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Well (part I)

sador
Valinor


Aug 18 2013, 5:31am


Views: 240
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Well (part I) [In reply to] Can't Post

On one level, squire is of course right. The DnD attitude he mentions comes up every now and then, whenever someone argues (normally regarding the scene in Jackson's RotK EE) that "of course, according to Tolkien himself, Gandalf would have knocked the Witch-king silly. After all, he was a Maia and not a mere Man-turned-wraith".
It is pointless to argue that:
1. Gandalf himself expressed fear of the Witch-king twice.
2. According to the LotR drafts, the Wiki himself was a renegade member of Gandalf's order (not yet named Maiar).
and most important,
3. This reading robs the end of the Siege of Gondor chapter, one of the most powerful of Tolkien's of all it's majesty; it becomes silly and pathetic, with Gandalf letting the people of Minas Tirith bleed when he can take on the mastermind of the siege and the one who broke their Gate - for what reason? Cowardice, or some deep political scheme of his own? It serves him right that he is robbed of the glory himself?
(shudder)
No, of course Gandalf is staring complete, ignominious defeat in the face. When the Witch-king raises his sword and says: "die now, and curse in vain" this is what should happen - if not for the breaking of the day, and Gandalf's success in redeeming Theoden and encouraging Aragorn. And the whole point is that Gandalf sees the turn of the tide, but remains in Rath Dinen and then the Houses of Healing when his strategy triumphs.

(By the way, this has been discussed before - but as far as I know, your angle wasn't. And even had it been, that shouldn't stop anyone from raising it again.)

So, based on squire's caveat, what did Gandalf know?
That simple answer is, more or less, whatever Tolkien himself did.

In the Book of Lost Tales, many classes of spirits are mentioned as populating the world. Some are the Children of the Valar; but most are really non-defined, save that they are clearly distinct from Elves and Men on one hand, and from the Valar on the other. The chief servants of the Enemy seem to also be a part of this loose group, which essentially is "all the rest". Of these fine fellows, two were endowed by Tolkien in his early Silmairillion drafts with an actual character: Melian the Fay, and Thu the wizard (later named Sauron).
So when The Hobbit was written, the only thing which was known about Gandalf was that he belonged to more or less the same undefined class as Thu did (of course, he was good - which led to the concept of White wizards, each considerably weaker than the Necromancer, but able to unite and defeat him). However, Gandalf was both fallible and suspect to fear - as he is when the goblins burn the forest around him, and he is described as quite desperate at the Battle of Five Armies.

Phew! I've been at this for so long, and haven't even begun to properly answer!
The rest will come later today.

Subject User Time
Is Gandalf (or any of the Maiar, for that matter) aware that he is a Maia? WingShield210 Send a private message to WingShield210 Aug 17 2013, 6:22am
    Interesting question Arandir Send a private message to Arandir Aug 17 2013, 7:59am
    His words on the bridge of Khazad-dum Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 17 2013, 1:30pm
        Agree! arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 17 2013, 2:19pm
            Specifically a Maia? WingShield210 Send a private message to WingShield210 Aug 17 2013, 5:58pm
    They knew some things. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Aug 17 2013, 6:19pm
    The term 'Maiar' postdates the writing of The Lord of the Rings squire Send a private message to squire Aug 17 2013, 9:29pm
        Great reply, and an excerpt from The Unfinished Tales WingShield210 Send a private message to WingShield210 Aug 17 2013, 9:58pm
            The perfect reply... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Aug 17 2013, 10:31pm
    Of course Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Aug 17 2013, 9:44pm
    Well (part I) sador Send a private message to sador Aug 18 2013, 5:31am
        I must have missed something Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 18 2013, 12:47pm
            "Die now and curse in vain! For... I am no Maia!" squire Send a private message to squire Aug 18 2013, 2:57pm
                Classification vs. Meaning arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 18 2013, 4:41pm
                    Another inquiry Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 18 2013, 5:54pm
                        Nope, I also thought that. arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 18 2013, 6:31pm
                        Tolkien thought so, too. sador Send a private message to sador Aug 19 2013, 9:07am
                            That's a really interesting point Sador elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Aug 19 2013, 9:23pm
                    I think we are meant to be uncertain of the outcome squire Send a private message to squire Aug 18 2013, 6:43pm
    Well, (part II) sador Send a private message to sador Aug 19 2013, 8:07am
        Another thought Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Aug 19 2013, 11:16am
            Ah, Reverend's classic sador Send a private message to sador Aug 20 2013, 5:35am
        The "Final" version Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Aug 19 2013, 5:41pm
            'Final' version? Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Aug 21 2013, 2:11pm
            by the way Elizabeth... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Aug 21 2013, 2:41pm
                Tolkien wrote in one of his letters... rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Aug 22 2013, 10:47pm
    Elizabeth has a good point. The fact that Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 Aug 19 2013, 6:45pm
    Yes of course they do! rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Aug 22 2013, 10:52pm
    Thoughts from a lightweight Dame Ioreth Send a private message to Dame Ioreth Sep 7 2013, 12:31am
    That is an interesting question RosieBaggins Send a private message to RosieBaggins Sep 24 2013, 4:59pm

 
 
 

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