Monday, January 21, 2013

The Hobbit, and the return of ancient evil

I went to see the Hobbit with my son Christmas Night, as he wanted to see it.  I generally have something against commerce on Christmas Day, but it was a "Cats in the Cradle" In Reverse moment.  I went.

A particular scene struck me.  More than one, really, but this one more than the rest.  It was not in the book, but it was suggested by refrerences in Tolkien's lore of The White Council.   It was, to say the least, a little too familiar.

So much so that I wanted to see the film again.  I went again with my wife the night before last [she hadn't seen it yet].  

Here's the scene:

Galadriel: The dragon, has long been on your mind.

Gandalf: It is true my lady. Smaug owes allegiance to no one. But if he should side with the enemy: A dragon can be used to terrible effect!

Saruman: What enemy? Gandalf, the enemy is defeated. Sauron is vanquished! He can never regain his full strength.

Elrond: Gandalf, for four hundred years we have lived in peace. A hard-one watchful peace.

Gandalf: Are we? Are we at peace?! Trolls have come down from the mountains. They're raiding villages, destroying farms. Orcs have attacked us ON the road!

Elrond: Hardly a prelude to war.

Saruman: Always you must meddle. Looking for trouble where non exist.

Galadriel: Let him speak.

Gandalf: There is something at work beyond the evil of Smaug. Something far more powerful. We can remain blind, but it will not be ignoring us, that I can promise. A sickness lies over the Green Wood. The woodsmen that live there now call it Mirkwood. And…eh…they say…

Saruman: Well? Don't stop now. Tell us what the woodsmen say.

Gandalf: They speak of a necromancer living in Dol Guldûr. A sorcerer who can summon the dead!

Saruman: That's absurd. No such power exists in this world. This..necromancer, is nothing more than a mortal man. A conjurer dabbling in black magic.

Gandalf: And so I though too. But Radagast has seen…

Saruman: Radagast?! Do not speak to me of Radagast, the Brown. He's a foolish fellow.

Gandalf: He's odd, I'll grant you. He lives a solitary life…

Saruman: It's not that. It is excessive consumption of mushrooms! They've addled his brain. And yellowed his teeth. I warn you. It is unfitting of one of the Istari woadering the woods [continues unintelligible in the background]…

Galadriel: (to Gandalf telepathically) You carry something. It came to you from Radagast. He found it in Dol Guldûr.

Gandalf: (to Galadriel telepathically) Yes.

Galadriel: (to Gandalf telepathically) Show me.

Saruman: (still going on and on) …I would think I was talking to myself. With intention of (not understandable). By all means…

(Gandalf picks up the sword given to him by Radagast wrapped on garment and places it above the table)

Elrond: What is that?!

(Elrond uncovers the mystery wrapped in cloth)

Galadriel: A relic … of Mordor!

Elrond: The Morgo blade.

Galadriel: Made for the Witch-King of Angmar. And buried with him! When Angmar fell, the men of the North took his body and all that he possessed and sealed it within the high fels of Rudá. Deep within the rock they buried him. In a tomb so dark, it would never come to light!

Elrond: This is not possible. A powerful spell has upon those tombs. They cannot be opened!

Saruman: What proof do we have this weapon came from Angmar's grave?

Gandalf: I have none.

Saruman: Because there is none! Let us examine what we know. A single orc pack is dead across the Bruinen. A dagger from a bygone age has been found. And a human sorcerer who calls himself the Necromancer has taken up presidence in a ruined fortress. It is not very much, after all. The question of this dwarfish company, however, troubles me deeply. I am not convinced, Gandalf. I don't feel like I could condole such a quest. If they had come to me I might have spared them of this disappointment. I will not pretend to understand your reason and hopes….

Absolutely every bit of evidence Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel say here is dismissed one way or another by Saruman.  Always dismissing danger, ridicule, ad hominem, oversimplification.  Sounds a bit ... familiar, no? 

Look at all these things he's hiding.  Look at the influences in this man's past.  Look at the things he says and does and how one supports the other.   Look at what is happening.

And the response is, Progress! [Sauron has been vanquished!]

Hardly a prelude to war! [Isolated, unrelated incidents!]

Radagast! [Fox News!  Dismiss all of the above!]

No such power exists! [There is no evil!]

What proof do you have?! [Unfortunately, myriad relevant documents have been sealed.]

I will not pretend to understand your reason and hopes. [You are an irrational idiot.]

I do not know what Peter Jackson's (or whoever wrote this script's] worldview is ... but Andrew Klavan was right.  Conservative values sell, and Hollywood knows it either conciously or subconciously.

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