~ detail from a manip by Bandwench.
It was marked on my kitchen calendar. March 25: "Fall of Sauron". The destruction of the Ring and the Tower of Barad-dûr, the rescue of Frodo and Sam, the 'eucatastrophe' from which the hopes of the Free Peoples rose out of the smoke and ash of the Dark Lord's ruin. Of course I would have to celebrate it. Jan-u-wine agreed. But I'd screencapped every bit of the film scenes. In image and verse we'd pored over the destruction and fall and the rescue by the Eagles and the recovery in Ithilien.
It was another, quieter but no less pivotal event that captured my imagination this year, jan-u-wine's too . Re-reading the draft of a letter Tolkien wrote in 1963 to Mrs. Eileen Elgar (who had questions about whether Frodo failed or not), the matter of Arwen's gift of the jewel and her passage to the Undying Lands caught my attention. I sent it on and it provided the catalyst for a new and beautiful piece of jan-u-wine poetry.
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The primary illustration for this piece is a manip Bandwench made several years ago, which she called "Prince Elijah". Although the source image was a photo of Elijah Wood, to my mind it was an image of Frodo, but Frodo no longer living in the Shire. To me it was Frodo as imagined across the Sea, dressed in foreign clothes (the Gaffer, surely, would not approve), yet clothes appropriate to one whom Gandalf called Bronwe athan Harthad, who was the King's friend, sung by minstrels, and hailed by armies. Bandwench had made the manip in an array of colour effects, but the one she did in 'gray scale' had the most magic for me, with its soft diffuse glow, revealing a bit of the inner light Gandalf had seen in Frodo as he recovered in Rivendell. I showed it to jan-u-wine and she, too, thought it was stunning, worthy of a poem.
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