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Actually, if I’m totally honest, one of my favorite musical moments didn’t even make it into the theatrical cut of the film. “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” is a brief scene that takes place during Frodo and Sam’s initial journey out of the Shire (before they meet up with Merry and Pippin). They’re making camp for the night when Frodo hears beautiful singing in the distance, and recognizes it as belonging to what he calls “wood elves.”
Elves are my favorite fantasy race because of Tolkien (and these films)
The song doesn’t even last a minute in the film, but the sound is downright haunting (as it is meant to be). The lyrics are from “A Elbereth Gilthoniel,” a song taken from the book and are in praise of one of the Valar (essentially a “god” of Middle Earth) named Varda, who is also called Elbereth by the Elves. The song has a mournful quality to it, which seems strange because all of the Elves are returning home to the Undying Lands, so you’d think it would be more happy. But I believe this moment is bittersweet (as Frodo and Sam see it) because while the Elves are going home, they’re also leaving Middle Earth, and they’re never coming back. And once the Elves are gone, the world will never quite be as ‘magical’ again.
I understand why this scene was initially cut (due to pacing and story reasons; in the theatrical cut, we go from Bilbo’s brief voice-over directly to Gandalf arriving at Isengard), but I feel the story is better with this detail re-inserted. It helps to emphasize that the time of Elves is ending (a point referenced more than once later on) and soon they will all be gone, one way or the other.
This is a little shorter piece today, but I wanted to share it because it’s so beautiful.
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