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The Hobbit and the Dunadan
(My modest contribution for the screenplay of The Hobbit)
Scene: The woods outside of Rivendell. Bilbo has grown somewhat weary of Dwarvish society and decides to go for a walk by himself. We follow Bilbo as he walks alone in the woods. The sun is getting lower and lower, and the trees look too familiar, as if he might be going in circles.
Bilbo (to himself): Which way was it back to Master Elrond’s hall? I’ve already missed tea, and will soon be in danger of missing supper. Wandering in the woods is pleasant enough, but not on an empty stomach. I’m beginning to fear I’m lost. (hears a noise) Who’s there?
From the cover of the trees a young Boy emerges. He is about ten years old, tall for his age, with dark wavy hair and serious eyes. His clothing is rich, but simple, in subtle colors which blend well with the surrounding foliage. He looks intently at the Hobbit, but says nothing.
Bilbo: Oh, hello. I’ve been wandering in the woods, and I seem to be lost. Would you know the way back to Rivendell, or are you lost, too?
Boy (with subdued amusement): Not all those who wander are lost. I was sent by Master Elrond.
Bilbo: By Master Elrond. But you are no Elf.
Boy: I was sent to track a member of Thorin’s company, but you're no Dwarf.
Bilbo: Very true. I am a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins by name, recently of Hobbiton in the Shire, and master of Bag End Under Hill, (his stomach rumbles audibly) a very comfortable hobbit hole with an ample larder, which I ought never to have left. At your service. (bows) And who might you be?
Boy: I am called Estel. I live in Rivendell.
Bilbo: Tell me, young Master Estel, how do you come to live in Rivendell if you are not one of Elrond’s people?
Boy: I’m not in the habit of telling much about myself to strangers, Mr. Baggins, and if you plan to travel east of the mountains, you should be more careful, too. I’m sure your relatives will thank you not to give unsavory people directions to their doorstep. This much I will say: I am a ward of Master Elrond. My mother and I have lived here since my father’s death, when I was very small. My people are the Dunedain.
Bilbo: (translating) The “Men of the West”…?
Boy: Our forefathers were the faithful remnant who escaped from the drowning of Numenor. They followed Elendil to safety in nine great ships over the churning seas.
It happened long ages before I was born, yet I have often seen it in my dreams…
Close up on the boy’s eyes. He begins softly singing:
Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.
As he sings, we see a montage of images from his dreams. Nine tall ships, clustered in a harbor. Elendil stands at the prow of the lead ship looking back over the island of Numenor. Proud towers, mighty temples, lavish cities, and the great summit of the Meneltarma are suddenly overwhelmed by a massive, green wave which lifts the boats of the faithful, even as Numenor is engulfed by the sea. From the mast of the lead boat, a huge standard is caught by the wind, revealing the emblem of the house of Elendil: a white tree, surrounded by seven stars on a sable field.
Bilbo: Well, Master Estel, I am very pleased to make your acquaintance, and I will be sure to thank Master Elrond for sending such a distinguished guide to fetch me in to supper.
Boy: Lord Elrond did not send me to fetch you out of concern for your stomach, Mr. Baggins.
Boy: He sent me because he wishes to look at Thorin’s map, which, he was told, you carry.
Bilbo: Well in that case, let’s not keep the esteemed lore master waiting any longer. Lead on, Dunadan.
Author’s Note: Bilbo already has a long standing friendship with Aragorn by the time Frodo catches up to him in Rivendell, though Tolkien is indefinite about when they first met one another. I have set their first meeting during Bilbo’s first visit to Rivendell, when Aragorn would have been a boy of ten. In this scene, the boy Estel displays character qualities consistent with those demonstrated by Aragorn in the movie version of Lord of the Rings, such as his tracking abilities, and his slightly reproachful attitude toward Hobbit appetites. Since the film version of The Hobbit will serve as a “prequel” to Lord of the Rings, this scene would accomplish the following important narrative functions:
•it ties together Aragorn’s back story with Bilbo’s story
•it alludes to the verses about Aragorn’s destiny which Bilbo will later compose for Aragorn, thus implying that Bilbo incorporated the Dunadan's first words to him into his poem
•it gives important information about the Dunadain and their origins
•it foreshadows the dangers which will arise for his relative, Frodo, because Bilbo was too free with personal information.
Many thanks to Nerdanel for her help as a beta reader.
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