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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
SCOD: "Saruman, your staff is broken!"

Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jul 17 2013, 6:55am

Post #1 of 4 (511 views)
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SCOD: "Saruman, your staff is broken!" Can't Post

http://www.framecaplib.com/...es/rotk/rotk0124.htm
http://www.framecaplib.com/...es/rotk/rotk0141.htm

Today I'm taking two screencaps as I feel that one would not be sufficient enough for the topic in question (Leaving out Saruman's death would have been unfair, I think).

Feel free to answer any, all or none of the following questions.

1) How does the breaking of Saruman's staff come across to you? Do you see it as a metaphor for a loss of identity? Is it evocative of "The Fall"? Does it foreshadow his upcoming death? Furthermore, what do you think the staff of an Istari represents?

2) How did you feel when you first saw this scene? Were you able to accept the liberties taken by PJ and crew for the film's sake, or did the change irritate you?

3) In both of these shots Saruman looks lost, as opposed to merely appearing as a fallen man in others. How do you see his character developing at this point? Do you think we are given a hint, particularly by his last line, that there is still good in him? (His last line before his death is: "You withdraw your guard, and I will tell you where your doom will be decided. I will not be held prisoner here!")

4) Likewise, how would you describe the character development of Grima within this additional scene?

5) Any other thoughts/comments?

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 17 2013, 6:56am)


Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 17 2013, 2:38pm

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"The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age." [In reply to] Can't Post

1. How does the breaking of Saruman's staff come across to you?

An attempt to humble Saruman.


Do you see it as a metaphor for a loss of identity?

A loss of his false “Saruman of Many Colors” identity. Again, Gandalf is trying to shock Saruman out of his prideful madness.


Is it evocative of "The Fall"?

More like The Harrowing”:

"He put them to shame for their unbelief and wickedness: but to them who were detained in Purgatory He gave hope of attaining to glory: while upon the holy Fathers detained in Hell solely on account of original sin, He shed the light of glory everlasting."
-Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, 52, art. 2.


Does it foreshadow his upcoming death?

He is already dead. Gandalf is offering him life.


Furthermore, what do you think the staff of an Istari represents?

It’s a magical staff…


Gandalf is a substitution in the English narrative on the same lines as the treatment of Hobbit and Dwarf names. It is an actual Norse name (found applied to a Dwarf in Völuspá) used by me since it appears to contain gandr, a staff, especially one used in "magic" and might supposed to mean "Elvish wight with a (magic) staff." Gandalf was not an Elf, but would be by Men associated with them, since his alliance and friendship with Elves was well-known.
- The Istari, Unfinished Tales)


…that functions as a storage battery for magical power:


’Well, that’s that,’ he [Gandalf] said. ’It was all I could do. I expect I have buried Balin. But alas for my staff: we shall have to go by guess in the dark. Gimli and I will lead.’
They followed in amazement, and as they stumbled behind he gasped out some information. ’I have lost my staff, part of my beard, and an inch of eyebrows,’ he said. ’But I have blasted the door and felled the roof against it, and if the Chamber of Mazarbul is not a heap of ruins behind it, then I am no wizard. All the power of my staff was expended [?in a flash]: it was shattered to bits’
.
- First ’Mines of Moria’ draft, HOME VII.


2. How did you feel when you first saw this scene?

I felt fine.


Were you able to accept the liberties taken by PJ and crew for the film's sake, or did the change irritate you?

For the most part. I’m still totally at sea as to why Legolas shot Grima, but as Tolkien himself said, “And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are.” (Letter #144.)


3. In both of these shots Saruman looks lost, as opposed to merely appearing as a fallen man in others. How do you see his character developing at this point?

He’s at a crossroads. As we’ll see in a later scene (Extended Edition), if even real kings can lose their heads at crossroads how much more danger for a would-be king?


Do you think we are given a hint, particularly by his last line, that there is still good in him? (His last line before his death is: "You withdraw your guard, and I will tell you where your doom will be decided. I will not be held prisoner here!")

I think he still believes he is able to dictate terms. Only if he acknowledges his total powerlessness can he find redemption in humility. But he still has too much pride for that. “Pride goeth before a…” (Er, what is that last word?)


4. Likewise, how would you describe the character development of Grima within this additional scene?

None. He realizes he is trapped in a hole of his own making. But Theoden offers him a way out of his enslavement:

“Grima, you need not follow him. You were not always as you are now. You were once a man of Rohan. Come down.”

“Grima, come down. Be free of him.”

But like Saurman Grima refuses to let go of his own pride. He will not submit to the humiliation of being freed by others. In his pride he must free himself. Like Saruman he refuses mercy, and like Saruman, he dies because of that refusal of grace.

This means something.


5) Any other thoughts/comments?

Jackson wanted Saruman to scream when Grima stabbed him in the back. Jackson from the commentaries: "When I was shooting the stabbing shot with Christopher, as a director would I was explaining to him what he should do...And he says, 'Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back?' And I said, 'Um, no.' And he says 'Well, I have, and I know what to do.'"

When a person is stabbed in the back of the chest, they do not scream (as Jackson wanted), but rather the air is pushed out of their lungs and they "groan" with an exhalation of air, very quietly, as their lungs have been punctured.

No one pressed Lee how he came by that little tidbit of information, but it was known he served in the British Royal Air Force Intelligence Service during World War II.

******************************************
Revenge is a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins.


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Jul 21 2013, 2:04pm

Post #3 of 4 (204 views)
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Dethroned [In reply to] Can't Post

1) How does the breaking of Saruman's staff come across to you? Do you see it as a metaphor for a loss of identity? Is it evocative of "The Fall"? Does it foreshadow his upcoming death? Furthermore, what do you think the staff of an Istari represents?

You pretty much just listed all the ideas I was thinking. Obviously the staff is broken, and so is Saruman's command and power, but I think what really gets broken is Saruman himself, most notably how bent he appears when Grima steps up.


Stigmata Script, a bastion for aspiring writers - http://stigmatascript.com/

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


willowing
Lorien

Jul 26 2013, 10:23am

Post #4 of 4 (207 views)
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SCOD- Breaking the rules [In reply to] Can't Post

1) How does the breaking of Saruman's staff come across to you? Do you see it as a metaphor for a loss of identity? Is it evocative of "The Fall"? Does it foreshadow his upcoming death? Furthermore, what do you think the staff of an Istari represents?

Saruman's staff: A valuable piece of item that was given to him to protect and use wisely was now out of his control. Saruman's control over Theoden was broken, the gates and dams of Issengard were broken and now probably something he knew that he could not do without that had accompanied Saruman to and throughout MiddleEarth, his staff breaking in pieces in his grasp. It left him speechless, bewildered, defenceless and powerless.

2) How did you feel when you first saw this scene?

I was still coming to terms with the long hair on Christopher Lee. Lots of oooohs and ahhhs at the breaking of the staff almost like magic.

Lots of tension watching Grima creep up and do his dastardly deed.

Were you able to accept the liberties taken by PJ and crew for the film's sake, or did the change irritate you?

No. I did not read the book from cover to cover until after the EE came out.

3) In both of these shots Saruman looks lost, as opposed to merely appearing as a fallen man in others.
How do you see his character developing at this point?

His sense of vulnerability leads him to becoming more antagonistic towards those whom he sees as enemies who are instead, reaching out to him in peace. Saruman still believes he has Grima under his control.

Do you think we are given a hint, particularly by his last line, that there is still good in him? (His last line before his death is: "You withdraw your guard, and I will tell you where your doom will be decided. I will not be held prisoner here!")

There is good there but it is being smothered by pride.

4) Likewise, how would you describe the character development of Grima within this additional scene?

Grima is vulnerable but he is listening and carefully considering what is being spoken to him from down below. The words that Saruman speaks about and against him affects Grima deeply,.


5) Any other thoughts/comments?

 
 

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