How do you cope with loss? Do you let your emotions run free and uninhibited or do you shield yourself from feeling any pain by remaining in control of yourself? Both ways are on display as the Fellowship exit Moria.
Although out of danger, for the time being, the emotional toll takes center stage. Tears stream down Hobbits` faces, Gimli expresses anger trying to break out of Boromir`s arms, while Boromir`s own grief leads him to comfort not only Gimli but the Hobbits as well.
Legolas` eyes unravel deep sadness and Aragorn presses the Fellowship to move on before nightfall. Aragorn`s own pain presents itself as his look lingers after Gandalf has fallen. His is the expression of disbelief.
The pain of loss
Frodo has distanced himself from everyone, feeling the pain of this terrible loss alone. The look in his eyes as he turns around to face Aragorn is heartbreaking. He has lost a friend, a safe haven for his own insecurities, a wise guide to protecting him.
The hope of accomplishing this mission has left him. As they move towards Lothlórien his body language and the expression of his eyes have turned to hopelessness, a grief-stricken reality, which no one can mend.
The welcome they receive in Lothlórien is not a pleasant one, and instead of finding the comfort they find resistance. After Gandalf falls to his death, Frodo is left feeling at fault. Gandalf wouldn`t have fallen if he hadn`t decided to take the path through Moria.
The rest of the Fellowship seems to be thinking the same, blaming him for Gandalf`s death. As Aragorn is trying to negotiate their passage to Caras Galadhon, Merry and Pippin, Sam, Gimli, and Legolas take turns glancing at Frodo. They see him as the main source of their troubles.
As he is drowning in sorrow in need of comfort, his companions alienate him from the group. Haldir forbidding them to enter this blessed realm because of the evil Frodo brings with him, ostracizes him even further from the others.
Interestingly, only Boromir offers him words of comfort:
“Gandalf`s death was not in vain. Nor would he have you give up hope. You carry a heavy burden Frodo. Don`t carry the weight of the dead.”
Boromir`s true character shines through in these moments of grief. He is understanding and helpful. A person everyone needs around in those types of situations.
The grace of Galadriel
The atmosphere in Caras Galadhon is not an inviting one. Coupled with the music, the realm seems mystical, guarded and somber. Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn descend the stairs to meet the Fellowship.
Lord Celeborn presents himself as very unattached, cold and somewhat disrespectful, whereas Lady Galadriel seems to absorb all the grief and negativity and bring calm and loftiness to the gathering. She addresses everyone in her own way, sometimes audible, other times not. She strikes a chord with every member she sets her eyes on.
Hope and comfort are what Lady Galadriel emanates into the minds of the Fellowship. For Frodo, however, she has a completely different message in mind. As much as it is evil he brings into her home something she blames him for, the fact that he has seen the Eye in the Void, intrigues her.
As the Lament for Gandalf begins to ring out through the trees. It sings about the relationship the Elves had to the wandering Wizard along with the pain of loss. A beautiful although sad acapella composition wonderfully placed in this enchanting albeit mysterious realm.
Duty and responsibility
Aragorn has taken over leadership of the Company, per Gandalf`s instruction. Gandalf feared he would be facing his doom in the Mines and the leadership of the Company he had to give to someone he could trust. With this decision, Gandalf gave Aragorn the incentive to take the lead so as to start discovering his strength and finding confidence.
Since this duty has been given to Aragorn, without him ever requesting it or wanting the responsibility, it is something that has to be done, and if so, then done correctly. Aragorn is very much suited to play the leader role in the Company. He is trustworthy, decisive, sharp when the situation calls for it, understanding, supportive and he seeks to restore the bonds and grant them passage to Lothlorien, even after Gimli says “ishkhaqwi ai durugnul”, which of course enrages the Elves.
Aragorn, raised in Rivendell, knows the ways of the Elves. Moreover, he is an objective observer of the whole interaction and has taken upon himself to bring a much-needed truce so as to ease their passage.
The plight of Boromir
My father is a noble man but his rule is failing and our people lose faith. He looks to me to make things right and I would do it. I would see the glory of Gondor restored.Boromir
Aragorn offers Boromir his friendship as he lends an ear for Boromir`s troubled mind. He then listens to Boromir losing hope and struggling to make things right for the rule of his father which is failing. It is, however, very hard to carry the burden of a People but for oneself to have lost all hope in ever managing to achieve that which is needed. His desperation and his struggle are clearly visible.
Even though Lady Galadriel said there is still hope left, he doesn`t believe her. He has seen too much loss and grief to remain optimistic in any way. For this mighty man of Gondor to break down and show the turmoil his emotional state has become in front of Lady Galadriel and indeed everyone in the Fellowship, is a wonderful character trait in my opinion.
Up until now, Boromir has attempted to hide his pain under the cloak of insignificance. Now, however, his own emotions take the lead and reveal him to be much more human, than he was. He is not showing weakness, he is presenting them his true character, one who suffers pain and deep self-doubt. Lady Galadriel managed to expose him emotionally, to first and foremost, himself. He is now, for the first time since they set off, at one with himself.
Mirror of Galadriel
After the Fellowship had fallen asleep, Frodo follows Galadriel.
The Fellowship is breaking. It is already begun. He will try to take the Ring. You know of whom I speak. One by one it will destroy them all.Galadriel
Galadriel, as the most powerful of the Elves, foretells what will happen to the Company if they should stay together. She knows of Boromir`s greed for power and his desire to help his father by bringing back the Ring. However, there is another way of interpreting this scene between Frodo and Galadriel.
It makes me wonder if by stating the aforementioned sentence she is trying to lure him into thinking that maybe she should have the Ring. She might just be trying to test herself against the Power of the Ring. Galadriel can sense Frodo`s fear of this quest, whereby his offering the Ring to her is a case in point. The following reveal of Galadriel then in some way seals her desire to possess it, which she also says herself.
Frodo: “If you ask it of me… I will give you the One Ring.”
Galadriel: “I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this. In place of a Dark Lord you will have a Queen not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn, treacherous as the sea, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love me and despair. I pass the test. I will diminish and go into the West and remain Galadriel.”
The wrath of Galadriel
The wrath of Galadriel that unravels in this scene is something very powerful. Her whole appearance changes, not to mention the manner in which she not only addresses herself but everyone else inhabiting Middle-Earth.
She becomes arrogant and reveals her full strength, that would claim the Earth if the Ring were hers. “All shall love me and despair” is a particularly strong image. It would seem that the Ring brings out not the same bad qualities in everyone. It actually reveals their individual weaknesses and tries to exploit them.
As Galadriel is revealed in wrath, the influence of the Ring is plainly shown. She, the wisest and fairest of them all, succumbs to its power, demonstrating a much more shallow and vulnerable side of herself.
She tested herself in front of him, bearing herself and her innermost desires in front of Frodo. It is not something usually done by the Elves. They are usually composed, in control and very enlightened. So for her, to reveal such weakness and strength simultaneously in front of a Halfling is astonishingly intimate.
By stating that she will remain Galadriel, she gives a hint of the volume of her character. She discards the alternative version of herself and acknowledges that she will only ever be the Galadriel we know and love. She would not let herself be corrupted and discover the full scale of her being.
However, the fact that she has desired the Ring for so long, presumably since its coinage, it is remarkable that she should resist it. It shows great personal integrity on her part, a very admirable quality.
The fate of a ring-bearer
Frodo: “ I cannot do this alone.”
Galadriel: “You are a Ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant. And I am its keeper.”
She carries her own burden by the Ring that she wears and states clearly that it means to be alone. This aloneness does not mean not having anyone. It rather means not having anyone with whom one might share this burden. She understands the responsibility of the task, that was given to him. She understands the power of the Ring and how it encapsulates one being and separates it from the rest of the world.
Galadriel goes on to say „.this quest was appointed to you if you do not find a way, no one will“. This statement rings true in a couple of layers:
- He is the only one who could understand what carrying this burden feels like and how it can affect others
- He is also the only one who could make this quest possible and accomplish this task because he seems the least affected by the power of the Ring. It comes gradually.
- It is true that if he doesn`t find a way to accomplish this task no one in Middle-Earth would be able to – given the quarreling that ensued among other potential carriers on the Council. The words of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria, begin to ring true – Frodo was meant to find the Ring.
All of this brings him to question not only himself, which he is already doing, but to question his own willingness to accept the responsibility of freeing Middle-Earth of this terrible foe.
He sees himself as a small, inconsequential being, who probably isn`t fit to do this, although everyone else believes he can. He doesn`t think that he could have that much strength in turning the fortunes of the whole world. Again, his insecurity and fear strike.
Frodo: “Then I know what I must do. It`s just, I`m afraid to do it.”
Galadriel: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
This is an absolute truth. With every decision Frodo has made, the course of fates of all other characters in the Company has been directly influenced. This is true of everyone, though.
We are responsible for our own happiness and every decision we make alters our path through life from that which was before we made the decision. Even a minuscule decision that we make in our daily lives, the ones of which we do not even make ourselves conscious, is a path layer. However, his fear is comprehensible.
The relationship between the Lothlórien Elves and the Company strengthens as they are presented with parting gifts that would help them along their way. The tension within the Fellowship itself though is taking a turn for the worse. Follow me to my next post to see how.
Featured image by Ana Segota.