The Hobbit: We Have a Gandalf Meme and a Reading Response

     I haven't blogged in a few days and I feel kind of bad about it.  The reason is because I'm back in school full time in addition to working 45+ hours a week in patient care.  Well, I figured I'd knock out a blog with a meme I thought of while writing a reading response to my Fantasy Literature class' first book The Hobbit.

     This is just a bit of irritation I feel at how Gandalf is used as a back door solution to EVERY problem that arises.  Clearly I'm not the best writer by any means, but you'll get the point.

     Here's the paper/response:
Joshua Barsody
Reading Response 1
     An issue of convenience.
     There is something that bothers me quite a bit about the Hobbit, and that is the problem of convenience.  Every step of the way a strange new peril arises and it's solution is so perfectly easy that it's a let down.  The peril wasn't really peril because [ fill in the blank ].  
     The first noticeable one is with the trolls encountered by Bilbo and the dwarves.  Bilbo tries to pickpocket a troll and the troll just happens to have a purse that happens to spek! (p36)  All right, a very odd occurrence in a strange land, I can accept that, but then things get better!  Gandalf arrives and saves the troup due to the stupidity of the trolls- and upon searching the trolls stash- they find two famous weapons(p42)!  Named blades, Orcrist and Glamdring, that Elrond know-it-all just happens to know on sight.  These two also happen to be recognized by goblins (later in the story), one would guess by such amazing verbal descriptions because I don't think goblins live long enough to recall something that happened "ages ago."(p52)  
     (Note: for the above, I know the weapons are named with runes, but wouldn't people name their weapons after others' famous weapons?  Perhaps, like naming a child after family or friends.  It just seems too easy for the weapons to both be singularly named and have a history known to Elrond and the goblins that probably should've been forgotten "ages ago.")
     Once again, that's not soooooo bad.  Now we get to a real whopper, the first one I rolled my eyes at.  “Moon-letters are rune-letters, but you cannot see them,’ said Elrond, ‘not when you look straight at them. They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the more cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written.” (p53)  Are you effin' kidding me?!?  So they just happened to not only be there looking at the map, but also in the same season, under the same shaped moon (with the map held up to it's light, instead of being read in candle light), AAAAAND also -quite conveniently- with an individual that can read them?!?  It feels so ridiculous that all that happened by sheer coincidence that it knocked me out of the story.
     "Of course it was Gandalf." (p65)
     For the biggest piece of convenience in writing- Gandalf, the get-out-of-jail-free wizard.  In most circumstances the dangers our Ereborian friends (and Bilbo) get themselves into don't feel like actual danger.  They have a wizard!  One that's power is whatever is necessary at the moment except when it's Eagles, because somehow, Eagles trump Gandalf's ace card.  And on top of that- if Elrond is Mr. Knows-it-all, then Gandalf is Mr. Knows-a-guy.  When he needs answers he knows who can.  Why aren't there unanswerable questions and mystery?  Why isn't there real danger?  Granted, there is a chance it may play to the fact that if Gandalf leaves it'll force the over-reliance on Captain Cop-out with magic to save the day to end, and make the others actually save their own butts.
     Bilbo and the gang run into trolls?  A wild Gandalf appears! (p41)  Caught by goblins and in need of saving?  Gandalf to the rescue! (p64)  Surrounded in warg territory and stuck in trees?  Gandalf is on the job... with the aid of some Eagles. (p 107)
     Gandalf, while needed for the story, is too bothersome with how often he continually saves them (and vanishes).  It is bothersome enough for me to wonder- what are the dwarves doing anyway- he's practically babysitting them, and other than Gandalf starting them all forward, none of the dwarves has really contributed to their journey in any meaningful way yet.  They are just bearded children following the fix-all grandpa Gandalf, and feel unnecessary in what should rightly be their own tale instead of a checklist of things they were saved from by Gandalf.
     So without Gandalf and all the convenient saves/problem solving the dwarves would all be dead.  Disturbing but true.

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