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Spectrum of the Quest

Spectrum journey one: The Hero's Quest
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Summary: This spectrum journey illustrates some key points about the hero's quest in Fellowship. By linking images like this we can see how the cinematography conveys the quest and how it changes. It becomes clear how colours are used to show the progress of the quest. By seeing which colour predominates we can know where we are and figure what might happen next. We can see how Frodo's quest changes from an outer journey to an inner one. At key moments Frodo crosses a threshold in the storyline and has top struggle inside his own psyche and spirit. It becomes clear that there are forces pulling Frodo from the outer to the inner aspects of the quest and we can see what they are. Each aspect and each force have their own identitfying colour. There is a spectrum for the hero's inner and outer journeys.

Analysis: Starting at the top. The quest starts with a darkening of Frodo's world. Things turn black. Gandalf moderates the scene to grey. Frodo's mentor Gandalf introduces the quest and sets the terms of it. Gandalf shows that the power of the ring is coloured red. The rings affinity is to fire and its agent is shadow. The ring is at its most dangerous when the fiery element contained within it is made manifest.

Briefly Frodo enjoys the gold and green of the leaving of the Shire. The shadow, in the form of the Nazgul, quickly appears as the first challenge to the quest. The wound at Weathertop establishes the return of darkness. The wounding by the witch king turns the quest from an outer journey to an inner ordeal for our little Hobbit. Frodo must defeat the wound. Help is given in this and Frodo can rest in the green and gold of Rivendell. He accepts Sting from Bilbo in a golden yellow light.

Flame red will once again appear in Moria and the effect is to deprive Frodo of his Grey mentor and send Frodo deeper into shadow. Rest is taken in the gold yellow and green of Lothlorien.

The mirror brings back the Red of the Eye of Sauron to Frodo. Again the eye signals a quickening in the outer journey and an intensification of Frodo's inner quest. Frodo finds himself in a darkening world. The deep grey of the statue prefaces a return of the Grey mentor but as an inner prompter urging him on. Light appears to stir the quest. The Anduin carries a light that reunites frodo with Sam and arms him with an accomplice/servant. The light though gives way again to the confrontation with the dark. Frodo must face the source of the shadow itself and prepare for a long confrontation with the outer dark and his inner shadow.

There are many ways to portray this journey using a spectrum like this. The images chosen here are to show the continuity of the journey. it is a dramatic way of seeing how the red of evil and the black shadow play a role in spurring the quest on. Not all bad. The range of colours from red through the spectrum show the progress of the outer war. Yet we see how Frodo is propelled into an inner war. Frodo must pass through an inner or spiritual spectrum of black through grey and into white.

author's note: This is the first of a series looking at the individual characters in the movie. If you have any comments about this way of reading the movie or anything to say about Fellowship then click the spiral and email me. Thanks. Simon.

Treasure Fellowship