Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gandalf Confides in Galadriel

The Movie: The dwarves are sneaking out of Rivendell. Thorin, noticing Bilbo Baggins gaze wistfully back at the elven outpost, curtly suggests he keep pace. The scene cuts to Galadriel and Gandalf, now alone, talking about the dwarves. Gandalf admits that he will follow them, and Galadriel tells him he is doing the right thing. She is concerned, however, with the "riddle of the Morgul Blade," and fears that there is a darkness growing. As Gandalf begins to walk away, she asks him why he brought Bilbo. He says that he disagrees with Saruman's idea that power is needed to keep the darkness at bay: he believes it is the everyday kindness of the small folk that does so. He keeps Bilbo Baggins around because "[he] is afraid, and [Bilbo] gives him courage." Galadriel takes his hands, strokes his cheek, and tells him that he is not alone. If he should ever need her help, she will come. With that said, she disappears, leaving Gandalf alone.

The Book: No such scene occurs. Nothing in the text indicates Galadriel is capable of teleporting. Gandalf leaves with the dwarves, and they don't leave without telling anyone.

What difference does it make? This scene helps to humanize Gandalf a little bit, by showing a more vulnerable side of him as he opens up to Galadriel. Furthermore, it provides the audience with a bit of his reasoning that is not included in the novel. Gandalf's separation from Thorin's Company now necessitates some invention on Peter Jackson's part, instead of just following the novel's plot and keeping them together until the goblins' ambush.

My Opinion: I really do not like this scene. This is another example of a little change that is entirely unnecessary. It doesn't really add anything that the movie needs, and just interrupts the pacing. The movie's already three hours long, we don't need five minutes of Gandalf and Galadriel talking about their feelings. Speaking of which, what the hell was up with that? This scene jumped things up from affectionate, deeply respectful friends to full-on romantic tension.

For god's sake, Galadriel, you're a married woman!

I also really hate Gandalf's little speech about how the "little acts of kindness and love, not great power, keep the darkness at bay." It sounded deep and poetic, with that lovely music playing and Sir Ian McKellan's wistful tone of voice, but, c'mon. Are you going to use small acts of love to fight the Balrog, Gandalf? How about when Sauron's army comes marching on Minas Tirith - will you hope that the small folks will defeat several thousand orcs by being nice to each other? Small acts of kindness are great, don't get me wrong, but they're not going to do shit against a fucking dragon

Providing Gandalf with a reason for not leaving with the dwarves (staying behind to participate in a meeting with the White Council), instead of having him narrowly evade capture at the hands of the goblins, is a good decision, I think. It's not that big of a change, and it provides a somewhat more plausible reason for their separation.

Also: Galadriel can teleport now? Are we just gonna make up super powers as we go along, like this is a Silver Age Superman comic?


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  3. I loved this scene. It´s my favorite in the entire movie. It reminded me that Galadriel always preferer Gandalf over Saruman (which is not shown in the lord of the rings trilogy, because they didnt really have much interaction there), and that is something that Tolkien mentions in the appendices. Okey I´ll accept the teleportation part was a bit to much even for Galadriel (the most powerful elven present in the middle earth at that time), but I can forgive that. One last thing, obviusly great deads of power are needed when facing evil. But may I remind everyone that it was the mercy that Bilbo and then Frodo show to Smeagol (wich can be define as a small act of kindness) the direct cause that the one ring and Sauron end up being destroyed...

  4. Maybe Galadriel is like Batman with the mysterious disappearance? I mean, Batman does it a lot too, and he doesn't have any special powers.

  5. force of arms was going to overcome the armies of Mordor during the War of the Ring. What won the victory could only be the destruction of the Ring of Power - a task that no army or great warrior could have hoped to accomplish. What made it possible was the deep friendship between Frodo and Sam. Without that bond, fostered on small acts of everyday kindness and mutual love, the war would have been lost, and Sauron would have indeed overcome all. So, Gandalf was absolutely right.

  6. You're right, small acts of kindness will not keep a Balrog at bay, stop Sauron's armies, and certainly not defeat a fire-breathing dragon. But do you know what it did do? This "small act of kindness" was what made Bilbo decide not to kill Gollum(Smeagol). This "small act of kindness" is what also keeps Frodo from killing Gollum as well, despite all Gollum has done to him. And because it is believed to be impossible to destroy The One Ring within Mt. Doom, due to The One Ring's influence being at it's strongest, Gollum ended up being the one to destroy The One Ring. You should be able to get what the quote was trying to say. Small acts of kindness can not destroy immediate large threats, no, but overtime, it all stacks up, and is what keeps the darkness at bay.