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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The notion of Bolg chasing Gandalf or matching the power of The Wizard. . . What? come on now! Be serious.
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Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 3 2012, 7:45am

Post #76 of 99 (1109 views)
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Tolkien deals with spiritual conflict differently to physical [In reply to] Can't Post

As we see with in "Flight to the Ford". Mortals have minimal presence in the spiritual plane. Aragorn has a little, because of his distant elven ancestry. Legolas would have more, but, being Sindar not Noldor, not enough. The rest of the party have none at all (apart from Frodo, who could hypothetically have used the ring, had he had the skill and knowledge).

Glorfindel, Elrond, or Galadriel would have been able to fight the Balrog at least as effectively as Gandalf, since they are all fully present on the spiritual plane.

So, it's not a matter of raw power, it's simply a matter of Gandalf being the only person able to meet the Balrog on the spiritual plane. Against purely physical opponents, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas and Gimili are more powerful than Gandalf, as seen against the cave troll.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 3 2012, 12:26pm

Post #77 of 99 (1047 views)
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Hmm? [In reply to] Can't Post

- it was Frodo who saw off the cave troll - stabbed him in his foot, I believe.
.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 12:27pm

Post #78 of 99 (1019 views)
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From where are you drawing this idea of spiritual presence?// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

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

Oct 3 2012, 1:37pm

Post #79 of 99 (999 views)
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And Boromir's strength that forced the door closed [In reply to] Can't Post

A purely physical enemy is defeated by purely physical means. (ok, so there was some enchantment of Frodo's blade that no doubt helped a bit...)

A Far Dragon is the best kind...

(This post was edited by Fardragon on Oct 3 2012, 1:38pm)


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 2:40pm

Post #80 of 99 (974 views)
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It seems that you have a personal theory regarding power & spirituality [In reply to] Can't Post

in Tolkien's writing yet you come off as though this is a given fact. Please enlighten me if this is not so.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

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

Oct 3 2012, 2:52pm

Post #81 of 99 (990 views)
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I'm suprised it needs to be explained on a fan site [In reply to] Can't Post

Since it is a central concept in LotR.

It's most obvious when Frodo is slipping into the wrath world at the Ford. Glorfindel has a strong presence, Aragorn is weakly visible, and the rest have no presence at all.

Those who Elrond says "can ride openly against The Nine" all have Noldor and or Maia blood.

But we also see it in Galadriel's struggle to shield Lorien from Sauron, with the help of her ring. (Implicitly Elrond does the same for Rivendell).

There are many other examples.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 2:54pm

Post #82 of 99 (920 views)
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Interesting theory...// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
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Beren0nehanded
Bree


Oct 3 2012, 4:25pm

Post #83 of 99 (944 views)
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Bilbo was meant to find the ring . . . [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The witch king is defeated by Merry and he was possibly as powerful as gandalf, who is more powerful thand Merry... so battles in Tolkien litterature aren't magic power contest. In fact, it's more about fate making a decision, so Gandalf is not unvulnerable and Bolg could be real threat to him


Hmm your title to this post is "In Tolkien, no fight is won in advance" and yet your argument is that fate ultimately decides. Tongue

Don't be hasty.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 4:43pm

Post #84 of 99 (928 views)
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I don't really agree with this [In reply to] Can't Post

The last time the Valar and Maia went at solving a problem with force, it reshaped a continent. That is the reason the Maia / Istari are restrained in their use of power. It is quite plain that if they were to unleash real force, very many physical things would perish.

The Maia are no slouches, remember Melain's Girdle?

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 4:46pm

Post #85 of 99 (954 views)
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There have been arguments about free will versus fate for ages. [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I know these have not been settled.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

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


Oct 3 2012, 5:48pm

Post #86 of 99 (1000 views)
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Gandalf and Bolg will meet, [In reply to] Can't Post

why would they be in the same action figure pack otherwise ?
And if they are to meet, they will either fight or become best buddies, wich I would find a lot more disturbing


Ffnir
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 6:42pm

Post #87 of 99 (925 views)
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Yeah, I could have been clearer ^^ [In reply to] Can't Post

What I meant was : we can't guess rationally what should happen like in real world, because causality is not the only force at work. Fate can interfere anytime, and since we are not in capacity to guess what he will decides, we can't affirm "This will happen" or "this can't happen" in advance. From our point of view, anything can happen, even a hobbit slaying a dark lord. But in the end there is only one possible road for the events, wich can be called fate, or Tolkien's will in the books, and finally Jackson's vision in the films.
Hum... I'm not sure I made myself any clearer...


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 7:18pm

Post #88 of 99 (915 views)
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At least as effective against. . . What is your evidence? I think your approach is more D&D [In reply to] Can't Post

than that of myself or some others. Gandalf said it best, "Against some I have not yet been tested." There were not the sort of given conclusions with Powers against Powers, at that level, which you seem to suggest. The High Elves were generally terrified of Balrogs, and few ever managed to defeat one, and NO High Elf in the recorded history of Arda ever survived a battle with one of The Demons of Might, though Glorfindel was reincarnated for his valour. There is no guaruntee that Elrond would have survived against The Balrog, or even that Glorfindel would have defeated or Galadriel would have defeated it. Balrogs were mighty Maiar spirits. The mightiest, aside from Sauron himself, to follow Morgoth, and the first to follow him, even when Sauron was still technically numbered among the People of Aule.

Above all things, The Balrog was really a threat to Lothlorien, which would probably have become manifest once Sauron launched his war, had Gandalf not already come through and vanquished the ancient Thane of Melkor The Morgoth. And perhaps the Wizard's "heart" led him thither for that purpose. As Galadriel said, "Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf. Those who followed him did not know his mind, and cannot report his full purpose."

What? As seen against the cave troll in the movies?????? I guess you missed Aragorn telling the Hobbits to "stay close to Gandalf!" Read between the lines, "Gandalf can protect you best if things go really badly here." I guess you are also forgotting the FULLY ARMOURED OLAG HAI mountain, battle Troll, both larger and better armed than The Cave Troll, whom Gandalf slew with A SINGLE STROKE of his sword in ROTK!!!! You know what. Nevermind. I don't know if its that you don't really care much for the old Wizard, or you just prefer to think of him as weaker than the evidence shows him to have been, but you are pulling a lot of very poorly founded assumptions out of the gaseous air, and I really don't think there is much point in us debating it further, as there will clearly be no consensus .

In Reply To
As we see with in "Flight to the Ford". Mortals have minimal presence in the spiritual plane. Aragorn has a little, because of his distant elven ancestry. Legolas would have more, but, being Sindar not Noldor, not enough. The rest of the party have none at all (apart from Frodo, who could hypothetically have used the ring, had he had the skill and knowledge).

Glorfindel, Elrond, or Galadriel would have been able to fight the Balrog at least as effectively as Gandalf, since they are all fully present on the spiritual plane.

So, it's not a matter of raw power, it's simply a matter of Gandalf being the only person able to meet the Balrog on the spiritual plane. Against purely physical opponents, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas and Gimili are more powerful than Gandalf, as seen against the cave troll.


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 7:44pm

Post #89 of 99 (895 views)
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I agree with you IN PART, but with lots of caveats [In reply to] Can't Post

Your statment about Merry and Eowyn vs. The Witch King is a good one, and one I have made myself (though The Witch King would only have really been as powerful as Gandalf, if a great part of Sauron's will and strength were focused upon/lent into him, I think), but I don't think this suggests that anybody can beat anybody else on any given day, depending on the weather.

Fate is really just a manifestation of Greater Powers, whether those powers be of The Ainur, Maia and/or Valar (Melkor included) or, at the highest degree, of Eru Himself. Those Supreme Powers may, in ascending orders, trump the will and force of lesser Powers. If The Will of Eru Predetermines a moment or event, even the very Mighty will not prevail against it, even if His instrument is one of the weak.

So Glorfindel, who would likely have been more than a match of The Witch King in 1975 of The Third Age ( when Sauron was both still in hiding, with no hope yet of recovering his Great Ring, and in a much weaker state than we find him by the time of FellowhshipOTR) makes no attempt to pursue the fleeing Nazgul Lord, forseeing that the time for the villains fall is not at hand.

But I don't think these films are going to be able to adequately convey the notion that it is the power of Sauron or of Melkor from Afar that is actually giving Bolg a chance against Gandalf (should it come to that). It certainly wasn't made clear in the ROTK EE abomination scene. For the laymen viewer, it would simply look as though Gandalf were being put to a hard test by a single orc captain. And the questions of "why doesn't he use/why didn't he just" would certainly come up, because even without looking to the books and with just other film (hobbit and LOTR) events as a refference, Gandalf has been seen/will be seen to do enough things (Balrog fight, Saruman fight etc.) which suggest that he ought to be able to put a pretty thorough smackdown on any lone orc that dared to confront him.

In Reply To
The witch king is defeated by Merry and he was possibly as powerful as gandalf, who is more powerful thand Merry... so battles in Tolkien litterature aren't magic power contest. In fact, it's more about fate making a decision, so Gandalf is not unvulnerable and Bolg could be real threat to him


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 7:45pm

Post #90 of 99 (891 views)
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Well said, Tim. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well said.

In Reply To
The last time the Valar and Maia went at solving a problem with force, it reshaped a continent. That is the reason the Maia / Istari are restrained in their use of power. It is quite plain that if they were to unleash real force, very many physical things would perish.

The Maia are no slouches, remember Melain's Girdle?


"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."


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 3 2012, 8:04pm

Post #91 of 99 (887 views)
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Oddly the LOTR films have established a sort of consistency. [In reply to] Can't Post

If I recall correctly, Gandalf only uses "magic" against other "magical" foes and physical means against physical foes. I wonder will that be maintained in TH. Even more oddly, I suppose, Saruman seems to abide by the same sportsmanship!

But more generally Im not sure audiences of the film or the text tend to think in practice quite the way you suggest. The "why doesn't he use" question could, after all, be levelled at Gandalf in the text on numerous occasions, but tend not to be.

LR


Ffnir
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 8:22pm

Post #92 of 99 (883 views)
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There is some kind of explanation i think [In reply to] Can't Post

This thing about Nazgul being hardly consistent in the material world, because they are ghost, and frodo going in the spirit's world when he's stabbed by them : it implies the existence of two parallel realities, connected by the beings that are existent on both, like the istaris or the balrogs. And just like it's useless to try to harm a total spirit with a sword, it may be useless to try to harm a troll, which is only existent in the material world, with magic, if we suppose magic to be some spiritual force... but I'm not sure.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 8:22pm

Post #93 of 99 (897 views)
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Not if the trailer is any indication. If you look at the Troll scene, [In reply to] Can't Post

he actuall splits that hill sized rock in half when he strikes it. Compare Trailer one with Trailer two. It is a solid and enormous mound of rock, which splits in half after his staff blow.

Also, Saruman did conjure a storm from 100 leagues away to try to blow the entire fellowship off the mountain side.


I agree, to an extent, on the "why wouldn't he?" question, but I was actually underlining that in response to other posters "why woulen't he just" suggestions. I agree, that isn't the big deal some make it, but I have seen people suggest that Gandalf shouldn't be shown doing the magic he performs in The Hobbit novel, because "people will ask, 'why didn't he do that during x, y z film in Fellowship." I have also pointed out to those posters that, in Fellowship, Gandalf is really only with the company from Rivendell through Moria, and they are only confronted by foes in Moria, where it can reasonably be assumed that Gandalf would abstain from using his powers against orcs and trolls, if he could at all avoid it, knowing that he might need his full power in the event of a confrontation with The Balrog, as he knows The Balrog inhabits Moria in the films. But, you know, you can't tell some folks anything. lol

"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 Oct 3 2012, 8:26pm)


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 3 2012, 8:30pm

Post #94 of 99 (875 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post

The first is quite indirect (I'm not sure this is quite similar to using "magic" to attack the trolls). But who knows we may see direct magic against goblins and wolves and whatnot.

The second example certainly includes the potential for collateral damage (much as Saruman's fireball in ROTK) but the primary foe in both cases is Gandalf - certainly he is present and defending against the attacks. This seems to be in contrast with, say, the attack of the ents, where Saruman is magicless in his response.

LR


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 8:30pm

Post #95 of 99 (898 views)
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Spirit trumps flesh. [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly the Balrog was a menace and perilous threat both Physically and Spirtually.The Nazgul could hurt other's well enough. But, events in the books cancel the notion that magic cannot harm material beings, as evinced by the Goblins killed by Gandalf's blast, burned by his sparks, the wargs engulfed by his flames etc. etc.

Though that magic might not be a pure manifestation of Spirit, so much as Spiritual power enhancing natural forces for greater effect.

In Reply To
This thing about Nazgul being hardly consistent in the material world, because they are ghost, and frodo going in the spirit's world when he's stabbed by them : it implies the existence of two parallel realities, connected by the beings that are existent on both, like the istaris or the balrogs. And just like it's useless to try to harm a total spirit with a sword, it may be useless to try to harm a troll, which is only existent in the material world, with magic, if we suppose magic to be some spiritual force... but I'm not sure.


"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."


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 3 2012, 8:44pm

Post #96 of 99 (879 views)
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Not to seem mulish - [In reply to] Can't Post

- that is, it ain't my aim in this thread to go round correcting people - Smile - but it wasn't Gandalf who killed the troll; it was yet another hobbit, Pippin (with yet another 'written blade of Westernesse'). Gandalf seems to have spent his time during the brief battle at the gates standing on the hill, till he gives the shout: 'The eagles are coming!'

Come to think of it - I can't think of a time when Gandalf the White is described as using his sword..

.


(This post was edited by geordie on Oct 3 2012, 8:46pm)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 9:18pm

Post #97 of 99 (869 views)
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In the movie, Geordie. Fandragon was speaking of the movie killing of Trolls, [In reply to] Can't Post

and in ROTK, Gandalf rides past one of the Olag Hai in Goldor and single handeldy slays it with a single swipe of Glamdring.

In Reply To
- that is, it ain't my aim in this thread to go round correcting people - Smile - but it wasn't Gandalf who killed the troll; it was yet another hobbit, Pippin (with yet another 'written blade of Westernesse'). Gandalf seems to have spent his time during the brief battle at the gates standing on the hill, till he gives the shout: 'The eagles are coming!'

Come to think of it - I can't think of a time when Gandalf the White is described as using his sword..

.


"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."


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 4 2012, 5:37am

Post #98 of 99 (806 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you and I are pretty much on the same page as far as Gandalf is concerned and how we want PJ to portray him as an Istari in the movies.

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 4 2012, 8:30am

Post #99 of 99 (912 views)
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Good company : - ) [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink And in this case, the same way is pretty much just as the books portray him. I think you are right to say you and I are in strong agreement there. The novels don't give the notion that he is some unhinderable, badass who can win all of the quests on his own, but they do portray him as a Power, within the confines of the Powers still visibly active in Middle Earth in The Third Age. He is portrayed as a being who is, even in his limited manlike form, mightier than a mortal, though that might was often hidden. He is portrayed as a formidable force to be reckoned with, even against daunting odds and Dark Powers.


I think that lay viewers of the film should see Gandalf in much the same way that the characters around him do. Initially, as just a mysterious old man with a reputation for adventure and uncanny cleverness and talents. Then, whether to entertain or to make a point, he performs some minor marvel (darkening a room, for example, or turning smoke rings into a flock of coloured smoke birds) that validates that reputation for the uncanny talents and cleverness. Later, in a pinch, he performs some reasonably marvellous feat which none of the rest of you (normal audience members and his companions alike) could have managed, and which you all know you couldn't have managed, and everyone comes to the recognition that he is not just a clever and erriely talented performance artist, he is indeed supernaturally powerful in a significant way. The notion solidifies that everyone is generally much safer with him than without him, and that, while he certainly cannot do everything (despite his amazing and, literally, thunderously dazzling escape from the goblins {which killed several of them} and subsequent dissapearance, he did not manage to keep Bilbo and the Dwarves from being captured, and while he later unleashed a torrent of confusion and pain upon the goblins, he didn't turn them all into ice sculptures with a wave and a whisper), he can do a lot more than most to break himself and those in his care out of a tight corner (indeed, the line in The Hobbit after that event says almost EXACTLY those words).


People are correct to say that Gandalf should not appear omnipotent or even virtually omnipotent. Yet it is also important that, in the grand scheme, he appear at first, a little mysterious and possessed of prodigious talents, and later that he appear powerful. Once characters in the novel see him in action, there is never any doubt that he is a powerful being. Whether it is Frodo and Sam, or Thorin, Aragorn and Faramir, all are aware that Gandalf wields great power. Thorin, Aragorn and Faramir are also well aware that he is a greater power than they. From the beginning, Thorin speaks of the quest for Erebor as one which might claim all of their lives, "with the exception of our friend and counsellor, the ingenious Wizard Gandalf." The dwarves are dismayed when Gandalf parts with them at Mirkwood's edge, and while part of that dismay was at the loss of his cleverness and knowledge as a guide, much of it certainly was due to the recognition that they were loosing the most potent and resourceful member of their company, and the one most likely and most able to pull their asses out of a fire. Aragorn and Faramir also comment on the power of Gandalf, and Rivendell is full of tales of his wondrous feats. If the spirit of the novels is to be maintained in portraying him, then the dynamic cannot be played in the way Fandragon and a few others have seemed to suggest, where, as in an Elder Scrolls or Fable game, a high level warrior is different but still roughly equal in power to a high level mage. Thorin, Aragorn and Faramir are mighty and noble warriors, but Gandalf is a Power, and he is mightier than they. Peter himself understands this, even if he did not always adequately convey it. In the 365 day calender for the Fellowship film, there is a line from Saruman which was evidently in the original script, but was edited out of the film, wherein he says, after Gandalf falls facing The Balrog, "The Gray Messenger is gone. His ragtag fellowship is leaderless. There is no one to protect them now." Celeborn's sentiment mirrors The White Wizard's assesment. "Without Gandalf hope is lost." Galadriel knows that there is still some hope, however diminished, but both Celeborn and Saruman recognize that no remaining member of The Fellowship is the equal of The Gray Pilgrim.


If, (and I say IF, as I will not know wheter this is how the scene will unfold until I either see it, or read a more detailed report from someone with an inside track), Bolg is, on his own and as an orc, portrayed as anything like a match for Gandalf, or a source of fear for Gandalf, it will diminish the Wizard, and it will be a troubling misrepresentation. When Gandalf is pressed in the novels it is always and invariably either by overwhelming odds (scores to hundreds of more common antagonists/monsters like wargs and orcs) OR by very highly ranked and particularly potent Dark Powers. I recall showing Fellowship to a lay friend, and when The Balrog showed up, and Gandalf turned to face him, the friend asked, disdainfully, "what is HE gonna do?" And as disgusted as I was, I understood how he came to his conclusion. Gandalf had displayed feats of power in the movie. . . but the only time he effectively did so was when he was overwhelming Bilbo. In the fights with Saruman, he did more than virtually anyone else would have been able to manage, but he lost in both instances AND, in the instance with Saruman's storm, he really isn't seen to have effected its course at all. He never performs an astounding feat of magic like Arwen seems to do. We know Arwen is almost certainly not as powerful as Gandalf. Hell, we know the horse waves and their riders were Gandalf's doing, his own enhancement on Elrond's spell. But a lay person comes away understandably thinking that maybe The Fellowship might have done better to take Arwen instead of the Wizard ShockedCrazyShocked. By removing both Gandalf's lightning and fire wielding confrontation with The Nazgul, and the Wizard's fiery enchantment against the wargs, Peter effectively removed the main scenes in Fellowship where Gandalf both wields magic AND either routes or at least holds his own against significant foes. From a narrative standpoint they might not seem like enormous oversights, but as nothing replaces them, their absence leaves him looking much less potent than the novel portrays him.


I certainly hope the Hobbit does not take the same path. If Bolg is presented as, more or less, a yesteryear precursor version of Lurtz and Ugluk (albiet with a longer and more gruesome history), then he should not be put forth as a potential match for Gadalf. I think it is fair to say that you and I (and Mithrandir, and the others in our camp) are not interested in having Gandalf be turned into Zeus or even Thor. But we do want him to have all the powers and abilities that he wields in the books, and to have the scenes in which he displays them remain a part of the story.

In Reply To
I think you and I are pretty much on the same page as far as Gandalf is concerned and how we want PJ to portray him as an Istari in the movies.


"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."

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