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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Is Radagast Being Modelled After King Lear's Fool?


Nov 12 2012, 3:02am

Post #1 of 19 (967 views)
Is Radagast Being Modelled After King Lear's Fool? Can't Post

I just watched the recent production of King Lear by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which features Ian McKellen as King Lear, and Sylvester McCoy as his fool.

I was struck by a few things.

1. This version is set in some form of mythical Russian period. The styles are Russian, etc.
2. The fool plays the spoons
3. McKellen and McCoy act wonderfully together

This got me thinking about Radagast (named "the fool" by Saruman), and his rather Russian-style hat and theme music. Also, I remembered that one of the vlogs had him on set playing the spoons.

So, I have to wonder if PJ and company, as well as McKellen and McCoy, are deliberately modelling bits of Radagast's character on Lear's fool. And, I have to wonder, will the relationship between Gandalf and Radagast have echoes of the relationship between Lear and his fool?

I have to say that I am rather intrigued by the possibility...even though Tolkien may not have approved.


Nov 12 2012, 3:13am

Post #2 of 19 (542 views)
I should add [In reply to] Can't Post

That McCoy's fool is dressed in gypsy clothing, and this seems consistent with both Radagast's costume, and his theme music.


Nov 12 2012, 3:26am

Post #3 of 19 (534 views)
No... [In reply to] Can't Post

that would require serious literary intent completely devoid from the previous films. Now, if Sylvester McCoy was in a remake of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"...

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


Nov 12 2012, 3:29am

Post #4 of 19 (532 views)
Not sure how you go from Shakespeare to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure... [In reply to] Can't Post


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea

Nov 12 2012, 3:46am

Post #5 of 19 (502 views)
This seems like it may well be an influence... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure it was in McKellan and McCoy's minds as they were reunited in a new venue for work in Middle-earth.

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!


Nov 12 2012, 3:54am

Post #6 of 19 (465 views)
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Honestly, there seem to be too many similarities to ignore.

Both actors recently played as Lear and fool together, and in a production where the fool was dressed in gypsy attire. Now we have a Radagast with an Eastern European look, and some theme music that contains hints of the "Roma" style.


Nov 12 2012, 4:07am

Post #7 of 19 (502 views)
Typewriter sounds? [In reply to] Can't Post

That sound in Radagast's theme that people have described as a typewriter. Could they be McCoy's famous spoons?


Nov 12 2012, 4:21am

Post #8 of 19 (459 views)
Nice catch! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you're on to something.

Sr. Staff

Nov 12 2012, 4:28am

Post #9 of 19 (428 views)
i like that! seems eminently possible. // [In reply to] Can't Post


TheOneRing.net Senior Staff
IRC Admin and Hall of Fire moderator


Nov 12 2012, 5:41am

Post #10 of 19 (412 views)
You could very well be right // [In reply to] Can't Post


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Tol Eressea

Nov 12 2012, 6:31am

Post #11 of 19 (448 views)
Uh unless Radagast is there to be someone's conscience... [In reply to] Can't Post

... while they self destruct no he's not playing the King Lear fool. Wink

-Tim came by. Tim! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale.

The Shire

Nov 12 2012, 7:29am

Post #12 of 19 (390 views)
Well, maybe not playing him [In reply to] Can't Post

quite that literally - but there could still be some similarities, couldn't there?

If nothing else, the memory of that relationship between the two actors IS there, plus those other common threads, the spoons, the Gypsy characteristics...

And Radagast is quite an eccentric - there might at least be echoes of Lear's Fool in there somewhere.


Nov 12 2012, 3:13pm

Post #13 of 19 (320 views)
He likes spoons [In reply to] Can't Post

McCoy's Doctor was the only version to play the spoons too- I think its just one of those things he finds a way to get into as many roles as he can.

Interesting points on the rest however- I am familar with the production you are referring to Shelob- and there are some interesting similarities.

The Shire

Nov 12 2012, 4:35pm

Post #14 of 19 (288 views)
Even his hat... [In reply to] Can't Post

... looks like the "coxcomb" fool's hat in other productions. And his mournful attachment to Middle Earth's animals recalls the sad aspect of Lear's fool, mournful in his dedication to Cordelia and to the King himself.

Wonderful observation, Shelob.

Aragalen the Green

Nov 12 2012, 4:52pm

Post #15 of 19 (271 views)
Didn't think of that! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking more of clickety-clack of spider legs...really BIG spider legs.

Frito groaned. "I wish I had never been born," he said.

"Do not say that, dear Frito," cried Orlon. "It was a happy minute for us all when you were born."


Nov 12 2012, 10:16pm

Post #16 of 19 (229 views)
very interesting coincidences you noticed. [In reply to] Can't Post

if anything King lear is most similar to Denethor.
Denethor is partly copied from Lear, he is strong-willed, autocratic and powerful but misguided. Both Denethor and Lear want things to be 'as they once were', they are betrayed by their fear of change and pride. They were both unjust to their children. Faramir like Cordelia spurned for a more favoured offspring.


Nov 12 2012, 10:22pm

Post #17 of 19 (242 views)
Of course Gandalf is nothing like Lear [In reply to] Can't Post

And Radagast may not be much like the fool, except in appearance, and in some antics. But that does not rule of out there being echoes of the characters, at least visually.

And perhaps Radagast will act as Gandalf's conscience occasionally? Ribbing him, and the Council, for not acting quickly enough to counter Sauron?

There are still many unknowns with these films...known unknowns, and unknown unknowns...


Nov 12 2012, 10:33pm

Post #18 of 19 (227 views)
Remember we where talking about Shakespeare and Bernard Hill [In reply to] Can't Post

the other day?

I was looking at act 5 of Macbeth with a student yesterday and I realised Theoden-at-Helms-Deep (wherever it deviated from the original text) was pretty much ripped off from there.

If you are going to plagiarise, you can do worse than plagiarise Shakespeare!

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Nov 14 2012, 12:10am

Post #19 of 19 (217 views)
I do remember! [In reply to] Can't Post

And agree that if there are some echoes of Shakespeare, I won't be bothered at all. Might actually elevate PJ's "invented material" from fanfic to good!


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