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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Is Radagast a health hazard?
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QuiteShocked
The Shire


Jul 31 2017, 10:42pm

Post #1 of 73 (4095 views)
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Is Radagast a health hazard? Can't Post

In the movie, it appears Radagast is composed of at least 14% bird feces. Bird droppings can carry up to 60 diseases hazardous to humans and hobbits alike, such as; avian flu, E. Coli, west nile, the list goes on. Do you suppose Gandalf was putting himself in harms way, going to visit him? Oh wait, that's right, he's not human. Never mind.


(This post was edited by QuiteShocked on Jul 31 2017, 10:44pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 31 2017, 11:26pm

Post #2 of 73 (3981 views)
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That aspect of Radagast is an homage to Merlin in T.H.White's "Once and Future King". [In reply to] Can't Post

Well worth your time reading, to help better understand some underlying mythologies.

Merlin would probably be the "14%" bird poop, it was even dripping down his clothing. Radagast's was probably .5%, and confined to his head.

And as anyone who works with animals will tell you, that's just one of the hazards of the job. Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


QuiteShocked
The Shire


Jul 31 2017, 11:35pm

Post #3 of 73 (3980 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

White's Merlyn is a fine chap to be sure, however, I find it peculiar that Radagast is versed in the many languages of the birds, yet never thinks to politely ask them to do their business elsewhere.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 1 2017, 8:03am

Post #4 of 73 (3944 views)
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It's those baby birds! [In reply to] Can't Post

He has a nest under his hat, after all. And you can't expect babies to poop where you want them to!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Elthir
Grey Havens

Aug 1 2017, 12:08pm

Post #5 of 73 (3928 views)
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And if you haven't read White, and do... (spoiler alert) [In reply to] Can't Post

... you'll note that even TH White's Merlyn kept pyjamas to _wipe his head_, when his Owl might land on his head and cause a mess.

Anyway, if Jackson's Radagast was a homage to Superman, maybe he would be invulnerable to bullets?


(This post was edited by Elthir on Aug 1 2017, 12:13pm)


QuiteShocked
The Shire


Aug 1 2017, 10:39pm

Post #6 of 73 (3874 views)
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Bird dropping fetish? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was considering the possibility that movie Radagast may in fact have a bird poop fetish, and uses his knowledge of bird language to encourage them to poop all over him for his own pleasure.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 2 2017, 3:08am

Post #7 of 73 (3849 views)
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I think Tolkien would have been appalled at his characterization - [In reply to] Can't Post

and this is how you know immediately this is Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit. Peter likes the more shocking, horror, earthy humor elements and uses them as bits of comedic relief and to create memorable characters for the audience. To the degree they differ from what we imagine when we read the book is just something all of us have to judge for ourselves for film enjoyment.
If he was to also partially a hat tip to Tom Bombabil...well, Goldberry would never let Tom in the house without a good washing.
I think Jackson also had to find a way to demonstrate why Radagast does not play a larger part. Some in the audience might wonder..wait, there is another Wizard? Why isn't he like Gandalf? We meet Saruman later in the film.

He was not the Radagast I would have liked to have seen. I would have preferred someone of more stature, despite being a bit different in personality and interests compared to Gandalf or Saruman.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 2 2017, 3:11am)


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 2 2017, 3:19am

Post #8 of 73 (3839 views)
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Some other portrayals that I prefef [In reply to] Can't Post

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/...bshYcddSHQQwW5l7eqlH
He looks like Aberfofth Dumbledore.

http://img02.deviantart.net/...stration-d8dokdm.jpg
"Grizzly Adams" look

Some other ones I prefer to the film version

http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/.../Radagast-the-Brown/

http://www.councilofelrond.com/...radagast-_hoover.jpg

What these illustrations show is Dignity - which is missing from the film Radagast.

http://img14.deviantart.net/...llorianj-d7gxwxk.png

It is hard to respect a Wizard with bird poo-poo on him.

http://img04.deviantart.net/...y_the_fellowship.jpg


(This post was edited by Altaira on Nov 21 2017, 4:58pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 2 2017, 9:35am

Post #9 of 73 (3811 views)
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Very true, PJ's sense of humour is nothing like Tolkien's at all! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Peter likes the more shocking, horror, earthy humor elements and uses them as bits of comedic relief and to create memorable characters for the audience.

He goes a bit too far for my taste too, but as this is meant to be a children's story I can cut him a bit of slack. I actually wondered if some of these designs, including other OTT ones like Bifur's axe-head, might have been Guillermo del Toro's idea? They remind me a bit of his sort of baroque taste, in Hellboy and the like.

I definitely thought the bird-poop joke wore thin as we spent more time with Radagast. It was amusing on first sight, when he lifted his hat to show the nest underneath. It showed how much he'd gone back to nature and had lost his social skills. But I do think he could have cleaned himself up once he found himself in company again.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 2 2017, 11:29am

Post #10 of 73 (3812 views)
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Isn't that sort of the point, though? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It showed how much he'd gone back to nature and had lost his social skills. But I do think he could have cleaned himself up once he found himself in company again.


Part of the characterization of Radagast in The Hobbit (a book in which he does not appear, and is only mentioned in passing) is an explanation of why he is not there in LOTR (a book in which he does appear), and why he does not return West with Gandalf at the end. And that explanation seems to be that he simply has gone too far - he is so attached to his current lifestyle that he has nearly forgotten/abandoned his original purpose in coming to Middle-earth. In the movies, they have him pass his staff on to Gandalf as a symbol of this abdication (yes, he'll bless Gandalf's mission but he won't take it on with him). So yes, he has gone to nature and isn't coming back.

The bird poop doesn't bother me as much as it does others. For one thing, I've owned shoulder-sitting birds and this sort of thing happens, and for another, I'm too aware that modern standards of cleanliness really are modern. It used to be commonly believed that bathing was dangerous and getting wet all over would lead to sickness - if you don't have efficient heating in a cool climate, it's easier to take a chill you can't warm up from. Only a few generations ago it wasn't uncommon for children and even adults to be sewn into their long underwear in the autumn and not bathe until spring, if then (flaps fore and aft allowed for necessary functions). Not to mention, hot-water bathing without modern plumbing is a lot of work; building fires and hauling water and such. Given all that, I don't find Radagast's state of unwashedness hard to believe. Our habitually-wilderness-wandering characters, Gandalf and Aragorn, don't look frequently washed either, it's just that they're not hosting animals on their person. When they reach civilization, they clean up. Radagast just doesn't do civilization anymore, he's gone feral.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 2 2017, 1:48pm

Post #11 of 73 (3790 views)
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Another option to consider (imagine) is that Radagast still has a lot of work to do [In reply to] Can't Post

with helping all of the damaged lands recover. So after the war, he is focused on those areas either long under shadow or merely damaged. Kind of like Johnny Appleseed....going from area to area and doing what he can to tend plants and animals.

Tolkien of course was silent on his ultimate course.

I can also imagine he was trapped in an Orthanc cell or Barad Dur when it fell.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Aug 2 2017, 6:28pm

Post #12 of 73 (3775 views)
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It happens [In reply to] Can't Post

The bird poop doesn't bother me as much as it does others. For one thing, I've owned shoulder-sitting birds and this sort of thing happens,...
____________________


Well of course it happens. I doubt anyone would claim it wouldn't happen with shoulder sitters.

It happens... and then you clean it up Smile

... and for another, I'm too aware that modern standards of cleanliness really are modern. It used to be commonly believed that bathing was dangerous and getting wet all over would lead to sickness - if you don't have efficient heating in a cool climate, it's easier to take a chill you can't warm up from. Only a few generations ago it wasn't uncommon for children and even adults to be sewn into their long underwear in the autumn and not bathe until spring, if then (flaps fore and aft allowed for necessary functions). Not to mention, hot-water bathing without modern plumbing is a lot of work; building fires and hauling water and such. Given all that, I don't find Radagast's state of unwashedness hard to believe.
____________________

Any historical precedent though, for folk not washing (notable amounts of) bird droppings so close to faces?


Our habitually-wilderness-wandering characters, Gandalf and Aragorn, don't look frequently washed either, it's just that they're not hosting animals on their person.
____________________

But I doubt you're suggesting that Gandalf or Aragorn also would not take a wash in the first available rill, river, pond, pool, or what-have you (run after a rain cloud), if they statued bird doo in the same cluster-measure of that seen on the film Rada?


In my opinion a state of un-washedness is not exactly the same thing as a long droop of dried p**p...

... especially so close to the face!

Plus you don't need hot water to wash bird slips from hair. Hot water would arguably be better, but not needed of course. And I know you began that remark with "not to mention", but I just thought I'd mention it. .

Wink


Elthir
Grey Havens

Aug 2 2017, 6:35pm

Post #13 of 73 (3770 views)
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pronunciation predicament [In reply to] Can't Post

By the way, anyone mispronouncing "shoulder sitters" in a certain way, please wash your mouth out with soap.

Wink


QuiteShocked
The Shire


Aug 2 2017, 10:51pm

Post #14 of 73 (3747 views)
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In line with the dwarf fountain scene [In reply to] Can't Post

I envision a deleted scene featuring a completely disrobed Radagast lying upon the ground beneath a bird feeder, his nude body covered from head to toe in bird droppings.


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Aug 3 2017, 1:46am

Post #15 of 73 (3730 views)
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Nice post. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. Sad to see Tolkien purists still complaining about this sort of thing almost half a decade since those movies first came out. Utterly unbelievable.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 3 2017, 6:14am

Post #16 of 73 (3722 views)
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Well.... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It happens... and then you clean it up


....if it bothers you. Radagast doesn't seem to be bothered. He is hosting a nest of birds on his head deliberately. Washing would disturb them. Perhaps once the birds have left the nest he'll comb the droppings out, if he remembers they're there. Bird droppings, once dried, tend to be chalky and not overly smelly.

In Tolkien's essay on The Istari, he says:


Quote
For Radagast, the fourth, became enamoured of the many beasts and birds that dwelt in Middle-earth, and forsook Elves and Men, and spent his days among wild creatures.

The filmmakers attempted to portray this in a very visual way. The birds, and his approach to them, is an indication of Radagast's shifted priorities. He is shown to have abandoned human standards in favor of adopting the standards of his closest friends, the animals; hence my use of the word "feral" to describe him. He is clearly presented as a character who has taken to living not just among the wild animals, but more than a little like them. His priorities are different.

To the modern eye, it's disgusting and disease-ridden. To a historical eye, possibly less so (especially prior to the general acceptance of the germ theory of disease). To a fantastical fictional character who finds walking sticks in his mouth and is on conversing terms with the birds nesting in his hair....*shrug*


Quote
But I doubt you're suggesting that Gandalf or Aragorn also would not take a wash in the first available rill, river, pond, pool, or what-have you (run after a rain cloud), if they statued bird doo in the same cluster-measure of that seen on the film Rada?


My point about Gandalf and Aragorn was to get a baseline of hygiene for those living "wild" (where bathing is difficult and chilly). They wash when they can, which is mostly when they reach settlements of "civilized folk". Radagast no longer visits those places, or keeps the standards expected when mingling among Men and Elves.


Quote
Any historical precedent though, for folk not washing (notable amounts of) bird droppings so close to faces?


How about using them as facials? Now they are irradiated for health reasons, but I am sure they were not in the 17th century. I have a vague recollection of reading somewhere that among medieval falconers, being "decorated" by one's hawk was something of a status symbol. I cannot find any linkable references, however, and I lack the time to do deeper research to see if I remember rightly.

And that's really all I have to say on the subject. Smile

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 3 2017, 12:47pm

Post #17 of 73 (3681 views)
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*mods up* / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 3 2017, 2:44pm

Post #18 of 73 (3676 views)
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Thanks - I love that "feral" description [In reply to] Can't Post

I always like it when someone points out a connection I'd failed to see. He's completely "gone native", hasn't he? Even when he's among people again, he sees no need to conform to their standards and sticks with his wildlife-friendly approach. I guess we have got way too squeamish about natural processes over the last century or so. But at least we seem to be learning some sense - we've stopped spraying everything in the garden to keep all the "nasty bugs" away, for example, and seem to be relearning that nature may sometimes be messy and smelly, but it knows what it's doing. I will look at Radagast with newly appreciative eyes next time I watch the movies!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Elthir
Grey Havens

Aug 3 2017, 10:16pm

Post #19 of 73 (3635 views)
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historic droppings [In reply to] Can't Post

Elthir wrote: It happens... and then you clean it up.

Silverlode responded: ....if it bothers you. Radagast doesn't seem to be bothered. He is hosting a nest of birds on his head deliberately. Washing (...)
____________________

Very well, but in any case the context of my response was that your "it happens" hardly seems to me to be persuasive reason number one... for not being bothered by this.

____________________
In Tolkien's essay on The Istari, he says: (...) He is clearly presented as a character who has taken to living not just among the wild animals, but more than a little like them. His priorities are different.
____________________

I'm aware of the Tolkien quote, but don't buy that taking things to this extreme, for this detail, was necessary in a visual medium. Another of Jackson's excesses in my opinion.

And actual birds seem to love my birdbath Wink

____________________
My point about Gandalf and Aragorn was to get a baseline of hygiene for those living "wild" (where bathing is difficult and chilly). They wash when they can, which is mostly when they reach settlements of "civilized folk". Radagast no longer visits those places,(...)
____________________

He doesn't have water? He didn't choose to live near a water source?
____________________
(...) or keeps the standards expected when mingling among Men and Elves.
____________________

Well, as portrayed by Jackson, yes.

____________________
Elthir wrote: Any historical precedent though, for folk not washing (notable amounts of) bird droppings so close to faces?

Silverlode responded: How about (snip of link) using them as facials? Now they are irradiated for health reasons, but I am sure they were not in the 17th century. I have a vague recollection of reading somewhere that among medieval falconers, being "decorated" by one's hawk was something of a status symbol. I cannot find any linkable references, however, and I lack the time to do deeper research to see if I remember rightly.
____________________

These specific examples are not quite what I was asking for however -- my fault for being vague and brief I guess, as I almost gave an example to clarify what I didn't mean, like some specific shamanistic ritual or something (not that one exists necessarily, that I know of at the moment at least).

I was asking about historical precedent for "folk" not minding bird droppings, especially (this notable) on or near the face, being left there simply due to some historical standard of cleanliness.

In this geisha example the dropping were used for a specific purpose, yes, then removed. And if the hawking example is true, I'm still betting that falconers didn't wear notable globs glommed to the sides of their heads every day.

Jackson can and does provide a(n) (arguable) "reason" for _his_ character to do this, but pointing, as you seemed to, to older perspectives regarding cleanliness seemed a rather broad sweep, and one I questioned would include this detail.

In any case, I think a somewhat decorated cloak was all Peter Jackson needed (if one accepts that this general "Merlyn lifted" representation was necessary in a visual medium in the first place), but once again, to my mind, he falls overboard with excess...

... perhaps with some soap?

But anyway, my ears aren't smoking over it Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Aug 3 2017, 10:22pm)


QuiteShocked
The Shire


Aug 3 2017, 11:36pm

Post #20 of 73 (3624 views)
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Here's what happened [In reply to] Can't Post

Peter Jackson later admitted he was winging it the entire time, so he decided he would overdo everything in hopes of drawing the audience's attention away from the fact that they were watching a really really terrible adaptation by mesmerizing them with over the top visual spectacle. A homeless looking guy with bird doodies dripping from his beard, smoke coming out of his ears, and giant bugs crawling out of his mouth, is a pretty effective distraction.


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Aug 4 2017, 4:49am

Post #21 of 73 (3600 views)
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That's assuming... [In reply to] Can't Post

everyone has read the books or even care what's in the book. I know most of my family wouldn't even touch the book.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Aug 4 2017, 5:01am

Post #22 of 73 (3599 views)
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Book drop [In reply to] Can't Post

I know most of my family wouldn't even touch the book.

Perhaps there's bird droodle on your copy?


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Aug 4 2017, 5:52am

Post #23 of 73 (3592 views)
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LOL. [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously not. Though, if you are 'serious', what I really meant is that my family has not the slightest interest in the literary version, so the movies (as flawed as they may be) are the only way they are going to experience The Hobbit. And Jackson's Hobbit isn't even that bad, so there you go.


QuiteShocked
The Shire


Aug 4 2017, 12:25pm

Post #24 of 73 (3577 views)
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and truthfully [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think Peter Jackson had any interest in reading the literary version either.


Smaug the iron
Gondor


Aug 4 2017, 3:24pm

Post #25 of 73 (3560 views)
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Wrong [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't think Peter Jackson had any interest in reading the literary version either.

PJ has read the hobbit. If you watch the appendices you will see that PJ know a lot about the book and you will see him actually reading it. Plus on the commentary track of all the films you will here PJ talking about some of his favorite part of the books.

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