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Frodo has taken the decision to go to Mount Doom alone. The decision seems both logical and inevitable. Chaos has descended on the Fellowship from without and within. There is no choice.

So the image above shows Frodo’s decision transformed into action. The rower in the boat is single minded and focussed on the opposite bank. Frodo’s sure oar strokes are born of inner conviction. Then Sam appears on the shoreline calling for Frodo. Sam then is carried by his own yearning into the water. He begins wading as if in the belief that his inner desire for uniting with Frodo will somehow allow him to walk on water. So we have a picture of individual resolution in the boat and an outpouring of emotion from the shore. We know something has to give. We see tension on the face of Frodo which is a reflection of the dramatic tension of the whole scene. The tension is broken by a ‘leap of faith’ by Sam. He plunges on. The outcome is in the second image.

Sam is alone. There is a hand thrust outwards towards us and it is open in total submission. The figure is framed with both arms extended, Sam seems to be hanging as if crucified. He is calm. There is no struggle, no complaint. Sam is suspended in the water. He is also suspended between his love for Frodo, that is his hope of reconciliation and a dark end. In focussing on the face it is almost as if Sam is calmly asking the question: which way will it go? At this moment the image transcends middle earth. We are in an elemental environment because a universal question is being asked: can he really find reconciliation, togetherness and partnership or will he be alone?

In a few moments we see the play of light on the surface of the waters. The effect of the surface light adds an element of alchemy. The light mixes with the dark beneath the surface to make this a transforming water. This is an environment of both impending doom and possibility. The light itself is not the magical kind we saw playing in Lothlorien. The light here is portrayed very naturalistically. The coming of the light will not save Sam only his master can do that and his master is not here at hand. The flicker of the beams on the water only serves to divide Sam from the hope above. We are held suspenseful by a dramatic shift of perspective. We see only Sam’s view. What is going on on the surface we do not know. As is often the case in Lord of the Rings a resolution to find destiny has resulted in a submission to fate. A hope waiting to be born. We, like Sam must wait.