Thread: The Strongest Wizard??
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Woo-hoo PT lives on! So good to be here! Even better to see it being kept up with so many new faces! Still the same poll though 5 years later xD
In regards to you Slippery you are so absolutely correct. BUT, even though Tolkien didn't officially describe a battle, Saruman did imprison Gandalf atop Orthanc, and this would imply more or less that Saruman "defeated" Gandalf in some fashion that day, as I highly doubt Gandalf willingly walked to the top without some sort of struggle. True we will never know the details, I guess a group of uruk-hai could have run up and dog piled him or something, but even years before the films, the first time I read Fellowship I remember pausing here and picturing this moment happening. I was a litle kid so more fire and lightning, but there was definitely a struggle. So, for me at least, it is quite accurate to the books
This was basically the trend throughought all of the LOTR film trilogy. Peter Jackson took the "unspoken" moments and used those to make dramatic scenes. So while in one regard the films are horribly inaccurate, in another they are actually fairly accurate (compared to many book-to-movie adaptations and the length of the books). While the movies of course left out tons of stuff from the novel, almost all of the scenes in the films are in the novel...unlike The Hobbit, where they basically shat all over everything. However it's a lot of what happens 'within' those scenes that PJ decided to take his liberties with, and this is either acceptable or unforgivable, depending on your view. In some cases I liked what he did (like the duel between Gandalf and Saruman. I don't think it took away from Tolkien's intentions and it was a question everyone asked). Others not so much (like the Witch King breaking Gandalf's staff). But, that's another discussion that's been had ad nauseum in this place over the years!
I still think Gandalf the White would beat Saruman the White though
Hmm you should just have to hit Enter to break it into a new paragraph?
Thank you for providing that paragraph for reference, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment on how Tolkien meant the Istari to be viewed. You certainly aren't wrong. I'm not denying a bit of stretching is needed, but I don't "imagine" I imagined anything, I very clearly remember laying in bed that night reading about this encounter and thinking "how would he just take him?" In fact I'm pretty sure it's because I was hoping they were more DnD like and wanted it to happen. I was 12, I didn't fully appreciate the subtleties of Tolkien just yet. I just wanted a wizard battle. And I didn't think one up so much as assumed something happened between the two of them that allowed Saruman to overtake and imprison him, even if it was just holding in place or something. That something is key though. PJ went a little crazy with it.
Of course it's not directly hinted at, that's not Tolkien's style. But it is hinted that Saruman isn't against using violence: giving Gandalf ultimatums, the last of which involves imprisonment, threatning him with things like "to devise, say a fitting reward for the hindrance and insolence of Gandalf the Grey," implies he has no problem (and in fact intends to) harming Gandalf. And when one Valar chosen Istari threatens to harm another, I'd imagine the one being threatened would do something.
Of course if they didn't Middle Earth is where that would be. It absolutely is possible Gandalf went with his hands up to the top of Orthanc. That's the great thing about Tolkien, there really isn't one right answer here. To be honest the non-violent finish is more than likely, but it doesn't have to be the only one.....and PJ went with it. You love it or you don't. I don't think wizards should have crazy duels in Middle Earth, but I do think they would have struggles of powers unknown to men. It's true Tolkien regretted the use of wizards, but he regretted a lot of things, so if you go with all of his regrets, pretty much all of his work is up for interpretation of any kind....but to be honest this is something I've always been adamant about, keeping the regrets separate from the published works. I know some disagree but, to each their own!
But ok sure, let's mix things up a bit, let's say that 'is' the case. Saruman called up some orcs and they handcuffed ol' Mithrandir and locked him up atop a tower. In a purist discussion of the strongest wizard, if the battle of the Istari wasn't fought with fire and lightning but instead with words, and Saruman convinced Gandalf to be escorted to the top of Orthanc by orcs...then that is still a battle right there, a battle of wits that Saruman won.
There needs to be separate Strongest Wizard film/novel threads to keep things simple...though in both cases I think Gandalf the White would beat Saruman the White
And ya know, in Gandalf's recanting of why he was delayed, I don't see why he'd go into detail about the part where he got whooped before his imprisonment. A detail that could easily be left out but still fit in somewhere in that excerpt. And considering how the rest of Tolkien history is mostly retellings of stories told by someone moreso than an encyclopedic history, just because Gandalf didn't say it doesn't mean it didn't happen...
Your feelings about the movies were pretty clear from the start But honestly I completely understand where you are coming from and agree with MUCH of what you say. I definitely don't prefer the movies though I do enjoy them...trust me I cringed at plenty of scenes. But, somehow I'm able to over look them and enjoy it for what it is xD I also really appreciate the fact that it brought Tolkien to a much wider audience and made it "cool" to like fantasy. They also aren't half bad if looking at it completely objectively from a cinematic standpoint...It is 'some' testament that Return of the King still holds countless box office records, including most best picture awards recieved (even though I think Fellowship is the best one). But you're right it isn't even a convo worth having anymore lol, just do a quick search and you'll find it 100 times on here
...Though just to be clear this isn't including The Hobbit series which is a total travesty to the Tolkien name. Martin Freeman was perfect as Bilbo, everything else was a disgrace.
And fyi I LOVE talking about Tolkien's second hand thoughts, as disappointing as I find some of them...I just think it's better to keep them separate if the films are involved too, it can get messy!
Well I haven't been around in awhile but in the past a looot of the members here were members of multiple Tolkien forums and it was never really a problem. I can't imagine that's changed much, there's only so many places for us Tolkienites to go these days ha. But now with CRT passing down the torch, the future remains unclear, and we might have another spike of interest for Middle Earth coming up. I just really, really hope all this upcoming stuff stays true to Tolkien and not become a Game of Thrones rip off or anything
Also "For me personally, one important effect was that they made it possible to bring a number of older studies back into print" I could not agree more. The sad truth is that now, almost 20 years later, without those films it is entirely possibly Tolkien would have faded into the "classics," along with Tom Sawyer, Romeo and Juliet, and Homer...and nobody reads the classics anymore (sad, but true). But it kept going strong, and just as it's starting to fade away again, this Amazon series is announced. I'm quite curious to see what happens next...
I don't think the Istar were sent with a defacto leader. Rather each had his own misson and purpose. It was only when the White Council was formed that a leader was chosen. The 'strenght' of the wizards might have been something subjective as well as Galadriel wanted Gandalf to be the head even though he was 'The Grey' back then.
As for the fight in the movie, I don't think it would actually have come down to a real fight as after all, Gandalf was in Saruman's 'house' and bar their powers, he had a host of his servants at hand. I don't think even Gandalf would have dared to run the gauntlet against all of them.
I very much agree Thorin, I probably should have clarified when I said defeat in my initial post I wasn't referring specifically to the physical fight, just that Saruman bested Gandalf to be able to imprison him. How it happened is ultimately up to the reader, which is the genius of Tolkien. Slippery is right though that there never was any kind of duel. I think the thought of it is exciting (judge me), but the most "magical" I see it actually getting is Saruman holding Gandalf in place while orc servants come and grab him...still a defeat though in my opinion! xD
Edit: Also, HEY THORIN! Long time no see! Glad to see familiar faces still around!
Slippery we definitely agree there, I really don't want this to take the dark fantasy path, and I am a big GRRM fan. The only good I can see coming out of something like that is if they do another series/movie down the line, which I'm sure they will (I think they've already said they had others planned?), which will intentionally try to be more faithful to the style of the books to counteract this new "edgier" tone, and we 'might' actually get something that does the real story justice....might.