Oops! Dropped the Palantir!

by wjw on December 15, 2009

It’s the 6 Lord of the Rings Characters Who Totally Dropped the Ball.

Gandalf’s leadership in The Fellowship of the Ring exemplifies the perils of on-the-job training. Let’s test your knowledge of the trilogy with the following questions:

1. How many horses did Gandalf insist the Fellowship bring?

2. What would Gandalf have done if Frodo didn’t just happen to figure out the password Gandalf had forgotten at the Mines of Moria? (Okay, so I’m disappointed that this question is about the movie, not the book.)

3. What was Gandalf’s game plan once he saw that everyone in Moria was dead?

4. How many times did Gandalf hitch a ride with his giant eagle friends?

And now for the answers:

1. Zero (save one brave pony).

2. That giant squid would’ve eaten everyone.

3. “Into the mines!”

4. Twice – first when Saruman traps Gandalf on top of a tower; and then when, uh, Bilbo finally throws the Ring in, err, Mount Gloom (sorry, we felt bad spoiling the series for our 20 internet-less readers who are somehow viewing this site on a cave wall.)

That there’s a laundry list of botch jobs. The sheer fact that Gandalf forgot to outsource the trip to Mordor to the eagles is unforgivable, but what’s more heartbreaking is that he’s even more useless when comes back from the dead.

When Gandalf is resurrected in The Two Towers, his main job is to not use magic and just gallivant around on his horse, staring at the the planetarium light show ensconced in his disco stick.

In short, everything would’ve come out mostly the same for the Fellowship of the Ring if they simply dumped Gandalf with a dimebag of wizard weed at the first gas station they passed. Come to think of it, his “smoking habit” explains his memory problems rather aptly.

And the other five here.

Dave Bishop December 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Yeah, I suppose that's the problem with characters with awesome supernatural powers. If they're completely omnipotent, there's no story – so they've got to goof up in order to keep the show on the road.

Having said that I'm just reading 'Implied Spaces' (at last!) and Aristide has pretty awesome powers (not exactly 'supernatural' – but close). I'll be interested to see how you solve this problem, Walter.

Dave Bishop December 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I've just finished reading 'Implied Spaces' and realise that my previous remark about Aristide was rather facile. I don't know about 'solving the problem' – rather IS is a whole re-definition and re-framing of the problem.

I think that 'Implied Spaces' is a remarkable book and definitely one of your best.

dubjay December 19, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Thanks! I'm rather pleased with it my ownself.

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