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'A Knife in the Dark' Chapter 11

Book I Chapters
 Rants Home
 Chap 1
 Chap 2
 Chap 3
 Chap 4
 Chap 5
 Chap 6
 Chap 7
 Chap 8
 Chap 9
 Chap 10
 Chap 11
 Chap 12
 Book II

'As they prepared for sleep in the Inn at Bree, Darkness lay on Buckland...'

At the beginning of chapter 11, we backtrack to Crickhollow and Fatty Bolger's house. This is the first opportunity for PJ to have a little aside and get our minds off of Frodo and the rest, which, cinematically, is a good idea in my opinion. We all know the story is about Frodo but having him in almost every scene would cause major Elijah Wood brain hemorrhaging and the dreaded 'Blair Witch Bug' (Just a joke EW, call me!)

So we're back in Crickhollow, I'd have the camera pan past Frodo's 'house' in the same way it did when he was there, thus the audience remembers, if not, have the camera pan past an old wooden sign saying 'Crickhollow'. (I like panning by the way, never too good to stay still too long) and with the camera on the sign whoosh! A flash of darkness passes on the left, whoosh, whoosh! Two more....followed by horses galloping.

We see Fatty quietly dosing off near the fireplace, the chairs still in place when the other Hobbits were there..Suddenly he snorts awake. We see the 'What was that noise?' look on his face..he gets up with trepidation to go to the doorway, as he's about to turn the knob BAM! The door shudders..'Open the door in the name of Mordor!' an errie voice calls out from outside (In that creepy Rider voice I told you about in 'A Short Cut To Mushrooms')

As we see the Riders close up in the darkness of the other side of the door, They are draped in black, there are two of them, and more in the distance, Their horses stand eerily still and silent. The Rider at the door bangs hard and again, this time splintering it into pieces and walking through they begin to search the house quickly. None of the Riders see this, but we can see Fatty running from the backyard off to a neighbor's, we see this through a round hobbit hole. The Riders are tearing the place apart, frantically searching when suddenly a horn sounds. (I cannot stop thinking of the Ewok horn from Return of the Jedi) The Riders look up, almost as shocked as Fatty was, they hiss loudly and make their way out, leaping on their horses and riding out of town. Lights begin to flicker on and Hobbits emerge from their holes and houses brandishing torches and sharp farming tools yelling 'Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!'. Fade to black.

Frodo awakens as the sound of sirens from the previous scenes can still be heard, he looks about him as if he could hear them and gets out of bed. To be honest I don't know what to do about the scene with the horses and all that. It's tedious and long, I know it shows that there are spies in Bree and that they are in deeper trouble due to the lack of horses, but I really think this should be cut down somehow. I'd keep in the fact that the horses were stolen, and that Bill, the sad little pony, is the only thing they could find. I'd have Butterbur (played by Michael McShane, my choice, not PJ's) give the 5 of them Bill as payment for the lost horses. And I'd have them leave rather quickly, perhaps the whole mess with the horses could be dealt with in exposition, but of course I'd have Sam nailing Bill Ferny with the apple, classic stuff.

Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2
click on one of the story boards to see the full file.
Thanks to Mia for the story board images.

The following scenes are what scores are made for, the Hobbits, along with Strider cross the lands from Bree to Weathertop with hardly any 'action' taking place. This is where a really good score does a fine job of keeping the audience from going to the bathroom or jutting out for more popcorn. I would have the team leaping over bogs and fighting off fliers and crossing great vistas. (all thanks to the geology of NZ, no CGI needed here) and some shots could have Strider telling them a story or pointing things out to them or (yes, I'm saying it) them singing a song or something. All this would be silent, or very very quiet, the score is what would be in control here. Meanwhile, Weathertop would be looming in the distance, growing bigger and bigger by the day. (I see Weathertop as the huge mountain thing from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', remember that film? I know Weathertop isn't that large, but I can't help it)

The little 'time elapsing' scene would end with the Hobbits settling into sleep for the night, a little worn and tired. We see Frodo nodding off, as we stay on his face we see a flash, coming from 'behind the camera', Frodo misses it, suddenly another one, this time with thunder, then again. Frodo awakens at the sound of the thunder and we are still looking at him when a larger flash, with thunder, rips across the sky. From his POV (point of view) we see darkness, when the flashes blast across the sky in the form of spidering thunderbolts we also se the silhouette for Strider looking out across to Weathertop. Frodo makes his way over to Strider and sits next to him.


What is that?


It is too distant to make out, it is like lightening that leaps

up from the hilltops


Something like that, the above could be a great scene with Frodo and Strider, but I'm not going to create dialogue, although it would be a good idea if PJ did (and he will). The next morning the team is walking on and on, slowly reaching Weathertop, this scene should involve them talking and walking. Maybe the telling of the tale of Gil-galad, I like that little passage in the book:

'Going to Mordor!' cried Pippin, 'I hope it won't come to that!'

'Do not speak that name so loudly!' said Strider

Wouldn't it be great if they were having a friendly conversation, smiling talking about tales the Bilbo taught Sam and Frodo? When Pippin says the name Mordor and Strider turns and stops Pippin at an arms distance, looking very stern and serious and says 'Do not speak that name so loudly!' They all freeze, Strider almost looks upset at himself for screaming at the young Hobbit, and he turns to start walking again. I'd like to see it done that way.

They make their way to Weathertop, it is a barren hilltop, scorched and smoky. I've always pictured it as a round circular place with old ruins and very dark earth. They find the markings made by Gandalf and consider their next plans. They spot the Riders and hide in the dell and wait it out. Night falls and Strider tells the hobbits to be ready for an attack.

I'd have this tense filled scene where nothing is happening for long periods. The team is staring at each other from around the fire, which is the only thing moving and making noise. Strider is staring intently at the fire, when suddenly the wind shifts, the fire bends and flares against the wind, Strider stands and tells the Hobbits to stay in a circle and light their branches with fire! (I love fire by the way, not in the pyromaniac type of way, but in the cinematic type of way) I'd have a few fast clips of the branches being lit and flashing past the screen making that noise that fire does. Again, nothing is happening, they are in a circle with torches blazing; I'd then pan across all of them with a close of up their faces, making sure to get their eyes. A slight wind is whistling past, suddenly five dark shapes seem to rise from the ground up, almost impossible to see they make their way towards the group. 'The Enemy is here!' cries Strider, hardly believing it himself, 'Keep close to the fire!' he'd scream (this is all in the book, just in different order). Merry and Pippin panic and drop to their knees, I'd have all this happen extremely fast, Strider is constantly looking about him, flailing around with his torch. Sam makes his way closer to Frodo, the camera slowly pans over Frodo and we suddenly see his face, it's not panic stricken, it looks as if he's struggling with his own thoughts. His hand reaches into his pocket and he pulls out the ring, Sam looks at him and seems about to say something when Frodo closes his eyes and slips the ring on...

When he opens them he jumps and shrieks, for now he can see the five Riders for what they are, deathly skeletal figures with dark cloaks and holes for eyes. He reaches for his sword; in this 'Darkworld' everything seems to happen slowly. He lunges at the first Rider screaming O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! He stabs the Rider in the foots, an ungodly shriek fills the air, Frodo turns over and a large gash is revealed in his shoulder, it is throbbing somewhat, Frodo closes his eyes....fade to black

Next Chapter
Flight at the Ford Chap 12

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