look a LOT of things in the lotr series make me emo but nothing quite makes me as emo as the usage of Bilbo's "A Walking Song" aka "Edge of Night".
In the books, we first hear it in the Shire as Sam, Frodo and Pippin are traveling to the Brandywine. They haven't really experienced a lot of danger yet and they're still very hopeful, and the lyrics reflect the sense of adventure and intrigue ahead:
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water, under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
These lyrics were written by Bilbo, whose adventure was less urgent- they reflect a sense of wanderlust that we know was innate to him, of wishing to see new places and things and really take your time as you journey. But Frodo, Pippin and Sam are on a much more pressing quest, and it also reflects that. The last stanza takes a turn to a slightly darker tone, and this is the verse we hear in RotK, with some small changes to help it fit the sombre moment (Denethor sending Faramir to die):
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!
The small changes to the words in the film make this seem slightly more hopeless, which makes perfect sense for the time and place it was performed: but the essential point of this stanza in the book is "yes we expect there will be terrible things ahead of us, but when it's all over there will always be home to come back to!"
Which is a heartbreaking sentiment, because for these three and Merry, it isn't true. The Shire won't be there waiting for them, the same as it was, when they return. Unlike with Bilbo's adventure, the shadows follow them home. The last time we hear a variation of this, is when Frodo is leaving the Shire for the very last time:
It was evening, and the stars were glimmering in the eastern
sky as they passed the ruined oak and turned and went on
down the hill between the hazel-thickets. Sam was silent,
deep in his memories. Presently he became aware that Frodo
was singing softly to himself, singing the old walking-song,
but the words were not quite the same:
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
Sam doesn't yet know that Frodo is leaving forever, and to me, revisiting this motif is Frodo's way of telling him. The change to the lyrics from "we" to "I" reflect that this is something he intends to do alone- he's going somewhere Sam can't follow, somewhere he knew his path was going to lead eventually.
The original song that Annie Lennox had penned for the end of the trilogy, instead of "Into the West", was called "Use Well the Days", and it utilized this stanza as it's first verse. This song was a less epic, softer track specifically from Frodo to Sam- thanking him for his love and urging him to enjoy the life he had.
"Into the West" is a beautiful song, and in the end I'm kind of glad it was chosen instead of the other because I'm not sure I could have handled "Use Well the Days", emotionally. But all that said, "A Walking Song" and all its variants are such a poignant resonating theme thoughout Frodo's journey and it kills me everytime I think about it.
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Hi!! Welcome to my messy lotr/tolkien sideblog!
I'm 25! I won't ever put untagged/hard nsfw on this blog but nontheless please interact cautiously if you are a minor 😊
I go by she/her
Some people call me Spacey
My main blog is spacebabe51 and I follow back/reply from there!
You support MAPS/ship any minor/adult ships or believe "its just fiction it doesn't affect reality"
General homophobia, acephobia, transphobia, biphobia/other bigotry
You ship Merry/Pippin, Merry/Frodo, Pippin/Frodo or any other incestuous ships
Less important stuff:
I ship: Sam/Frodo, Legolas/Gimli, Faramir/Eowyn, Arwen/Aragorn, Beren/Luthien. If you bash any of these I probably wont follow you (to be clear, i I have nothing against potraying them platonically! That's cool and fine and I would love to see that)
I do not ship: Bilbo/Thorin. I didn't like their portrayals in the films and the ship dynamic makes me 😬 so I probably won't follow if you post it, and I appreciate proper tagging as I have that tag filtered
And that's it! My inbox is always open to rant/talk tolkien/whatever! If you need anything tagged please let me know and thanks for reading this! :)
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