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Old 01-02-2005, 06:41 PM   #1
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Gandalf Vs. The Witch King

Upon the completion of the Return of the King Special Extended Edition, one scene stuck out like a sore thumb to me. That scene being the dramatic confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King.

To summarize for those who have not seen it:
The siege of Gondor is well underway; Grond has already taken down the Gates of Minas Tirith. Gandalf and Pippin, atop Shadowfax, are racing through the city to reach Faramir. Suddenly the Witch King appears seated on a fell beast. Gandalf and Pippin are thrown down, and the Nazgul raises his fiery sword; shattering Gandalf's staff. The horn of the Rohirrim is heard, and the Nazgul flies off.

As an avid fan of Tolkien's works, this scene especially annoyed me for it portrays Gandalf as weak and inferior. Whereas, in the book, Gandalf presents himself to the Witch King as he strode through the gates of Minas Tirith alone.

If any of you saw the scene, I would like to hear your views. Did you like it? Hate it?

I am not against Peter Jackson, in contrast, I have nothing but utter respect for the man. However, this scene made me cringe with distaste, and I'm very glad it didn't make the theatrical cut.

Last edited by Argonath : 01-12-2005 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:10 PM   #2
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I myself am not sure whether to feel anger and hatred toward Peter Jackson about that scene, or only mild annoyance. My feelings are quite mixed.... I like the 'confrontation' element of the scene, but I dislike the fact that Gandalf is apparantly panicked by the Witch-King.
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:44 PM   #3
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1420!

I wouldn't say I'm angered by it, annoyed yes, but not like I'm a raving mad lunatic. I feel as if it would have been much more dramatic, and more suspenseful to see Gandalf standing before the WK, and the WK standing at the gates. Then hearing the horn call. It would have built up a lot more tension that way, intsead of having Gandalf thrown around like a rag doll.

I felt also, that since they did the scene that way, that the WK would have finished off Gandalf, or atleast tried to have finish him off. Instead of going off to the Rohirrim (after all PJ you did have Gothmog out there who you hyped up his role). Where in the books, the WK retreated at the horn call, but he didn't break Gandalf's staff, and he didn't make Gandalf practically bow to him, instead he retreated, possibly because he felt overmatched.
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:21 PM   #4
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I agree that Gandalf was done a horrible injustice in that scene. This is one of the wisest and most powerful beings in all of ME, but he is made short work of by the Witchking. That said, I don't hate the scene because I am a huge fan of the Witchking and would enjoy seeing him beat Gandalf, but Gandalf shouldn't be defeated so easily. Actually, my biggest problem with the scene is the way the WK enters so undramatically. They should have made a bigger deal out of his arrival if they were going to do the scene that way.
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:13 PM   #5
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What I disliked most about that scene was Gandalf's staff breaking. I mean, anybody can get thrown from a horse, and what horse wouldn't jump at the sight of the fell beast. But Gandalf's staff was just sad. Seriously, a staff is like a wizard's best friend, he uses it to do a lot of stuff. Although, Gandalf does not do near as much with his staff in the movies as in the books, but I digress...

Another thing about that scene is that it doesn't seem like a very direct confrontation. The WK comes down, and we see him facing Gandalf. Then he holds up his sword, lets it flare, but doesn't use it. Gandalf just lays there dumbfounded, until his staff shattters in his hands. That's it. The conflict just doesn't seem very defined, like they could have been miles away and still done it.
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:41 PM   #6
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Watching the confrontation between the WK and Gandalf really spoiled the movies for me. It seems that in PJ's version Gandalf's role is lessened when compared to the books, and this scene is the worst of it.

After watching the scene, I watched it again with PJ's commentary, hoping to get some insight regarding 'why'. Nothing. I'm very disappointed with ROTK:EE.

And does Gandalf have a staff when he boards the ship at the end?
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Boromir88
I wouldn't say I'm angered by it, annoyed yes, but not like I'm a raving mad lunatic. I feel as if it would have been much more dramatic, and more suspenseful to see Gandalf standing before the WK, and the WK standing at the gates. Then hearing the horn call. It would have built up a lot more tension that way, intsead of having Gandalf thrown around like a rag doll.

I felt also, that since they did the scene that way, that the WK would have finished off Gandalf, or atleast tried to have finish him off. Instead of going off to the Rohirrim (after all PJ you did have Gothmog out there who you hyped up his role). Where in the books, the WK retreated at the horn call, but he didn't break Gandalf's staff, and he didn't make Gandalf practically bow to him, instead he retreated, possibly because he felt overmatched.
I completely agree with you. If the Witch King had Gandalf on the ground, why not take the extra time to defeat the Human's strongest ally?

Thank you everyone for the positive feedback!
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:57 PM   #8
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Welcome to the Downs Argonath. Yes, that scene anoyed me quite a bit. Why break the staff? What did that add to the story? Also, I don't have my copy of RotK with me but I am pretty sure the Witch King didn't have a flaming sword. I mean, he was afraid of fire.
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:10 PM   #9
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Actually, I believe he did have such a sword, if I'm not mistaken
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Neithan
Also, I don't have my copy of RotK with me but I am pretty sure the Witch King didn't have a flaming sword. .
Me either, but I think that it says something like the sword looked as if it were on fire.
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argonath
Upon the completion of the Return of the King Special Extended Edition, one scene stuck out like a sore thumb to me. That scene being the dramatic confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King.

To summarize for those who have not seen it:
The siege of Gondor is well underway; Grond has already taken down the Gates of Minas Tirith. Gandalf and Pippin, atop Shadowfax, are racing through the city to reach Faramir. Suddenly the Witch King appears seated on a fell beast. Gandalf and Pippin are thrown down, and the Nazgul raises his fiery sword; shattering Gandalf's staff. The horn of the Rohirrim is heard, and the Nazgul flies off.

As an avid fan of Tolkien's works, this scene especially annoyed me for it portrays Gandalf as weak and inferior. Whereas, in the book, Gandalf presents himself to the Witch King as he strode through the gates of Minas Tirish alone.

If any of you saw the scene, I would like to hear your views. Did you like it? Hate it?

I am not against Peter Jackson, in contrast, I have nothing but utter respect for the man. However, this scene made me cringe with distaste, and I'm very glad it didn't make the theatrical cut.
I agree with you, but I don't hate it, but on the other side I didn't liked it. It really looked like Gandalf was a weakling. But real fans of Tolkien know he isn't
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:00 PM   #12
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In regards to the Witchking's sword, I found this quote in the chapter "The Siege of Gondor": "And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade."
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:19 PM   #13
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In regards to the Witchking's sword, I found this quote in the chapter "The Siege of Gondor": "And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade."
Excellent find!

I did recall a flaming sword, I just couldn't remember for the life of me whether or not it was in a metaphorical sense or not. This clears a lot up!
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:42 AM   #14
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I think the reasons behind the changes to this scene were to do with Jackson's (mildly annoying) continuning reference to the 'world of men'. The WK mentions that it's the end of Men in this scene doesn't he? Gandalf is on the floor and I admit he looks frightened (but who wouldn't be?) but not YET beat, waiting for the WK to land a blow. Then the Horns of the Rohirrim blow, and the "World of Men" save Gandalf (and assist in finishing off the WK later)

RE the WK leaving at once. As the book states:
Quote:
But it was no orc-chieftain or brigand that led the assault upon Gondor. The darkness was breaking too soon, before the date that his Master had set for it: fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him; victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long. He was still in command, wielding great powers. King, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgűl, he had many weapons. He left the Gate and vanished.
This is why he left. He didn't have a second to spare and could get back to the Wizard later no doubt.......

PS I think we see Gandalf's staff being broken to show the power of the WK, and this heightens Merry's and Eowyn's bravery and their Deed a little later on in the film.
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Essex
PS I think we see Gandalf's staff being broken to show the power of the WK, and this heightens Merry's and Eowyn's bravery and their Deed a little later on in the film.
Yes, but to the belittlement of Gandalf's own power? Not a very well thought out thing to do. It makes a mockery out of Gandalf's previous confrontations with the Balrog and Saruman.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
feel as if it would have been much more dramatic, and more suspenseful to see Gandalf standing before the WK, and the WK standing at the gates. Then hearing the horn call. It would have built up a lot more tension that way, intsead of having Gandalf thrown around like a rag doll.
I would like to (polemically) point out that people would call that inconceivably lame -- Tolkien fans among them (I do not mean to cause offense when I say this). Tension and no climax? *shakes head* On the other hand, PJ is screwed either way because he has to please both fans and non-fans while still yet doing justice to Tolkien's work. He also has to deal with the conflicting views.

And it would have been difficult if not impossible to do it the way Essex quoted. One of the drawbacks of movie making I'm afraid.

So he compromises. And we all know that a compromise is when everybody looses.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:26 AM   #17
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The Confrontation between Gandalf and The Witch-King of Angmar was treated very badly by Jackson. What must be remembered here, is that Tolkien treats power very carefully. His sub-creations have only the power that is inherant within them. Power can be enhanced, veiled or even restricted, but it has to be there or come from somewhere. In the case of Gandalf the Grey, he is one of The Maiar, who has volunteered to come to Middle-Earth to contest the WILL of Sauron. So The Istari cannot in despair confront Sauron in open conflict, They have had their power restricted, by placing them in the bodies of lesser beings. Yet Gandalf the White had been sent back by the Valar, in Tolkiens own words, with enhanced sanctity. This is how he is able to break Sarumans staff, who previously, by some had been considered to be the more powerful of The Istari. The Witch-King of Angmar is in essence only a man, albeit a very powerful sorcerer in his day, the power that he could call on, was only from the power that was inherant of his kind. The Lord of the Nazgul could only call on the power that manifested itself in the form of pure terror that all the Nazgul had, yes he had the added advantage of the sorcery, but what evidence of actually how powerful that was, is never mentioned. Gandalf fights and destroys one of The Valaraukar, an immensely powerful being. The Lord of The Nazgul is in fact defeated by a woman, remember the propechy of Glorfindel after The Battle of Fornost, only says that he will not be killed by a man. The Nazgul along with The Witch-King were beaten back by Aragorn on Weathertop, and again by Glorfindel at The Fords, they were in fact not invincible to anyone who had strength of heart, And Gandalf the White had Narya. The whole scene of Gandalf grovelling on the floor is one of Jacksons biggest errors. If he had wanted to change it, then a few seconds of stand-off and a few different coloured thunderbolts meeting in mid-air, could have shown how close they were in power.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:52 AM   #18
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I agree with the above somewhat, but as I said before, jackson uses this scene IMHO to show the 'world of men' saving the day.

As much as we may think how well Gandalf could have fought the witch king, we will never know. I definitely get a sense of the rohirrim saving gandalf here, even when I read the books, but not to the extent that jackson shows.

I personally don't see gandalf grovelling in this scene. I see a terrified man, yes, but why not? I admit I didn't like his staff breaking, but again I've given my opinion above why I think Jackson has done it.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:55 AM   #19
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While I find this scene rather spectacular as a set piece, I do share some of the reservations expressed.

First the positives. Given the timing of Grond's appearance and the breaking of the gates of Minas Tirith in the film, it would not have made sense to set this scene at the gates. The Trolls and Orcs had already broken through and Gandalf had ordered a retreat to the second level before his encounter with the Witch King takes place. (As an aside, I do wonder why the women and children had not been evacuated to a higher level earlier .) In terms of the chronology used in the film, therefore, it makes sense for the encounter to take place while Gandalf and Pippin are en route to prevent Denethor's little family bonfire.

It also makes more sense than the book in one respect. It always struck me as rather strange that the Witch King would lead his army into battle on horseback when he had a Fell Beast at his disposal. It seems even more strange that, having confronted Gandalf on horseback, he would then exchange his horse for a Fell Beast halfway through the battle. In this regard, it makes more sense that the Witch King confronts Gandalf while mounted on his Fell Beast and then flies off to encounter Theoden, Eowyn et al on the same steed.

I do also think that, in film terms, it is more spectacular to have the Witch King slowly rise above the battlements for the encounter. The sight of him towering over Gandalf and Pippin on his Fell Beast looks good visually. I also love the shot in which his sword bursts into flames (mirroring, filmically, the text of the book). Although, I suppose this raises the question of why he swapped it for a huge mace/flail thingy in his encounter with Eowyn.

But now for the negatives. As others have said, it rather goes against the spirit of the books that the Witch King is able to get the better of Gandalf. But more problematic, for me, is the fact that it is inconsistent with Gandalf's portrayal elsewhere in the film. It has been pointed out that (while Gandalf the Grey) he was able to defeat a Balrog, and that (as Gandalf the White) he had the better of Saruman. These are the two central villains of the first and second films. Why should the Witch King (who, as has also been pointed out, was driven off by Aragorn in the first film) be able to get the better of him?

I appreciate that the Witch King was set up as the main "baddie" of the final film, and there is a suggestion that his power was enhanced when he assumed leadership of Sauron's Mordor armies (in the scene where he first appears, donning his armour, in Minas Morgul, accompanied by Gandalf's line to Pippin that Sauron had yet to reveal his greatest servant). In film terms, Gandalf's bettering by the Witch King increases the desperation of the battle (if even Gandalf cannot save them), and (as Essex has pointed out) enhances the accomplishment of Eowyn and Merry. But, to my mind, this doesn't get over the internal inconsistency in "power levels". Jackson could still have had the Witch King breaking Gandalf's staff (which is pretty spectacular, introduces a moment of tension and ties in with his line to Gothmog that he will "break" the wizard), but Gandalf should then have fought back. I would have preferred a "stand off" between them here, as in the book.

And this would also have made more sense of the Witch King's sudden departure with the arrival of the Rohirrim, since I agree that it seems tactically inept for him to forego finishing off his greatest foe if he has him at his mercy.
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:25 PM   #20
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I agree with those who have been disappointed with RotK EE...the first time I preferred the theatrical version. And Gandalf's Witch King confrontation was for me a dramatic disaster. I disliked it not so much because Gandalf should not have been literally floored by the Nazgul chief (although that is a totally valid point) but because it gilded the cinematic lily that was the arrival of Rohan.
I don't want to sound like a gushing fangirl, but I really do think that the first sound of the horn of Rohan in the theatrical version, and the sight of the Riders on the horizon, deserves to be in the top five movie moments of all time. I wept like a baby the first time I saw it. In the extended edition, the whole Gandalf/witchking thing just felt heavy-handed and silly, and spoilt that moment. So for that reason I agree, the low-point of the extended edition.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:58 PM   #21
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Witch King Vs. Gandalf

I'm pleased to see that there is a general feeling of dissapointment for the scene in the EE with Gandalf and the Lord of the Nazgul. On a continuum between basic annoyance for the scene to outright hatred, I would have to say that I truly hate the scene, for the way that it completely emasculates Gandalf's character. Clearly, Peter Jackson took liberties with the movies, (i.e. changing scenes, plot twists) but having the Witch King strike such utter and visible fear into Gandalf and then being able to destroy his staff is, to me, an egregious and unforgivable depiction of what Tolkien would have accepted in a such a scenario. We all are aware of Gandalf's superiority to the Witch King (Mair, and head of the Istari vs. undead man, and slave of Sauron). That scene destroyed the essence of Gandalf's character in Jackson's movies, and went against the gandalf's nature as a character, as defined by Tolkien. Also, it makes me call into question Jackson's judgement, especially when you consider the inconsistencies that the scene raises. Gandalf the Grey defeats a Balrog (who was a maiar, and after Sauron, was Morgoth's greatest servants), and Aragorn was able to fend off several Ring Wraiths, including the Witch KIng, with a sword and torch, but Gandalf the White is made to appear weak and shaken before the Witch King. And on top of it all, Jackson has the Witch King break Gandalf's staff!!! It makes me wonder if he even realizes the significance of a wizard's staff.

Ok, sorry for ranting...what does everyone else think?
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:54 PM   #22
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This is one of the dramatic scenes that I had been looking forward to see in the EE - but I was disappointed, not to say shocked by the way PJ altered it.

I think I agree in most points with what Saucepanman wrote!
I didn't mind the Witchking appearing on the fell beast instead of on horseback, it actually makes more sense. But Gandalf lying helpless on the ground and the witchking breaking his staff is totally wrong!
Anyway, in FotR Gandalf was "spot on", but in RotK he is in several scenes not plausible to me anymore.
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:55 PM   #23
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Yeah, it sucks, but it had to be that way. Otherwise, how could Jackson have explained why Gandalf didn't just kick *** on the battlefield? We know that Gandalf limited his own participation because it was primarily the job of the Peoples of Middle-earth to fend off this evil, but that would've been a hard point to get across fairly in the movie. Gandalf is obviously the most powerful being on the good side, and since Sauron is naught but a giant eyeball hanging between two posts on the top of his tower, WK has to play the Most Powerful Bad Guy role. Additionally, Gandalf's pre-human (if I may) history was eschewed in favor of a Man with wizardly powers, and thus the battlefield is somewhat leveled between he and the Witch-King.

...who should have been Gandalf's BITCH-KING. LOL!!!!!
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:08 PM   #24
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1420!

I would say that if Gandalf had the chance, he would have beaten the WK. He did have a chance on Weathertop, but this was against all 9, and I can't see Gandalf doing anything except holding them off, and drawing some away like he did.

With that suspenseful scene at the Gate of Minas Tirith, if Rohan wouldn't have arrived then, and Gandalf and WK didn't just size eachother up and they fought, I would say Gandalf would have beaten the WK. However, this would go against the prophecy, so there for, the WK (maybe feeling overmatched) retreats to the battle, where he is slain by Eowyn, fulfilling the prophecy.
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:28 PM   #25
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It would not have gone against any prophecy for Gandalf to kill the Witch-King. If Eowyn isn't included in "Men", neither is Gandalf.

Gandalf would not have had any problem with all Nine, had he been willing to 'reveal himself in power' or however the Istari line goes. Like I said, it was the chore of the Peoples to deal with this, and Gandalf respected that.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:01 PM   #26
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1420!

I'll try to clear up what I mean obloquy because I think my last post was a bit jumbled.

What I meant was if Gandalf actually fought the WK, physically fought, I think Gandalf would have beat him. But this would go against the prophecy. Therefor, Gandalf never actually fights the WK. They square off at the Gate, but Rohan arrives, and the WK backs out. I meant if Gandalf and the WK actually fought at the front gate I think Gandalf would have beaten them, but since this would go against the prophecy they don't fight.

I'm being reminded of when Earnur challenged the Witch-king. The WK answers the challenge, and Earnur rides off, and turns up dead. Where here this scene at the gate, what I think is Gandalf and the WK are squaring off, or they are sizing eachother up. So, either the WK feels overmatched by Gandalf, or he thinks it's more important to command the armies against Rohan's charge, which is why he retreats.

I hope that cleared things up. Basically, I'm trying to say IF Gandalf ever fought the WK one on one, he would beat the WK. However, since the prophecy says no man would kill the WK," and that's why Gandalf and the WK never fight eachother. Because, if they did, Gandalf, I think, with his record would have won.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:04 PM   #27
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Here's how the Witch King's power was handled in the movie.

1) Aragorn chases him away by waving a branch around and yelling. Witch King's apparent power: low

2) Gandalf is thrown on the ground and has his staff broken and looks scared. Witch King's apparent power: very high

3) A hobbit cuts his leg and he kneels down for ten minutes and waits for Eowyn to stab him in the head. Witch King's apparent power: low

A bit inconsistent, eh?

The remedy....

1) Have the wraiths retreat more quickly when Aragorn comes, then have him explain to the hobbits that they figured their work was pretty much done since they had stabbed Frodo.

2) I didn't mind this scene too much. The WK had to be big and bad and this scene made him look it.

3) Explain that Merry's sword is the nastiest anti-Witch King blade in the world.
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:04 PM   #28
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I would like to reiterate that Gandalf defeating the Witch-King would not run counter to the prophecy. If Eowyn doesn't count as a man, Gandalf doesn't either. Glorfindel's prophecy introduces a loophole that masks the true bane of the Witch-King. That obscurity could allow just about anybody but a male of the race of Men (with the possible but arguable inclusion of Hobbits) to slay the Witch-King.
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:10 PM   #29
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1st off thank you Argonath for agreeing with me by having the utmost respect for PJ. I myself think that scene was quite weak, Gandalf is of the Istari and would not cower before a fell servant of Sauron such as the Witch King
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by obloquy
Additionally, Gandalf's pre-human (if I may) history was eschewed in favor of a Man with wizardly powers ...
A very good point, and one that had not previously occured to me. I had always imagined Gandalf in the films as he is presented to us in Tolkien's works as a whole, ie as one of the Istari - a Maia with limitations on his powers. But, save for the reference at the end to him having completed his work in Middle-earth, there is no indication of his origins, and certainly no explanation of his nature. So those who are not widely read in Tolkien's works (ie 99.99% of film audiences) will simply see him as a human Wizard who sails off west with Frodo and Bilbo to live out his days in peace. Viewed in this way, maybe it makes more sense that the Witch King is more of a match for Gandalf, especially if one takes into account the suggestion that his powers have been enhanced to lead Sauron's forces into war.

Then again, this scene is only in the Extended Edition, and aren't the EEs supposed to be for the Tolkien fans - ie those who know that Gandalf is an Istar ...?
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:34 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by King of the North
1st off thank you Argonath for agreeing with me by having the utmost respect for PJ. I myself think that scene was quite weak, Gandalf is of the Istari and would not cower before a fell servant of Sauron such as the Witch King
No problem! How can anyone not have respect for the man? He took the most difficult trilogy in the world, and created what I thought was impossible, even with today's technology.

On another note, in the Extended Version of the Return of the King, I really enjoyed the additional "Voice of Saruman" scene. I thought it was very neat that the movie gives a little nod to the "Scouring of the Shire" in the way Saruman and Wormtongue die. Even though Saruman's fall was a tad bit brutal, I really thought this scene should have made the theatrical cut. Perhaps it would have made up for the lack of Tom Bombadil .
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:36 PM   #32
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I really thought this scene should have made the theatrical cut.
So did Christopher Lee.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:37 AM   #33
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regarding Saucepanman's point, I believe that the Book WK rode into Minas Tirith through the main gate as this had not been taken by an Enemy before? He could have easily flown in on his Nazgul, but wanted to be the first through the Gate so went on horseback. Maybe........

No one's mentioned Pippin in this scene. Having Gandalf on the floor we see Pippin's courage in trying to (but failing to) confront the Witch King.

Also, I know this can be seen as inconsistent, but I also think Jackson is showing that Gandalf is not all powerful or infallable. It shows that Gandalf himself seems unsure that he can beat him.

PS I agree with the point mentioned earlier on explaining the role of Merry's sword. That's one of the main reasons why I wanted the old forest / bombadil / barrow downs scenes in so he could get his Sword from Tom.

PPS Gandalf has grown since movie 1, so why not the Witch King?

PPPS Yes, Gandalf DID beat the Balrog but at what price? His Death.

PPPPS Saruman was a broken man already defeated, found out as a treasoner and therefore stripped of his powers as head of the Council before Gandalf broke his staff.

PPPPPS I'm only playing Devil's advocate here by the way.......
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Old 01-05-2005, 05:56 AM   #34
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I would like to add a few more points on this. Firstly on Weathertop Strider says "Sauron can put fire to evil uses, as he can all things, but these Riders do not love it, AND FEAR THOSE WHO WIELD IT. Gandalf upon the Bridge of Khazad-Dum says "I am a servent of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor", he wasnt talking about the latest fireworks, and we keep forgetting Narya The Ring of Fire. Secondly I would like to point out a popular misquote, Obluquy says that Sauron is naught but an eyeball, that is but the Eye of Sauron, as The Mouth is something else. How can Gollum who was born well after the destruction of Saurons body at the end of The Second Age, know that there are only four fingers on the black hand, in The Black Gate is Closed he says "Yes, He has only four fingers on The Black Hand", surely if he had been refering to popular myth he would have said "had" not "has", it is because he has seen the physical body of Sauron, also Denethor states "that Sauron will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won", that suspended eyeball is going have fun travelling without any legs or maybe it will sprout imaginary wings like the Balrogs (Sorry got carried away, I mean no offence). Thirdly I think the idea of Sauron giving The Witch-King more power could be a possibilty, but my inner feeling says no. This is not Sauron of The Second Age, This is a much reduced Sauron, remember he put much of his power into the One Ring and he hasnt got that. Also he has expended an awful amount of power rebuilding his power base and body, I just do not think there would be much left, and if there was any he would need it for control, read the last pages of Mount Doom to find out what happens when Saurons will is withdrawn from his minions.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:20 AM   #35
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Quote:
Secondly I would like to point out a popular misquote, Obluquy says that Sauron is naught but an eyeball, that is but the Eye of Sauron, as The Mouth is something else.
In the movie, which is what we are talking about in this forum ("The Movies") and this thread, Sauron is just an eyeball. As for my personal feelings on this misconception, please see http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=2387 and http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=1878 .
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:43 AM   #36
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More about witch King vs. Gandalf

Personally, I feel that PJ's motives with this scene (WK vs. Gf.) do not go beyond him attempting to portray Gandalf as a more compelling character by making him appear afraid and weak before the Witch King. Oftentimes, when a movie character is portrayed as basically infallable and all-powerful (which is how Gandalf the White was essentially portrayed in Tolkien's writing) it is thought to detract from the film, and the character is often seen as less interesting. In my opinion, Jackson's impetus in making Gandalf seem frightened and unsure, was to make his character, and the movie as a whole, a bit more interesting. In that vein, I can understand his desire to make Gandalf's character a bit more human and flawed. However, I feel that the vehicle he used to achieve that portrayal was far to extreme and inaccurate in regards to Gandalf as a Tolkien character.
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:27 AM   #37
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Welcome to the 'Downs, Habriz!

Hmm.... Everyone has very good points, and is putting my simple reasoning to shame!

Quote:
What I disliked most about that scene was Gandalf's staff breaking
Yes, that bugged me. The Witch-King could have just tossed Gandalf's staff out of the way, and not broken it. <mutters> stick to the books, Mr. Director....

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Old 01-05-2005, 11:45 AM   #38
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Whenever Jackson goes on a tangent from the text of the book we have these debates. Yes, it would be better if Jackson stuck to the books and only dramatised what actually happened. The only problem is is that if we did that a lot of the scenes would be very staid (if that's the right word), and no fluidity to the scenes. For example the WK scene. If we copied it from the book, we would have:

In through the gate comes the WK on a horse
Gandalf sitting there on Shadowfax
Some dramatic speech
WK raises he Sword
Cock crows and the horns blow
WK leaves.

On paper this worked well, as we can put our own thoughts and imagination around it. (people screaming, running away, gandalf's expression and whether he is frightened, in contempt or whatever. We also do not get the tone of the voice from Gandalf from the text so we don't know how he feels).

On screen, Gandalf just sitting there WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED. Jackson had to show SOME RESPONSE from Gandalf. And yes, to many extents he went too far. But it is Jackson's & co's reasoning that Gandalf is AFRAID of the WK and that the Rohirrim save the day. THIS IS WHAT I ALSO GET FROM THE BOOKS. It is their take on what happens to Gandalf really being the centre of controversy in this scene. Even if the WK didn't break his staff, I'm sure we'd still have a lot of dissagreements from people on this scene. The staff breaking is just something to hone in on.

Regarding the staff breaking: As I've stated on another thread, I think Jackson HAD to get rid of Gandalf's staff as he's shown the Wizard is very powerful with it, and therefore could easily have dealt with Denethor in the next scene. As it is, in the EE and the theatrical versions, Gandalf does not have his staff in Rath Dinen and therefore himself, Shadowfax and Pippin had to 'fight' with Denethor. Otherwise, in the movie version, it would have been too simple for Gandalf to get Denethor out of the way, and we would no doubt have a lot of people complaining that he HADN'T used his staff on Denethor!
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Old 01-05-2005, 02:21 PM   #39
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I stand corrected, somewhat, and offer apologies to Obluquy. However I must point out that Jackson is wrong to portray Sauron as "Just an eyeball", and furthermore for the sake of those people who have only seen the films, I wished to draw attention to the fact, and not be involved in perpetuating the myth, sorry to be a pain, I have no doubt you know the difference, but it was just how it read.
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Old 01-05-2005, 02:42 PM   #40
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Well, no offense was taken, and I share your feelings on the matter. It's a silly modification, and I imagine it was to prevent such questions as "why didn't Sauron just go out and own them all?" It goes along with my point earlier about Gandalf: the whys are too difficult to explain in a visual setting, and would likely require a good bit more from the audience than is wise for a movie that is not intended to be "art" or even particularly thought-provoking.

Besides, if the movie explained everything, we wouldn't be able to use our superior knowledge of Tolkien to woo the ladies.
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