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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
To Kill or Not to Kill: An analysis of the Radagast death speculation, and what it could mean for the story.
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Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Apr 5 2013, 8:31pm

Post #1 of 27 (3083 views)
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To Kill or Not to Kill: An analysis of the Radagast death speculation, and what it could mean for the story. Can't Post

I've wanted to make a thread which incorporates the pros, cons, reasons and alternatives concerning the "Radagast's death" speculation for some time, so here's my chance at long last.

First of all, let's start off nice and gently by summarizing Radagast's general character in PJ's adaptation so far, as well as what we know about him in Tolkien's writings (you may want to skim through this bit depending on your knowledge of the subject): the character has played a considerably important role in AUJ and may continue to do so throughout the trilogy. After the first film opinions on the Brown Wizard have been mixed: some have loved his eccentricity and quirky nature as a character, whilst others have been appalled by his comedic aspects, with a small minority going as far as to dub him "The Jar-Jar Binks of The Hobbit". His utilization of a sled pulled by giant "Rhosgobel Rabbits" has also caused something of an uproar.

With this in mind, let us now go back to Tolkien's writings and work out how much we really know about the character. Aside from his station as one of the Five Istari Wizards (And the fact that he was originally known as Aiwendil, one of the Maiar in the service of Yavanna), we know very little about his actual character save that which we can assume ourselves through individual opinions and readings. Other bits of information that are given about him (e.g. his love of nature, the name and location of his home, his friendship with Beorn, his low standing in the eyes of Saruman etc) are dropped here and there in the text on the few occasions that the character is drawn to the reader's attention. Indeed it is partly because of the mysterious lack of information concerning him that Radagast is such a memorable and interesting character. While by the standards of any other author’s work there is a lot of information concerning him given that he merely drops in-and-out of mention from time to time (Remember, Radagast never actually appears in The Lord of the Rings: he is just plays an important part in an account given by Gandalf after the actual event), he does not have much development for a Tolkien character.

So, what does all of this tell us about the potential of Radagast's death in The Hobbit films? Well, to answer that question you must first answer another: Why should we care about the prospect of Radagast dying? For many readers, the fact that the character is a Wizard is the only remotely interesting thing about him. For others it may also be to do with his love of nature and animals, but hold on a minute: Gandalf is also a friend of the beasts and birds. Indeed, in one note, observed by Hammond and Scull, Tolkien wrote: “it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection”. In that note it is also mentioned that while Radagast “remained of good will” (and was able to help Gandalf on occasions because of this), he also “had not much courage”. To me this almost seems to hint at the fact that Radagast wanted to do something to stop Sauron’s plans, but that his lack of bravery and his preference for animals over humans prevented him from doing this. In Peter Jackson’s movie, Radagast has shown plenty of his own nervous tendencies while playing a role in the uncovering of Sauron’s schemes.

A lot of people have criticised Peter Jackson for his lack of subtlety, both with his work in The Lord of the Rings films and with his first ‘Hobbit’ film. But as many have pointed out on the LOTR board through SCOD (Screencap of the Day) threads, there are often many underlying points of subtlety in certain shots and scenes, whether they are visible through close observation of an item or prop, the lighting or music etc. No doubt that some of these observations would have been in the minds of those making the film (far from just Jackson, remember: Philippa Boyens for example, being a huge Tolkien fan would probably have some degree of subtlety in mind when co-writing the screenplay, in order to please those of us fans who enjoy reading deeper into things than the average viewer). So in the case of Radagast’s potential death, the casual viewer may only see the filmmakers adhering to their own continuity (i.e. to explain why Radagast was not in their version of LotR), or they may just see PJ pulling a ‘Haldir’ for dramatic effect. But look deeper and you may find something more symbolic. Saruman refers to Radagast as “the Simple”, but is this necessarily a bad thing? As Gandalf notes in AUJ, the small things make a difference and help to “keep the darkness at bay”. Of course “simple” is a relative term, particularly in Radagast’s case, but perhaps Gandalf admires the simplicity of movie Radagast in the same way that he admires the simplicity of Bilbo and the other Hobbits. If Radagast dies then perhaps the bravery (or emotional effect) of his sacrifice, combined with the achievements of Bilbo, gives Gandalf the courage he needs to fulfil his role in the story.

Of course, there are other subtle connotations that could be attached to Radagast’s death: it could be seen as a pointer to the end of innocence and/or light-heartedness, or it could be seen as a pointer that working with only one group (in Radagast’s case the animals), will not save Middle-earth, and that all the Free peoples must unite and play their part if they are to emerge victorious against Sauron (Something which Gandalf realises and Radagast fails to realise).

While any of these may be relevant I am under the belief that if Radagast dies it will be primarily to develop and/or progress the character of Gandalf-and given that Gandalf is, in the scheme of the story, a far more crucial character than Radagast, then this can only be a good thing as far as Gandalf’s own development goes.

Sorry for the length of that, but I wanted to share some of my ideas and some of the ideas of various others in one thread. Please don’t be shy with thoughts/comments/criticisms etc!

"True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one."

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Apr 5 2013, 8:34pm)


shadowdog
Rohan

Apr 5 2013, 8:46pm

Post #2 of 27 (930 views)
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Well since he was [In reply to] Can't Post

alive in FOTR, I'm not sure what is your basis for saying he will die in The Hobbit.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Apr 5 2013, 8:50pm

Post #3 of 27 (868 views)
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That's why I said "speculation" [In reply to] Can't Post

There's been much speculation in the past from many on the board as to whether Raddy will die in The Hobbit films since he is not in *Peter Jackson's LOTR films*. Obviously he is alive at the point of FotR in Tolkien's works.

"True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one."


Luinnár
Rivendell

Apr 5 2013, 8:56pm

Post #4 of 27 (892 views)
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Peter Jackson may [In reply to] Can't Post

want to put in some reason of why he isn't in any of his other films. So what could be a better solution than to put in his death? After all, they did find his home abandoned and he was never seen again after that so he probably did die, but maybe not during The Hobbit.


Lio
Lorien


Apr 5 2013, 10:02pm

Post #5 of 27 (825 views)
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Your thread title made me do a double take [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it said "To Kili or Not to Kili". Laugh

Anyway, back on topic!

I really hope they don't kill off Radagast. Largely because he's alive well after the events of The Hobbit in the books, but also another reason. I can't quite put my finger on it, but having him die just seems wrong somehow. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he's such a nice guy and putting his death in the story would be cruel. Unsure

Orcs are mammals!

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Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Apr 5 2013, 10:08pm

Post #6 of 27 (759 views)
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Not sure how I would feel about that... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I would prefer Radagast survived, because IMO, the closer it stays to Tolkien, the better. Yeah, I guess his death in TH would explain why he was not even mentioned in LOTR, and we know that Jackson has no qualms about inventing his own Middle-earth history, especially when it serves to tie in his current trilogy to the previous one. So it would not surprise me one bit. Plus, isn't Radagast's staff the same one that Gandalf was using in FOTR (minus the stone)? If not, it certainly looks to be very similar...


Welsh hero
Gondor


Apr 5 2013, 10:21pm

Post #7 of 27 (781 views)
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One thing people will ask is [In reply to] Can't Post

Why didn't be come back like Gandalf

Why not Radagast the yellow or red........

-Irfon

Twitter: @IrfonPennant
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jimmyfenn
Rohan


Apr 5 2013, 10:30pm

Post #8 of 27 (759 views)
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not dead [In reply to] Can't Post

id rather they kill of tauriel than radagast, but anyway..

i honestly dont believe they will kill off radaghast, i believe and hope that they will cleveryl leave his path up to us to decide,

my idea is that he will sacrifice himself, but it will be implied he survives and goes off with the animals, e.g fly off as a bird (he likes to keep that under his hat though :)

the reason being that he is so important to saving gandalf in the fotr books, that it would be silly to outright do away with him in the films. i dont think writers would do that when its not needed.


to add...you cant kill a wizard anyway, only do away with there form! somehow

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

(This post was edited by jimmyfenn on Apr 5 2013, 10:33pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 5 2013, 10:36pm

Post #9 of 27 (756 views)
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Presumably because his task was completed [In reply to] Can't Post

Radagast did a pretty good job of looking after all those animals and plants prior to the War of the Ring. Perhaps that's all his task was. The Valar may have felt there was nothing more he could do in Middle-earth.

If, and only if, Radagast dies in DOS or TABA, he might do something even more heroic (maybe saving Gandalf, Elrond or Galadriel, but loosing his own life). Cheesy deaths never go down well, so if he dies, I bet it will be incredibly dramatic, and more importantly, worthwhile.

There's no point killing him off just to use it as an explanation for his absence in the LOTR films. Give his death some meaning, a point and a storyline (albeit, a non-canon meaning, point and storyline), and you have a successful death.


tarasaurus
Rohan


Apr 5 2013, 10:50pm

Post #10 of 27 (701 views)
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I thought it said that too! LOL // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Glorfindela
Valinor


Apr 5 2013, 10:54pm

Post #11 of 27 (733 views)
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I just think it would be completely wrong [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially as he is around at the time when the LOTR events take place. I think it would jar with me a lot if that were to happen (and I would imagine with a lot of children in particular, who seem to like him).

We need someone in Middle-Earth to look after all the animals and other parts of nature…

Best to leave his further history to our imaginations, like Tolkien did.


In Reply To
I really hope they don't kill off Radagast. Largely because he's alive well after the events of The Hobbit in the books, but also another reason. I can't quite put my finger on it, but having him die just seems wrong somehow. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he's such a nice guy and putting his death in the story would be cruel. Unsure



(This post was edited by Glorfindela on Apr 5 2013, 10:55pm)


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Apr 5 2013, 11:00pm

Post #12 of 27 (716 views)
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Now that I think about it... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's rare that comic-relief characters are killed off. Even though we've gotten a hint of Radagast's innate power, and he has been inserted into serious situations, I'd say he definitely qualifies as a comic-relief character.


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Apr 5 2013, 11:09pm

Post #13 of 27 (760 views)
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Well, wasn't it leaked that... [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf ends up with Radagast's staff somewhere in the trilogy? I think it was Sylvester McCoy himself who said something along the liines. Not saying they are gonna kill him (personally I hope so) but why have Gandalf end up with his staff? Even if he left middle earth you would think he would take his staff. Hmmmmmm???? Shocked enquiring minds want to know. Wink


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 5 2013, 11:11pm

Post #14 of 27 (731 views)
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Treebeard and Goldberry were still there [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
We need someone in Middle-Earth to look after all the animals and other parts of nature…


I suppose Beorn looked after animals in some respect too. Perhaps it was a bit crowded for Radagast.


Glorfindela
Valinor


Apr 5 2013, 11:16pm

Post #15 of 27 (686 views)
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I just don't think it would be right [In reply to] Can't Post

…and will be very disappointed if it happens.


Morthoron
Gondor


Apr 6 2013, 1:31am

Post #16 of 27 (691 views)
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I say kill him... [In reply to] Can't Post

and Azog. And Tauriel. All at once. Quickly. Within the first minute of the film. So they can get back to telling the story of The Hobbit.

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



Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Apr 6 2013, 2:48am

Post #17 of 27 (666 views)
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Unfortunately [In reply to] Can't Post

that won't happen Crazy many of us wish it would Angelic but I think Jackson will keep Azog around till the BO5A, Tauriel will live to fight another day and just be absent from the rest of LOTR MIA if you were, and Radagast will probably last at least till or near the end of film 2 Frown... i wish they had never ventured down this road of fan fiction but it is what it is, there's no changing it now.Unsure


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Apr 6 2013, 3:38am

Post #18 of 27 (667 views)
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I hope he survives. If he does die, I hope his body dissipates, or turns to moths or [In reply to] Can't Post

does SOMETHING to show that he was never human. Saruman's body does inthe books, but the extended ignores this in favour of crass "humour".

I would prefer Radagast live, not perish as Peter's DOS kill moment, or superflous final film death scene, nor a Peter's display that the incarnations of Wizards can be killed.

"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."


NoelGallagher
Rohan

Apr 6 2013, 8:00am

Post #19 of 27 (682 views)
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there was a rumour [In reply to] Can't Post

At the hobbitcon in germany that Raddy will die during the Dol Guldur-assault and before dying giving his staff to Gandalf..


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2013, 9:29am

Post #20 of 27 (621 views)
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Any idea what the rumour was based on? [In reply to] Can't Post

Did the cast give any hints to this?

Smile


NoelGallagher
Rohan

Apr 6 2013, 11:47am

Post #21 of 27 (608 views)
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i read in a community [In reply to] Can't Post

that it was told by McCoy himself to a visitor, no idea if its true :/


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Apr 6 2013, 3:41pm

Post #22 of 27 (570 views)
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Perhaps the fan fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

endeavour will push the envelope just a little bit further and as Azog is driven away from the mirkwood entrance by Sppedy Radagast Gonzalez , Tauriel spots him and engages him in a good old fashioned mano a mano. Radagast interrupts and gets an arrow in the brain.

Bad boy Azog and Kickass Tauriel have a diplomatic feast of Rrrrrrrrosghabel rabbits and resume melee combat.

Both get interrupted again, this time by Beorn who kickly dispatches them to Valinor.

The End.

Wink

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

(This post was edited by Lusitano on Apr 6 2013, 3:41pm)


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Apr 6 2013, 3:49pm

Post #23 of 27 (586 views)
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Disappointing if True [In reply to] Can't Post

We know that the physical body of a wizard can be killed. What happens to the body's maia spirit in the mystery. Remember at the end of LOTR Saruman's body is killed by Wormstongue. Then his spirit rises as a black smoke and then is blown away. So I suppose Radagast's body can be destroyed. The question is whether the Valar will accept his spirit back.

Besides, since there are pronounced negative opinions of Radagast people may clap when he dies and that would not be a good thing. Better to keep him alive to avoid that.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Apr 6 2013, 5:22pm

Post #24 of 27 (808 views)
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Radagast's staff [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is a link to the previous discussion about Gandalf having Radagast's staff. It includes where to watch in the 13-minute special, where Sylvester McCoy talks about Radagast's staff. (The discussion also includes my erroneous observations Blush)

http://newboards.theonering.net/...latest_reply;so=ASC;

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Apr 6 2013, 5:26pm

Post #25 of 27 (582 views)
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It may have been this! [In reply to] Can't Post

I also posted this previously in this thread: Radagast's staff

http://newboards.theonering.net/...latest_reply;so=ASC;

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'

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