches hang down. The buzzing is very loud now. Merry and Pippin drop the ponies’ reins and go to sit down against the trunk. The camera follows Frodo as he goes around the tree, clambering over roots and leaning over a root to splash his face from dark water.
Cut to a close-up of a line of footprints in mud. One by one the footprints smooth over and disappear. We hear a loud splashing and rustling again.

Cut to a close-up of Sam suppressing a yawn and muttering to himself: ‘I don’t like this. It ain’t natural. I don’t like this great big tree either. Why is it singing to us about sleep? Oh darn it, the ponies are wandering off now.’ He starts to go back then stops as we hear a splash then a muffled yelp of fright. Sam starts to run back. Cut to him hauling Frodo out of the water spluttering and coughing.

Frodo: ‘Sam, that tree threw me in the water and was holding me down!’ As he finishes we hear calls for help and they run around the tree. Cut to the scene again in front of the tree. The hollows are closed and from a tall calloused split Merry’s legs are waving wildly.

Pippin’s muffled voice: ’Help me, I am trapped inside the tree!’
Frodo and Sam get either side of Merry and pull at the crack. They stop and look at each other.

Sam growls: ‘I’ll light a fire to give this tree something to reckon with and if that doesn’t work I’ll have it down even if I have to gnaw it.’
Two or three quick cuts of Sam striking a flint on to leaves and a small fire springing up.
Cut back again to the front of the tree, smoke drifting past.

Merry: ‘Put it out! Put it out! He says he will nip me in two if you don’t.’
The branches move more violently, the tree creaks and roars as if a strong wind is blowing and the buzzing becomes more high pitched. Yellow leaves whirl around in the air. Sam kicks out the fire and goes around the side then returns carrying water in his bag-like hat and pours it on the fire. Sam and Frodo look around helplessly then Frodo runs off crying: ‘Help us someone, help us!’
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Next instalment. If people are reading this and enjoying it let me know from time to time.

Cut to an indistinct figure moving noisily through a reedbed. We see a hat above the reeds. We start to hear Bombadil's song:
'Hey dol! Merry dol! Ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! Hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!
Down along under Hill, shining in the sunlight,
Waiting on the doorstep for the cold starlight,
There my pretty lady is, River-woman's daughter,
Slender as the willow wand, clearer than the water.'

( the only tune that I have thought of is the first three lines of 'The Drunken Sailor' but it is not ideal - more ideas are welcome)

Cut back to Frodo as the song continues. The song is sung sotto voce as if it is in Frodo's head. He has run into a clearing. He brushes leaves from his mouth and looks around as if trying to work out where the song is coming from. He half turns to run back then changes tack and runs blindly into Tom Bombadil. Bombadil finishes singing the last few words of his song then puts out one hand to stop Frodo and holds his other that has a pile of water lily flowers on a broad leaf up in the air out of Frodo's way.. Sam rushes up and stops speechless.

Frodo and Sam together: 'Help us, help us please!'
Tom then speaks in a chant-like beat, skipping around the pair, only stopping to say his name.

Tom:' Whoa there, steady there now my little fellows. Where be you a going to, puffing like a bellows? Don't you know who I am? I'm Tom Bombadil! Tom's in a hurry now, don't you spoil my lilies.'

Frodo and Sam speaking together again:
Frodo: 'My friends are caught in a willow tree!'
Sam; ' Master Merry's being squeezed by a crack!'

Tom carefully puts his lilies down then capers around them again before skipping down the path followed by Frodo and Sam. As he does so he continues his chant, his final words are delivered in front of the agitated willow in a booming echoing voice.

Tom: ' Old Man Willow then? That can soon be mended. I know the tune for him, Old Grey Willow Man. I'll sing his roots off, if he don't behave himself. I'll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.'
By now all we can see are Merry's feet (possibly echoing the sight of Pippin's feet after the Last Battle)
Tom picks up a stick and beating out the rhythm of his song against the trunk he puts his mouth to the crack and starts to hum to the beat. He then stands back, hands on hips: ' You let them out again, what be you a thinking?
Eat earth, dig deep, drink water, (with emphasis) Bombadil is talking!'
While Frodo and Sam pull Merry out by his feet, Pippin is ejected forcefully and rolls on the ground. The tree shudders, snapping up the cracks and falling silent and still. The hobbits look up at the tree in amazement then turn to look at Bombadil. He starts to dance around again clapping his hands.and chanting: 'Follow after me as quick as you are able. Goldberry is waiting, the table is all laden with yellow cream, honeycomb and white bread and butter.'
As he finishes he beckons and skips off round a corner in the path. The hobbits look at each other mystified. Pippin starts to follow Tom, mimicking his dance. Merry nudges Frodo in the ribs and they follow him too. Sam follows last of all leading the ponies.
More grotesque shapes of trees are seen in close-up as the light starts to fail. A tawny owl looks down.
Cut to a house on an open hill with a small cliff behind. There is a small waterfall and stream. The night is falling but yellow light streams out of the windows. As we see the house we hear the distant voice of Bombadil getting closer:
' Tom's going on ahead, candles for to kindle. Out of the window panes light will twinkle yellow. Fear no alder black, heed no hoary willow. Fear neither root nor bough, Tom's gone on before you.'
As the song is finishing he approaches the door. It spills yellow light and his shadow is magnified on to the grass. A moment later the hobbits trudge up the hill, Sam still at the back leading the ponies.
Cut to their faces as they approach the threshold, lit from the light within. We start to hear Goldberry's song. (it should be a lilting folk tune sung in a pure high voice like say, Joan Baez)
'Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
of sun, stars,moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather.
Light on the budding leaf, dew on the feather.
Wind on the open hill, bells on the heather,
Reeds by the shady pool, lilies on the water,
Old Tom Bombadil and the River-daughter.'
Cut as the song is singing to Frodo's grubby face brilliantly lit as he looks around
Cut as the song continues to a low long wood beamed room filled with lamps and candles giving out a great golden light. The camera pans a little and we see Goldberry sitting in a tall wicker chair, her wavy golden hair flowing down over her shoulders, dressed in a shimmering silver and green dress. About her feet are low bowls filled with water lily flowers. Ripples of light cross both Goldberry and the walls behind. As she finishes her song she stands and runs lightly between the bowls. Cut to the group of muddy cloaked hobbits looking up at her as she goes behind them to close the door and block it with her arms out. She doesn't talk in Bombadil's chant:
'I am Goldberry, daughter of the River. Fear nothing, for now you are in the house of Tom Bombadil.'

Frodo steps towards her to the looks of his fellows. He speaks haltingly as if he is remembering some lines: 'O slender as a willow wand, o clearer than clear water,
O reed by the living pool, Fair River-daughter.' He looks pleased with himself then clams up in embarrassment.

Goldberry, laughing gently: ' The folk of the Shire are not known for their sweet tongues but I see you are an elf-friend. Wait now for the Master, he is tending to your ponies. Come, wash your weary faces and comb out your tangles (as she ruffles Merry's hair)'
Cut to the hobbits around a table following Goldberry with their eyes as she flits back and forth putting plates and dishes of food out. The hobbits are without their cloaks and are looking cleaner and neater. We hear Bombadil derry dolling somewhere.

Frodo: 'Fair lady, who is Tom Bombadil?'

Goldberry pauses and looks gravely at him: 'He is.' A brief cut to Frodo looking puzzled.
Cut to Goldberry: 'He is Master of wood, water and hill.'

Frodo's voice: 'So this land belongs to him?'

Goldberry, frowning: 'No! That is too heavy a burden for any soul. All living creatures belong to themselves. Tom Bombadil is Master.'
Cut to Tom entering in fresh clothes with a garland of red and golden autumn leaves on his head. He takes Goldberry's hand.

Tom: ' Here's my pretty lady. Is the supper ready?' Goldberry gestures at the table.
Cut to the hobbits in a dimmed room with beds. Goldberry stands within an open doorway holding a candle.

Goldberry: 'Fear no nightly noises, nothing passes door and windows here save moon and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.'
Cut to Frodo's face asleep. We hear the sound of a galloping horse. He opens his eyes wide and the sound disappears. His eyes close sleepily and he turns over.
Last edited by ToshoftheWuffingas on Mon May 26, 2008 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Athrabeth »

If people are reading this and enjoying it let me know from time to time.
Tosh, I've just caught up with the last few installments, and I'm dutifully reporting that I'm enjoying this serialization immensely. You're being remarkably faithful to the book, but at the same time, have streamlined what I think many people consider the most plodding segment of the tale into a very effective rendering of the really essential elements of plot and character development. I love that you've included little details like Frodo speaking of his youthful trespasses of Farmer Maggot's land without getting "bogged down" in the backstory.

This is really exceptional work, Tosh. :love: Thanks so much for continuing to share it with us.

Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

"Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles flew ever to and from his halls; and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world."
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Well, if you are going to say nice things about it I shall have to post another instalment. :P It's only fair anyway because HoF is running a little behind. Normally I try to space out postings because I fear too much at once is indigestible. As I have said before, feel free to make criticisms.

This is the final part of episode four.

Cut to a view of Tom's house in daylight, everywhere grey with rain. A gentle sound of rainfall is heard and a branch framing the shot drips steadily.
Cut inside to Pippin standing on a rush covered chair looking out of a window. He looks back over his shoulder: ‘It’s too wet to travel today isn’t it?’ He raises his eyebrows hopefully.
Cut to Bombadil coming in the doorway. The camera pans and follows him to seats by the fireplace. He beckons and the hobbits come into shot and start to sit on chairs or lie down looking up at him.

Tom: ‘Too wet for hobbit folk, rest while you are able. It’s a good day for long tales so Tom will start the talking.’
The voices soften as the camera pulls back from the group round the fire. Fade to a view of the house in the rain and the camera pans round to the waterfall and stream and then to the edge of the Forest. The screen is vignetted softly to indicate we are within Bombadil’s story. A succession of cuts shows us the beauty of the forest in sunlight and moonlight, a badger, the pools and bogs of the river, Old Man Willow is shown in all his size. Bombadil is seen punting down a river. We see deer and woodpeckers and owls. Slowly Bombadil’s face fades in again with Pippin and Sam looking up at him, still in silence. Fade to the stream by his house again and the camera moves out over downlands. We see jagged and broken stone circles black in silhouette. Then long mounds then a scene of a black entrance to a Barrow. The camera moves towards the entrance then a very brief shot of a prone skeletal ribcage with a thick gold chain glinting on the bones. Cut immediately to Pippin and Sam looking scared.

Pippin: ‘You mean the Barrow-wights?’
Fade again to a small sailing boat cutting through sea-waves. The men on board look out to the horizon. Some have coloured tunics – white, blue, brown and grey. We see them standing on a quay, each holding a staff, the white garbed one in front, looking around them. Cut to a rocky landscape and in the distance a column of riders, the sun glinting on helmets and spears.
Cut to a fine-featured face, lit in a soft dusk by twilight. The eyes face the sky and are closed. We hear bubbling water. The eyes open and as the camera pulls back the figure raises his shoulders off the ground and looks up at the sky. His shoulders are bare. The camera pulls back a little more and we see other tastefully naked figures lift themselves and look up at the sky.
Cut to the myriad stars in the sky that start to wheel and the turning stars fade into Bombadil’s face. His eyes are closed and the fire flickers on his face. The room is now dark.
Cut to the whole group.

Frodo: ‘Who are you Master?’ Tom opens his eyes.

Tom: ‘Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer.’ (He leans forward towards Frodo and says gently but deliberately)’Tell me who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?’ ( He sits back again) ‘Eldest, that’s what I am. Mark my words, Tom was here before the rivers and the trees, before the first raindrop and the first acorn. He was here before the kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from outside.’
Tom pauses then more cheerfully: ‘ Now show me this precious Ring!’
Cut to a view of Bombadil’s outstretched hand and Frodo’s face beyond it. A small hand places the Ring in the centre of Tom’s palm.
Cut to Tom again. He puts the Ring against his eye and we get a grotesque magnified blue eye looking through it. Next he puts it on the tip of his little finger and looks knowingly at Frodo. He takes it off and spins it in the air like a coin. The camera catches its rise in slow motion, glinting and it vanishes.
Cut to Frodo gasping in sudden fear. He is handed back the Ring. Frodo looks suspiciously at the Ring and then at Bombadil. Trying to be surreptitious he drops his hands to his lap and he puts it on his finger. Immediately he vanishes. Merry turns to say something to him and exclaims in surprise.
Cut back to a medium shot of Bombadil who turns and looks in an empty part of the room.

Tom: ‘Where be you a going? Tom’s not as blind as that yet. Take off your golden ring. Your hand’s more fair without it.’
Frodo suddenly reappears in the corner of the room and looking abashed goes to return. Tom stands and pats him on the shoulder then shepherds the hobbits to a doorway, getting a candle as he does so. The scene fades out.
Cut to the grass in front of the house in the daylight. We see the group of hobbits on their ponies with Tom and Goldberry Pippin is blowing into his hands.
Goldberry: ‘ Keep north towards the road while the sun still shines. The weather changes quickly here. Do not venture on to the Barrow-downs.’

Tom, fondling a pony’s muzzle: ‘Don’t go meddling with old stone or cold wights or prying in their houses unless you be strong folk with hearts that never falter.’

Goldberry: ‘A blessing on your footsteps. Farewell elf-friend, it was a merry meeting.’
Cut to a medium shot of the ponies descending the hill and the hobbits turning and waving. Goldberry by the house raises her arms and the sun catches her hair blowing from her shoulders.
Cut to long shots of the hobbits climbing and going down rolling slopes of short grassland bare of trees. In the first shot we can still see the line of the forest.
Cut to the hobbits appearing on the crest of a slope. They shade their eyes from the sun with their left hands.

Merry points straight ahead. ‘I think that is the line of the road. It is getting late but we should be on it before dark.’
Cut to the hobbits in line, the light is going and the scene is grey.

Frodo, looking to his right: ‘ There is a mist coming off the Barrow downs though. We should hurry’
Cut to a view from behind as we see them ride down a slope towards a low mist blowing from their right.
Cut to a close-up of Merry, his face and hair wet from the mist: ‘I think we are still facing north.’
Cut to a view of the ponies in thick mist. The camera pans around and we see tall jagged standing stones curving into the mist. Cut to Frodo riding towards the camera, the pony’s head drooping. He suddenly sees he is passing between the shadows of two great stones.

Frodo: ‘Sam? Merry? Pippin? Are you there? Can you hear me? Sam?
Cut to night-time and Frodo riding alone in the dark, a wind howling mournfully and the mist blown away.

Frodo, shouting: ‘Merry, Sam, Help! Anybody!
Distantly we hear: ‘Hoy Frodo, Frodo. Hoy!
Then ‘Oh no! Help, help! Ooooohh!’ Frodo kicks his pony forward.
Cut to the silhouette of a mound and Frodo’s pony walking up a long hill towards it. Cut to the dark entrance that we saw in Bombadil’s tale, the camera moves slowly towards it. Cut to Frodo on his pony and the pony rears tumbling Frodo off. Cut to Frodo looking up from the ground. His eyes in his shadowed face open wide. Cut to a black shadowed figure blocking out the sky, two pale lights within the shape of its head.

A voice says; ‘I am here and I am waiting for you.’
The screen goes black and the closing credits run.

Approximate estimated time for the whole episode: 27 minutes.
I am trying to end episodes just under the half hour. If it goes over I get the feel that too much is crammed in. One should have enough space to linger in a few shots.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Tosh, I would post criticisms, if I had any. On the whole, I really think that you've got the balance between as close adherance to the source as possible on the one hand, and the needs of the medium on the other.

The only possible niggle that I would make is that I personally miss Frodo's distress at not saying farewell to Goldberry, but I think the way that you have it compressed probably makes more sense.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Bombadil was quite difficult to get right, at least to my own satisfaction. It is the part of the story that people have the most difficulty with; that is, after the cosy start. I hope I did him justice. Are people getting a strong enough visual sense or should I be more descriptive? This is meant to be a cinematic treatment.
I didn't commit myself to covering every little incident but so far they mostly seem to be finding their way in. I like to fit the memorable lines in but have regretfully had to drop some or amend them.
Also, I am trying to get the emotions right.
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Post by Athrabeth »

I thought it was interesting that you decided to handle Tom's stories that go "back to the beginning" entirely as a series of visuals. I just had a look at that part of the chapter, and see that very little of the backward journey through time is conveyed in Tom's own voice. Instead, Tolkien pretty much uses the literary equivalent of a series of visuals. 8) When I came back and read your adaptation, I could really understand why you decided on this approach. I think with the right cinematographer (and musical score), it could be a stunningly effective montage.
The camera pulls back a little more and we see other tastefully naked figures lift themselves and look up at the sky.
I'm assuming these tastefully naked figures will all have pointed ears? :D An altogether fitting (and lovely) rendering of the Elves awakening beside Cuiviénen. It would be nice if they had a bit of that "glow" to them that you (and Tolkien) gave to Gildor's company! :love:

One question: Why did you decide not to include Frodo's dream/vision of "the far green country"?

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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

That's a good question, but the obvious follow-up question would be: how would you include it?
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Yes, it was the awakening. The nakedness was tasteful because it was about innocence not sexuality. (The bathtub nakedness was about ease with one's body and the horse-play that men indulge in sometimes when naked.)
I'm treading very carefully among the highest experts here but didn't Gildor's glow come from the light of the trees?
I could have skipped Tom's story without hurting the course of the narrative too much but the change of pace seemed appropriate and I could use it to foreshadow the Barrow-downs. The treatment I used gave a dream-like quality to that day at Bombadil's (I hope).The column of warriors isn't a particular incident by the way, just something that could have fitted anywhere in the Silmarillion. :D
As to Frodo's dream, I thought it would take people out of the story too much. It is only explicable at the very end. There are other ways to introduce it. At a later point he could recollect the dream when talking to Sam or someone.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Now for the start of Episode Five. This will be the last nakedness for quite a while so make the most of it :)

Episode Five: Strider

The camera travels over dark slopes in the night to a broken and jagged stone circle. A bitter wind whines endlessly. Cut to the black outline of a mound on the skyline. Cut to the black entrance of a Barrow that we saw in Tom’s story. The opening credits start; JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Episode Five – Strider. As the credits run the camera approaches the entrance until the darkness fills the screen. Cut to Frodo lying on a slab, his hands crossed on his breast, eyes closed. There is utter silence. A greenish pale white light illuminates the scene. Frodo’s eyes open wide suddenly. His hand gropes down over his pocket to check if he still has the Ring. He raises his head a little. Cut to a medium shot that shows him and a long slab opposite him. Merry, Pippin and Sam lie on the long slab facing him with their eyes closed. They are clothed in long white robes and are bedecked with chains and rings that look grey in the dim light. More treasure and weapons are piled up on the ground between them. A brief cut to a close-up of a long thin naked sword resting with its edge across the throats of the three hobbits. Cut to a view of Frodo’s face from above as he settles back. He closes his eyes then opens them again looking beyond the camera.

Frodo: ‘ I have failed before I have begun. I led my friends to their deaths and I am trapped here forever by the spells of a barrow-wight. (a pause) But I might escape. I still have the Ring. I would have to leave my friends behind but after all, Gandalf would understand.’
His eyes flicker to one side as a low dreary murmuring starts and turns into a dirge. Frodo closes his eyes again and clamps his hands over his ears.
'Cold be hand and heart and bone.
And cold be sleep under stone.
Never more to wake on stony bed,
never, until the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die
And still on gold here let them lie
Till the dark Lord lifts his hand
Over dead sea and withered land.’
When the chant finishes Frodo opens his eyes and uncovers his ears. Distantly we hear Bilbo’s kindly voice and chuckles. As he speaks the grim scene fades to a washed out scene of Bilbo and a young Frodo rambling between gorse bushes in full golden flower.

Bilbo: ‘ There is only one Road, Frodo. It is like a great river and its springs start at every doorstep. It’s a dangerous business – you step into the road and there is no knowing where you might be swept to. This very path leads to Mirkwood and it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even worse places.’ Bilbo chuckles again.
The scene fades back to Frodo’s face from above, now with an affectionate smile. Then his lips stiffen in determination. We hear a dry scratching, scraping sound. Cut to the medium view of the whole group. Frodo raises himself on one elbow. Beyond the three hobbits we see an arm groping around a wall, searching blindly for the hilt of the sword across the hobbits’ throat. In one movement Frodo rolls off the slab and searches desperately among the weapons on the ground. Picking up a curved blade he hacks repeatedly at the arm. There is an animal snarl, the screen turns completely black and we hear a clatter of shattered metal falling. We hear Frodo’s laboured breathing. The blackness continues for about 4 or 5 seconds then another animal snarl. Then in a cracked dry spindly voice he starts: ‘ Ho Tom Bombadil!’ Then with more strength and vigour, each time Tom’s name is used Frodo voice gains strength.:
‘Ho Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, hearken now and hear us!
Come Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!’
The screen remains dark and we hear Frodo’s breathing.

Then, distantly but getting louder:
Tom: ‘ Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
Bright blue his jacket is and his boots are yellow.’
A grinding rumbling noise then the chamber is flooded with sunlight and the silhouette of Tom and his feathered hat is seen in the doorway. He runs in and claps his hands to a beat:
‘Get out you old wight! Vanish in the sunlight.
Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand forever shut, till the world is mended!’
A sad sigh fades away to nothing. Tom goes up to a hand wriggling on the ground and stamps on it a few times. As he does so Frodo lifts Pippin off the slab and goes to carry him outside. Cut to Frodo with Pippin and Sam on the sunny grass outside as Tom carries Merry out and lays him down too. Cut to Tom bringing out armfuls of treasure and scattering it on the grass as Frodo rubs Pippin’s hands vigorously. Tom comes over and raises his arms above the prone hobbits.

Tom: ‘Wake up my merry lads, wake and hear me calling.
Warm now be heart and limb, the cold stone is fallen.’
They stir and rise up stiffly then point to each other’s strange clothes and jewellery.

Merry: ‘ What in the name of wonder? (he holds his side) Ah! I remember! The men of Carn Dum came in the night. I can feel the spear in my heart! (He gulps for breath a few times) No, no, it must have been a dream! What happened to you Frodo?’

Frodo: ‘I do not wish to talk about it. We should go on and leave this place.’

Sam, tugging at his gown and pulling off his jewels and throwing them among the rest of the treasure on the grass: ‘Like this? Where are our proper clothes?’

Tom, scattering another armful of treasure: ‘Clothes are but little loss, cast off these cold rags. Run naked on the grass. Let the warm sunlight heat heart and limb.’ Then he runs off whistling and calling: ‘Swish-tail! Bumpkin!’
Sam pulls off the tunic over his head, balls it up and throws it away as far as he can. He is naked now and the others laugh at him then start to do the same. Cut to the naked hobbits rolling down the grass slope laughing and shouting. Cut to Tom’s hat and then figure appearing over a crest. He is leading the ponies back together with a larger unladen pony. Cut to Tom’s back as he pulls clothes from the packs and tosses them over his shoulder. Cut to the hobbits, now dressed, sitting in a circle eating while Tom in the distance searches through the treasure in the grass. He approaches holding four small swords up in the air. As he comes up to the hobbits we see a deep sky blue brooch pinned to his hat.

Tom: ‘Knives are as long as swords for hobbits. If you go walking to the east and south you will need sharp blades. (he looks at the swords) Men of Westernesse made these before they fell to the Witch-King. Few now remain to wander the Northern wild-lands; the forgotten sons of kings.’
The hobbits stand up soberly. Tom separates one sword out and examines it carefully. He holds it to his ear as if he were listening. Then he looks at each hobbit in turn. He returns to Merry and gives him the sword and grasps his shoulder. Then he hands out the others. The hobbits look at each other uneasily.

Pippin: ’I never thought our adventures would mean swords and fighting!’
Cut to a view from over Merry’s shoulder. He draws out a golden coloured, leaf shaped blade with a wickedly sharp point. Spirals run up the blade. We faintly hear the sound of horns blowing. Merry slides the blade back in and the sound of the horns stops.
(If I hear that terrible hackneyed metallic scraping of a sword being drawn I will personally boot the sound effects team off the production! As an owner of swords, this is a niggle of mine.)
Cut to the group trotting over grassland. Cut to the group on a clear roadway. Behind them we see a line of trees beside the road. Tom’s pony is facing away and he is about to leave them He turns in the saddle to talk to them and points along the road.

Tom: ‘Four miles along the road, then you’ll be in Bree. Good speed my merry friends and ride to meet your fortune.’ He trots off.

Sam: ‘ He was a caution and no mistake. Now, where do we sleep in this place, Bree?’
As Merry replies we see a hooded and cloaked figure emerge from behind a tree and move cautiously along to get closer to the hobbits. They are unaware of him.

Merry: ‘There are Big Folk as well as hobbits living in Bree. Barliman Butterbur at The Prancing Pony will take good care of us.’

Frodo: ‘ However good this Prancing Pony is, remember we are out of the Shire now. My name must be Underhill, not Baggins.’
Cut to the ponies trotting into the distance and well behind, the dark figure loping lightly after them.

Cut to a windswept narrow defile between low cliffs. The scene is almost black and white and drear. Three mounted Black Riders guard the path. Behind them a dismounted Rider with his horse by him stands before a mounted Rider much taller than the others.

We hear a deep sepulchral voice: ‘Here on the road to the south, the rat will not escape us. The Ring must not get to the doomed ruler of Gondor nor the wizard at Orthanc. When the rat is seen at Bree I have servants there who will deliver it to me with its throat cut.’
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

A short instalment today. I have been splitting up each episode into three parts so the reading doesn't get too tedious but natural pauses aren't always evenly spaced.

Cut to the hobbits inside the substantial gate of Bree, looking about them. The gatekeeper is securing the gate. When he finishes he turns and looks suspiciously at the hobbits and behind him a dark figure slips over the gate and runs off to the side.

Frodo: ‘Do you think Gandalf is waiting for us here?’

Sam: ‘I just hope they don’t they don’t make us climb stairs and sleep up in the air.’
Cut to a sign above an archway of a white prancing pony as the hobbits take their ponies in under it. We hear singing, cheering and applause.
Cut to Frodo staggering as a fat man carrying a tray of mugs above Frodo’s head bustles into him from a doorway.

Butterbur: ‘ Beg pardon little master. What may you be wanting?’

Frodo, gesturing: ‘ Stabling for our ponies and food and lodgings for four hobbits if you please.’

Butterbur: ‘ You are from the Shire by your voice. Now that reminds me of something…..What are your names?’

Frodo: ‘Took, Brandybuck, Gamgee and er..Underhill.’

Butterbur, shaking his head: ‘ There, it will come back to me. Nob! Nob! I’m so rushed off my feet. (a hobbit appears and winks at the others) Stables for their ponies first then get them a good bite to eat in one of the parlours and then find them beds in a nice hobbit room on the ground floor. (Nob nods at them and runs off. Shouts are heard from within.) Now excuse me, I’m that busy. Oh, you are welcome to meet everyone in the common room after you’ve had a bite to eat.’ He bustles off to more impatient shouts.
Cut to a loud full common room wreathed in pipe smoke. The camera pans across groups of men, dwarves and hobbits talking and ends at Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry sitting at a table. They no longer have their cloaks or packs.

Frodo: ‘There is no sign of Gandalf. What has happened to him?’

Merry: ‘ I’ll walk off some of Butterbur’s excellent food and take a look around Bree. I may discover some news. Be a good fellow Pippin and get some mugs filled.’ He rises.
Cut to Frodo sitting alone trying to look inconspicuous and just looking uncomfortable. He looks one way. A brief cut to Pippin and Sam holding three mugs between them talking to a group of hobbits. He looks the other way. Cut to a solitary cloaked hooded figure sitting in a corner clearly staring at him. Cut to Frodo looking away trying to avoid the gaze and his eyes drifting back. He reaches out his arm and Butterbur appears in view, bending down to hear Frodo in the noise.

Frodo: ‘ Who is that dark hooded man who is staring at me?’

Butterbur looks sideways. ‘I don’t rightly know for sure. He appears from time to time. He is one of those rangers out of the wild, always wandering about on secret business. He gets called Strider, rushing about on his long legs. You want to keep away from him. Oh, I’m needed again. I have remembered something. Might I have a private word with you later?’ He rushes off.
Cut to the Ranger. He pats the empty bench beside him and points discreetly at Frodo and the bench.
Cut to Frodo approaching him carefully, looking tiny against him. The Ranger pulls his hood back. His hair is dark and flecked with grey. He looks a harsh man. The camera pulls in slightly.

Strider: ‘This is not the Shire. Find a way to stop your friends from talking so free-like.’

Cut to Pippin in a circle of hobbits: ‘ Who has heard about Bilbo Baggins’ firework party?’
Cut back to Frodo waving and mouthing a warning, looking back at Strider then going into the centre of the room. Cut to him climbing up over a chair on to a table. There are calls of: ‘A dance! A song!’ and cheers. Frodo’s hands go into his pockets and a pipe starts up a jaunty tune. Frodo grins and starts tapping his foot in time to the beat:
‘There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill.
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
One night to drink his fill.

Frodo taps his foot to the beat for a moment as there are shouts of. ‘That’ll be the Pony!’ and cheers.

‘The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five stringed fiddle
and up and down he runs his bow
now squeaking high, now purring low
now sawing in the middle.

Frodo pauses again while the crowd contributes sounds of cats and fiddles.

Cut to five Black Riders in a row. The one in the centre is noticeably taller. The colours of the scene turn gradually to grey, black or dun brown.
The sepulchral voice: ‘It is within our grasp! Uncloak your powers at last!’
The Rider on the left raises an arm: ‘One Ring to rule them ‘
The next raises an arm: ‘One Ring to find them.’
The fourth Rider raises his arm: ‘One Ring to bring them all.’
Then the fifth: ‘and in the darkness bind them.’
The central Rider raises both arms and they chant together:
‘In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.’
Dull flickering lights spring up within their hoods. They ride to camera.

Cut to Frodo:
‘With a ping and a pong the fiddle sticks broke!
The cow jumped over the moon
And the little dog laughed to see such fun
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
With the silver Sunday spoon!’
Frodo steps to one side then tumbles off the table with a clatter and vanishes. First there is a silence then a few muttered questions. Cut to a unpleasant looking man looking over his shoulder as he leaves the room. Cut to Strider. Frodo appears just as suddenly by his side.

Strider doesn’t react at first then turns towards Frodo: ‘You’ve put your foot in it…or should I say finger, Mr….Baggins? And I want a quiet word with you later.’

Close-up of Frodo’s face looking up warily: ‘ I don’t know what you mean but very well. I will see you later.'
(he whispers to himself) 'How many more want to speak to me?’
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

And here is the final part of Episode Five.

Cut to the hobbits filing into a room. It has a chest along a wall with a large jug and a joint of ham. Their packs are on the floor. Strider enters the room behind Pippin. They all turn in alarm, looking up at him.

Pippin: ‘Who are you?’

Strider: ‘I am known as Strider and your friend here promised to talk to me. I have a price to ask though.’

Frodo, briskly: ‘ I have little money.’

Strider: ‘You can afford my price. It is this; you must take me with you until I wish to leave.’

Frodo: ‘I will do no such thing!’

Strider, looking a little pleased: ‘Outside Bree today I heard a hobbit tell his friends to call him Underhill not Baggins. Now I look for a Frodo Baggins who is bringing with him from the Shire a secret that concerns me and my friends.’
(Sam pushes between Frodo and Strider and Strider raises his hand to calm him.)
‘A Black Rider has been in Bree and others lie in wait for you on the South Road. Butterbur stopped me warning you earlier. He doesn’t trust rascally looking vagabonds like me. More Riders are coming, I know their number, I know who they are. Did you see Bill Ferny leave after your prank? He and others in Bree would sell news of you or even worse.’

Frodo: ‘Why should I trust you?’

Strider: ‘ Rough as I look, I am older than you think. I know all the lands between here and the Misty Mountains. Take me as your guide. You will have to leave the Road but you will not get far. They will come upon you in the wild, in some dark lonely place where there is no help. Do you wish that? They are terrible!’
(He looks into the distance for a moment reliving past events. He comes to himself again and shakes his head.)
‘You do not fear them enough yet. I can take you by secret paths to your destination. Will you have me?’ Frodo look at him silently. Sam puts his hands on his hips and turns to Frodo.

Sam: ‘ With your leave, sir, I’d say no. He says take care and I say start with him. He lives in the wild and no good ever came out of there. He knows something, that’s plain. He is the one who could lead us to a dark place.’ Strider looks keenly at Frodo.

Frodo, slowly: ‘No. You are not as you choose to look. Already your voice has changed. What do you know of my business?’
A knock and Butterbur comes in. Strider withdraws to a corner.

Butterbur, fidgetting with his apron: ‘Indeed, I’m sorry but I’m a busy man and one thing drives out another. You see I was asked to look out for a hobbit named Mr Baggins.’

Frodo: ‘ So?’

Butterbur: ‘Who might be using the name of Underhill. He said it not me.’

Frodo: ‘He?’

Butterbur: ‘Gandalf. The one they say is a wizard so I hope he doesn’t turn my ale sour or anything but things can’t be undone.’

Frodo: ‘ Things?’

Butterbur: ‘Three months ago he walks in, all in a hurry. He asks me to send this (He flourishes a letter) to a Mr Baggins of the Shire. I put it down and begging your pardon things drove it right out of my mind.. He also said if Mr Baggins arrived here on his own he might be in trouble and be calling himself Underhill. I told him I’d do what I could to help. Now there have been strange men asking for Mr Baggins including that Strider – Oh!’
Strider moves forward. Butterbur looks him up and down as Frodo reaches up to take the letter from his hand.

Frodo: ‘He came here to offer help.’

Butterbur: ‘Well you know best but if I were in your plight I wouldn’t take up with a Ranger from the wild.’ Sam nods firmly.

Strider: ‘Is a fat innkeeper who only remembers his name when it is shouted at him all day the one to go into the wilds and keep them safe? Do you know where these Black Riders come from? (he drops his voice to a whisper) Mordor, if you know what that means.’

Butterbur sinks on to a chair: ‘Save us! But I will try to make amends. I’ll bar the doors tonight after your Mr Brandybuck gets back. I’ll send Nob to look for him now.’

Strider: ‘ We need the ponies ready before dawn.’ Rising and nodding Butterbur scurries out, calling for Nob.
Frodo inspects the seal then breaks it open. We hear Gandalf’s voice somewhat distantly speaking the words. Halfway through, the camera cuts to a view of the parchment in his hands bearing Elvish letters.

‘There has been bad news and I have gone to seek help. You must leave Bag End at once. Do not wait! I will follow you when I can. You may meet a man called Strider on the road, he is a friend of mine and will help you get to Rivendell. Make certain it is the real Strider. His true name is Aragorn.
‘All that is gold does not glitter
not all who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadow shall spring.
Renewed shall be sword that was broken,
the crownless again shall be king.’

As the words are spoken we hear rising chords.
Frodo hands the letter to his friends who read it silently in turn as Frodo and Strider speak.

Frodo: ‘You never said that you were Gandalf’s friend.’

Strider: ‘Would you have believed me? A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust. But I believe my looks are against me.’ He shrugs and smiles.

Frodo, still looking sceptical: ‘You never mentioned Gandalf until you saw this letter. You could have killed the real Strider.’

Strider: ‘If I had done so I could kill you too and seize the Ring! Now!’ He throws his cloak back and they see the hilt of a sword.

Sam: ‘ He is armed!’ The hobbits group together and Sam stands before Frodo and grasps his sword hilt.

Strider, quietly: ‘But I am the real Strider. I am Aragorn son of Arathorn and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’

Frodo, after a silence: ‘I took you for a friend before I saw the letter. I think a spy of the Enemy would seem fairer and feel fouler.’

Strider grunts in rueful laughter: ‘So I look foul and feel fair? (He draws his sword and the hobbits draw back. The blade has a sharp jagged break starting a foot or more up the blade.) ‘Renewed shall be blade that was broken. Not much use Sam, is it? Yet the time approaches when it will be reforged again.’ He holds the blade up then re-sheathes it. (No scraping sound at all!)
Strider : ‘ Now, when we leave Bree we shall be watched so we will have to slip off the road secretly after a mile or two. I will head first for Weathertop. It is a tall hill halfway between here and Rivendell. But what of Gandalf? Gildor told me he was missing.’

Frodo: ‘Do you think the Black Riders may have captured him?’

Strider: ‘ I am worried but I do not fear that. He is greater than you know. Only Sauron himself could hinder him.’

Pippin, yawning: ‘Riders or not, I must sleep. (Banging of doors and shouts are heard) Is that Merry’s voice at last?’ The door bursts open and Merry rushes in.

Merry: ‘ There’s a Black Rider here in Bree! When I was strolling about outside I suddenly felt that something horrible was creeping up on me. Then I saw a black shadow but it slipped away when a noisy group of Bree-landers walked past singing.’

Strider: ‘Where did it go?’ Merry turns and frowns.

Frodo: ‘Go on. This is a friend of Gandalf.’

Merry: ‘The black figure left Bree going towards the south road. I tried to follow it but by then it had vanished.’
Strider has been looking out of a shutter. As he hears this he turns in surprise.

Strider : ‘You tried to follow it? You have a stout heart but it was a foolish deed. We are no longer safe here. They will not come themselves for they prefer places of loneliness and darkness. Their power lies in terror and those in Bree who fear them may do some evil work on their behalf. I will go and speak with Butterbur.’
As Strider leaves the room Merry looks at him and then Frodo. Sam still scowls.
Fade slowly to Strider sitting in a dark room. He is looking through a narrowly opened shutter and smiling grimly. Cut to a view down towards the outside of a round window that is close to the ground. It is night-time. Two figures creep up to it from the shadows. Cut to four beds in a row in a dark room with sleeping figures in them. The shutters to the round window open quietly and first one and then a second figure squeezes into the room. Long knives appear and glint in the light. They are raised high then stabbed into two of the beds.
Cut to black and the closing credits of episode five.
Last edited by ToshoftheWuffingas on Mon May 26, 2008 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Great stuff, as always. A couple of comments and minor nitpicks, off the top of my head.
(a hobbit appears and winks at the others)
I would prefer to have Nob stare in undisguised surprise at the travelers from the Shire.
Now excuse me, I’m so busy.
I would prefer Butterbur to say "I'm that busy".
Cut to a solitary cloaked hooded figure sitting in a corner clearly staring at him

You need the pipe with the glowing coals. Indeed, this is one image that you should simply copy from PJ. He got it that right.

I really love the way you have the Riders reciting the Ring poem juxtaposed against Frodo reciting the silly cow over the moon song. Very inspired.
Frodo, still looking sceptical: ‘You never mentioned Gandalf until you saw this letter. You could have killed the real Strider.’
I would leave this with Sam, rather then giving it to Frodo to say.

I like that you end the episode with the cliffhanger. Of the dark figures stabbing into the beds. Oh hope you leave it vague as to who those dark figures are.

This is great fun, Tosh. :)
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Post by yovargas »

Indeed, this is one image that you should simply copy from PJ. He got it that right.
Not the first (or probably last) time I've had that thought.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

Thanks for the comments and nit-picks. I welcome them.
(a hobbit appears and winks at the others)

I would prefer to have Nob stare in undisguised surprise at the travelers from the Shire.
Well, Merry at least and the Bucklanders visit Bree and I have the hobbits nattering happily in the common room. I used that line to indicate that Nob knew all Butterbur's idiosyncrancies and was reassuring the visitors that he at least would take care of them. In the book, Butterbur does rely on him a lot. It also helped a little in presenting Butterbur as a comic figure.
Frodo, still looking sceptical: ‘You never mentioned Gandalf until you saw this letter. You could have killed the real Strider.’

I would leave this with Sam, rather then giving it to Frodo to say.
This was done to shorten and simplify the dialogue. I am also conscious that Frodo needs to be in charge and making the decisions. Sam has plenty of scepticism about Strider coming up in the next chapter. As to the pipe smoking, I have included some of it but have been reducing it a little bit in comparison to the book.

Indeed, this is one image that you should simply copy from PJ. He got it that right.
Not the first (or probably last) time I've had that thought.
I am trying to be scrupulous in not consciously copying either PJ or the BBC version and attempting to visualise it in a fresh way for the reader/'viewer's pleasure. Nor do I wish to just recite the book. I must admit at the start I felt that P J's Bag End and fireworks couldn't be bettered.
In the episode I am currently roughing out the fellowship are approaching Lothlórien so there's plenty still to come. Pity me when I start on the multi-narratives. I am already contemplating a new approach. * is mysterious*

I'm pleased that people enjoy it. So many people argued for a purist version but thought the length meant it wasn't feasible. I hope this is the next best thing.
Last edited by ToshoftheWuffingas on Sun May 25, 2008 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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