The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
GANDALF should have narrated the opening prologue in FOTR



Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 11 2011, 4:17am


Views: 1219
GANDALF should have narrated the opening prologue in FOTR

Hi, I'm new here, but a long time reader. With the new news that Ian McKellen has finally signed for The Hobbit today, I wanted to broach something that has long bothered me about the FOTR's opening prologue. Maybe this has been posted here already, if so I apologize, but why did Sir Peter write Galadriel to narrate the prologue? From a story narrative point of view, it just seems that Gandalf should have done it and it's always bothered me. Gandalf was the orchestrator of everything to do with putting together the pieces of the One Ring's history and initiating the Ring Quest. In the books, he is the one who recounts the tale in The Shadow of the Past, he is the one who holds all the narrative historical threads together during the Council of Elrond, he is the chief enemy protagonist against Sauron, after Saruman falls. How did Galadriel merit recounting all that history? What did she REALLY have to do with the One Ring and its history? Apart from the small part she played in assisting the Fellowship and giving Frodo her phial--- I just don't see it. Because she bore of the Three? Well so did Gandalf. Good -ol' Olorin put in some serious time putting the whole mystery together, and yet the Elf Queen gets to be the expert on the subject. Can anyone elaborate to me why Jackson might have made this creative decision?

Thanks!

Meletaure


Gimli'sBox
Gondor


Jan 11 2011, 4:28am


Views: 984
I'm not exactly sure

Why Peter did that. I kind if like it. One of the reasons I might have heard was that Lady G was old enough to remember. I think it was a pick between Gandalf, Elrond, Lady Galadriel. It's kind if nice to have a female voice though. And she does have a commanding tone so it works. It's not like some female pipsqueak is trying to tell you something that obviously would have been better suited to a male voice.

The other thing I can't remember is if Gandalf would have come over from the West yet. I'm not sure exactly but, if he hadn't then it was good that he didn't narrate.

In my humble opinion if anyone "should have" narrated it my pick would go to Elrond as we SEE him there. If anyone knew what had happened it would have been him.

BTW, welcome to TORN!
Smile

Roast chicken?!

You're taller. Who? You. Then what? Then me! I've always been taller than you. Pippin, everyone knows you're the short one. I'm the tall one. Please Merry. Your what? Three foot six at the most. Whereas I'm pushing three seven. Three eight! Three foot eight! You did something.

It's Latin. Loosely translated, it means... we cheat.

"Strange treasures in this fair world appear, strange all, and new to me." That is a poem by Thomas Traherne and I have absolutely no idea what it's about. But, when I was small I was made to learn it by heart so I don't see why you shouldn't suffer too.

"Tell me, where is Santa for I much desire to speak with him."
-Darkstone


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 11 2011, 7:36am


Views: 992
It makes sense if you look at it differently...

Galadriel was in Middle-earth when the rings were forged and experienced the battles and the eventual fall of Sauron at the end of the Second Age firsthand. In that regard, she seems like the right person to have narrated the prologue.

If I recall rightly, PJ did have Gandalf narrate something for the films, but I've forgotten what it was. I think it might be the "Concerning Hobbits" voiceover that Bilbo narrates in the FOTR EE.



macfalk
Valinor


Jan 11 2011, 10:02am


Views: 943
Meletaure

Frodo first narrated the prologue. They didn't think it worked, so they tried with Gandalf. Only after that they decided to go with Galadriel.



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 11 2011, 3:01pm


Views: 933
Earl

Hi Earl, that just doesn't seem to be a real solid reason, just because Galadriel was there in Middle Earth throughout the 2nd and 3rd Ages. So was Cirdan, so was Glorfindel, if they decided to use him, instead of Arwen (by the way, so was SHE!) and of course, so was Elrond, which as Gimli's Box mentioned, would have been a better choice narratively then Galadriel. He was right there when the ring was cut off, at least. Yes, I do like that it was a woman's voice and Cate Blanchets delivery did add an ethereal, otherworldy feel to it, but it just never seemed right to me as opposed to Gandalf, who did all the work and never got to play the grand storyteller.


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 11 2011, 3:04pm


Views: 968
Macfalk

Hi Macfalk, that's interesting, I really wonder why they didn't think Gandalf's narration worked after they tried it? Anyone know?


(This post was edited by Meletaure on Jan 11 2011, 3:05pm)


moreorless
Gondor

Jan 11 2011, 4:01pm


Views: 934
It fits with the viewpoint of the prolong IMHO

Not only does Galadriel's narration make sense given that she witnessed these events but I think it fits in with the viewpoint of the prolong, its not descibing events from the side of good defeating evil but rather telling the story of the ring.

Kate's voice and Galadriel's character creates that sense of mystery and distance where as Frodo or Gandalf would naturally have been talking from the viewpoint of the "good guys".


BallyWhooo
Bree

Jan 11 2011, 4:05pm


Views: 926
It would not have made sense...

with the rest of the script as written.

Very early on in the story (after the party) Gandalf rushes out to find out what he can about the Ring. He has been surprised by Bilbo's odd behavior and attributes it immediately to the Ring. He has to go all the way to Minas Tirith in order to locate the historical documents that lead him back to the Shire to put fire to the Ring and see if the Black Speech shows up on it, thereby uniquely identifying it as the One Ring.

If Gandalf narrated the prologue, then we would have to assume he already knows the whole history of the Ring, including who has it and the dire need to get rid of it... and, if so, the first 20 - 40 minutes of the movie (depending on the version you are watching) would make no sense. The movie would have to start with Gandalf entering Bag End not to chat liesurely with Bilbo before the party, but rather to whisk him away to Rivendell until the Council could be held to make plans to destroy the ring.

Using that logic, however, you could also reason that Galadriel should not be speaking the prologue. If she knew all this info from the get-go, then why didn't she do something about it? I think the filmmakers' choice to use her is palatable, because her character does not enter the story proper (physically) until about the 2 hour mark (theatrical)... by then, the new viewer has probably forgotten the prologue, and even if the viewer should recognize the voice, probably does not have the presence of mind to make the connection and see the loss of logic.

I think the main point here is that NO ONE knew what became of the Ring. Gollum didn't know what he possessed anymore than Bilbo did. From a purely logical standpoint, NONE of the characters within the storyline should have been able to provide the details in the prologue as none of them knew the whole story.

Since they had not set up the prologue as a story within a story (i.e. one of the characters reflecting after the event... they jettisoned that idea as it tended to give away the ending), they really only had two choices... use another actor who was not identifiable in the film... or choose one of the more ancient characters (like Galadriel) who had a resonant, mystical speaking voice, and let the chips fall where they may... which they did.

As commented on before, both Galadriel and Elrond would have been good options since both were living at the time of the forging of the rings and the One Ring.


Gimli'sBox
Gondor


Jan 11 2011, 6:52pm


Views: 904
That is an interesting idea

about haveing Galadriel narrate because of the fact that Frodo or Gandalf would my it like a onesided view point. With Galadriel it makes it more of a fact and not Elrond saying "And I would have gotten him too if he hadn't turned into a whisp of cloud! That rascal!'.

Roast chicken?!

You're taller. Who? You. Then what? Then me! I've always been taller than you. Pippin, everyone knows you're the short one. I'm the tall one. Please Merry. Your what? Three foot six at the most. Whereas I'm pushing three seven. Three eight! Three foot eight! You did something.

It's Latin. Loosely translated, it means... we cheat.

"Strange treasures in this fair world appear, strange all, and new to me." That is a poem by Thomas Traherne and I have absolutely no idea what it's about. But, when I was small I was made to learn it by heart so I don't see why you shouldn't suffer too.

"Tell me, where is Santa for I much desire to speak with him."
-Darkstone


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jan 11 2011, 11:47pm


Views: 924
Cate Blanchett's exquisite voice

And Galadriel is the one who won her freedom by manipulating all of the players in the War of the Ring.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
New Zealand is Middle-earth & today life is good.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.

Photobucket

(This post was edited by Kangi Ska on Jan 11 2011, 11:48pm)


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 12 2011, 12:59am


Views: 887
Ballywhooo ...

... What you're saying is that because a particular character is narrating an opening bit of info, then it would make no sense, since the character obviously does not have that learned knowledge yet in the story? Well what about all the other movies in many genres that start with a character giving us some opening info, (mysteries do this all the time) then proceeding to have that character "catch up" and learn during the course of the story what he's already told us. We know he already knows it, but HOW did he get to know it? To me, it seems that the narration device sits outside of the framework of the movie's timeframe. That's why we accept it. Good examples are Robert the Bruce in Braveheart beginning the opening narration, and periodically coming back to us, filling us in, even though his character doesn't know anything of what he's talking about when we first see him -- but he catches up to the narrative, and we go on the journey to see how he does, just as we would have with Gandalf. Another example is our own Faramir, David Wenham, who gives us the entire history of raising and grooming Spartan warriors in 300, until we meet his character, Dilios. Now, with the FOTR prologue, because its so long and has to cover so much history and convey so much information, yes, it probably would have had to be slightly rewritten to not sound so ridiculously redundant if Gandalf did it, but I don't see a problem with that. For all the flack Bakshi's LOTR movie gets, I think he did a pretty good job of having Gandalf narrate that opening prologue-- another example, by the way, which employs the very narrative structure you are saying won't make sense--- at the end of that prologue, Gandalf still had to confront Bilbo, let him go, then go and find out years later if the Frodo's ring was the One or not, just like in the Jackson movie.


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 12 2011, 1:08am


Views: 891
The Voice ...

I know several have already mentioned how mysterious and mythical and resonant Cate's voice was for the prologue, and it WAS, but IMHO you really can't compare what Sir Ian McKellan can do with his voice and what he would've done with the prologue. I think he's proven it's all those above adjectives and a bit more ...


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jan 12 2011, 1:15am


Views: 886
In a voice off I would take Cate.

What you got against girls?

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
New Zealand is Middle-earth & today life is good.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.

Photobucket


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 12 2011, 1:28am


Views: 902
LOL, hardly that, Kangi ...

... but as much as I love and prefer the qualities of a woman's voice, I doubt Blanchette could take out McKellan, in both emotional range and performance ...


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jan 12 2011, 2:04am


Views: 882
How many of Cate's movies hve you seen?

In my opinion sh is perhaps the greatest living film actress. This takes nothing away from Ian as he is the greatest living stage actor. The first time I heard Galadriel's voice in the prologue of fellowship is one of the great movie moments of my life. I cannot imagine it any other way.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
New Zealand is Middle-earth & today life is good.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.

Photobucket


batik
Tol Eressea


Jan 12 2011, 2:16am


Views: 886
hmm...I thought...

Gandalf/Ian did *not* do the prologue because it would conflict somehow with his fall near the end of Fellowship. Such a recognizable voice (that's Gandalf) "telling" the story (to a degree) only to exit from the film---how would that work? Thnking I read/heard that somewhere on the EEs though I could be wrong about that!


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jan 12 2011, 4:23am


Views: 883
Gppd reasoning there

Basically none of the bearers of the Three Rings could know everything that is shown in the prologue except in retrospect--in which case any of the three could have been the narrator.

My own suspicion is that PJ didn't want to have Gandalf narrate the prologue and then just a few scenes later do all the "Shadow of the Past" exposition in Bag End as well. Plus Gandalf is a continuing character in a way that Galadriel isn't, that is, he's in a lot more scenes than she is. If he started out narrating, the fact that we keep seeing him every few scenes might make us expect that he will keep on narrating throughout the film.

Plus of the people who actually appear in the prologue action, Cate Blanchett is the most recognizable to most audience members. (Sorry, Hugo, but it's true.) That we see her and perhaps recognize her voice means that we understand the narrating voice is coming from the world of the story and from that specific character, however briefly glimpsed.

I'm not saying that Peter made the choice for all these reasons, though I suspect the first one was something he considered.


Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 13 2011, 3:44pm


Views: 862
Everyone ...

Good points all, thanks for the insights!


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jan 13 2011, 5:50pm


Views: 891
Sorry about the typo!

Good reasoning, I meant.


thesithempire
Rivendell

Jan 15 2011, 8:00pm


Views: 804
It should've been Treebeard!!

He could've taken up the entire 3.5 hours narrating the opening! Cool


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2011, 8:20pm


Views: 806
He could speak in Old Entish

with English captions down below

we could get a word every few minutes Wink


The wide world is all about you:
you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out

You can only come to the morning through the shadows


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Jan 15 2011, 8:48pm


Views: 804
That's what I was thinking

but I thought maybe I was going crazy since no one else brought it up (until you of course)

I thought it was something to do with the movie is presumably a telling of the story after it has already happened, so if Gandalf was narrating that would mean he survived, which of course we don't find out until TTT. But then again, maybe that was the argument against having Frodo narrate: we know he survives.

That being said, I think it was somewhere on the EEs, but I haven't a clue where on them


In Reply To
Gandalf/Ian did *not* do the prologue because it would conflict somehow with his fall near the end of Fellowship. Such a recognizable voice (that's Gandalf) "telling" the story (to a degree) only to exit from the film---how would that work? Thnking I read/heard that somewhere on the EEs though I could be wrong about that!



The wide world is all about you:
you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out

You can only come to the morning through the shadows


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 15 2011, 10:37pm


Views: 796
Well they were his lines....

"For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air." That's Treebeard, speaking to Galadriel. I guess she decided to borrow them for her intro to the movie...

Tongue

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 15 2011, 10:45pm


Views: 817
According to the cast commentary

it was considered at one point that Gandalf would narrate. Here's what Ian McKellen says during this part of the cast commentary:
Ian McKellen: There was one point when Gandalf's voice was going to be telling the story, and I made a plea for that... I think I was told 'Oh, Ian, you've got enough to do in this, you're not doing the Prologue as well.' But... I'm not sure when you watch it, whether you could guess that this was Galadriel or you might recognise that it was Cate Blanchett, which... is not at this point quite the same thing.
But it seems that the first idea was for Frodo to do it:
Elijah Wood: This narration... which is actually hard to speak over because it's so brilliant, but it was originally written for Frodo to do, and I'm so glad that they changed it, for Cate, because it's... in some ways it's so much more relevant.
So I guess it really wasn't that obvious who should do it.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Meletaure
Registered User

Jan 16 2011, 3:01am


Views: 808
Giving away Gandalf's Return in TTT ...

Yeah, that's a good point, but they could have easily gotten around that by writing the prologue and cutting the film so that we eventually realize that Gandalf's telling of the prologue was part of, and during the Council of Elrond. If he's telling it at that point in time, then when he does fall in Khazad Dum, we'd be sold on it for good, since the info in the prologue took place before his death.

And if they really felt that McKellan had too much screen time already, than my next choice would have been to give the prologue to Elrond. He was at least part of (indeed almost the beginning) the line of kings that led to Isildur, who of course took the Ring from Sauron- where Elrond stood right along during the Last Alliance. He would know more about the history of the One Ring than Galadriel. Actually, she probably couldn't know nearly all the stuff that she explains in the prologue, at least not until the Fellowship reached Lorien, where maybe Aragorn could have filled her in. I don't know, to me its just doesn't feel right from a story POV. Out of the wearers of The Three, Galadriel seems the least connected with the history of the Ring. To me, it would be Gandalf, Elrond, then her. She's on the outside looking in. But then, maybe that is the very reason Jackson selected her.

Frodo would not have been right either, for the reasons Batik and Oiotari pointed out. We would then know he survived. What about Sam though? Wouldn't that have been interesting, if not quite as venerable sounding? The prologue told during a a reading from the Red Book? Isn't THIS what they are now planning to do with the opening of The Hobbit, now that Elijah is playing Frodo in the opening?


Niniel Valinor
Rivendell


Jan 18 2011, 2:24pm


Views: 731
Nah

Nah I love Gandalf and Ian's got a perfect storyteller voice, but I think using Galadriel was perfect. I think Cate has a good tellers voice too and her being an elf fits just fine too since she was most likely alive during everything told in the prologue. Also it's nice to hear a woman's voice lol. Lame reason I know, but it's a nice difference.


mendil
Rivendell


Jan 18 2011, 8:50pm


Views: 784
I think it should have been Elrond

According to the LOTR wiki, "Frodo was not alive until thousands of years after these events happened, and although Gandalf was alive, he was not present in Middle-earth at the time, the Wizards came some one thousand years after the Prologue ends. Thus, Galadriel narrates the Prologue."

But - hey - Elrond was THERE there.

I was there, Gandalf. I was there three thousand years ago. I was there the day the strength of Men failed.

Can you imagine Agent Smith uttering those lines? "HISTORY became LEGEND ... LEGEND became MYTH ... and for two and a half THOUSAND YEARS Sauron had his eyes FIXED on RIVENDEL ... "

"... But of bliss and glad life there is little to be said, before it ends; as works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see, are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for ever do they pass into song."


Loresilme
Valinor


Jan 27 2011, 12:31am


Views: 715
Because the story is really the story of the Elves?

I recall reading somewhere that in LOTR, Men and Hobbits are not the central players in the story. That it really is the story of the Elves and later on Men and Hobbits just enter into it.

So from that perspective it makes sense to have an Elf narrate it, and Galadriel was the most senior Elf depicted in the films (except for that little nod-to-the-fans at the end showing Cirdan).

Personally I thought she nailed it. I was swept up and swept away immediately, by that voice.


Meletaure
Registered User

Feb 7 2011, 5:23am


Views: 754
Central races in LOTR - Hobbits and Men

Not sure I agree with that. The four main protagonists are Hobbits, the story begins and ends in Hobbiton, but the subtext of the story is really about the coming of the Age of Man and the dwindling of the Elves. The battles and victories at Helms Deep and Pellenor Fields, then the crowning of Elessar, also suggest that it is about mostly Man.

Now The Silmarrillion? That I feel you could say is primarily concerned with the Elves.


leonmuse
Rivendell


Oct 15 2015, 4:51am


Views: 521
Lord of the Rings - The Third Age (2004 game)

First of all, mods, please excuse my necroing this thread, but it's really important!

There is a narration by Ian McKellen for the prologue for the Game LOTR - The Third Age. I'm pretty sure that's from the original narration he did for FOTR!


__________________________________________________________
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell."