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Re: [mythsoc] LotR

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  • Trudy Shaw
    ... From: Ginger L. Zabel To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 5:05 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] LotR ... However, I have a question
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 9, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Ginger L. Zabel
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 5:05 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] LotR

      >I also have not been reading my mythsoc e-mails as faithfully as I should.
      However, I have a question anyway. Has anyone else noticed or is it a
      problem for anyone else that Gandalf gets his staff back after Saruman took
      it from him? I haven't found an explanation for it yet in the film, and
      it's the sort of thing that bothers me. Did I miss this in discussion
      earlier? ...I've had too many papers to grade recently to do more than a
      cursory glance at some of the mythsoc messages.


      I'll start off by saying that I don't remember reading anything from Tolkien extra-LotR about how a wizard would use his staff. If anyone has some knowledge that would limit the following possibilities, please start crossing them off.

      I don't know that the topic's been discussed here, but it certainly has other places. The general consensus (including from Ian McKellan, if that carries any extra weight) is that Gandalf had more than one staff. Extras kept at Rivendell and Lothlorien, probably?

      Tolkien leaves a wider range of possibilities than some other fantasy authors, as he never (as far as I can recall) spells out what the wizard's staff actually _does_. If it's a source of power brought from the Valar, then Gandalf would have needed a "spare" already prepared for this to work. Or, is the staff just a focusing device for the wizard's inherent power (in which case he could probably "make" himself a new one out of a regular staff)? Or, on an even lower level, is it just a tool the wizard uses for certain things? I can't think of an instance where a non-istari picks up an istari's staff and uses it (again, if anyone has, please fill in the blank), so the center of power seems to be in the person of the wizard rather than in the staff.

      PJ limits the range of possibilities somewhat by having Saruman and Gandalf use their staffs (staves?) as weapons during their battle, which would seem to eliminate the "just a tool" theory, but I think there are still more than enough ways for it to work. The staff could still be just a focusing device, but then wouldn't Gandalf have had enough inherent wizardly power to get off the top of Orthanc without the help of Gwaihir? As far as I know, there isn't any clear-cut answer to that. Even if the staff is simply a focusing device, its loss might have limited him enough that he couldn't get off by himself. Or, Saruman could have kept him prisoner up there even if he (Gandalf) still had full power _without_ his staff, as Saruman is the more powerful wizard at this point. But then, how could Gandalf get off _with_ the help of the eagle? Saruman may have had enough power to keep him from levitating, or flying, or whatever, off, but not enough power to keep him actually "pinned down" to Orthanc if he got a non-magical ride (or perhaps Saruman wasn't concerned about the possibility of that happening--which would be somewhat in character for him)? And there's still the option of Gandalf having a "fully powered" staff waiting somewhere else--although that's personally my least favorite idea as it's a bit too technological for my taste.

      So what happened to Gandalf's original staff? Perhaps without him there in person it wouldn't have any power to focus so would be useless? By the time the two wizards face off in TTT, Gandalf is the more powerful, so I wouldn't have any problem with Saruman not being able to overcome him even _with_ both staves.

      All in all, I can see several ways it could "work," unless there's a piece I'm not getting. There is that interesting and probably unique "entwining" of wood at the end of Gandalf's staff (in the movie), but I'd imagine anyone who was able to enchant (or whatever word you'd use) a staff wouldn't have too much trouble recreating that.

      I'm talking about _possibilities_ here (which is all I personally need to be able to enjoy the story). If anyone wants _probabilities_, that's another whole question--which I don't plan to worry about.

      >>--On Monday, January 07, 2002, 9:46 PM -0800 Kati Hallenbeck
      >><k_hallenbeck@...> wrote:

      >> Hi all,
      >> I'm sorry if someone else has brought this up, but I haven't been reading
      >> the mythsoc e-mails as faithfully as I should. One of the complaints
      >> (there seems to be so many) about Jackson's film is that the horn of
      >> Gondor is not broken in Boromir's death sequence. I just noticed
      >> yesterday (after seeing the film again) that it is indeed broken in half
      >> lengthwise in every frame after Boromir gets hit with the first of many
      >> arrows.

      Something else that's been questioned (again, I don't know that anyone has mentioned it on this list) was whether Boromir's horn just suddenly appeared at the end of the movie. I tried to watch for it and did spot it as early as Moria. I haven't traced it back further than that, but that doesn't mean it isn't there (there are an awful lot of things to keep an eye on at the same time so it's easy to miss one).


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