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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.

Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Apr 5 2013, 8:31pm


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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)

Subject User Time
To Kill or Not to Kill: An analysis of the Radagast death speculation, and what it could mean for the story. Radagast-Aiwendil Send a private message to Radagast-Aiwendil Apr 5 2013, 8:31pm
    Well since he was shadowdog Send a private message to shadowdog Apr 5 2013, 8:46pm
        That's why I said "speculation" Radagast-Aiwendil Send a private message to Radagast-Aiwendil Apr 5 2013, 8:50pm
        Peter Jackson may Luinnár Send a private message to Luinnár Apr 5 2013, 8:56pm
    Your thread title made me do a double take Lio Send a private message to Lio Apr 5 2013, 10:02pm
        I thought it said that too! LOL // tarasaurus Send a private message to tarasaurus Apr 5 2013, 10:50pm
        I just think it would be completely wrong Glorfindela Send a private message to Glorfindela Apr 5 2013, 10:54pm
            Treebeard and Goldberry were still there DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Apr 5 2013, 11:11pm
                I just don't think it would be right Glorfindela Send a private message to Glorfindela Apr 5 2013, 11:16pm
                    I say kill him... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Apr 6 2013, 1:31am
                        Unfortunately Sinister71 Send a private message to Sinister71 Apr 6 2013, 2:48am
                        Perhaps the fan fiction Lusitano Send a private message to Lusitano Apr 6 2013, 3:41pm
    Not sure how I would feel about that... Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Apr 5 2013, 10:08pm
    One thing people will ask is Welsh hero Send a private message to Welsh hero Apr 5 2013, 10:21pm
        Presumably because his task was completed DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Apr 5 2013, 10:36pm
    not dead jimmyfenn Send a private message to jimmyfenn Apr 5 2013, 10:30pm
    Now that I think about it... Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Apr 5 2013, 11:00pm
    Well, wasn't it leaked that... Sinister71 Send a private message to Sinister71 Apr 5 2013, 11:09pm
        Radagast's staff Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Apr 6 2013, 5:22pm
    I hope he survives. If he does die, I hope his body dissipates, or turns to moths or AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Apr 6 2013, 3:38am
        there was a rumour NoelGallagher Send a private message to NoelGallagher Apr 6 2013, 8:00am
            Any idea what the rumour was based on? DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Apr 6 2013, 9:29am
                i read in a community NoelGallagher Send a private message to NoelGallagher Apr 6 2013, 11:47am
                    Disappointing if True IdrilofGondolin Send a private message to IdrilofGondolin Apr 6 2013, 3:49pm
                    Oh dear... Radagast-Aiwendil Send a private message to Radagast-Aiwendil Apr 6 2013, 8:08pm
                It may have been this! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Apr 6 2013, 5:26pm
    I think Saruman will 'remove' him for getting the Council involved sycorax82 Send a private message to sycorax82 Apr 7 2013, 1:43am

 
 
 

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