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Riddles in the Dark: Episode Five

The fifth episode of Riddles in the Dark is here! The first of many episodes to come in our “Bombur and Buffoonery” series on humor in...

The fifth episode of Riddles in the Dark is here!

The first of many episodes to come in our “Bombur and Buffoonery” series on humor in The Hobbit!

The Hobbit is often described as a children’s book, chock full of light-hearted humor and ridiculous moments (hence the name of one of Corey’s Hobbit lectures, “The Ridiculous and the Sublime”).  This presents a dilemma for Peter Jackson and his team, who seek to fulfill the expectations of both the die hard Tolkien fans (who expect the hilarity and childishness) and the casual film-goers expecting action-packed adventure films!  Will the Hobbit’s now famous humorous characters and scenes survive the transition to epic film?  Find out as Riddles in the Dark delves into “Bombur and Buffoonery.”

This week Prof. Corey Olsen and Dave Kale discuss one of the funniest and most unusual scenes in all of Tolkien.  No, not Tom Bombadil! It’s the three trolls – William, Bert, and Tom – and their fatal indecision when it comes to deciding how to cook and eat thirteen dwarves and one “burrahobbit.”  These scene poses a number of challenges to our Kiwi filmmakers and seems quite incompatible with the version of Middle-earth we encountered in the Lord of the Rings films, particularly its depiction of trolls.  How will they do these scene, and what changes might they make?  We cover those questions and more in the latest installment of Riddles in the Dark and the first of our “Bombur and Buffoonery” series on humor in The Hobbit, and the episode wraps up with speculation about how the trolls will be defeated and turned to stone!

Prediction: How will the trolls’ defeat and subsequent transformation into stone be portrayed on screen?

A. Gandalf will accomplish it as he does in the book, through sheer cleverness.  Note: NO MAGIC.
B. It will happen via epic LOTR-style action sequence, occupying the trolls until sunrise.  Note: NO MAGIC.
C. Gandalf will accomplish it via magic, directly or indirectly.
D. The trolls will fall prey to their own stupidity – after the dwarves escape pursuit, the trolls simply forget about the sunrise and get caught outdoors.

Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)


  1. Scott Holbrook-Foust March 23, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Dave, you answered exactly as I would have done, and was already thinking before and throughout the episode: ‘magical’-seeming ventriloquism. I also think that the “Dawn take you all!” moment will be magickified, based on that one shot from the trailer in which Gandalf delivers one of his blinding flashes. Based on the lighting and the surrounding greenery, I can’t think of anywhere else for him to be but in Trollshaws.
    I do think that there will be frightening and comedic elements balanced throughout the scene—nothing so absurd as burrahobbit-pie, most likely, but certainly threateningly comedic dialogue. Corey’s reference to the Orc-speech we get in The Lord of the Rings films I find very insightful (“What about their legs? They don’t need those” and “Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!” come especially to mind). However, if PJ is to maintain filmic consistency—and I think we’re all assuming that he will—there absolutely -have- to be cooking jokes. I was very surprised that neither of you mentioned Bilbo relating his own story to the children at his birthday party, about how the trolls “were all arguing amongst themselves about whether they should sit on [the dwarves] one by one and squash [them] into jelly.” That—and the obvious presence of a giant cauldron in the charge-the-trolls scene in the trailer—absolutely mandates at least a little culinary discussion; plus the position in which they’re frozen clearly depicts some heated verbal argument. However, Bilbo’s failure to mention any action on the part of Gandalf does still leave open ‘D’ as an option. I’m going with ‘C’, though.

  2. Sharon Hoff March 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    On the topic of where “the split” will be between movie one and two:
    Looking at the official blog that PJ puts out, he clearly states at the beginning of his latest installment that he cannot show the set he is on because it is the Laketown set and he won’t show it to us until December because it is in the next film. Additionally, the last of the behind the scenes video we get to see in the same blog is the dwarves heading down the river in (open) barrels. Since PJ indicated we were not to see anything from movie two, we can assume that movie one will close at Barrels Out of Bond, perhaps with Thorin’s “the king under the mountain has returned” moment.

  3. Dave March 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Sharon, interesting thoughts. On the SQPN Secrets of the Hobbit podcast a few weeks ago, Fr. Roderick and Inge did a frame-by-frame analysis of the production video and concluded much the same as you, that Peter Jackson had all but confirmed the split. There is a lot of evidence to support that split location, and it is easy to imagine it working quite well. Indeed, I think some of the best evidence for it is the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows split; their chosen split at Shell Cottage took place during a lull in the action and at a key moment in the narrative when the pace of the storytelling starts accelerating toward the explosive finale. The float up the river to Lake-town is a very similar point in the Hobbit story.

    However, it is far from definitive! I think that folks are reading too much into PJ’s statement, which I take to be an off-the-cuff statement explaining why he couldn’t show us more of Lake-town AT THAT moment. I think there is plenty of room for speculation about the split — and particularly about how that split will divide the additional material and the White Council storyline!

    We are going to an entire episode focused on the split in one of the next two episodes, so stay tuned for more!

  4. Ed Powell March 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    On the topic of pronunciation. Tolkien says that “ai” is pronounced like “eye”. This would normally call for “Thrain” to be pronounced “Thr-eye-n”–“Thrine”. But in LoTR, Tolkien goes to great lengths to mark proper names with appropriate diacritical marks, thus: “Thráin”. This means that the “ai” is not a diphthong and each vowel is to be pronounced separately, with the emphasis on the one marked. But “a” is not the “a” in “hate” or “hat” but more like “a” in “father” and “i” is not the “i” in “kite” or “kit” but like the “i” in “machine”. So Thráin is more like “Thrah-ine” but said quickly so that the syllables somewhat blend together (which would be natural in any spoken language). So, finally, we get to the point: saying “Thrine” is wrong, and while saying “Thrane” is also wrong, it is much closer to the actual pronunciation.

  5. Feorhund March 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I haven’t listened to this episode yet, but I have a question for future discussion.
    Do you think that Jackson might conflate the Arkenstone with the Dwarven ring?
    If you don’t think this is the case, how do you see them handling the stone and the ring in the films?
    If you think it is possible, how do you think this might work given what we know of the objects from Tolkien?

    While I don’t really like the idea of that big a change, I can see it happening as a way to make the finding of the stone seem more important to the overall plot. It might make a nice last minute reveal and help to explain Thrain’s obsessive behavior.
    That said, I doubt that they would ever go so far as to have Bilbo know that it is a Dwarf ring of power. I think he would only know that it is very important to Thrain and something he obsesses over to the detriment of his people. Perhaps they will make “Arkenstone” another name for the ring, or possibly make the stone the only part of the ring that is left intact and have Gandalf be one of the few who knows its true nature.
    It just seems like too “good” a conflation to pass up.

  6. Feorhund March 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    And just in case you wonder, I pronounce my name (basically) as Fay-or-hoond (with hund rhyming more with wound). It doesn’t really matter though.

    PS. It was a nice surprise to hear my comment on the previous show. I almost didn’t catch it as I was casually listening and didn’t hear my name right away. I actually thought, “Hey, that sounds kinda like what I said”.

  7. William Bice March 24, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    If I might propose a theory here concerning the fate of the trolls, there is a moment two minutes into the trailer when Gandalf is shown standing on a hill as the sun rises behind him. Judging by the intensity of the light and the swiftness of the rising sun, it appears to be some sort of magically induced sunrise or at least a natural one infused with magical properties, however it is still quite clearly a sunrise. If this is the case, then it is also quite clear that Gandalf is the source of this magic, driving his staff into the ground as did while defying the Balrog with his famous “You shall not pass!” line. I can think of nothing in the tale of The Hobbit that this could be other than the sunrise that seals the fate of the trolls, turning them into stone. With this in mind, I’m going to guess C, as Gandalf is using magic to bring on this intensely bright flash of dawn, petrifying the trolls, and rescuing the Bilbo and the dwarves. Thank you so much for these podcasts. It makes waiting for the movies so much more bearable.

  8. David Stapleton March 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Scott stole my thunder, I too was going to point out Bilbo’s recounting of the Troll story in the first LotR film as evidence that the cookery discussion will be included.

    On buffoonery, I would point to the Troll fight scene in the first Harry Potter film that a deadly serious fight (with a troll, no less) can be done in a humorous way. My prediction is that there will be a mass fight scene with humorous overtones, followed by a cookery discussion, lengthened by Gandalfian magic, followed by Troll statues. So I guess that’s C for me.

  9. Sharon Hoff March 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Dave, I’m fairly confident about the split based on my observations, but it cannot be denied that there is a wide open field for speculation about the treatment and distribution of all the lovely addendum we have to look forward to.

  10. Scott Underhill March 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I think A is plausible, but with a few changes.
    1) There’s no talking purse; perhaps Bilbo grabs the key from the troll’s pocket instead.
    2) The dwarves rush the trolls all at once, but get thrown into sacks anyway. I’m hoping the trolls win very easily, to emphasize the general theme that the Dwarves really aren’t much more competent than Bilbo when it comes to adventuring.
    3) When Gandalf returns he lets Bilbo see him immediately, and gives him a wink before doing the ventriloquism.
    4) Gandalf says “Dawn take you all” in his own voice, not one of the trolls’ voices (as he does in the book).

    One problem is the length of the trolls’ debate; in the book it takes a couple hours (I think) for them to decide how to cook the dwarves; obviously that would stretch on too long. But I have no problem with the trolls engaging in some sadistic banter; the orcs in the LotR do the same (as Scott Holbrook-Foust mentions; the line “looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!” was running through my head during the entire podcast.)

    And I always assumed that Gandalf’s voice-throwing WAS magically enhanced in the book; it makes more sense than Gandalf just happening to have a gift for ventriloquism. So I would count magic ventriloquism as A and not C; C would be if Gandalf stands up and blasts them with sunlight (ala Helm’s Deep) or just directly turns them to stone (which I was surprised you didn’t mention as a possibility–the movies don’t establish that it was sunlight which did in the trolls).

  11. Michael Lucero March 25, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Just listened to this episode, and loved it! First of all, thanks for discussing one of my early comments on the first episode, I think. (My last name is actually pronounced with a soft c, not an Italian c, by the way, but that’s not a big deal.) Anyway, I have three comments about this most recent episode. First all, I’m a purist in terms of how I’d like to see the movie unfold (just as in the books), but I’m also a realist, in that I, sadly, don’t think it will actually happen that way.

    1) You mentioned the filmmakers possibly wanting to establish this scene as a moment where the dwarves’ heroism is emphasized, even when they don’t have a reason to feel gratitude to Bilbo yet. One thing that I can very easily see them doing, since it’s clear they’re trying to develop the dwarf characters as individual personalities: instead of having Bilbo go in and try to steal something from the trolls, they’ll have the dwarves sneak up on them, observe them, and debate what to do. Most of the dwarves want to just leave them alone, but someone, probably Dwalin as he looks the most hardcore and scar-strewn of all the dwarves, says something like “It’s not honorable to flee from a foe”, etc. and shames them all into just attacking outright. Things go bad, they are captured, and Gandalf rescues them in whatever way. And it’s only in the midst of the confusion where the dwarves are fighting the trolls that Bilbo thinks to try to steal the key from one of the trolls. This allows them to develop Dwalin’s personality as fearless, reckless and honor-driven, gives occasion for more dramatic tension among the dwarves (arguing later about how it was all Dwalin’s fault), and also making Bilbo a bit bolder (since no one asks him to steal the key).

    2) I think Dave mentioned that since the trolls’ stone forms were depicted in FoTR, we know how they will be physically positioned when the sun rises. But I don’t necessarily think that this means they have to be sitting around the fire (like in the book) when their petrification happens. This process might be a gradual one, or it might take a few seconds for it to happen, so I can easy see an action scene unfolding, or even a chase scene, and when the sun rises and the light hits them, they stop running or fighting, shrink away from it, hold their hands up to uselessly shield themselves from it, even fall to the ground in horror, before they actually become stone. So their positions as we’ve seen them don’t necessarily have any bearing on how the scene actually unfolds.

    3) One difficulty that I don’t think was addressed in this podcast is the issue of time. It’s easy for a reader to imagine that a whole night has passed while this scene has unfolded, but visually, in a film, it makes a bit less sense. I don’t know about the Trollshaws, but where I live the sun usually rises at about 7:30 AM or so. Unless the dwarves have been traveling through the wilderness all night long (literally), it won’t make sense for them to come upon the trolls’ camp at about sunset or so, have a short scuffle with the trolls, and then all of the sudden it’s dawn. So, especially if the filmmakers cut out all the amusing dialogue about cookery, how will they account for the passage of time? Unless this is an example of Gandalf using magic to speed up time, which it would be very implausible for him to have that kind of power. I’m interested in Corey’s and Dave’s discussion of how that will be handled, too.

    Thanks again for another great episode, and keep them coming!

  12. Michael Lucero March 25, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Good point about the recounting of the story, but I can easily see them having old Bilbo telling Frodo that the cookery story was just an artistic exaggeration.

  13. Michael Lucero March 25, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Ed, props for mentioning Tolkien’s use of diacritical marks in regards to pronunciation. However, I disagree with you about this particular instance. The mark over á is an acute accent, which is usually used to emphasize which vowel is to be stressed. When Tolkien uses a mark to show that both vowels should be pronounced, he uses a different mark, called a diaeresis or umlaut, the two dots over a letter. So if he really meant to indicate that both the a and the i were to be pronounced individually, he would have given the name as Thräin, not Thráin.

  14. Don March 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I think the resolution of this question will be debated long after the movie has come out. The trailer shows light flashing from Gandalf’s staff as dawn clearly is breaking behind him. If the trolls turn immediately to stone then people can sensibly argue for both A and C. If the trolls slowly turn to stone, to me it would lean more toward dawn being their downfall tan Gandalf’s magic.

    I do hope it is A and I do hope that even if it is for the briefest moment that PJ throws in the talking purse. I love that element.

    Great work on the show. Really look forward to it.

    The filmmakers have quite brilliantly given themselves a lot of leeway with the story by opening with the line “I may not have told you all the truth.” Bilbo is referring to his tales told to young hobbits. Now he is talking to an adult Frodo and can reveal the darker elements of his journey. With this simple device, PJ can shape any scene to fit the narrative and tone of his vision of The Hobbit as Bilbo leaving out some material he deemed unsuitable for young hobbit ears. The troll scene will be the earliest and probably biggest departure from the book. Lots of action and dark, terrible trolls rather than the bumbling dwarves and bumbling trolls played for comedy in the book.

    I still think it can end with Gandalf tricking the trolls rather than using magic because it would be simpler for him to do it that way and not reveal his power too much.

  15. Matthew Beckmann March 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Bilbo could tell Frodo that he added the culinary discussion (essentially depicting the trolls as giant hobbits) in order to make the event relate-able for hobbit-children.

    If they do keep the cookery debate, I’d like to see one or two of the trolls want to “eat em fresh and raw” with the third troll trying to act “sivilized” and propose cooking them.

  16. Matthew Beckmann March 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I agree that the scene from the trailer corresponds to the troll’s petrification from the book. It will probably be done a lot like the ambiguous dawn/magic scene from The Two Towers movie when Gandalf arrives with Rohirrim reinforcements at “first light on the fifth day”. (I once heard two of my friends debating over whether the Orcs flinched because of Gandalf’s magic or the natural sunlight.) If they do a good enough job, the scene won’t contradict the idea that it was simply natural sunlight that turned the trolls into stone, but lead non-hobbit-readers to assume that Gandalf’s “Dawn take you all!” line is some sort of spell.

  17. Matthew Beckmann March 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    “1) There’s no talking purse; perhaps Bilbo grabs the key from the troll’s pocket instead.”

    NO TALKING PURSE? BLASPHEMY! The Purse is the best character! I’m hoping that the movie features the purse’s full back-story as featured in Appendix G section (iv) THE CHILDREN OF EÖL. The dialogue between the Purse and Gurthang is soooo epic, and the scene when Eöl kidnaps Aredhel and no longer needs the purse for companionship is heart-wrenchingly sad. Maybe we will be lucky enough to have the whole story narrated by the Purse like in Tolkien’s 1960 rewrite.

    P.S. Bilbo does steal the key from the troll’s pocket. “Purse” in British English refers to a money bad or wallet. Although it would be pretty funny to see Bill with a Louis Vuitton handbag!

  18. Scott Underhill March 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    If I recall correctly, Bilbo found the key lying on the ground; it had fallen out of a troll’s pocket during one of the skirmishes. But I could be wrong, and it would certainly make more sense if the key had at least come loose due to Bilbo’s pickpocketing.

    You forgot to mention the extensive ancestry of the purse as laid out in Appendix M; I believe it is a distant cousin to Sam’s pack. 😀

  19. Duane Watson March 27, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Matthew, I actually had a similar thought. At first, I thought just like Scott, that Bilbo’s story to the children in LotR points to the inclusion of the cooking debate, but the beginning of the trailer has Bilbo telling Frodo that while he told the truth, he didn’t tell Frodo the whole story. I think this gives Jackson, et al room to play with the story.

    I wonder, also, if they will help explain away the difference between these trolls and the one in Moria as different breeds (e.g. cave trolls versus hill trolls, or something similar), in much the same way that we see different types of orcs (some of whom are more talkative than others).

  20. Duke of Earl Grey March 28, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I don’t think we should be taking what Tolkien said about Elvish pronunciation and applying it to Dwarvish names. Those names would have been derived from a Northern Mannish language, not Elvish, and considering most of Tolkien’s dwarf names came from Norse mythology, I would think the proper pronunciation would be the Norse pronunciation. Now if someone can just tell me what that is…

    But as Gloin=”GLOW-in” and Oin=”OH-in”, I would guess Thrain=”THRAY-in”, Dain=”DAY-in”, Nain=”NAY-in”, etc. At least those sound good to my earholes.

  21. Duke of Earl Grey March 28, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    On the subject of comic relief, and considering the Legolas and Frodo cameos we’re getting, I am half-expecting (and even half-hoping for) a throwaway line explaining why Gimli isn’t coming on the journey, like:

    Oin: “Hey Gloin! Why didn’t you bring Gimli along?”
    Gloin: “He’s too young, that’s why! I mean, the kid’s only sixty-two years old!”

  22. Michael Lucero March 28, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Sounds reasonable, Duke. Good point about the Norse origins, too. According to this site:

    the letters “ai” should be pronounced like the vowell in date or wait. So it seems the correct pronunciation of Thrain would be something like “Thrayne”.

  23. Mara April 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I was listening to the podcast and a thought occured to me. I was wondering if, due to the way the ring was portrayed in the LOTR films, they might have difficulty with the fact that Bilbo carries the ring through Mirkwood, right under the Necromancer/Sauron’s nose. I thought that, perhaps, they might use that as an opportunity to lay the ground work for the White Council’s attack. The spiders might get more explicitly connected with the Necromancy, acting as his agents, and the Necromancer’s increased activity in response to their destruction and the presence of the ring either clues the Council in or spurs them to act. Gandalf might even make a comment indicating his suspicion about a connection between the Necromancer’s activity and Bilbo’s presence in Mirkwood. Pure speculation, but I thought it was an interesting idea.

    I have two other thoughts I’d like to share–first, going back to the question of Thror, I can’t help but think that Peter Jackson of “Meet the Feebles” and other classics of gross-out horror will have a real difficultly not taking the opportunity to show a mutilated and severed head. Just sayin’. And second, a more Tolkien-professor-esque question. Sauron’s nom de guerre of “The Necromancer” is really interesting in the greater context of Tolkien’s work. Why “Necromancer?” I mean, is raising the dead, even for the simple purpose of asking them questions about where Aunt Nelly left the silver spoons (not to mention raising a grisly army of the slaughtered), possible in Tolkien’s world? Or is Tolkien using it in a sense of which I am sadly ignorant?

  24. Jeremiah Burns April 4, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Dave, Corey – shame on you for not mentioning the talking purse. Also, it 100% will NOT be in the film.

    The scene will be much more action-packed when compared with the book version. However, I fully expect the dwarves to succumb rather quickly.

    Gandalf will show up. He’ll distract them, if not with words than perhaps other trickery (throwing stones, etc.).

    He will clearly turn them to stone with the sunlight…what else could we be seeing at 2:00 in the trailer?

  25. Brent Sprinkle April 7, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Corey and Dave, first off I want to say great job. I really enjoy the podcasts. I wanted to point out the fact that in the trailer when we get the “dwarves rushing the trolls” scene we hear the trolls roaring. It seems to me that it sounds vicious similar to the screams and roars we get from the Cave Troll in the chamber of Mazarbul. In my opinion, this would indicate a tone less light-hearted and not comical, at least for that part. Will it be comical in other parts such as the cooking debate and transition to a more serious tone? Sure. But we do know for a fact that it will not all be comical.

    I also thought it interesting to entertain the idea that while Gandalf’s cleverness in the book is the troll’s undoing, what if, for the film, they actually give this cleverness moment to Thorin as a way to establish his leadership and develop his character. I am a purist and hope this isn’t the case, but it is a possibility depending on how the fight sequence goes. I am comforted by the scene in the trailor where the sun is rising behind Gandalf, which seems to indicate it is indeed Gandalf saving the day. It was an interesting thought to entertain though.

  26. Jay Karpowich April 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    A little late to the table with a reply here, and I will not be commenting on the specific question on this last podcast. I do have a question that I think would be great for a future episode, and I did not know where else to post it. So here it is. In the extended version of Return of the King, Gimli and Legolas have a “drinking contest” Something that I totally disliked and thought that it again brought down the majesty and seriousness of both Dwarfs and Elves. We see Gimli getting very drunk while Legolas is not effected at all but for a tingling in his finger tips. Since Peter Jackson put that scene in, my question now is, how will he handle Bilbo helping the dwarfs to escape from the Elves’ dungeons. In the book the Elves guarding the dwarfs drink a bit too much wine, and fall asleep. This gives Bilbo the opportunity to borrow the key to the cells holding the dwarfs. Now I know not everyone has watched the extended versions of the trilogy, but it still begs the question, how is he going to portray the elves getting drunk?

  27. Mark April 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    I, too, am behind on my listening. Today I finally heard the podcast and immediately wondered, as did Scott H-F, why there was no mention of Bilbo telling the story to the hobbit children in the FotR film. Though the scene takes less than 30 seconds, Bilbo’s narrative is a good summary of the story as Tolkien wrote it. He says:

    “So there I was, at the mercy of three monstrous trolls, and they were all arguing amongst themselves about how they were going to cook us : whether it be turned on a spit or whether they should sit on us one by one and squash us into jelly. Oh, they spent so much time arguing the whithertos and the whyfores that the sun’s first light crept over the top of the trees and turned them all to stone!”

    It seems to me that, unless Jackson wants to take valuable screen time to propose and explain discrepancies with his previous work, he will need, at the very least, to include

    (1) the capture and confinement of Bilbo and the dwarves,

    (2) references to more than one cooking method,

    (3) an extended argument between the trolls, and

    (4) the salvation of the adventurers by means of the sunlight demise of the trolls.

    As for whether or not Jackson will employ at least some of the humor in Chapter 2, I don’t see why not. He injected all manner of humor into the LotR movies which is not in Tolkien’s book. He poked fun at Gimli, gave the orcs a few fiendishly clever lines (which have been mentioned in others’ comments), and made use of numerous sight gags and quips. The humor in the Roast Mutton chapter depends as much on the trolls’ menacing acrimony as it does on The Company’s general ineptitude. Why would Jackson not make use of it? I’m sure Thorin’s dour nature will prove to be as good a counterbalance on screen as it is on the written page. Remember that Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are part of this venture as well.

    I think Jackson will follow Tolkien closely and have Gandalf delay the trolls by use of ventriloquism without magic. I have two reasons for my position. First, Jackson’s Bilbo himself states in his FotR storytelling that dawn is what saved the captured company, making no mention of Gandalf’s part — and Gandalf is only feet away setting off fireworks! Second, there is no flash of light from Gandalf’s staff in that trailer scene. No staff-flash, no magic. The flash comes from sunlight breaking over the hill. In fact, the warm sunlight is so intense that it obscures Gandalf from sight, quite unlike his cool-toned “light shows” in Moria and Fangorn Forest. (Why he’s pounding his staff into the ground, I have no idea. Perhaps he’s using it to pull himself up from hiding.)

    For those who say that Jackson’s Gandalf sometimes uses his staff to work magic without flashes in LotR, I remind you that that is only in times of conflict with his fellow wizard, Saruman — NB the battle in the Isengard throne room, the standoff at the Pass of Caradhras, the “exorcism” of Saruman from Théoden, and the breaking of Saruman’s staff. I don’t know why Jackson portrayed inter-Istari staff-magic one way and staff-magic against evil entities another, but he did.

    I vote for option A, though I expect the scene will be abbreviated to its essentials for the sake of pacing.

  28. Mark April 12, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Upon waking this morning I remembered that Jackson’s Gandalf uses his staff in an attempt to open the West-door of Moria, and no light comes from it. Ah, well… there’s one theory shot. However, I think the observation still holds true that the only time no light comes from it when Gandalf uses staff-magic against a being is in his dealings with Saruman. All other being-directed staff-magic includes light of some sort. Someone on this thread will correct me if I’m wrong, I’m sure. Fight scenes in which Gandalf wields it as a quarterstaff don’t count as magic, as far as I’m concerned.

  29. Alex April 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Will there be any need to justify why these trolls turn to stone in sunlight compared to the Olog-hai bred in Mordor which we see before the Morannon in RotK or will they just leave it as self explanatory (perhaps based on the story Bilbo told in FotR mentioned above)?

    I’d be pretty sure – like Don and others above – that dawn will be the cause of the troll’s demise. The power of dawn is a fairly central thing to Tolkien.

  30. Eoghan April 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm # look at 03:45, i think that could be a dwarf women

  31. Steve L. September 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    After visiting link to the wallpaper generator, I noticed in that scroll there were dwarves in sacks (heads exposed rather than feet) at the foot of the bubbling cauldron (with trolls looking on from the shadows). I think that has to be an indication of what is already filmed, though it certainly could be edited in any number of ways. Since the dwarves are captured, I don’t think it can purely be an action sequence. It won’t truly fit in any of the choices. The end result might be due to battle and Gandalf or trickery and stupidity, but I think “none of the above” ends up being a better choice in this case. Of course, if Gandalf signals the sunrise (not causing, but signaling or breaking the clouds) that could open up a whole other can ‘o worms, especially if the dwarves are in the middle of fighting. Was it the battle or was it Gandalf in that case? The dwarves will end up in sacks at some point, or at least some of them will, that seems to be sure.

  32. Feorhund December 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    So much for that theory! Unless the Dwarven ring is much bigger than we thought ;p


  1. Riddles in the Dark: Digest 3 | Mythgard Institute - July 11, 2012

    […] Trish and Dave are on a roll. In this digest they cover spiders, talking purses, and magic ventriloquism as they review and discuss the input and comments from analysts and listeners about Riddles in the Dark Episode 4 and Episode 5. […]

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