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Old 03-02-2008, 06:02 AM   #126
Illustrious Ulair
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
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davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Episode 4: The Ring Goes South


I love this episode. We begin in the peace & security of Rvendell & end in the darkness & horror of Moria. Along the way we pass through Hollin, suffer the attack of Wargs, struggle through the snows of Caradhras & face the long dark of Moria.

Again, so much of the power of the drama comes from the use of Tolkien's own words, both via narration & dialogue. I particularly liked the gathering of the Fellowship scene . We get the sense that Elrond is facing a truly painful decision (though as with the book we aren't told why, exactly, he feels the need to choose nine companions, rather than 5, 10, or a nice round dozen!). The scene between Frodo & Bilbo, and particularly Frodo's awkward expression of gratitude to Bilbo for everything he has done for him (clearly extending right back to his adopting him after his parents' deaths) is quite beautiful. You get the sense that he's never actually said thankyou before - well, not in words (typically English - as is Bilbo's response - telling him not to mention it), but he knows this may be the last time they get the chance to say it.

One thing I liked was the way Gandalf's determination to get the Company into Moria was constantly played up - he is clearly steering them that way, & grabbing every opportunity to get the idea into the forefront of their minds. He wants them all to go through the Mines - as if he is aware that his destiny lies that way.

Another thing: Gimli. A person rather than comic relief. He is full of old lore & the wisdom of his folk. He chants the Song of Durin - & Sam is enthralled. In fact, what I love about this adaptation is that all the characters are given the chance to reveal their characters (often via little scenes or asides & comments). Sam's little comments to Bill are nice & really bring home how much he cares about him. His grief over the death of Balin, & the state to which Moria has come is subtly done but quite heartbreaking.

Anyway, as this is by way of an introduction to our discussion of the episode I'll keep it short. The only other thing I wanted to mention was the Balrog confrontation. David Collings was amazing - the sheer terror in his cry as the Balrog appeared was heart-stopping, & communicates to the audience a whole hidden history. Even a listener who does not know what a Balrog is (we are given no explanation of what it is, & no description of what it looks like), knows that this is the ultimate manifestation of destructive evil & sheer horror - the actors' voices convey that perfectly.

So, off we go....
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