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Thread: Gandalf's death

  1. Calverrine's Avatar
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    #1
    I haven't yet read the books, I have only seen the films, but I have a question. Its seems like when, in Moria, Gandalf is holding on to the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, there is enough time for someone to go to him and help him up. No one knew that he would return, so why did they let him fall?


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  2. Artanaro's Avatar
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    #2
    I think the movie plays it out a bit, in the book I didn't get that impression. Also the bridge would likely be unstable since half of its gone now.
    "And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since."

  3. Calverrine's Avatar
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    #3
    The film playing it out I can agree with, but I'm sure, even with it half gone, the bridge would support the weight of one more person.


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  4. Sangahyando's Avatar
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    #4
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">Here's the scene you mentioned in the book, "With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered, and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone." [FotR, pp. 392-392] His fall was quick. From what I can see in this passage the Balrog still held onto its whip and Gandalf was pulled down with the weight of the Balrog. Aragorn and Boromir flew to the bridge to help Gandalf before the Balrog fell, "He cannot stand alone!" [FotR, p. 392] In fact they went to the bridge as the Balrog itself made its way onto the bridge.

  5. Calverrine's Avatar
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    #5
    Thanks, and like I said, I haven't yet read the books, so thanks for the reference.


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  6. sam90's Avatar
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    #6




    Since I do not remember anything that indicate in Peter Jackson's film that the whip of the Balrog is still curled around is leg I too find strange that Gandalf do not really seek help to drag him out of there. It may be that in the film perspective, Gandalf realise that is fight with the Balrog is inevitable and that it is is fate to do so. Risking the life of someone else is then useless. Therefore he let himself fall in the abyss. I also think they did it that way to add some kind of suspens moment in that scene. I prefer the way it is on the book which is obviously better explained since Gandalf is dragged by force with the Balrog in the abyss.



    Edited by: sam90

  7. Sangahyando's Avatar
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    #7
    The Balrogs seem to have a habit of dragging their enemies down with them or themselves being dragged.

    Glorfindel: "The ardour of Glorfindel drave that Balrog from point to point, ... he had beaten a heavy swinge upon its iron helm,... hewn off the creature's whip-arm at the elbow... it shrieked, and fell backwards from the rock, and falling clutched Glorfindel's yellow locks beneath his cap, and those twain fell into the abyss." [TBoLT2, p. 194]

    "Many are the songs that have been sung of the duel of Glorfindel with the Balrog... both fell to ruin in the abyss." [Sil, p. 301]

    Ecthelion: "Then lept Ecthelion... full at Gothmog... his helm that had a spike upon it he drave into that evil breast... the Balrog yelled and fell forward... those two dropped into the basin of the king's fountain which was very deep. There found that creature his bane;" [TNoLT2, p. 184-185]

  8. jodo's Avatar
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    #8
    Please excuse me for the question at this point and I think I did see this question some where else but the balrog had wings, so why couldn't he use them to fly? My book collection is limited to only The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, LOTR and I just picked upUnfinished Tales(so I have not read it, I'm staring tonight) andhave not seen any reason as to why they could not fly?
    For the Shire!

  9. Simaril's Avatar
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    #9
    Not to mention the entire bridge collapses just as Boromir and Aragorn return to the eastern side- "Even as Aragorn and Boromir came flying back, the rest of the bridge cracked and fell." - [FoTR, Ch.V] There would have been no time to haul him to safety it was all they could do themselves to reach safety.

    jodo take a look at this thread for a good read on balrogs and wings.

    Personally I prefer a draft version, a more humorous end to the duel where a troll causes the bridge to crumble by jumping onto it - "But at that moment a great troll came up from the other side and leaped on the bridge. There was a terrible crack and the bridge broke. All the western end fell. With a terrible cry the troll fell after it,and the Balrog [?tumbled] sideways with a yell and fell into the chasm. Before Trotter could reach the wizard the bridge broke before his feet, and with a great cry Gandalf fell into the darkness."- [HoME VII, X The Mines of Moria (ii)]Edited by: Simaril



  10. The bridge is very unstable at that time, the hobbits are very weak can not fight with the fire monster.


    So they choose to leave Gandalf, I think so.。

    Edited by: griffinsland1

  11. Saranna's Avatar
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    Hello griffinsland1 and welcome to the Plaza. that's anexcellentpoint about the Hobbits being exhausted after the ordeal in Moria. Also, Aragorn and Boromir wanted to rescueGandalf, but his last 'order' to them was to get away. After all, it was important thatFrodoand the Ring be saved. So they obeyedGandalf, whowasleader of the Quest until this point.


    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  12. After all, it was important thatFrodoand the Ring be saved
    Without mentioning the Ring, Frodo says as much in his explanation to Faramir:




    'It must have irked Boromir to run from Orcs,' {Faramir} said, 'or even from the fell thing you name, the Balrog - even though he was the last to leave.'
    'He was the last,' said Frodo, 'but Aragorn was forced to lead us. He alone knew the way after Gandalf's fall. But had there not been us lesser folk to care for, I do not think that either he or Boromir would have fled.'
    -The Lord of the Rings IV, The Window on the West
    This is actually a nice example of the ideas about courage and responsibility Tolkien talked about in The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son.Aragorn and Boromir clearly both held the ideal of keen loyalty to their leader, and would have been prepared to hopelessly fight to the death after Gandalf fell - much like Beorhnoth's followers stay on to fight even after their lord died and the battle was clearly unwinnable, in The Battle of Maldon(the Anglo-Saxon poem that inspired Tolkien to write the short play Homecoming). A retainer's loyalty is upwards, to his lord, and to die with him in battle even if they can't obtain victory. Fili and Kili stay on fighting to the death once Thorin is mortally wounded, in much the same way.
    But they weren't just retainers, and in true Tolkienian fashion Aragorn and Boromir are aware of their responsibilities downwardsas well as up. They can't do the 'heroic' thing and die in battle, because that would be to fail in their duty to protect the halflings, and indeed to save all of Middle-earth.
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  13. Saranna's Avatar
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    #13




    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  14. Rotem's Avatar
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    #14
    I always wondered about that quote of Faramir.Faramir, of all the characters, didn't like to "waste" lives. Maybe it was directed only "downwards", but I don't think so.So was Faramir's comment meant as a praise, or as a neutral statement? That is, did he think that staying to fight till death was the right thing to do (if there were no "lesser folk"), or was he just describing Boromir as he knew him - a trait that he both admired and disagreed with?

  15. Bostonion's Avatar
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    So was Faramir's comment meant as a praise, or as a neutral statement? That is, did he think that staying to fight till death was the right thing to do (if there were no "lesser folk"), or was he just describing Boromir as he knew him - a trait that he both admired and disagreed with? -RotemI'd say "a trait he both admired and disagreed with." Faramir definitely loved his brother (and father):

    Yet between the brothers there was great love, and had been since childhood, when Boromir was the helper and protector of Faramir. No jealousy or rivalry had arisen between them since, for their father's favour or for the praise of men. It did not seem possible to Faramir that anyone in Gondor could rival Boromir, heir of Denethor, Captain of the White Tower; and of like mind was Boromir. -Appendix A: Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion, The StewardsHowever, Faramir's love for his brother and father was an honest one. He recognized their flaws, could speak about them honestly, yet still love them. His talk with Frodo is probably the most honest assessment we're given about Boromir's character. Denethor on the other hand, loved Boromir, but he was blinded by Boromir's best traits, and ignorant of his faults:

    "Comfort yourself!" said Gandalf. "In no case would Boromir have brought it to you. He is dead, and died well; may he sleep in peace! Yet you deceive yourself. He would have stretched out his hand to this thing, and taking it he would have fallen. He would have kept it for his own, and when he returned you would not have known your son."

    The face of Denethor set hard and cold. "You found Boromir less apt to your hand did you not?" he said softly. "But I who was his father say that he would have brought it to me..." -ROTK: The Siege of Gondor

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  16. Lómundra Lady of Lór's Avatar
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    #16
    I agree with you people; the film does not do the part of the book justice. I think Gandalf is actually further away from them than it seems and he also only just has enough time to tell them to "Fly you fools." before he falls to the depths of Moria. This would mean that there is hardly enough time for anyone to do anything, and they also think that Gandalf is capable of getting out of any situation.



    This part of the book signifies to me that the Darkness has become so powerful that it can take out the strongest of Good. When Gandalf comes back to life, I feel that this shows that Darkness can be conquered.

  17. superkuf's Avatar
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    #17
    First - consider the context. The Fellowship was traveling through Moria - their purpose was not to fight orcs or reclaim Moria. They fought only when sneaking failed. Also, even past the bridge they weren't out of Moria, they had to pass through the First Hall and the East Gate to reach open air - which could mean even more fights with orcs. Their focus was therefore forward. Not to mention that the bridge was only wide enough for one to fight, and Gandalf was the one.



    Gandalfs fight with the Balrog was in three steps.1) Showoff that ended in a draw.2) Gandalf destroys the bridge and the balrog falls.3) The balrog snares Gandalf, that falls.
    By step 2 Gandalf clearly wins. He need no assistance, so Aragon and Boromir (that in step 1 rushed forward the bridge) probably stops and retreats towards the rest of the Fellowship (and the East Gate and freedom). Then suddenly step 3 occurs, which in the book only takes some seconds. In the movie it is longer and more dramatic, but even then it would be impossible to reach him (given a standing start) in time.
    Then we have some other problems, like the orcs on the other side the chasm, that could bombard the Fellowship with arrows. Or that dragging up Gandalf also meant dragging up the balrog. What is the weight of a balrog? Or that the bridge on purpose was smooth, so the saviour would be dragged down with Gandalf. Not to mention that the whole bridge desintegrated just seconds after Gandalfs fall.

  18. I have to agree with Superkuf on the chain of events- especially that the bridge is only wide enough for 1 person, something lost in the movies (probably to accomodate the mammoth size Balrog). It all happens in a matter of seconds-no one has time to react- There is no time for Indiana Jones like stunts- only the Balrog has a whip!

  19. Cirithore's Avatar
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    #19
    in a way i would say that as a maiar spirit of good, Gandalf's tasks would be to help destroy evil, so in a sense only a powerful being can destroy a maiar spirit. only gandalf can do as he is adequetly equiped. i would do the same




  20. Nova Pathos's Avatar
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    #20
    My interpretation of gandalf the grey clinching on to the edge of the bridge of khazad dum he told the fellowship to "fly you fools" because he knew that it was his destiny to do this.... On another point of this throughout the whole entire hobbit book he would keep leaving the group to tend to other business which would help them. And someone please correct me if I am wrong but can't gandalf see somewhat into the future? If I am correct he would know that had to defeat the Balrogg and would undergo his transformation into Gandalf the white... That's my thoughts on the situation
    True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one. (Gandalf) (The Hobbit).

  21. Bostonion's Avatar
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    Hello, Nova Pathos! Welcome to the Plaza and enjoy it. A couple of things, I do think Gandalf understood in that situation, at that time, he was the only person in the Fellowship powerful enough to handle the Balrog:

    "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you." - FOTR: The Bridge of Khazad-dumHowever, I do not think he expected to return, enhanced, as Gandalf the White after dying. Gandalf being sent back was a highly special occurance granted by Eru for Gandalf's sacrifice on the bridge. Gandalf made the ultimate sacrifice, putting aside the chance of succeeding in his personal mission to save Frodo and the Fellowship. As such, I don't believe Gandalf knew he would be sent back, because then it wouldn't really have been a sacrifice. For all Gandalf knew, he risked his personal mission as an Istari when he died fighting the Balrog, but it was this sacrifice which granted his return.

    everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy

  22. I agree, Bostonion (good to see you posting again, by the way!).This also seems to me to be what Tolkien means in the letter where he writes about this, saying that in Gandalf's conditions
    it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than for a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to ‘the Rules': for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success.
    The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, no 156 to Robert Murray (drafts), November 1954
    This leaves, in my reading, no doubt that Gandalf did not, and could not, know what would happen — in more theological terms, Gandalf is one of the Ainur that had entered into Eä and was thus bound to remain in Eä while it lasted, but at this point he is lifted up by Eru, “out of time” and thus out of Eä, to be sent back enhanced. Precisely because this is done by Eru (who reserved the right to intervene in History),it was not in the Music and hence completely unknowable not just to Gandalf (who,incarnated, had less memory ofthe days before becoming one of the Istari), but also by the Valar.
    Last edited by Troelsfo; 10/Dec/2012 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Updating to new Plaza formatting
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  23. Nova Pathos's Avatar
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    #23
    True Bostonian I will agree with you on that... Those ideas I had weren't concrete ideas, just ideas I thought might have been possible. I do thank you though for correcting me. And either way I thought the movie did a good job, I just wish they had a better battle scene for Gandalf and the Balrogg. You know have it last a lil longer than it did.
    True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one. (Gandalf) (The Hobbit).

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