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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
A highwayman came riding up to the old inn door...

Reera the Red

Mar 23 2013, 10:08pm

Post #1 of 18 (861 views)
A highwayman came riding up to the old inn door... Can't Post

At the beginning of the film, when Bilbo opens his chest full of memorabilia, the first thing you see is a sheet of manuscript, which he removes to reveal Sting and other objects.

The sheet of manuscript contains the beginning of the famous poem "The Highwayman", by Alfred Noyes, published in 1906:

Why? I have absolutely no idea.

(Yes, I've begun working on the frame capture collection. Probably be a couple of weeks before it's ready to go live; there's a lot of work involved.)

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Mar 24 2013, 2:39am)

Tol Eressea

Mar 23 2013, 10:10pm

Post #2 of 18 (458 views)
Someones been reading [In reply to] Can't Post

dark jackals website?


Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

Reera the Red

Mar 23 2013, 10:17pm

Post #3 of 18 (449 views)
No. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm afraid I have no knowledge at all of dark jackal or his/her website.

With the DVD release out, I expect a whole lot of people are going to be digging up odd little bits like this, though. I'm in the process of making a frame capture collection for my own website, framecaplib.com, which is why I caught this image.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 23 2013, 10:28pm

Post #4 of 18 (417 views)
Allow me to introduce to you, [In reply to] Can't Post

my dear Lusitano, the TORnado who is none other than the screen-cap sitemaker extraordinaire. It is her collection which is most often used on the LoTR Board for the SCOD discussions. Smile

Reera has been a member here since at least the First Age, I believe. *bows deeply in her direction*


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 23 2013, 10:31pm

Post #5 of 18 (379 views)
Fascinating! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's as if it were a sheet which Daniel was "practicing" on, and for a jest they decided to stick it in the chest to see if anyone would notice!

What's funny is that the numbers along the right-hand side make it look like a bill-of-fare for the "old inn".

I love these guys...

Thank you for picking up on this! Cool


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 23 2013, 10:32pm)


Mar 23 2013, 10:43pm

Post #6 of 18 (352 views)
A simply amazing detail! Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

I look forward to many more! Thanks Reera!

Why? I think people's hearts and various loves sort of end up like mathoms scattered about in this franchise. I find it quite touching.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.

Reera the Red

Mar 23 2013, 10:51pm

Post #7 of 18 (377 views)
Of course, they knew perfectly well... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that as soon as the DVD/Blu-ray releases came out, people would notice -- they've got to know by now that every frame of these films is going to be scrutinized. In the cinema you only got a very brief glance at the paper, so it would have been hard to pick up on it then. And yes, the numbers down the right side are an odd addition.

One thing I love about doing frame captures for these films is the chance to examine all the little details that go by too fast when you're watching at full speed. As expected, the detail work in the sets and props for AUJ was excellent.

Tol Eressea

Mar 23 2013, 11:02pm

Post #8 of 18 (369 views)
Oh [In reply to] Can't Post

now that ive read dernywns post, i have to say :


I have been to your website before and i think it is great!

I thought you were refering to another person who else spotted this very same poem, just recently.

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Mar 23 2013, 11:38pm

Post #9 of 18 (297 views)
Thank you for posting this beautiful detail! [In reply to] Can't Post

This poem is an old favorite of mine. Such beautiful imagery in each tragic stanza. And I think Brethil may be right -- it's also a favorite of someone who worked on these films. And it's been slipped in so carefully that only a frame-by-frame search like yours would ever reveal it. I love the way film makers do this. Wonder what other treasures are waiting to be found. Thank you again.

I can make out "torrent of darkness", part of the poem's first line. There are about three lines above this that I can't read, but they appear to end with "one more"? Wonder what that part says? The page seems to contain almost all of the first three stanzas with fragments of some of those lovely descriptive phrases clearly visible -- "ghostly galleon", "cloudy seas", "jeweled sky". The third stanza is truncated at "Bess, the landlord's...", so I guess the poem contunues on the other pages Bilbo is holding. The numbers on the right of the page are certainly mysterious!

...one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green... The Hobbit

Grey Havens

Mar 24 2013, 12:45am

Post #10 of 18 (263 views)
Reera! Wow! [In reply to] Can't Post

Great to see you, and thanks mucho heaps for the screen cap and identifying the poem! I tried so hard to make out any of those lines in the theater, and just never could quite read them; I did SO want to know what they were! I love love love the details like this that go into the making of these movies. I wonder if this particular poem is a favorite of Daniel Reeves? And those numbers along the side are intriguing.

I spotted "Errantry" on Bilbo's desk in my second or third viewing, but wasn't ever able to make out anything else on the various papers scattered about there. Have you had any luck with any of those?

Reera the Red

Mar 24 2013, 1:15am

Post #11 of 18 (255 views)
Most of it's just out of focus... [In reply to] Can't Post

...or too far away to be readable. I'll see whether I can extract any of it as I work on processing the images.

I did find this little snippet while Bilbo was hustling around hiding valuables, though:

(I've flipped it to make it readable; it was upside-down on the screen.) Evidently one of the replies to the party invitations.

Crunchy pumpkin pie?

Superuser / Moderator

Mar 24 2013, 2:40am

Post #12 of 18 (236 views)
Intriguing image, but oversized. [In reply to] Can't Post

Reera, you'll need to resize it as per the TORN FAQs before reposting it in this thread.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Grey Havens

Mar 24 2013, 2:48am

Post #13 of 18 (226 views)
Roughly chopped pumpkin seeds! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love it. The secret "pumkin" pie recipe! We'll have to try that sometime.

You know, in any other movie, these bits of paper laying around would have just been a set dresser's grocery list, or blank pieces of paper...or absent altogether. This attention to detail is the delicious icing on an entirely scrumptious cake. Smile

I'll look forward to any other writing snippets you can discover!

Reera the Red

Mar 24 2013, 3:05am

Post #14 of 18 (232 views)
I would replace with a link, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...apparently this interface won't let me edit my original post.

The image is here, for anyone who still wants to see it and happens to read this.

(Shrinking it would make the text too hard to read, thereby defeating the purpose, so I prefer to use a link to the original image.)


Mar 24 2013, 9:27am

Post #15 of 18 (152 views)
I love that.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and looking at the layout, with the mock prices down the right-hand-side, I'd say that this was done by someone who knows that poem off by heart and needed words - any words - to fillout a mock document which would look like the sort of thing someone might have kept for their records. It isn't laid out like the poem. Higher up the page the verses are spread in short lines like an itemised bill or inventory. Lower down they run on like prose - so the top line of the first block ends 'the dark' and then 'inn yard' must begin the next line but you can't see it.

Lovely stuff - thanks for posting it.


Mar 24 2013, 9:47am

Post #16 of 18 (144 views)
Good spot Reera! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure I can watch the scene now without thinking of the poem. Laugh

Would have been great if it had been a page from The Silmarillion.

Tol Eressea

Mar 24 2013, 2:48pm

Post #17 of 18 (101 views)
Isn't that the truth [In reply to] Can't Post

And you just know that PJ et. al. know all these scenes are going to be scrutinized and they had to put it in there like that on purpose. This is a gem. I love it.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13

Oin K

Mar 25 2013, 2:11am

Post #18 of 18 (52 views)
Nice catch! Noyes also wrote a poem called "The Blue Mountains" which was set to music by Elgar [In reply to] Can't Post

For anyone who wants to delve deeper into the connections, there's a fascinating article about the esoteric tradition which touches heavily on both Noyes and Tolkien's considerable contributions:


This is potentially a quite deep rabbit-hole you've sent us down here. I'm impressed.

"The Naugrim were ever, as they still remain, short and squat in stature; they were deep-breasted, strong in the arm, and stout in the leg, and their snouts were long. Indeed this strangeness they have that no Man nor Elf has ever seen a snoutless Dwarf - unless he were rhinoplasted in mockery, and would then be more like to die of shame than of many other hurts that to us would seem more deadly. For the Naugrim have snouts from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike..." (History of Middle Earth, volume 11, The War of the Truffles, p. 205)


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