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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Radagast and the Magic Treehouse

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May 7 2012, 12:52pm

Post #1 of 8 (2758 views)
Radagast and the Magic Treehouse Can't Post

Rhosgobel. The very word conjures images of poorly named bovines or countrified female pups. We're told it means "russet village", "walled house" or "brown town", which is fitting since it was the last known dwelling of the mysteriously ineffective Radagast the Brown.

The fourth of the Istari to be sent by the Valar to aid Middle-earth in the fight against Sauron, Radagast essentially became a hippie, eschewing contact with Elves and Men and preferring the company of the birds and the beasts for whom he was named. (which is in the tongue of Numenor of old, and signifies, it is said, "tender of beasts") No word on whether he was as avid a fan of Longbottom Leaf as at least one of his fellow Wizards, but I'm guessing so.

Where he lived, exactly, has oft been debated - albeit not very hotly.

Consensus seems to be that his dwelling, the previously mentioned Rhosgobel, was situated somewhere near the southwestern edge of Mirkwood, roughly 100 miles north of Dol Guldur and in reasonably close proximity to Lorien, which could account for the similarities to the flets of Lothlorien seen in the very few existing drawings of the place.

From the little we know about the Brown one, this design fits with his unintrusive, Nature-first lifestyle. Friend of Beorn the shapeshifter, and according to Gandalf a "master of shapes and changes of hue" himself, his house echoes the Beornish sensibility and isolation that clearly says, "I prefer the company of green, furry or feathered things to that of the two-legged variety."

There is even a diagram of how the inside of the house may have been constructed:

Thanks to blogger Dan (no last name) for this design and explanation: "a plan of Rhosgobel, the enchanted home and refuge of Radagast the Brown. It is located on the western edge of the narrows of Mirkwood and is a celebration of the abundant forms of . . . life."

Said to "surround a large, furry oak", (depicted centrally in Dan's layout at left) other descriptions claim that Radagast's lodgings were "a u-shaped wooden house nestled in the woods surrounding a small blue pool of water or pond." (2011: Lord of the Rings Living Card Game)

There is little mention of Radagast in Tolkien's main works, scant few comments in the History of Middle-earth, and only a handful in Unfinished Tales. In the Fellowship, for example, he's the one who warns Gandalf that the Nine are abroad. He is perhaps best remembered as the one who sends Gwaihir the Wind Lord to rescue Gandalf from the clutches of Saruman. (It's interesting to note that in the books this is done "unwittingly", as is his helping to entrap Gandalf in the first place. For so few mentions, nearly all of them paint a picture of a sort of benign ineptitude, an accidental existence that has both positive and negative repercussions. Too much leaf?)

It is later told at the Council of Elrond that when scouts were sent to round up all the enemies of Sauron for help in the coming fight, the delegation sent to Rhosgobel found no trace of him. This has led most online pundits to surmise that after forsaking the company of Man and Elf Radagast abandoned his home and went totally native, retreating deep into Mirkwood and not involving himself further in the many trials the rest of Middle-earth was suffering. In all the arguments for and against this tactic, including whether or not he failed in his mission and was therefore denied re-entry into Valinor, nothing is said of the possibility that he simply didn't want to be seen or found. Isn't it possible that this "master of shapes and hues", presumably as powerful as Gandalf, Saruman, even Alatar and Pallando (the mysterious and elusive Blue Wizards of the East, about whom there is woefully less information), could have simply vanished or otherwise disguised himself when the Elven emissaries came calling at Rhosgobel? I think it likely.

Tolkien makes no mention anywhere that I could find to the house itself. All we have to go on are the extrapolations of those who, like so many of us, use the known as a springboard to imagine the ultimately unknowable. And who then (thankfully!) share those possibilities with the rest of us.

There are other places I'd put on my Middle-earth bucket list ahead of Rhosgobel, without doubt. Rivendell and Lothlorien, to start with. Mithlond, Minas Tirith, Buckland, Edoras and Helm's Deep just to name a few more.

But a layover at the magic treehouse of Radagast would not be out of the question, either.


Alatar is the latest writer to join TheOneRing.net staff. A Tolkienite from way back, Alatar first read the Trilogy when he was 15, and has done so about once a year since - it's now over 25 times, and each pass brings some new insight and even greater appreciation. All things Tolkien continue to fascinate him, from The Silmarillion to the Children of Hurin to all 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth to Tolkien's letters. He's very careful to keep his footing when stepping out his front door, but that doesn't always guarantee that adventures won't ensue. The views of our writers are not necessarily those of TheOneRing.net.

(This post was edited by entmaiden on May 8 2012, 2:13am)


May 8 2012, 12:53am

Post #2 of 8 (1063 views)
I don't know that I would call Radagast ineffective [In reply to] Can't Post

We may simply not know what effect he had. The Tale of Years makes mention, by and large, of only the most significant events in the history of The Third Age, and even then it leaves out most of the details. We know little, frankly, even of Gandalf's adventures before The Hobbit, aside from the two Dol Guldur missions, save that he was said to have been adventuring here, there and everywhere since time out of mind.

I also object to the notion that Radagast was "denied" a return to Valinor. Even Melkor and Sauron were not initially denied return out of hand. Saruman had something of a last chance, but he scornfully refused it. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Radagast, who did no intentional harms and remained a loyal if not particularly active ally to those resisting Sauron, would have been treated as some manner of fugitve. It is more likely, I think, that being so enamoured of the Beasts and Birds of Middle-Earth, and perhaps not yet weary of the changing world (having taken on far fewer of its burdens than Gandalf, his kinsSpirit) that he did not wish to depart.

I also bear in mind Gandalf's rather complimentary words regarding him. "Radagast sought me in good faith. . . it would have been futile in any case to attempt to persuade the honest Radagast to treachery."

Saruman was scornful of Radagast, but despite commentaries on who returned, who stayed true etc. etc. (and there is some internal debate and conflict there) Gandalf certainly never seems to suggest that Radagast is inappropriate or remiss in his ways.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on May 8 2012, 12:56am)


May 8 2012, 4:10am

Post #3 of 8 (1058 views)
Fun Fantasy Theories? [In reply to] Can't Post

1. RADDY & BOMBY were really tight

2. Together they had their own Agenda,
they developed the Wizardly ART
of Shape-Shifting
(later taught to the

3. Old Man Willow was the first tree
They awoke ...& since they were young then
They "over - spelled" him..& he developed
A black Heart
& they had to
Anchor him by his Roots in the OF..never
to move over ME..

4. Bomby stayed behind
RADDY ranged far
so that when he
arrived In Fangorn...
... TB was
was a better Student.

5. Together Treebeard & RADDY
woke more
including the Entwives (thus insureing
the propagation of the species?)
& as well as the Hurons?

6. RADDY had many more
Missions...Now it was Time
to teach the Birdseys to sing
include Westron (commom speak) ..

7. First were the Great Eagles
who had nests in Fangorn.
BUT being a peaceful Brown wizard
he didn't notice Saraman
Listening in.

8. Saraman stole Raddy's secret
and taught the foul things in
the Misty Mountains..only to be
revealed in the 2nd Age ..

9. RADDY established an Animal Hospital
at Rhosgobal where any injured good-hearted
creature could convoless ...

10. THERE are many victims of Wars
Many that fly
many that walk on 4 legs

Xoxox Bomby


May 8 2012, 7:09am

Post #4 of 8 (1009 views)
A Bombadil reference [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if PJ could slip in a Bombadil reference? Perhaps the White Council muse whether he would be of any help?

Join the Hobbit Character Elimination Game in the Arena!

Tol Eressea

May 8 2012, 12:21pm

Post #5 of 8 (982 views)
Awesome awesome theories Bomby :D [In reply to] Can't Post


Catch it, catch it, catch it! Dropped it... ...

Join us over at Barliman's chat all day, any day!

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May 8 2012, 4:18pm

Post #6 of 8 (992 views)
A decent summary of Radagast [In reply to] Can't Post


"... the primary mission of Radagast appointed by Yavanna may have actually been to watch over many of the flora and fauna of Middle-Earth and to ensure their survival in the likely case if Sauron conquered Middle Earth, and in this, he succeeded....."

Simply put, his concerns were not for the doings of men, elves and orcs etc. unless they impacted nature. He may have been striving to undo evil influences in Mirkwood, Fangorn etc. ...quite a tall order and one held in the balance until the fall of Sauron.


May 8 2012, 4:29pm

Post #7 of 8 (985 views)
Others have noted that Radagast could have acted as the eyes and ears [In reply to] Can't Post

via various animals....spymaster.....and that rather some kind of elven mind connection messages were sent via messengers....birds etc. However, he could have become so enamored of his direct charges...flora, fauna..that he neglected men, elves etc. over time.


In depth discussion.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on May 8 2012, 4:31pm)


May 9 2012, 4:10am

Post #8 of 8 (1314 views)
RHOSGOBEL is a Riddle? [In reply to] Can't Post

another Enigma from THE Professor

R..is for Resting
H..is for Haven
O..is for Offering
S..is for Sanctuary
G..is for Grace
O..is for On
B..is for Balance
E..is for Every
L..is for LIFE

Now that's where
we could help Heal any & All
our BrownWizard...

Xoxox Bomby


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