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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Production video #9: what bird is that?

News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Nov 25 2012, 4:50am


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Production video #9: what bird is that? Can't Post

Radagast the Brown communes with a bird If those first three seconds of the ninth production video for The Hobbit don't grab your attention, nothing will.

It's illustrative of Jackson's ability to convey a great deal in just a few short moments.

Although it's not our first glimpse of Radagast, nor of Radagast communing with an animal, it is our first video glimpse of Radagast communicating with a bird (click for HD screencap).

This may seem unimportant, but consider that in Unfinished Tales (UT) Christopher Tolkien remarks that Radagast's Quenya name, Aiwendil, 'must mean "lover of birds".' Now, as much as the film-makers are legally unable to use the material from UT and the like, they surely must have read it at some point.

And consider the deep affection and respect for the creature that the actor, Sylvester McCoy, as he says "Show me." conveys with his face and his tone of voice in just those few brief moments.

For those who are concerned about thematic fidelity to Tolkien (all of us, surely!), this is a reassuring.


(source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/radagast-the-brown)


For, in Middle-earth, the little things are just as important as the big things. Indeed, it's the attention to (and, paradoxically, the simultaneous haziness of) the tiny details that gives Tolkien's Middle-earth its lived-in feel.

Now, at first I assumed that the bird that Radagast is communicating with here is a hummingbird.

It hovers. Hummingbirds hover. Ergo, it must be a hummingbird. Right?

Not so. A birder friend who knows about hummingbirds tells me it is most definitely not a hummingbird.

So, what is it? (to steal a famous Red Dwarf quote)

Well, apparently hummingbirds aren't the only avian species that can hover, as it turns out. They are, of course, the most well-known of hovering birds, due to their vivid colouration.

In fact, it turns out that some species of thrush can also hover. You can Google this for yourselves.

But maybe it's too big to be a thrush? Tolkien tells us that the thrush of Middle-earth were particularly large.

There on the grey stone in the grass was an enormous thrush, nearly coal black, its pale yellow breast freckled with dark spots. Crack! It had caught a snail and was knocking it on the stone. Crack! Crack! The Hobbit, Chapter 11. On The Doorstep.

But what about that colouration? I dunno, what about this?

So, I'm thinking it's, perhaps, a thrush.

That being said, I'm not a birder. Maybe it's a starling. Maybe it's something else.

And even if it is a thrush, it's extremely unlikely that it's going to be the thrush that plays such a key role in the Company's quest.

Still, I feel it's an indication that we will see the thrush guiding Bilbo and Bard in one of the later films.

And for readers who enjoy the little beauties of Tolkien's The Hobbit, and wish to see that recreated in film, that's a comforting thing.



The views in this post are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent those of TheOneRing.net or its staff.

Subject User Time
Production video #9: what bird is that? News from Bree Send a private message to News from Bree Nov 25 2012, 4:50am
    Well, it's certainly not a humming bird. Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 25 2012, 11:10am
    A larger version of a Crossbill Finch? DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 11:17am
        Beak looks too small for a finch, Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 25 2012, 11:23am
            Agreed and it's probably not an identifiable bird anyway. DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 11:27am
                American Robin dave_lf Send a private message to dave_lf Nov 25 2012, 2:19pm
                We have already seen that the Mirkwood Butterflies Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 25 2012, 3:02pm
        if all else fails... Demosthenes Send a private message to Demosthenes Nov 25 2012, 11:30am
    Seems very much like a thrush Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 1:13pm
        I'm convinced the bird is an American Robin DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 1:18pm
            Yes, that is quite likely Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 1:22pm
                Thanks for posting those pictures dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 25 2012, 1:50pm
                    Thruses come in many colours Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 1:55pm
                        I'm no expert on birds... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 25 2012, 2:24pm
                            THE trush could still be a song trush // Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 3:01pm
                                They could use the same CGI model with a different coloured "skin". Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 25 2012, 3:06pm
                            Quite likely too, since that is how Tolkien describes it... Eleniel Send a private message to Eleniel Nov 25 2012, 10:46pm
                                Interesting article.... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 25 2012, 11:11pm
                                And interesting article, but a couple of other points could have been made: Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 26 2012, 12:16pm
            Not a robin Aitieuriskon Send a private message to Aitieuriskon Nov 25 2012, 2:11pm
                Robins are really small here.... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 25 2012, 2:17pm
                    Not a European Robin Finrod Send a private message to Finrod Nov 25 2012, 3:06pm
                        Too small and too delicate. // Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 3:10pm
            Not an American Robin Finrod Send a private message to Finrod Nov 25 2012, 3:00pm
                Ah, thank you for that Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 3:03pm
                    Reminds me of a redwing, too Finrod Send a private message to Finrod Nov 25 2012, 3:15pm
                        Damn pioneers and their lack of imagination Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 3:21pm
                Art dave_lf Send a private message to dave_lf Nov 25 2012, 3:15pm
        Holy Ornithology! hamlet Send a private message to hamlet Nov 25 2012, 5:13pm
    He looks like a rufous-bellied thrush (photo) DwellerInDale Send a private message to DwellerInDale Nov 25 2012, 2:24pm
        Ah yes, that looks more like it. Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Nov 25 2012, 5:31pm
            Yes, I too imagined the Thrush as a Song Bird DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 5:37pm
                Song Thrush, not Song Bird Finrod Send a private message to Finrod Nov 25 2012, 5:46pm
                    Yes. Thank you for the correction. / DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 5:48pm
        Oooh, that could be it! // Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 5:46pm
    American Robin Without Question chrism628 Send a private message to chrism628 Nov 25 2012, 2:53pm
        Do they hover? // Demosthenes Send a private message to Demosthenes Nov 25 2012, 2:57pm
            They Don't chrism628 Send a private message to chrism628 Nov 25 2012, 3:02pm
                Well... Demosthenes Send a private message to Demosthenes Nov 25 2012, 3:08pm
                    I hope the talking purse hasn't replaced the thrush! DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 25 2012, 3:16pm
                        No - purses can't fly.... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 25 2012, 4:25pm
                Hummingbirds are very American Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 3:09pm
                BAM! Demosthenes Send a private message to Demosthenes Nov 25 2012, 3:50pm
                    That's a European robin, Dem! Silverlode Send a private message to Silverlode Nov 25 2012, 5:36pm
                        Sort of hovering (American robin)... Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Nov 25 2012, 5:54pm
    Without knowing anything else DarkJackal Send a private message to DarkJackal Nov 25 2012, 3:37pm
        A Turdid Tale Finrod Send a private message to Finrod Nov 25 2012, 3:42pm
        It gets even more complicated Fardragon Send a private message to Fardragon Nov 25 2012, 3:43pm
            And prone to vigilantism with emo bats Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Nov 25 2012, 5:11pm
    All this talk about birds... Tim Send a private message to Tim Nov 26 2012, 2:15am
        The swallow may fly south with the sun, Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Nov 26 2012, 2:29am
    Board member (and biologist) ArchedCory Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Jan 12 2013, 9:52pm

 
 
 

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