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Topic: Book Gandalf vs movie Gandalf

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Jan 5, 2013
Book Gandalf vs movie Gandalf

When I watch the LotR movies, I often wonder (among other things) why Peter Jackson chose to make Gandalf less powerful than his book counterpart. In FotR, when the Fellowship is attacked by wargs, he uses magic to set trees on fire, and he holds several of the Nazgul at bay by himself on Weathertop. In the movie, he does neither. And when he returns as Gandalf the Whte, the books  make it pretty obvious that he is no longer of flesh and bone, even Gwahir comments that he is light as a feather. Whan I read the books, I felt fairly certain that he could defeat the Witch-King if it came to a fight, but in the movies, Gandalfs staff is broken, and he is thrown to the ground. He also states to Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli that "none of your weapons can hurt me now", which includes Anduril (and by implicaton pretty much everething else the "bad guys" in M-E have acces to, except Nazguls and Sauron himself).

In the movies, his "new" powers seems to have most to do with no longer getting his ass kicked by Saruman (which he never did in the books), and maybe a bit more effective against Nazgul.

I would really like to know your opinion on why Jackson chose to "downpower" Gandalf. Maybe he was afraid of that having a guy around that cannot be harmed by orcs, wargs, trolls etc. would ruin suspence? 



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Jan 5, 2013
To be honest the only incident I can think of where Gandalf's power was deliberately played down was with his confrontation with the Witch-King on the battlements of Minas Tirith. This was in the extended edition only I think. As for why Jackson made this scene my guess would be because the Witch-King was the only 'big baddy' left now that the Balrog had been killed off and Saruman was powerless. Sauron never plays an active part so that left only the WK. Plus the WK was about to have a conflict with Eowyn so having him destroy Gandalf's staff further exalts Eowyn's victory over him.

It seems Jackson regretted his decision by choosing to leave this scene out of the 'normal' film and leave it for the extended edition?

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My Master Sauron the Great bids thee Welcome....
Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Jan 8, 2013
I sort of figured he down-played Gandalf so that the Hobbits would shine more. Another example, though it's not about magic/power, is when Frodo solves the riddle of the doors into Moria in the movie, and in the book it's Gandalf. Same with the Hobbit movie, when Bilbo is the one to keep the trolls befuddled until dawn instead of Gandalf.
There's my 2 cents.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Date: Jan 8, 2013

Interesting post to Annatar and good supporting banter to Bilbo and Laurelin.

With that said,

     It's pretty clear that Tolkien wrote the Wizards or Istari as Wise men. In the Silmarillion Tolkien writes that they were sent to Middle-earth to bolster the will of its people, to kindle their hearts to act against the Dark Lord. As I read the books I was surprised to see how very little the Wizards utilized their actual power. Saruman's power was in his cunning words, like an almost Jedi-like power over those who were perhaps prone to suggestion or unprepared. Radagast talked to birds and beasts. Gandalf was always prone to use fireworks, blazing flashes, etc. But I think that was mostly because he was given the Ring of Fire from Cirdan.

      I believe the Istari had power inherent but since they were wise they didn't really use it outright. As if they were saving it for threats as powerful as themselves, which is a wise thing to do. Or else the Wizards could've just taken over the lands of ME and not been so subtle.

    I think Peter Jackson sensationalized the character of Gandalf to make him seem more powerful, i.e.: The breaking of the rock to turn the trolls to stone, as Laurelin notes. The ninja type blocking he did against Gimli's axe and Legolas' arrow when he meets the Three Hunters in The Two Towers a la Jackson. In the books the Troll event was handled with Gandalf's talent as a mimic and his cleverness at buying time until the sun rose. In the latter instance: He lifted up his staff, and Gimli's axe leaped from his grasp and fell ringing on the ground. The sword of Aragorn, stiff in his his motionless hand, blazed with a sudden fire. Legolas gave a great shout and shot an arrow high in the air: it vanished in a flash of flame.--The White Rider, LOTR.

The payoff for me in the books is when we actually get a glimpse of Gandalf's power no matter how small (lighting a fire in the high passes of Caradhras with his staff on the wet wood: At last reluctantly Gandalf himself took a hand. Picking up a faggot he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an edraith ammen! he thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it. At once a great spout of green and blue flame sprang out, and the wood flared and sputtered.---The Ring Goes South, LOTR.) or large (defending the powerful sword fell of the Balrog: There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire---The Bridge of Khazad-Dum, LOTR.) but when it happens its always at a point where things are most dire. Power in measure was Tolkien's wont for the Wizards, I feel. Jackson needs to razzle-dazzle and I guess that is a Director's wont...I dunno....Cheers!



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Jan 8, 2013

Jaido, my friend, you hit on something I had a huge discussion with my family about several years ago: the use of power.

One of the things we all agreed upon was that one of the main themes of JRRT was what does one do with power? Try to get more? Use it for the benefit of those around? Put oneself above others?

As you say, each wizard had his innate powers. And we see how each of them used it (I always wished for more Radagast) during his time in ME. Could they have done more? Maybe, but that may be the whole point: that when it is used, it's always to aid others.

I sort of got the feeling that PJ glanced over this issue a little.

Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not one of Gandalf's strenghts was helping others discover their strengths? Who knew Bilbo was so Tookish until Gandalf called on him. Same with Frodo.



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Date: Jan 9, 2013
Good to hear your echoes Lady Laurelin..
My wish was always to know about the Blue Wizards, Pallando and the other one. Saruman went with them to the east but only he came back... its a quandry...no matter how you dice it...

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Date: Jan 12, 2013
To further Laurelin's point concerning Radagast,
I feel that Radagast was actually a key player in the White Council's dealing with the phantom threat (not Menace, mind you) of Dol Guldur. I think there's an Alan Lee painting of the White Council on a narrow stone bridge moving to accost the stronghold of the Necromancer. Radagast was there. It was said that Radagast seldom heeded the summons of the Council but he would have recalled some of his purpose and he did in the one moment when he rode, on Saruman's command to meet Gandalf with a summons to meet with him at Isengard during the 'Lord of the Rings' story. Anyway just adding to the pile of suppose-eds there...


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