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Is Gandalf Divine Intervention or a Plot Crutch? (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I've been listening the The Hobbit lately and couldn't help but notice Galdalf pops in and out of the story at some rather convenient moments. There IS a sense of prophecy and fate entwined into the story but I wonder if Gandalf was an invention of Tolkein's to afford him room to take the protagonists to the brink of no return ... but then suddenly produce an 'out'.

Think about it. Gandalf often goes off on his merry way while the protags are left to fend for themselves. The Troll scene, the Eagle scene ... both of which would have left Tolkein with a need to rewrite and rethink if it hadn't been for Gandalf's intervention.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Oh dear. I am about to be sacrilegious. Taking into account the time the books were written, I think you are overthinking what Tolkien was thinking. Compared to contemporary authors, his characters aren't that well developed. I gather he was more interested in his Middle Earth languages. So, although he wrote the work that set a benchmark, I don't think he was that good as a writer.
All rude replies must be written on the back of a high denomination banknote and posted to me.
I've been listening the The Hobbit lately and couldn't help but notice Galdalf pops in and out of the story at some rather convenient moments. There IS a sense of prophecy and fate entwined into the story but I wonder if Gandalf was an invention of Tolkein's to afford him room to take the protagonists to the brink of no return ... but then suddenly produce an 'out'.

Think about it. Gandalf often goes off on his merry way while the protags are left to fend for themselves. The Troll scene, the Eagle scene ... both of which would have left Tolkein with a need to rewrite and rethink if it hadn't been for Gandalf's intervention.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Oh dear. I am about to be sacrilegious. Taking into account the time the books were written, I think you are overthinking what Tolkien was thinking. Compared to contemporary authors, his characters aren't that well developed. I gather he was more interested in his Middle Earth languages. So, although he wrote the work that set a benchmark, I don't think he was that good as a writer.
All rude replies must be written on the back of a high denomination banknote and posted to me.

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EternalGreen

Senior Member
He's some kind of angel. So sure, he's divine intervention. I always thought he wasn't relatable and was way too in-control of every situation.
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
I never got so I could read Tolkien much, but given the times and his proclivities I might wonder whether his literary referents aren't more classical and biblical than popular fiction? In terms of how the supernatural is incorporated particularly and the sorts of textural solutions one might adopt.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I never got so I could read Tolkien much, but given the times and his proclivities I might wonder whether his literary referents aren't more classical and biblical than popular fiction? In terms of how the supernatural is incorporated particularly and the sorts of textural solutions one might adopt.

There's definitely that there. But as I'm listening to the story, I can't help but feel he's sometimes a crutch. In many cases, Bilbo and his troupe would never be able to proceed without Gandalf stepping in. This allows him to get into plot cul-de-sacs, and still have an 'out'.
 
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