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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
BBC Episode II The Black Riders Bag End to Woody End


Jun 11 2008, 2:36am

Post #1 of 8 (138 views)
BBC Episode II The Black Riders Bag End to Woody End Can't Post

Again, feel free to respond to my questions, ask one of your own or expand on something!

Here is where I am planning on breaking up the rest of this Episode:
Tuesday: Bag End to Woody End
Wednesday Farmer Maggot to Bree
Thursday: Prancing Pony
Friday: Back in the Room
Saturday: Wrapping it Up

So today's episode follows Frodo, Sam and Pippin from leaving Bag End, to their encounter with the Black Rider in Woody End. May not seem like it but there is lots here if we want to look at it.

1. What is your impression of the encounter of the Gaffer with the Black Rider? How does this scene add to the ongoing tension regarding the Black Riders (or whatever you wish to call it, tension, conflict etc).

2. Does the Black Rider at the Gaffer's come across menacing enough for you? Compare the voice of The Black Rider (Khamul) to the voice/acting of the Lord of the Nazgul. Which Nazgul fits your view of how they sound, or do you have your own version in your mind that is different? Brings up the point that I really like the audio version because it still engages the mind and the imagination.

3. During the trek from Bag End to Woody End we meet Merry and Pippin, and really get to meet Pippin. What is your view of Pippin's character so far in this adaptation? Are there any actions that show his personality that stick out to you as you listen?

4. Sam calls Pippin Mr. Peregin during this part of the episode. Are there indicators the episode that show that there are different social classes that exist among the four hobbits?

5. This was mentioned in the last post, and I had it in my notes so I'm going to include it here. What do you think of Frodo's recitation of the Road Goes Ever On? Does it set a stage for what Frodo is about to embark into?

6. As a single Black Rider approaches the three Hobbits in Woody End, we hear the sound of hoofs that are distinct and very different. This sound is used whenever a Black Rider approaches. Do you like this distinction? Is there any way that you would change this if you were to redo this adaptation?

7. As the Ring tempts Frodo we hear the Black Riders chanting in the background with Gandalf reviewing his counsel to Frodo. What feelings are conveyed by this scene to the listener?

8. Finally, the Black Rider rides off, and soon thereafter we hear his cry. I have always struggled with the sound that the Black Riders make while pursuing Frodo. Does this sound fit with how you hear their cry in your mind?

Yes, lots of questions, just want to put out some thoughts, don't worry about answering all of them. From yesterday's post if you have a paperback version of Unfinished Tales the Search for the Ring which contains much of what Brian Sibley put in to the episode is found on pages 350 to 370.

" . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.


Jun 11 2008, 2:51am

Post #2 of 8 (69 views)
sound effects [In reply to] Can't Post

8. Finally, the Black Rider rides off, and soon thereafter we hear his cry. I have always struggled with the sound that the Black Riders make while pursuing Frodo. Does this sound fit with how you hear their cry in your mind?

This is a comment in general about the sound effects for this radio drama (and the BBC Hobbit drama, as well). I'm listening in the car and it's old enough that it rattles and bangs and I have to turn things way up and one speaker cuts off occasionally. So I'm not really able to comment on a lot of the audio nuances that others have noticed.

But I have noticed one thing. The sound effects really make me think of Doctor Who circa Tom Baker and Peter Davidson. It actually a bit distracting at times. I'm guessing the effects were created by the same people.

magpie avatar gallery ~ soundtrack website


Jun 11 2008, 11:22am

Post #3 of 8 (69 views)
Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, as with elsewhere, i think the sound effects are pretty good. I mentioned before that i dont have to goto much effort to picture the environment, so i guess there doing their job!

Though, one thing about the black riders cry.....
A character of off little Britain came to mind !
More an unfortunate circumstance really.

Ok then, I've speed read the unfinished tales chapter,
and i'm glad i did. Here's why...
(About the Ringwraiths) "Few could withstand even one of these fell creatures,".
"The terror of their passing was so great that many folk fled from the land...."
Except Gaffer Gamgee i guess !? lol. He sounded to "matter of fact" to me.
If i answered to door to one of those things i'd be....well, pooping my boxers, if you can excuse the phrase!!
The voice sounded pretty good. Better than the voice for the lord of the Nazgul. His sounded to ...Normal, i guess you'd say.

I thought Merry and Pippin were played very well. The voices sounded right, they got their "characters" very well and were generally very convincing!!
As for Mr. Peregrin....well, it's a sign of social class and knowing your place during times past in jolly ole' Blighty, that Tolkien knew very well no doubt !
Thank God it's nearly vanished....
(and in case you were wondering...No, it's not just a sign of courtesy and good manners!!)

I really liked the way "the road goes ever on..." was sung, with the music softly in the background. Better than the full version on the song disc included in some sets...imho.
Very moody and atmospheric.
Just like when Frodo is tempted to put the ring on...
The chanting and Gandalfs warning combine well with the sound to create a very effective mood and atmosphere!

I'll talk more about the music and singing later on. (it will be more applicable). I'll just say that some was good but much was very poor.....(sorry!)

"Only the guilty dream"... oh dear, i'm DOOMED!!


Jun 11 2008, 7:27pm

Post #4 of 8 (63 views)
Thoughts & notes as I listened [In reply to] Can't Post

so forgive the disjointed rambling. Now you know what it's like inside my head!!! *shiver*

I find it delightful how it feels like I'm sitting with them in Maggot's home or walking along with the hobbits. The approach of this production is brilliant, and the players' voices are spot-on! Pots and scuffling going on in the background at Crickhollow; I can just imagine watching them debate with Frodo about going with him. You can figure out that Sam's off taking care of the pots, pans and keeping busy in the background trying to avoid the conversation. I was actually tearing as Frodo accepted their help.

It's interesting they also passed by Tom Bombadil… or, at least, kept that part of the story to themselves ;)

I think this Butterbur is the most like I've imagined. He's fast talking and blustery in a way not shown in Bakshi's and Peter's adaptations.

"Slap through the floor!" Bwhahahaha!!! I love the pause after Frodo's made a clang then… nothing… Marvelous!

Actually, in references to voices, I think Aragorn is my first pause. He's a bit too dramatic, imho. I understand he's representing the power of the king of men, but still…

sample sample
Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists

Tol Eressea

Jun 11 2008, 9:01pm

Post #5 of 8 (60 views)
Engaging the imagination [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, most definitely agree with that. I've been listening to it lay on my bed with my eyes closed, and it really does stir some pretty powerful imagery. I like the sinister chanting of the Nazgul, as well as the Hobbit songs we've been treated to, but so far, everything down to the smallest background noises have fit together perfectly to bring it all to life in your mind. And that must be difficult to do, using sound alone!

The strongest indicator of different social classes is the way they are all introduced. You get Mr Peregrin Took, Mr Frodo Baggins, and just plain ond Sam Gamgee!

The Nazgul cry is a tad too bird-like for me. I think, (as far as I remember), it is described as having bird-like qualities in the book, but the cry in the radio play is a little much. Rather like someone is strangling an eagle.

*Jazminatar the Brown*

Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea

Jun 14 2008, 12:39am

Post #6 of 8 (38 views)
The road goes ever on and on ... [In reply to] Can't Post

As it's arranged in the BBC radio play, this song seems somehow different than most of the other songs the hobbits sing -- more poignant, more thoughtful, more evocative. I think it expresses Bilbo's (and later Frodo's) different nature from that of the other hobbits, as well as their wandering spirits. It introduces the idea that the hobbits are embarking on a journey that they do not know the end of.

The Nazgul screams are thin and chilling, and they do sound like birds. (Although occasionally they sound like fighting cats!) I think it's fitting and always imagined them with spine-tingling, piercing screams. I also like the Nazgul scream in the movies, which sounds rather different.

I wish that Sibley had been able to squeeze the meeting with Gildor and his wandering band into the radio play. I always liked this scene with Gildor and it's referred to later, when messengers from Gildor reach Rivendell and prompt Elrond to send Glorfindel out in search of the hobbits. That ends up being a bit of a loose thread.

The sound effect for Black Rider's hoofs does sound uncanny. I think this was done to differentiate them from the other horses in the radio play -- in this episode, Glorfindel's horse Asfaloth and Bill the Pony, and later on, Shadowfax and the Rohirrim. It also adds to the sense of menace in their approach.

We're discussing the BBC Lotrd of the Rings Radio Play on the Movie Discussion - LOTR board.

With caffeine, all things are possible.

The pity of Bilbo will screw up the fate of many.

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Jun 14 2008, 12:59am

Post #7 of 8 (38 views)
The Black Riders... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to say that this is the adaptation that does the worst job of portraying the riders, IMHO. I don't know what else could be done with a "voice only" option. The chant of "the ring! the ring!" sounds silly to me, and not at all scary. I love this adaptation, but they are the weak part, I've always thought.

Hanging out with the Lonely Isle elves.

Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea

Jun 14 2008, 1:09am

Post #8 of 8 (48 views)
Also ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I always enjoy how Gaffer Gamgee tells off Khamul the Ringwraith, not to mention inadvertently putting him off the scent by exaggerating how far away Crickhollow is. I would imagine that Nazgul do not normally have doors slammed in their faces or get threatened by dogs, as happens later on in the episode.

We're discussing the BBC Lotrd of the Rings Radio Play on the Movie Discussion - LOTR board.

With caffeine, all things are possible.

The pity of Bilbo will screw up the fate of many.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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