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Mar 142023

The first meeting of the Hobbits and a Black Rider

A memorable scene in the book, the live action film by Peter Jackson and the animated film by Ralph Bakshi.

In today’s Favorite Scenes from Book and Film, we will be showcasing a scene from 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The ‘Get Off the Road’ scene is a memorable moment from the film, that sticks out in most peoples minds. It’s the moment when Frodo senses something evil coming down the road and he tells the hobbits to hide.

Watch this scene from Peter Jackson rendition of The Lord of the Rings…

This is definitely a classics scene where the four hobbit for the first time begin to understand just how terrible the servants of the enemy are. Merry and Pippin, who at this point have no idea what’s going on are introduced to the quest for the Ring.

In the book the scene is very different. The Black Rider appears only briefly and is less frightening. Also Frodo, Sam and Pippen are the only hobbits present and Frodo is the only one who sees the Black Rider. The narrative in the book builds more slowly and this is just the first warning that danger is now chasing them across the Shire. In the film by Peter Jackson the action is sped up and time moves more quickly to give the movie proper pacing and tension.

The design of this scene with the hobbits hiding in the roots of a large tree as the Nazgul rides up on his black horse was taken from a famous illustration by John Howe, who along with Alan Lee worked on the design of the trilogy. Peter Jackson and his design team used artwork created by many Tolkien artists as inspiration for the design and look of the many scenes in the film. This painting by John Howe helped define the set design and location for the scene.

This painting created in 1987 by John Howe for a Tolkien calendrer was inspired by a scene from Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated film The Lord of the Rings. In truth he was the one who created the idea of the hobbits hiding in a tree root from the Black Rider. In the book Frodo hides on one side of the road behind a tree and Sam an Pippin on the other side in tall grass. Frodo sees the rider but Sam and Pippin do not. Merry is in Buckland at the time unpacking Frodo’s things. So this scene is really part of the Expanded Mythology of Middle-earth more than part of the Tolkien Canon. It was Bakshi who condensed the narrative having the four hobbits traveling together by this point in the story, which works best from a film perspective.

One fun thing to note in this scene. A movie blooper! If you look closely at both sides of the tree you will notice that the Black Rider coming down the road is only visible on one side of the thee. You see him emerging from the left side, but there is nothing on the right. Funny.

OK, so sit back and enjoy this great scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring!

 March 14, 2023  Posted by at 11:23 am  Add comments