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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
SCOD: The Black Gate is Closed


Oct 31 2012, 5:55pm

Post #1 of 5 (2905 views)
SCOD: The Black Gate is Closed Can't Post

Happy Halloween, my friends, and welcome to another Screencap of the Day.

This scene is when Frodo, Sam and Gollum are looking at the Black Gates of Mordor.

You can find the full-sized image here.
Feel free to answer any or all the questions.


"No, there is another way. More secret, a dark way..." ~Gollum

When you first saw this scene, how did you feel?

2. What emotions can you see here?

3. Do you think that Gollum was really trying to help them, or was there something more to it at this point of the film?

4. Any other thoughts/comments?

......"Since the first time I met you,
..I couldn't seem to forget you.
.......And lately I seem to find,
..That you're always on my mind.
.......Whenever I see you smile,
..It makes my life so very worthwhile.
......And ever since the very start,
..You have always been there in my heart.
..Then I heard that you felt the same way,
........................................................................And those words were so easy to say."

Kristin Thompson

Nov 1 2012, 2:47am

Post #2 of 5 (2076 views)
Book-firsters vs. film-firsters [In reply to] Can't Post

I think people would react very differently to this scene depending on whether they had read the book already.

As I book-firster, I was aware that Gollum was up to no good. His expression here is more Gollum than Smeagol, though the film hasn't set up that opposition very clearly yet. (There have been hints.) But if you've read the book, you know of the Shelob plot. Yet in the film, Gollum doesn't debate the option of letting Smeagol kill the hobbits until the end of The Two Towers.

So for the hobbits, the emotion is fear and discouragement. For Smeagol, it's not so clear. Deviousness, if you know the book. If you don't, you might assume that he shares their fear and discouragement and just wants to help.

I'm not sure what a film-firster would assume Gollum's motives are. Perhaps just that he's trying to help. Looking back after seeing the whole film, one might assume that at this point he's at least considering having Shelob help him eliminate the hobbits. Still, near the end he seems to think of the idea of Shelob helping him as a new idea. So I don't really know what the filmmakers intended us to think at this point. Probably we should be somewhat suspicious of Gollum's motives. Certainly in the book Tolkien writes at some length about what a bad idea this is, how Aragorn and Gandalf would have disapproved and warned the hobbits about Cirith Ungol and so on. Though what Tolkien thought the hobbits should do instead of trying Cirith Ungol we'll never know. Surely there's little hope for them trying to go in via the Black Gate.

In general, I thought the whole scene in front of the Black Gate was well done, conveying the hopelessness the hobbits would feel and making our first real look at Mordor very daunting.


Nov 1 2012, 5:13am

Post #3 of 5 (2050 views)
It was always strange to me [In reply to] Can't Post

how they actually *considered* running towards the gate, which was not in the book and something that is quite stupid, to speak frankly. Other than that, I enjoyed the scene a lot; I thought it was some fine piece of acting by Elijah Wood especially. Also Andy Serkis. The lines stated above were well conveyed.

I was confused as to Gollum's motives when I saw the movie before reading the books... it wasn't established very well. Why would Gollum lead them all the way to the black gate, knowing what they were doing, only to stop them once they got there?

This is a little off topic, but I did not enjoy the movie's version of Gollum during the middle part of the Two Towers. I never understood the switch from Gollum to Smeagol; how he was suddenly benevolent and willing to help Frodo and Sam, abandoning the Gollum part of his personality. It didn't seem realistic to me.

Also, Sam's eyes look off to me.

Tol Eressea

Nov 5 2012, 6:59am

Post #4 of 5 (1963 views)
I don't remember how I felt seeing this scene the first time [In reply to] Can't Post

and though I had read the book first, I didn't remember exactly how this scene had played out. I *do* remember thinking that Gollum was playing for more time - that he didn't have any particular plans in mind, but he knew he would have less chance to get the ring if they made it through the gate. In this shot, he definitely looks up to no good, though.

Tol Eressea

Nov 5 2012, 7:02am

Post #5 of 5 (2057 views)
Yes, Sam's eye line looks way off [In reply to] Can't Post

But maybe he was supposed to be looking at the Easterlings rather than Gollum at this particular moment.


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