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Old 03-13-2008, 02:23 PM   #139
A Mere Boggart
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendė is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendė is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Finally I can post something on here after Ye Gods conspired against it - first I couldn't listen to this episode when davem did as family were over and then the Downs went into a strange worm-hole and existed in the multiverse...

What got to me about this episode was how thoroughly scary it was. There's something satisfyingly right about listening to a story of a group of people going into a 'dark place' when you only have the 'dark place' of your own imagination to picture them in. Why are underground scenes in books so frightening? I'm thinking also of the tunnels and caves in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the tunnel in The Amber Spyglass, the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Brrrr...I think it's because your imagination is also firmly in that kind of place.

So the Balrog was 100 times more weird. It's not just another 'beast' to be conquered in the manner of a game of D&D but a real, unearthly Maia - a worthy opponent for Gandalf to be terrified of. That's partly the fact that it was unseen again, but also due to the use of sound and script at that point. Everything is happening at once! It's no 'set-piece battle' but a real, chaotic struggle. Gandalf is gone in the blink of an eye. That's how it was in the book and I was pleased to see that this sense of sudden shock came over very well.

I also got thinking about how Gandalf wants to hang about and read the Book of Mazarbul. Handy of course, for the plot, but if that was a real situation I wouldn't be hanging about while Gandalf wasted 'running for the hills time' to read a book. Would you?

And I'm very pleased that the Warg encounter was included. One thing that was disappointing in the films was this sense that the journey to Caradhras was just a jolly hiking expedition, but here we see that the wilds really are wild. The bow-string sound effect was funny though - one of the creaky ones I reckon
Gordon's alive!
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