After barely (and I mean barely) escaping the clutches of the Black Riders, Frodo awakens after several days in the hidden valley of Rivendell, home of Elrond (Hugo Weaving), the near-legendary son of Earendil, brother to Elros (the first king of Numenor and Aragorn’s distant ancestor), and the father to three children: Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen (Liv Tyler, more on her later).
The visual introduction to Rivendell is stunning, but I am sad to report that the location (with all the waterfalls) does not exist in real life, making Rivendell one of the few locations not to be completely based in a real-life environment. The musical backdrop is full of tranquil choral voices which highlight the fact that Rivendell is a place where one can find peace of mind, no matter what they’ve gone through (and recently Frodo has gone through quite a lot).
As the name of this piece implies, many meetings take place in this scene: Frodo is reunited with Sam, Merry and Pippin, who are all overjoyed to see Frodo recovered, but, to Frodo’s joy, there is one more meeting (more like a reunion), as he sees a considerably aged Bilbo sitting and working on his book (appropriately, there’s a brief refrain of “The Shire” at this moment). The two sit and talk for a while, and Frodo finally accepts that, however much he wanted to be like Bilbo as a child, his own adventure was turning into something completely different.
Keep in mind now that Frodo (at this stage) believes his part in the story is ending. The Ring, so far as he knows, should be safe in Rivendell, therefore he and Sam and the others should be ready to go home to the Shire before long. Unfortunately, the hobbits are soon to discover that they aren’t going home any time soon.
Meanwhile, Elrond and Gandalf have been holding their own meeting and Elrond lays out the cold, hard truth: the Ring cannot possibly stay in Rivendell, not with Sauron AND Saruman looking for it. Between the two forces Rivendell would fall sooner or later, and it’s not really up to the Elves to fix the situation anyway. After living in Middle-Earth for thousands of years, most of the Elven peoples are leaving, heading across the Sea to the Undying Lands. Someone else will have to resolve the situation with the Ring.
Gandalf believes he has a solution then “It is in Men, that we must place our hope.” But Elrond is dubious (and in his mind rightfully so). You see, he was there, 3000 years ago, when Isildur defeated Sauron and cut the Ring from his hand. Elrond took the Numenorean prince into the heart of Mount Doom and begged him to destroy the Ring on the spot, and end evil for all time. But even in those few minutes of possessing the One Ring, Isildur’s heart had been corrupted and he refused. Ever since, Elrond has lost faith in any “strength” that Men may possess.
A council is being called and delegations from all corners of Middle Earth are arriving: we see Boromir (Sean Bean), riding in from Gondor; Legolas (Orlando Bloom) from the Woodland Elves in Mirkwood; Gloin and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) to represent the dwarves. Together, hopefully, they will be able to decide what to do with the One Ring.
Howard Shore hit the nail on the head when he wrote the music for “Many Meetings.” The piece functions in the same way that “Lothlorien” does after the Moria scenes, since Rivendell immediately follows the frantic chase in “Flight to the Ford.” Now that the danger is (temporarily) passed, everyone has a chance to breathe and relax and the music encourages this feeling. Truthfully, I could listen to this music for several hours and not find it boring. I also love how everything in Rivendell seems to be infused with a golden light (in a similar vein, Lothlorien is predominately silver), and everything feels warm and very much alive.
That’s all for me today, I am beginning to feel better, but still not quite 100%. I hope you enjoyed “Many Meetings”
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