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Old 01-02-2013, 05:50 PM   #41
Lalwendë
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By the way I apologize for not writing the more obvious and thus better 'doesn't wash' instead of 'doesn't cut it'.

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I often get staircase wit myself - it's annoying

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Are you going to argue that any of your scenarios (in post 47) are really equivalent to what we have with Jackson's character? No doubt if you have birds living under your hat you might get bird droppings on your head... so you wipe the droppings off your head when they occur, water or no; and especially that much.

I haven't seen anyone complain that Radagast is generally unclean, it's the over the top treatment of Peter Jackson's 'Radagast' that appears to be the objection.
What I'm saying is it wasn't that odd at all to me. I've seen enough muck on and around country folk. Which is exactly what Radagast is - he has nobody to impress but presumably a lot of animals taking up his time. He's eccentric, a loner, and most of all, he's busy - he's not going to stop in his rush to meet up with Gandalf and wipe up birdpoo off his head.

Might be an age and cultural thing though as to whether people find it a step too far or are accepting that someone might be that care less.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:54 PM   #42
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That's speculation. So don't bother putting it in an online encyclopedia profile page like on Tolkein Gateway, it'd be removed.
irony
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:51 PM   #43
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Might be ironic for you but it's a fact. The user Morgan for example is visceral towards anything outsourced.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:17 PM   #44
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White's Merlyn kept dead mice and worms under his skull cap, and looked like something had been nesting in his hair... but even he makes note of the pyjamas for wiping bird droppings off the wizard's head.

Which would take but a few moments, for even a busy Istar, I would think.

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Old 01-02-2013, 10:29 PM   #45
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The guideline about quoting is referring to excessively quoting others' post(s), i.e. dissecting a post by making each sentence of that post into a separate quote so that you can write a retort to every. single. word. someone. said.

It is not at all intended to place a limit on the amount of information you can place in a post, e.g. facts, quotes from actual books, etc. That sort of thing is actually valued in a discussion forum based on an author's extensive catalog of literature! As many of you have guessed, providing facts and textual support for opinions is encouraged. As with anything, there could be a line for overdoing it (like pasting two complete chapters in response to a single sentence), but I assure you that providing a single quote (as I did) does not come close to crossing that line.

I don't find it to be speculation that Rhadagast would've needed and had access to water. The Istari, Maiar in nature they may be, were subject to mortal needs during their incarnate period:

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For [the Istari] must be mighty, peers of Sauron, but must forgo might, and clothe themselves in flesh so as to treat on equality and win the trust of Elves and Men. But this would imperil them, dimming their wisdom and knowledge, and confusing them with fears, cares, and weariness coming from the flesh. (Unfinished Tales)
He had to have water from somewhere. If nothing else, his home would not have been that far from the Anduin River. Rhadagast had no trouble with mobility - though I suspect his primary method of travel was his horse, not a sled pulled by rabbits (!).

...which reminds me of another problem I had with Rhadagast's portrayal - that his home, Rhosgobel, was shown as nothing more than a shack, a rather spontaneous looking heap of wood and foliage. Part of the name (-gobel) suggests it was protected by a wall, fence or hedge-like barrier (perhaps similar to Beorn's).

When Gandalf is telling the Council of Elrond about encountering Radagast on the road near Bree, he says:

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It was Radagast the Brown, who at one time dwelt at Rhosgobel, near the borders of Mirkwood. (The Fellowship of the Ring)
The fact that Rhosgobel even has such a name makes me feel sure it was more than a dilapidated, gnarled tree house, but that choice of words - "at one time dwelt at Rhosgobel" - gives even more reason to suspect it was a respectable or at least notable place. Was it more than a house? A particularly large residence? A village? It's unfair to assume Gandalf is just namedropping for sake of doing so (or to inform readers). Why would he mention the name to the Council? He must have thought he was providing some frame of reference for at least some in his audience. Furthermore, it is mentioned in "The Ring Goes South" that some of Rivendell's scouts passed by Rhosgobel.

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Legloas, you could have just stated that Saruman was a snob towards Radagast even before they set out for Middle-earth and leave it at that.

Nor fling 'emissaries' like some kind of tennis ball you want to murder another player with.
My point was not that Saruman already disliked Rhadagast; it was that Saruman doesn't like anyone who doesn't serve him. He is dismissive all around.

I'm not sure how it comes across that I am flinging emissary as a euphemism, or that I am "exaggerating" it with "blatant overuse." Does it carry some other strong connotations that the rest of us don't always associate with the word? If so, that's understandable, but emissary here is the exact word Tolkien used when he wrote about the Valar selecting the Istari who were to stir Elves and Men against Sauron. Simply put, an emissary is "a representative sent on a mission." They were emissaries of the Valar.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:58 PM   #46
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...which reminds me of another problem I had with Rhadagast's portrayal - that his home, Rhosgobel, was shown as nothing more than a shack, a rather spontaneous looking heap of wood and foliage. Part of the name (-gobel) suggests it was protected by a wall, fence or hedge-like barrier (perhaps similar to Beorn's).
Not "hedge" but "hedgehog", in this case a mammoth hedge pig by the name of "Spiny Norman" whose enemy went by the name of "Dinsdale Pirhana". Spiny Norman eventually left Rhosgobel and is believed to be living in an airplane hangar at Luton Airport.

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:39 AM   #47
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Emissary has an official inference though, the Istari's mission was secret. The casual reader would think otherwise because the word 'emissary'. That was the point I was making.

With, say Disney's Sword in the Stone, it shows at the start Merlin using water from a well outside his residence, so yes adaptions to a film/cartoon can have realism factors included in it. PJ didn't do that with Rhadagasts' home. We didn't even see an outside toilet nor the sled parked outside it, etc.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:16 AM   #48
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Rhosgobel

With respect to the name: Hammond and Scull note: rhosc 'brown' + gobel 'walled house or village 'town'. In his unfinished index Tolkien notes: 'Rhosgobel as 'russet village or town (enclosure).' And this is basically repeated in the Unfinished Tales index.

To me (not a trained linguist however) it looks like *go-pel with pel being 'fenced field' (compare Pelennor).

Sindarin go- looks to mean 'together' according to Quendi And Eldar and other sources, and looks to be the same element as in Legolas, which in letters later than Q&E, Tolkien explains golas(s) as meaning 'collection' of leaves.

Words, Phrases And Passages: 'WO- WONO- together (of things in company but not physically actually joined) (...) Sindarin go, gwa...'

While perhaps not definitive, I would guess Rhosgobel was more of a village than a single, even if fenced, dwelling. As in the index noted above.

__________

Hammond and Scull have published an interesting comparison between Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast (Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings, page 244 - 245) entry: 'Radagast the fool!...'

Tolkien apparently looks again at the postcard Ber Berggeist [there are birds in the trees in the picture] which had influenced his conception of Gandalf, and writes (in part):

Quote:
'Gandalf or Radagast? Gandalf. He was the friend and confidant of all living creatures of good will (...) Radagast was fond of beasts and birds, and found them easier to deal with; he did not become proud or domineering, but neglectful and easygoing, and he had very little to do with Elves or Men although obviously resistance to Sauron had to be sought chiefly in their cooperation. But since he remained of good will (but not much courage), his work in fact helped Gandalf at crucial moments. Saruman is sufficietly revealed in the story...'
But then Tolkien goes on to compare the physical appearance of Saruman:

Quote:
'It would seem from the beginning he adopted a visible form of commanding stature and noble countenance. Unlike Gandalf, who in contrast would appear stumpy, and in certain aspects comic or grotesque in looks and manner.'
In a variant version of a part of this text: 'it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection.'


Jumping back in time, back to The Istari essay (1954):

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'The first to come was one of noble mien and bearning, with raven hair, and a fair voice, and he was regarded by well nigh all, even by the Eldar, as the head of the Order. Others there were also: two clad in sea-blue, and one in earthen brown; and last came one who seemed the least, less tall than the others, and in looks more aged, grey-haired and gre-clad, and leaning on a staff.'
Of course this is before Radagast lost his way in Middle-earth, but my general impression is that Gandalf was the 'least' according to outward appearance, while yet the 'greatest', as it would prove considering all things, within. Again I can accept that Radagast became more rustic looking over the years, but I think Jackson's portrayal goes much too far, if it wasn't obvious by now anyway.

And I know defenders of Jackson's version especially might disagree, or possibly even argue that parts of this could support Jackson's version, but I thought I would post this anyway.


By the way, my earlier post (post 49) was meant to be 'ironical' or something: more obvious does not necessarily mean 'better'.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:32 PM   #49
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Emissary has an official inference though, the Istari's mission was secret. The casual reader would think otherwise because the word 'emissary'. That was the point I was making.
Emissary comes from the Latin "sent out". Among its meanings are spy and secret agent. Speculative casual reader may have been thinking of embassy possibly.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:27 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhod the Red
Emissary has an official inference though, the Istari's mission was secret. The casual reader would think otherwise because the word 'emissary'. That was the point I was making.
Emissary comes from the Latin "sent out". Among its meanings are spy and secret agent. Speculative casual reader may have been thinking of embassy possibly.
Yes, like many words, it has a lot of meanings, and shades of meaning. You can't just arbitrarily decide one of them is the only true one– and then get outraged that other people don't follow your personal usage.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:59 PM   #51
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However you chastised the use of emissary on the grounds that the Istari were on a secret mission.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:00 PM   #52
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I don't care that much about Radagast's uncleanliness or the status of his dwelling... what bothered me about Radagast in the movie was that he was potrayed as a kind of a cartoon-retard mad scientist ("Rabbits of Rhosgobel" are not that far away from Bugs Bunny) comic relief - and then adding his part in actually being an informant in grave matters looked soo fabricated.

I mean you can be immersed with nature and turn into a hermit with idiosyncratic stuff, sure, and Tolkien's portrayal of Radagast gives every license to that reading of him as a character, but as one of the Maiar it is hard for me to see him as what PJ and his team made him; but needing someone to be laughed at - like Gimli in the LotR.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:11 PM   #53
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Which would take but a few moments, for even a busy Istar, I would think.
I still think it's a matter of taste and expectation and it doesn't bother me. Maybe I have a strong stomach. From experience in trying to fly out of the house with a baby and catch the bus, I've left the house with sick stained/ripped/unsuitable clothes on many a time and I went to work with my clothes on inside out just a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes there's just not time to worry.

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With respect to the name: Hammond and Scull note: rhosc 'brown' + gobel 'walled house or village 'town'. In his unfinished index Tolkien notes: 'Rhosgobel as 'russet village or town (enclosure).' And this is basically repeated in the Unfinished Tales index.

To me (not a trained linguist however) it looks like *go-pel with pel being 'fenced field' (compare Pelennor).

Sindarin go- looks to mean 'together' according to Quendi And Eldar and other sources, and looks to be the same element as in Legolas, which in letters later than Q&E, Tolkien explains golas(s) as meaning 'collection' of leaves.

Words, Phrases And Passages: 'WO- WONO- together (of things in company but not physically actually joined) (...) Sindarin go, gwa...'

While perhaps not definitive, I would guess Rhosgobel was more of a village than a single, even if fenced, dwelling. As in the index noted above.
Fair enough analysis - it could be that there was a settlement there at some point, as we know Woodmen have been active around there, though have suffered from attacks lately when the events of The Hobbit occur.

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Originally Posted by Legolas
He had to have water from somewhere. If nothing else, his home would not have been that far from the Anduin River. Rhadagast had no trouble with mobility - though I suspect his primary method of travel was his horse, not a sled pulled by rabbits (!).

...which reminds me of another problem I had with Rhadagast's portrayal - that his home, Rhosgobel, was shown as nothing more than a shack, a rather spontaneous looking heap of wood and foliage. Part of the name (-gobel) suggests it was protected by a wall, fence or hedge-like barrier (perhaps similar to Beorn's).
The only thing I didn't like about it was in the wide view shown in John Howe's design artwork - it was perilously close to looking like Hagrid's hut. Though there may well have been some kind of wall or hedge, we just didn't see that (hopefully we will see more later on). The concept of it being built around a tree is quite appealing though, both in a Middle-earth and real world context. We have flets in Middle-earth and this is another approach to making use of the existing structure of a solid tree. In the real world dwellings are built around trees - there was a fisherman's cottage across the fields from our family home that had an Oak as part of the gable structure and a pub of the same vintage (Tudor, at least) a few villages away that made the same use of a tree. It also riffs on the Robin Hood myth of the Major Oak, and has 'green' connotations, so I have no objection to the concept.

However, I'm in two minds about whether he would have had a horse. Would this be practical in the wildwoods?
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:09 PM   #54
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Emissary has an official inference though, the Istari's mission was secret. The casual reader would think otherwise because the word 'emissary'. That was the point I was making.
Emissary is most certainly applicable. Just because you haven't the faintest idea of the word's meaning does not disqualify its proper usage. In any case, the "official" inference applies to the Istari, as they were sent on a specific mission by the Valar. If you looked up the etymology for the word "emissary" (which in your case would be profitable), you will find the following:

L. emissarius, lit. "that is sent out," from emissus, pp. of emittere "send forth".

The word was used by the Romans in regards to spying, or an agent sent out on a secret mission. It is certainly not as specific as "ambassador" which implies a letter of credentials being turned over to another government.

As far as what the "casual reader" would think, I would hope they would look up the word if they were unsure of the meaning. This is how one attains a better vocabulary. But the Istari were emissaries of the Valar; in fact, that is a word Tolkien uses on several occasions in regards to them in his Letters.

So you are completely out of line on several levels.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:20 AM   #55
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For Radagast, I enjoyed how he kind of dropped out and disappeared from the first movie. It's fitting considering his book character. I hope he's dropped out of the movies for good, but I doubt it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:24 AM   #56
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Can I ask, are you saying you would prefer him to have been excluded from presentation in this/these films?

If PJ were purist there'd be only 1 scene of him, in the Fellowship of the Ring. Are you sure that's the way it ought to be, if it is?
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:07 AM   #57
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I still think it's a matter of taste and expectation and it doesn't bother me. Maybe I have a strong stomach. From experience in trying to fly out of the house with a baby and catch the bus, I've left the house with sick stained/ripped/unsuitable clothes on many a time and I went to work with my clothes on inside out just a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes there's just not time to worry.
Well I don't want to compare stomach strengths (not that I could in any event), but if the film consistently portrays Radagast trying to catch a rabbit sled with an infant in his arms, I might better understand why he leaves some [IMO] significant bird droppings on his head.



Quote:
Fair enough analysis - it could be that there was a settlement there at some point, as we know Woodmen have been active around there, though have suffered from attacks lately when the events of The Hobbit occur.

Thanks. The attempted linguistic analysis was more due to Legolas' wondering about the name, not to try and prove Jackson had made some kind of blunder with respect to the books.

I don't find a tree house, or that it might not seem to be part of a larger village, necessarily objectionable for a film. Generally speaking anyway. But that said, I haven't seen this film yet, although I have seen images of Radagast, and read people chatting about how over the top he is as a character...

... some people anyway. And since I find Jackson's treatment quite often to be over the top for my tastes...

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Old 01-04-2013, 10:17 AM   #58
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Yes, the Istari were representatives of the Valar, though in the unofficial sense. Because their mission was secret with restrictions on their uses of Magic, etc.




Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #144
They were thought to be Emissaries (in terms of this tale from the Far West beyond the sea), and their proper function, maintained by Gandalf, and perverted by Saruman, was to encourage and bring about the native powers of the enemies of Sauron
and -

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #145
I am sure you are right: Gandalf was of course always old. He was an Emissary, who had that shape from the first...
and again -

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #153
The power of the Ring, over all concerned, even the Wizards or Emissaries, is not a delusion - but it is not the whole picture...
and yet again for added emphasis -

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #156
...[Gandalf] with the other Istari, wizards, 'those who know', an emissary from the Lords of the West, sent to Middle-earth, as the great crisis of Sauron loomed on the horizon.
and one more time to bludgeon you with the facts -

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #153
The istari are translated 'wizards' because of the connexion of 'wizard' with wise and so with 'writing' and knowing. They are actually emissaries from the True West, and so immediately from God, sent precisely to strengthen the resistance of 'good', when the Valar became aware that the shadow of Sauron is taking shape.
In three instances, Tolkien's capitalization of "Emissaries" and "Emissary" clearly indicates a title and official nature of their secret mission. There are four more instances of Tolkien using the words emissary or emissaries in regards to the istari in his letters.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:12 PM   #59
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Well I don't want to compare stomach strengths (not that I could in any event), but if the film consistently portrays Radagast trying to catch a rabbit sled with an infant in his arms, I might better understand why he leaves some [IMO] significant bird droppings on his head.
Radagast with a baby? I suppose if in twenty years' time I have enough money to do a re-imagining of The Hobbit that would really upset people then I'm going to include that.




Quote:
Thanks. The attempted linguistic analysis was more due to Legolas' wondering about the name, not to try and prove Jackson had made some kind of blunder with respect to the books.

I don't find a tree house, or that it might not seem to be part of a larger village, necessarily objectionable for a film. Generally speaking anyway. But that said, I haven't seen this film yet, although I have seen images of Radagast, and read people chatting about how over the top he is as a character...

... some people anyway. And since I find Jackson's treatment quite often to be over the top for my tastes...
Take a look at the John Howe concept art, it doesn't look very much different in the film itself so you will get a good idea without having to go to the cinema. I'd say it's less a 'tree house' and more a house built around a tree.

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Originally Posted by Nogrod
I mean you can be immersed with nature and turn into a hermit with idiosyncratic stuff, sure, and Tolkien's portrayal of Radagast gives every license to that reading of him as a character, but as one of the Maiar it is hard for me to see him as what PJ and his team made him; but needing someone to be laughed at - like Gimli in the LotR.
I certainly didn't laugh at him, I can say that. I thought he was quite bonkers, but he wasn't comic to me. I wonder who finds him funny here?
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #60
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If I'm not mistaken, and I'm not, this thread is about Radagast in the Hobbit Film. Let's get back to that topic and away from talking about each other. Keep it civil or I'll have to shut it down - as well at the accounts of those who do not heed this post.

**edit ** For now, I will edit a few posts.

**2nd edit ** Yikes! What a mess. You all need to stop making a mess in the barrow!
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #61
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I'm not sure anyone in any times kept birds under their hats. And even White's Merlyn kept pyjamas to wipe his head off, when his Owl might land on his head and cause a mess.

And from the pictures I have seen, this is a notable amout of droppings on a part of the body I would think an Istar of Rhosgobel might want to attend to.
This makes me think, in turn, about Bob Marley and "40 species of insects in his hair". Another city legend characterising a peculiar person with a great talent.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:09 PM   #62
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On topic, I'm actually a bit torn about Radagast. I was put off by his costume and lack of dignity at first, but then it started to seem appropriate: he has become immersed in the natural world, and is thus not disgusted by its messiness. Like someone else mentioned, a shepherd becoming like his sheep, or an ent becoming treeish. It looks like an altered state of consciousness, psychedelic mushrooms aside; there is something zen about him.

"certainly the sparrow has Buddha nature. Indeed it is very intelligent; it knows that Buddha is very compassionate, that is why it left its droppings on the head of the Buddha instead of leaving it on the head of a hawk! "

"Also, Buddhist monks used the droppings to polish and clean their bald scalps."


I'd like to go back to this idea which Rikae has suggested, not that I want to argue with her, but because I have been thinking about the characterisation of someone who cares for animals.

Western culture has not been particularly kind to animals, based as it was/is on a hierarchy which sees humans as superior to animals and which does not grant souls to sentient life other than humans, thus making the slaughter of animals acceptable. Yet there have been many philosophers, teachers, and writers who have reminded us that a measure of our humanity is how we treat animals.

Schopenhauer claimed, in The Basis of Morality the following:

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Originally Posted by Schopenhauer
“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
Much research in contemporary psychology is proving that psychopaths and sociopaths begin their path of hatred by indulging in cruelty to animals.

So I have long wondered why Tolkien makes one of his failed Maia fail possibly because he became too involved with animal needs--or simply be characterised by a great love of animals. Is this an irrelevant quality or something related to Tolkien's vision of Middle-earth? Certainly I would expect that Tolkien would be well versed in Saint Francis' creed.

Yet Tolkien has animals play evil parts; to his everlasting shame he denigrates cats! And crows are supposed to be the vile spies of Sauron. I need not go into wargs or spiders. Perhaps this comes from traditions in fairy tales. But he has allowed himself to present animals as negative creatures and he has suggested that Radagast misses his mission because he becomes too concerned for animal welfare.

It's not exactly a ringing Buddhist endorsement for the sanctity of all life, but then I wouldn't expect Tolkien to be a Buddhist.

Then we have Radagast as portrayed in the movie. Some see him as totally engrossed and involved in animal life as to be at home with bird droppings on him. Others find this gross and an indignity to his position as one of the Maiar. (I'm not thinking of any posts specificially but generalising.)

Since I haven't seen the movie, I cannot say what I think of the depiction, but it seems to me that we can ask a couple of questions about what this depiction means.

Why is, in Lalwende's words, being bonkers portrayed as being totally overtaken by animals? Can we take the movie to suggest the old western tradition that animals are beneath humans and therefore any one concerned with animal well being and living close to nature like an animal is somehow less human, less close to divinity (or high elven values), less able to fight off evil?

Is it too much to ask if the depiction of Radagast raises questions about the place of animals in the moral framework of Middle-earth?
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:02 PM   #63
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I've always found Tolkien to have confused messages about animals and the environment in his work. But really, he has the same attitudes as most people do (or did, in regard to the environment, not sure we are so kind to that right now). He has creatures he likes or admires and in his creation he accords them with the corresponding status. Other creatures, he's clearly not so fond of - cats and spiders for example.

The Catholic Catechism states:

Quote:
“Animals are God’s creatures. By their mere existence they bless Him and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.”
There's an expectation that Catholics treat animal life with respect. But there's also no requirement to become vegetarian or anything similar. So I don't think we could have expected Tolkien to have a more modern, green attitude. He maybe even saw too much focus on animals over humans as slightly indulgent - I know that a huge character failing that British culture has is that we so often privilege animals over children (I doubt a secret film of a woman putting a child into a wheelie bin would have generated as much outrage as the one of a woman putting a cat into a wheelie bin did), and often to fatal ends when the family dog ("He was as daft as a brush" is the usual cry) attacks them.

Perhaps Tolkien, having been through war and seeing at first hand what human suffering looked like, took a more practical stance and really did think humans merited higher preference?
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:45 AM   #64
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. . . I know that a huge character failing that British culture has is that we so often privilege animals over children (I doubt a secret film of a woman putting a child into a wheelie bin would have generated as much outrage as the one of a woman putting a cat into a wheelie bin did), and often to fatal ends when the family dog ("He was as daft as a brush" is the usual cry) attacks them. . . .
Yes, as I do recall, I believe you had a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals eons before you had any child welfare legislation or health provisions.



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. . . . The Catholic Catechism states:
Animals are God’s creatures. By their mere existence they bless Him and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.
And there is, as I said, certainly St. Francis' work. Yet saying something is not the same as doing something. After all, there are prohibitions against murder in the Ten Commandments but that didn't stop pograms against Jews in the Middle Ages or witch hunts and burnings. In general, the attitude towards the lesser status of animals is common in Western culture.

I agree with you that Tolkien's use of animals appears related to his own personal preferences--although the eagles clearly have a genesis in biblical references--but really my question is more to the point of why Radagast's love of animals is so closely tied with his failings.

Is he a buffoon because he loves animals or are his animalistic habits a sign of his madness? And what are we to think of Peter Jackson, who apparently wishes to modernise the female presence in Middle-earth as he wanted to modernise Aragorn's style of heroism or manhood, but who seems quite happy to use animals as the butt of jokes and crudity? Or does his politically correct consciousness not extend to animals?
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:39 PM   #65
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Is he a buffoon because he loves animals or are his animalistic habits a sign of his madness? And what are we to think of Peter Jackson, who apparently wishes to modernise the female presence in Middle-earth as he wanted to modernise Aragorn's style of heroism or manhood, but who seems quite happy to use animals as the butt of jokes and crudity? Or does his politically correct consciousness not extend to animals?
Yep, PJ has PC'ed the treatment of animals.

The Elves are implied to be vegetarian (one of dwarves query where the meat is at in Rivendell as he looks upon some greens on his plate). A philosophy endorsed by Elves is high praise indeed in Middle Earth.

Yes, Radagast is no stranger to buffoonery but a buffoon whose heart is portrayed as in the right place. He also does useful stuff like distracting the orcs and informing the Council that the Enemy is back. He appears to be using his innate Istari power to rescue animals in one scene. Ultimately, I think the writers wanted to portray him as an eccentric genius character and yes, a good guy.

I'm betting dollars on animals playing a key part in the battle of Dol Guldur too, a la the Ents.

I am a fan of the character, especially since I detect a hint of buffoonery in all the Istari already. I read them as all being failures, with Gandalf needing God himself to give him a second chance.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:58 PM   #66
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And there is, as I said, certainly St. Francis' work. Yet saying something is not the same as doing something. After all, there are prohibitions against murder in the Ten Commandments but that didn't stop pograms against Jews in the Middle Ages or witch hunts and burnings. In general, the attitude towards the lesser status of animals is common in Western culture.

I agree with you that Tolkien's use of animals appears related to his own personal preferences--although the eagles clearly have a genesis in biblical references--but really my question is more to the point of why Radagast's love of animals is so closely tied with his failings.

Is he a buffoon because he loves animals or are his animalistic habits a sign of his madness? And what are we to think of Peter Jackson, who apparently wishes to modernise the female presence in Middle-earth as he wanted to modernise Aragorn's style of heroism or manhood, but who seems quite happy to use animals as the butt of jokes and crudity? Or does his politically correct consciousness not extend to animals?
Beth, in regards to animals Tolkien relied heavily on folkloric motifs throughout his corpus. This is readily apparent even in The Hobbit: Bear=Beorn relative to Anglo-Saxon and even earlier Norse motifs, the references to the Old English and Yorksire derivations of spider (ie., 'attercop', 'lob', 'cob'), Warg (from the Norse/Icelandic 'vargr', related to the deity Fenris/Fenrir, and also the A/S Beowulf 'grund-wyrgen' or 'warg of the deep'), the white stag/hart is drawn from Celtic/Brythonic lore and either presages the faery realm or the breaking of 'tynged' ('taboo', or in Irish 'geasa'), etc.

Elsewhere, horses are noble and it is also noble to ride them (the Rohirrim were utterly appalled that someone would even imply they would sell horses to Sauron); crows are harbingers of death (hence carrion-crows hanging around the gibbet or battlefield), thus the pejorative "stormcrow" levelled at Gandalf; and cats have always been associated as demonic familiars for witches; even the cock crowing prior to the charge of the Rohirrim in Gondor is a biblical motif.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:39 PM   #67
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Beth, in regards to animals Tolkien relied heavily on folkloric motifs throughout his corpus. This is readily apparent even in The Hobbit: Bear=Beorn relative to Anglo-Saxon and even earlier Norse motifs, the references to the Old English and Yorksire derivations of spider (ie., 'attercop', 'lob', 'cob'), Warg (from the Norse/Icelandic 'vargr', related to the deity Fenris/Fenrir, and also the A/S Beowulf 'grund-wyrgen' or 'warg of the deep'), the white stag/hart is drawn from Celtic/Brythonic lore and either presages the faery realm or the breaking of 'tynged' ('taboo', or in Irish 'geasa'), etc.

Elsewhere, horses are noble and it is also noble to ride them (the Rohirrim were utterly appalled that someone would even imply they would sell horses to Sauron); crows are harbingers of death (hence carrion-crows hanging around the gibbet or battlefield), thus the pejorative "stormcrow" levelled at Gandalf; and cats have always been associated as demonic familiars for witches; even the cock crowing prior to the charge of the Rohirrim in Gondor is a biblical motif.
Yes, of course you are right, Morth, about the folkloric bits. So, does this suggest that Tolkien was simply "placing" Radagast in a folkloric context by having him so close with animals, fitting one of his wizards into fairie?

And then there's the next bit, just how appropriately or successfully does Jackson reproduce such folkloric elements? Or is his rendition just Jackson excess?

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I'm betting dollars on animals playing a key part in the battle of Dol Guldur too, a la the Ents.
Ooooh. Does that include entwives too?
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:42 PM   #68
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I agree with you that Tolkien's use of animals appears related to his own personal preferences--although the eagles clearly have a genesis in biblical references--but really my question is more to the point of why Radagast's love of animals is so closely tied with his failings.
I would say that to put it simply, Radagast was not doing what he was sent there to do, namely to help the peoples of Middle-earth. As Saruman was not. And the Blue Wizards. Time and again Tolkien shows us that the animal life and the beings existing on the blurry boundary between flora/fauna and 'people' (e.g. Ents) are actually quite self sufficient and self sustaining. The Ents do not want the 'help' of men or Istari. The Mearas and the Eagles likewise are proud creatures and do not want help.

Note that the 'good' people of Middle-earth are not really shown to use animals much aside from horses and ponies. Those who do make extensive use of animals (wargs, dragons, oliphaunts, crows, etc) are more often on the side of evil.

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Is he a buffoon because he loves animals or are his animalistic habits a sign of his madness? And what are we to think of Peter Jackson, who apparently wishes to modernise the female presence in Middle-earth as he wanted to modernise Aragorn's style of heroism or manhood, but who seems quite happy to use animals as the butt of jokes and crudity? Or does his politically correct consciousness not extend to animals?
Are there jokes made at the expense of animals? I can't think of any so you will have to help me out here!


Quote:
The Elves are implied to be vegetarian (one of dwarves query where the meat is at in Rivendell as he looks upon some greens on his plate). A philosophy endorsed by Elves is high praise indeed in Middle Earth.

Yes, Radagast is no stranger to buffoonery but a buffoon whose heart is portrayed as in the right place. He also does useful stuff like distracting the orcs and informing the Council that the Enemy is back. He appears to be using his innate Istari power to rescue animals in one scene. Ultimately, I think the writers wanted to portray him as an eccentric genius character and yes, a good guy.
Actually, I can't think of any instances in any of the books of Elves eating meat, so I am going to have to do a search for that...And we will have Beorn coming up who notably does not eat meat (though he is not a vegan!).

I like the phrase 'buffoon' - it's not a malicious term at all, it's gentle and seems to suit someone who has gone off-task and is eccentric, even in Middle-earth terms. People who find Boris Johnson amusing call him a 'buffoon' affectionately. I have other terms I prefer to use though, as 'buffoon' is far too nice

Quote:
the references to the Old English and Yorkshire derivations of spider (ie., 'attercop', 'lob', 'cob'),
It's not a Yorkshire dialect word except very rarely and only archaically even then. It's a Lancashire dialect word still in everyday use. The ultimate origin in England is as likely to have been Norse from eitterkopp given that this has more influence on Northern England (clearly both the Norse and Old English shared the same root back on the continent so it's swings and roundabouts). If heard spoken by a Lancastrian it sound thus: ehyterkop. Tolkien probably saw it in The Owl and the Nightingale, which was clearly written by a Northerner.

'Lob' as in 'Lazy Lob' could also take humour from lobcock which means an idle good for nothing. And 'crazy Cob' from the term used right across the North for being angry: "getting a cob on".

Thankfully Tolkien did not stumble upon the Lancashire dialect words for mice and dandelions.

Quote:
And then there's the next bit, just how appropriately or successfully does Jackson reproduce such folkloric elements? Or is his rendition just Jackson excess?
Quite possibly he does, given that the one place I did find lots of these 'bunny sleds' was on vintage german Christmas cards. There's obviously something in german folklore or fairy tale about rabbit sleds, but I'm at a brickwall on that as it's something I'm not that knowledgeable on.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:44 PM   #69
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Yes, of course you are right, Morth, about the folkloric bits. So, does this suggest that Tolkien was simply "placing" Radagast in a folkloric context by having him so close with animals, fitting one of his wizards into fairie?

And then there's the next bit, just how appropriately or successfully does Jackson reproduce such folkloric elements? Or is his rendition just Jackson excess?
Nowhere does Tolkien directly describe Radagast's physical description in detail (he has a brown robe ), but based on the limited amount of dialogue he has with Gandalf, he does not sound like he's tripping on shrooms. And he rides a horse, not on a sled led by a hair-raising harem of hares.

Because of the lack of description, Jackson decided to lift elements wholesale from T.H. White's The Once and Future King (Radagast is a psychedelicized version of Merlyn, of that I am positive). I have quoted passages describing Merlyn elsewhere that are unequivocal. I love T.H. White's Merlyn, but I don't love him plopped in the middle of Middle-earth, not anymore than I would like to hear a conversation between Sir Pellinore and Gollum. Well, maybe that would be funny.

But Radagast's attitude towards nature has no direct precedent in folklore, really, not as much as Tom Bombadil resembling the Jack in the Green, for instance. No, Radagast's attitude is because of his alignment and alliances in Valinor. His affinity for the greenwood and animals is because he is a Maiaric disciple of Yavanna.

When you hang with Yavanna
Friend, make no mistake
It's the flora and fauna
You must not forsake
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:26 PM   #70
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But Radagast's attitude towards nature has no direct precedent in folklore, really, not as much as Tom Bombadil resembling the Jack in the Green, for instance. No, Radagast's attitude is because of his alignment and alliances in Valinor. His affinity for the greenwood and animals is because he is a Maiaric disciple of Yavanna.

When you hang with Yavanna
Friend, make no mistake
It's the flora and fauna
You must not forsake
Of course I know that Radagast "belongs" to Yavanna. My question is really a larger, more philosophical one.

Why is it that this affinity with the natural world is seen as a weakness or failing? Why does it have to be the natural world that is Radagast's link to the Valar? (Yes, I know that the Blue Wizards have their affinities, but they don't figure much in the tales.)

Is there some implication that such dedication to the birds of Arda and the trees is somehow a lesser act and that dedication to the marred is somehow a sign of failure or is doomed to failure?
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:28 PM   #71
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Why is it that this affinity with the natural world is seen as a weakness or failing? Why does it have to be the natural world that is Radagast's link to the Valar? (Yes, I know that the Blue Wizards have their affinities, but they don't figure much in the tales.)
I don't think it's necessarily his affinity to nature that is his failing (at least in respects to the books)...with the movies who knows what Jackson was thinking. He saw an opportunity at a bit of artistic license with the character, and he decided to go with a standard archetype of the socially awkward, probably strung out on hallucinogenic mushrooms, hermit. I do have to admit here, I don't expect well written characters from Jackson's movies, he writes characters into archetypes and I've come to expect nothing more from his characters.

But, it's not so much Radagast's affinity to nature that is his weakness. In Saruman's mind, I think that's how he looks down on Radagast, but he also looks down on Gandalf's "childish toys" and interest in hobbits. Saruman is a high-brow prude who rarely hides his arrogance. Gandalf, however, does note Radagast's worthiness as a wizard with his knowledge of herb lore and animals.

Radagast's weakness comes down purely to his apathy and complacency in his mission to strengthen resistance against Sauron. I believe as Galin quoted earlier in the thread, Radagast didn't have much courage, and this can be seen when he tells Gandalf about the Nazgul and Gandalf notes that he races off as if the Nazgul were on his tail. Also, he was more of a friend and confidant to birds and animals, not exactly a "Steward" in charge of care-taking. I use Steward here in the same way Gandalf does when he tells Denethor in ROTK he too is a "Steward." A steward in the sense of a care-taker, or shephard. It's said that Gandalf had more respect amongst animals than Radagast:

Quote:
'it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection'
This is from Hammand and Scull's LOTR Companion, in Tolkien Papers - "Radagast the Fool."

When we think about Gandalf he's a character always in motion. There is never a place that he seems to stay at for long, not become static in a dwelling (Saruman in Isengard, Radagast in Rhosgobel). And he's always travelling over Middle-earth to strengthen and tirelessly make sure there is resistance against Sauron. His approach is one mostly on the the peoples of Middle-earth, but he obviously had the respect from Gwaihir and the eagles. And Treebeard feels he's the only wizard who really cares about "growing things."

Radagast on the other hand, is just too complacent and static. He would have a different approach than Gandalf, being associated with Yavanna and his love for nature and animals. I would bet if Radagast, had been a tireless "wanderer" like Gandalf, and did his best to strengthen the resistance in Middle-earth's beasts and in the earth itself (I mean, there is strength within the earth itself, as evidenced with Saruman overlooks the Ents), then he probably too would have succeeded in the Istari mission. For Sauron also had many birds and beasts in his service, and had Radagast done more to counter Sauron's own influence in the animal/nature realm, but he does not...and that is how Radagast fails.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:32 PM   #72
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Of course I know that Radagast "belongs" to Yavanna. My question is really a larger, more philosophical one.

Why is it that this affinity with the natural world is seen as a weakness or failing? Why does it have to be the natural world that is Radagast's link to the Valar? (Yes, I know that the Blue Wizards have their affinities, but they don't figure much in the tales.)

Is there some implication that such dedication to the birds of Arda and the trees is somehow a lesser act and that dedication to the marred is somehow a sign of failure or is doomed to failure?
Radagast's mission wasn't to commune with the birds and bees, it was, with the other Istari, to unite the foes of the One Enemy; therefore, like Saruman and the Blue Wizards, he failed completely. His failure may be seen as benign when compared to the malignant intent of Saruman, but he strayed from the objective. He went native, I guess.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:48 PM   #73
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Radagast's mission wasn't to commune with the birds and bees, it was, with the other Istari, to unite the foes of the One Enemy; therefore, like Saruman and the Blue Wizards, he failed completely. His failure may be seen as benign when compared to the malignant intent of Saruman, but he strayed from the objective. He went native, I guess.
I would not be so quick to call the Blue Wizards failures. I think given the evidence it is more likely that they succeeded. Tolkien indicates there is a chance they managed to lead successful rebellions in the East. Considering Sauron had most of the world at his command, this does seem more likely. Whether they fail into evil afterwards or their followers did is a possibility.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:50 PM   #74
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Radagast's mission wasn't to commune with the birds and bees
Tolkein wrote a brief insight to the council of the Valar that we can look at. "each Istar were chosen by each Valar for his innate characteristics", which points to awareness of what style of efforts each Istar would make and lives they would lead. It implies Yavanna chose Aiwendil (Radagast) because of his love of wild creatures, whioch no doubt helped in the cause against the Dark Powers.

Tolkein gets grey over time after his initial writing of him. So it's sort of speculative whether he outright 'failed'.

In the books we only have Saruman pouring scorn over him (even when he follows Saruman's & Gandalf's orders precisely), no one else does. Gandalf is very praiseworthy of him (my emphasis).

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Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends.
The conclusion of a section of the Tolkein Gateway page on him mirriors my conclusion. That he plays an obscure role in the battle against the Dark Powers, not a lazy one.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:12 AM   #75
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I would not be so quick to call the Blue Wizards failures. I think given the evidence it is more likely that they succeeded. Tolkien indicates there is a chance they managed to lead successful rebellions in the East. Considering Sauron had most of the world at his command, this does seem more likely. Whether they fail into evil afterwards or their followers did is a possibility.
Those are in his late writings which doesn't mesh well with the Lord of the Rings timeline, placing all the Istari arriving in the Third Age. In the later writings with the Blue Wizards Tolkien says they must have had an influence in curtailing Sauron's forces in both the 2nd and 3rd ages. Morthoron's statement about the Blue Wizards failing is consistant with the Lord of the Rings, and thus I don't see anything wrong with saying they too failed.

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Tolkein gets grey over time after his initial writing of him. So it's sort of speculative whether he outright 'failed'.
Well, as discussed in Hookbill's "No Redemption" thread with regards to Radagast, "failing" and "falling" are not always the same. Saruman both failed (the Istari mission) and had the "fall" in the sense that he adopted Sauron's worldview. He became evil, desired the One Ring, and fancied himself as one who could Rule over the "weak or idle" peoples.

Radagast did not fall to evil, but he still failed. The task of the Istari was clear, unite and rally resistance to defeat Sauron and Radagast did not do this. He became apathetic and complacent as discussed above. Of course he always worked with good intentions, but he was not in Middle-earth doing what he was supposed to be doing. And honestly, I think Radagast could care less if he was allowed back to Valinor after the defeat of Sauron. As fond of the birds, animals, and nature of Middle-earth as he became, he was likely content staying put.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:06 AM   #76
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I have just read the Radagast section of the Medwed chapter of Rateliff's Mr Baggins. It does highlight the problems with the character and so perhaps explain why there are such differing opinions though different intdrpretations of failure is also a factor. He points out that Radagast is a rare loose end and that Tolkien in retrospect felt he hadn't failed exactly more that Gandalf had transcended his mission. Anyway well worth a read but which bit of writing has precedence will no doubt lead to the mighty canonicity thread that I still am awed by after all these years.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:20 AM   #77
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I wonder....perhaps Jackson chooses to portray Radagast in this way as some means of making up for the loss of Tom Bombadil. That essential part of Middle-earth, the spirit of the wildwoods and of the land itself, has been completely missing so far. The Elves can't provide that element as they are not 'of' Middle-earth, and the Ents can't provide it, certainly not in Jackson's creation as he chose to make them more like trees and less like giants. To have any 'picture' of Middle-earth without the wild spirit is to have a picture that's not complete.

And, had Jackson not been so stupid as to excise Tom Bombadil from the original films, then the Radagast we get in The Hobbit might not have been so jarring to some viewers.

Now for a detour into some wild territory...I was reading a novel last night where a character makes use of Tarot cards and it got me thinking how Radagast reminds me of The Fool (and Tom Bombadil does, too). He is a loner, wild and free, existing in an almost liminal state and literally mindless of any of the restrictions that society places on appearance and behaviour. The wikipedia page is as good as any if you are not familiar with the Major Arcana and makes a note that in very early decks, The Fool was often portrayed like a tramp with raggedy clothes and feathers in his hair. Very much like Radagast in the film.

Which goes back to what Boro says about Jackson making use of archetypes. Actually, given that Radagast is such a slippery character for even very keen readers to get a handle on, is it any wonder Jackson has gone back to an archetype?
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:08 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë View Post
And, had Jackson not been so stupid as to excise Tom Bombadil from the original films, then the Radagast we get in The Hobbit might not have been so jarring to some viewers.
I had Bombadil in mind too, from something Galdor said at The Council of Elrond:

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'I know little of Iarwain save the name,' said Galdor; 'but Glorfindel, I think, is right. Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills....'
So you might be on to something about Radagast filling in for Bombadil being cut from LOTR. And having Radagast also represent the "wild spirit" of the land itself.

Quote:
Which goes back to what Boro says about Jackson making use of archetypes. Actually, given that Radagast is such a slippery character for even very keen readers to get a handle on, is it any wonder Jackson has gone back to an archetype?
Now that's interesting. There is very little about Radagast, for sure. His meeting with Gandalf we can tell he's definitely disturbed by carrying the news about the Nazgul:

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"I have an urgent errand," he said. "My news is evil." Then he looked about him, as if the hedges might have ears. "Nazgul," he whispered..."~ibid
Nervous? Anxious? Whatever it is, he's bothered the message he has to give to Gandalf.

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"Then you must go now,...I myself shall turn back at once." And with that he mounted and would have ridden straight off.
...
"I will do that," he said, and rode off as if the Nine were after him."~ibid
Radagast is going to race right off (and we assume perhaps back to Rhosgobel when he says he shall "turn back at once"). Gandalf tells him to alert his friends, and he again races off as if the "Nine were after him." This might not tell much, other than Radagast is frightened of the Nazgul, and thus he's probably frightened of Sauron's power as well. Still being a good-intentioned person, and his love for his bird friends is enough to get him to listen to Gandalf, but he doesn't have much courage.

The other things that can be picked up about Radagast comes from Gandalf and Saruman. You can often learn things about a character from what other characters say about him/her. The problem is, what other characters say must be measured with some perspective and the biases of the character "reporting."

First, Gandalf:

Quote:
"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friend."
I don't doubt Gandalf's words here, because he's an honest and reliable character for the reader to glean information from. However, we also know his extreme humility, he often underestimates his own power, and in doing so he's able to keep his own pride and ego in check. Is it possible, Gandalf just didn't want to bad-mouth someone he would view as a friend, a colleague? I think so. He would be speaking true about Radagast's expertise and knowledge, but Gandalf isn't someone who scoffs at, mocks, or trashes the abilities of other characters, especially if he views them as a friend.

Saruman, is the exact opposite:

Quote:
Radagast the Brown!" laughed Saruman, and he no longer concealed his scorn. "Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the Simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he has just the wit to play the part that I set him."
Saruman is of course, a liar and a traitor, and he rarely hides his disdain for Gandalf's "toys"...he mocks Gandalf for smoking pipe-weed, he mocks Gandalf's fondness of the Shire and hobbits. He mocks Radagast's worthiness as a wizard. (It just so happens that nearly everything Saruman mocks comes back to bite him in the end ).

Still, there is probably truth to Saruman's scorn for Radagast here. Saruman played him, there's no other way around it, he deceived Radagast and got him to send Gandalf to Orthanc, completely unawares of Saruman's treachery. The weak thread Saruman left was not anticipating Gandalf would tell Radagast to alert his friends, and thus not planning for the fooled Radagast still being an honest wizard. An honest wizard he is, but "a Fool" he might be too...there's no reason there can't be a bit of truth to how both Gandalf and Saruman describe Radagast.

I think with the characterization in the films, most seem to be strictly looking at Gandalf's words and determining Jackson got it so obviously wrong, because Radagast was a "worthy wizard." But as slight as the evidence is, this overlooks the "other half," that comes from Saruman. And simply because he's turned completely evil, does not mean he is automatically wrong.

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Originally Posted by Mithalwen
I have just read the Radagast section of the Medwed chapter of Rateliff's Mr Baggins. It does highlight the problems with the character and so perhaps explain why there are such differing opinions though different intdrpretations of failure is also a factor. He points out that Radagast is a rare loose end and that Tolkien in retrospect felt he hadn't failed exactly more that Gandalf had transcended his mission. Anyway well worth a read but which bit of writing has precedence will no doubt lead to the mighty canonicity thread that I still am awed by after all these years.
In Rateliff's review of the movie, he notes the humor in having Radagast just drop out of the film and disappear, as he does in LOTR. Although, I think we'll be seeing more Radagast in the other films, so I am interested to see what they do with him...or how they explain what winds up happening to Radagast. Even if it is personally funny and fitting to just have him disappear completely.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #79
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Before I saw the hobbit I always thought Radagast would just appear when the white council confronted the necromancer or chased him out of Dol Guldur. That would be in movie two with maybe him also appearing at the white council meetings. How Jackson chose to use this character, it's beyond words what an insult this is to Tolkien. The character is being treated as a joke when he is one of the istari.

They should have made him a quiet solitary wizard instead, not a crazy weed smoking mushroom man. Well the entire movie was a joke except the Gollum scene and that conversation Galadriel and Gandalf have on Bilbo. And also maybe some of the scenes at bag end were good.

Anyway the Radagast that is seen in the movie won't stick with me, he is just not like that at all.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:29 PM   #80
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Those are in his late writings which doesn't mesh well with the Lord of the Rings timeline, placing all the Istari arriving in the Third Age. In the later writings with the Blue Wizards Tolkien says they must have had an influence in curtailing Sauron's forces in both the 2nd and 3rd ages. Morthoron's statement about the Blue Wizards failing is consistant with the Lord of the Rings, and thus I don't see anything wrong with saying they too failed.
This is where we disagree. Sauron had control of virtually the entire world. The fact that he could not mobilise his forces as quickly or as many as would be expected indicates something was holding him back. It would make sense if he was having trouble in the East and had to divert some of his attention there.

Even if we keep the account in LOTR that they all arrived in the 3rd Age it does not mean the Blue Wizards should not have played their part.

Gondor was a shadow of what it was in it's glory. I think it's Imrahil, who says the Gondor Vanguard was around 8,000 in it's pomp. Sauron had the strength to overrun Gondor at it's height; when it had great technology, a much bigger army and better soldiers. In the War of the Ring it appears he could not muster forces even as great as in the Last Alliance let alone earlier on in the Second Age. Something must have been holding him back and this was probably the Blue Wizards.
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