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Aug 172014

The Question is… what does it mean?

You can clearly see in images below from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies teaser trailer, that Gandalf is holding the Staff of Radagast without it’s blue stone imbued with the power of the Istari

Warning possible movie spoilers discussed in this post…

There has been a lot of speculation and discussion online about whether or not Gandalf has been seen holding the staff of Radagast.

Furthermore, many are speculating that it’s the staff of Radagast, that Gandalf uses in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring during his duel with Saruman. Consequently, Gandalf’s staff is taken by Saruman and likely destroyed.

Well… there can no longer be any doubt about this, because in The Battle of the Five Armies teaser trailer, Gandalf is clearly holding the staff of Radagast, sans the blue stone as he turns to look into the camera. I placed a photo of Radagast’s staff, beside the one Gandalf is seen holding in the teaser trailer and there is no doubt that this is indeed the same staff! There are too many points of similarity between these two staffs. Click on the image to the right, to see a larger version and compare them for yourself.

UPDATE HERE: On the Staff of Radagast and Gandalf!

The Lord of the Rings Wiki has this to say about the staffs used by Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth adaptations…

In Peter Jackson’s films, Gandalf has a variety of different staves. To date Gandalf is seen with four different variations of his staff, three of those as the Grey wizard. Gandalf’s staff in The Hobbit Films has been described by the Weta Production team as an “opening flower”; this staff is destroyed by the Necromancer in Dol Guldur.

The crown of Gandalf’s staff in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is very similar to the staff of Gandalf the White when one looks at the crown embedded in the staff. After his staff is destroyed by Sauron, he uses the stave of Radagast until Saruman confiscates it at Orthanc. He then acquires another staff from Elrond in Imladris which could hold an illuminating crystal, it was destroyed in Moria during his battle against the Balrog.

So… if the assertions above are correct, then what does this tell us about the fate of Radagast? If Gandalf carries the staff of Radagast in the first part of the Fellowship of the Ring, then where the hell is Radagast?  Unfortunately, this does not bode well for the gentle woodland wizard!

All of this leads me to think about what the writers of The Hobbit screenplay (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro) must have had in mind about the character of Radagast from the very beginning. They must have decided the fate of Radagast right from the onset.

There is nothing in the Tolkien Canon that suggests Gandalf ever took possession of Radagast’s staff… so this is clearly an invention of the filmmakers. In addition, this could not have been a narrative added later, as the films progressed, since Radagast has carried this distinctive looking staff from the very beginning. It is therefore clear, that the filmmakers made a conscious decision before filming even began, that Radagast would carry the staff that Gandalf would eventually use in the beginning of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

This makes it evident, that the fate of Radagast was decided upon, in the very early stages of the trilogies development.

So what is the fate of Radagast the Brown?

Based upon the Tolkien Canon, we know for a fact that Radagast is alive and well during the time of the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf tells everyone during the Council of Elrond that Saruman sent Radagast to deliver a message to Gandalf that ‘The Nine are once more abroad’ and that Gandalf should come immediately to Orthanc. Radagast was sent unaware of Saruman’s treachery, and so it was that he also sent the eagle to Orthanc that would rescue Gandalf from the clutches of Saruman. As far as we know in Tolkien’s telling of events, Radagast probably lived happily ever after in the forest of Mirkwood after the fall of Sauron.

In Peter Jackson’s version of the story, Radagast plays no part in this sequence of events.

Gandalf escapes from the top of Orthanc by sending a moth to tell the eagles he is trapped there… a device Peter Jackson uses again in the Battle of the Pines at the conclusion of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

So… what does this tell us about the fate of Radagast in The Battle of the Five Armies? I would have to say the signs are not good!

A wizard’s staff  is the primary weapon of the Istari and serves as a focus for much of their power and there are only a few known incidents where a wizard’s staff has been broken. The staff of an Istari might be destroyed or taken… but it’s highly unlikely that a wizard would willingly part with his staff, because a great part of his power it channeled through the staff.

This suggests to me that one of two things will happen in the next film. Radagast will either give his staff to willingly to Gandalf or Radagast will be killed and leave his staff to Gandalf. Unfortunately, I expect the latter is the most likely scenario.

If so… the ‘body count’ in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has risen significantly, because Radagast has become a much beloved character in The Hobbit film trilogy.

Let us know what you make of all of the in the comment section below!

The many and varied staffs of Gandalf!

 August 17, 2014  Posted by at 5:25 am
  • John T

    What about these images from the third movie:



    One has Gandalf’s old staff, and the other seems to be the other staff from LOTR? Is PJ messing with us or what.

  • Random Musings

    The plot thickens….

  • I made note of this in an earlier post about the image of Gandalf and Thranduil. http://www.thelandofshadow.com/another-new-photo-from-the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies/

    This seems to be part of the same scene we see in the teaser trailer where Thranduil is walking among the bodies of the dead… which look to be men and elves in what I’d thought were the ruins of Dale… but here we see Gandalf with his staff that was destroyed by Sauron in Dol Guldur. This scene has to be some sort of flashback…. unless it’s an error that they will correct digitally? I also notice that Gandalf looks a lot cleaner and less beat up then his does in the photo with Bard… for what it’s worth.

    Another point here, is that in both photos Gandalf appears to be holding Glamdring which he find in the Troll hoard… so the photo with Thranduil can only have taken place after Gandalf finds the sword.

    It gets curiouser and curiouser…

  • Andiamo P

    I hate to say it, but it looks like Radagast is going to make the ultimate sacrifice in the final film. I want to blame the trailer, but I really can’t. All you have to do is watch Fellowship of the Ring, after watching these films. it’s actually hard NOT to notice that Gandalf’s staff is nothing like his staff in the Hobbit movies. Than it’s pretty easy to decipher that it does kinda look like Radagasts…but I do want to blame the trailer. It seems like PJ is putting more thought into the damn trailers than he is the movies!

  • Andiamo P

    Just a quick comment….I was thinking about this further so I decided to do a quick youtube search. To me, regardless of what the Wiki page says, it looks like Gandalf’s 2nd staff in FoTR is Radagast’s staff, not the initial one that is confiscated by Saruman, but instead the one that is given to him by Elrond after Gandalf defeats the Balrog.

  • Andiamo P

    I noticed this as well. How is it possible that Gandalf has his staff from DOS after we see Sauron destroy it?

    I’m starting to wonder if the fans are trying to make more of these films than what’s really there? People keep telling me Dwalin was fighting Bolg in the flashback during AUJ, but I call BS on that, and I think we have to consider the fact that this could just be some really sloppy moving making.

    I mean, we all saw Thorin lose his sword at the end of AUJ….right before we see it reappear back in his arms again.

  • You may be right about the filmmakers making last second decisions on each film in the editing room, that mess with the flow of the story!

  • Rafasa Arandas

    NO, NO, NO I LOVE RADAGAST (in a platonic way)

  • Rafasa Arandas

    I don’t want Radagast to die… 🙁

  • Andi

    Same here. Especially considering that the trailer is clearly showing Gandalf using his staff…I don’t think it would be good movie making to give away his outcome. So hopefully, something else will happen that will explain everything, and still keep him alive (or possibly leave it open to interpretation).

    I never read the LOTRs but I’m pretty sure Radagast was either never heard from again, or said to have lived out his days w/ the animals….but nothing was confirmed.

  • Actually Radagast the Brown plays an important role in the LOTR books. In the Fellowship of the Ring, Saruman sends Radagast unaware the he has turned to evil to give Gandalf a message and tell him to come immediately to Orthanc because the Nine Nazgul are once more abroad. It is Radagast who sends the Eagle to Orthanc and saves Gandalf. All of this was changed in the films.

  • Andi

    Yes, I was aware of this…but like you said, since PJ never talked about Radagast in the LOTR, this may be his way of explaining why he didn’t talk about him…

  • Yes… I believe Radagast on on the chopping block! I will be surprised if he survives this last film.

  • Sincere Conello

    – Based on movie version, I think Gandalf borrowed Radagast’s staff for the Battle of Five Armies (after his own staff is destroyed by Sauron). After BOFA, Gandalf returned the staff to Radagast.
    – He got a new staff in the Fellowship of the Ring and it was taken by Saruman permanently. After the escape from Saruman, I believe Radagast again lent his staff to Gandalf through Lord Elrond (or the two must have met in Rivendell).
    – Gandalf lost Radagast’s staff again during the fight with Balrog in Moria.
    – To conclude there are 4 staffs which Gandalf held
    1/ Rad’s staff = Gand’s staff in BOFA = Gand’s staff in Moria(FOTR)
    2/ Gand’s staff in UJ + DOS
    3/ Gand’s staff in FOTR taken by Saruman
    4/ Gand’s white staff in TT + ROTK (which is my fav staff of Gandalf’s)
    BTW, does anyone have any idea how Gandalf got his white staff back after being destroyed by the Witch King? Thanks.

  • Sincere Conello

    I don’t think Radagast died and he just decided not to participate in BOFA. May be he tries to rebuild the Mirkwood. Pls read my comment for speculation.

  • David

    Radagast couldn’t have died, he showed up at the very end of the Battle of the Five Armies on the Eagles.

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    I always thought there was a Staffs-R-Us in Middle earth or ancient version of Amazon.com. Thanks for the above synopsis.

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    How does Gandalf keep his elvin blade? When at Dogul Dur, he had it knocked away by AZOG and then it is seen neatly housed in its scabbard. When rescued and climbing into Radigast’s sled, he does not have it. When he leaves Radigast to head for Eribor, he has it again in his scabbard. I am sure the Orcs did not let Gandalf keep it when they hung him in the cage.

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    I am so glad someone else sees these things. Maybe just gaffs by Jackson’s prop people. Also, did you knotice that Thorin’s elvin blade would not exit the scabbard when he tried to look at it. Go back to that part and also, if it had been sharp, his finger would have been severed. Even the goblin could not get it to release from the scabbard. Elrond did not even try to get it out of the scabbard, too, but took Gandalf’s blade out readily. Hmmm.

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    Wonder of Gundabad had a prosthetics divison. Noticed that Azog has a couple of different left arm prostheses he uses for mayhem and destruction. Also, I noticed the large troll with the chains in his eyes had 2 rather well-made prostheses for his lower legs. “Prosthetics-R-Us” maybe?. Wonder if Azog got Worker’s Comp disability payments from Sauran?

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    If Taurial had a small spare pouch of Kings Foil with her, could she have saved Kili again after Bolg stabbed him, or does only a Wizard have that power (like with Gandalf and Thorin)?

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    Anyone know who sealed the doors of Eribor and put a spell on it after the dragon entered the mountain?

  • Kathyann Ridgeman

    “At what ruins was Azog when he threw the Orc to the wargs, the Orc that “lost” the dwarves” and got chased away from Rivendell’s secret entrance by Elrond and the elves chasing them?

  • Francisco Antonio

    The staff of Radagast suffered damage in the hands of Gandalf during the Battle of the Five Armies.

  • Azog and his orcas were at Weathertop also known as Amon Sul, where Yazneg was killed. Weathertop is the same place where the Black Riders attacked Frodo with the Morgul blade.

  • If you mean the front gate of Erebor it would have been blocked by Smaug to prevent anyone entering the mountain. This is only in the films, in the book the doors were smashed and left open, Smaug would occasionally leave the mountain to forage for food… sheep, livestock, people… and ponies. If you mean the secret door, I’m not sure if the name of the dwarf who made the door is ever mentioned in Tolkien’s legendarium, but it was a secret known only to the King’s of Erebor.

  • In Tolkien’s Middle-earth only an immortal can be granted second life. Gandalf was a Maier a sort of second tier angel, like Sauron, but only the Valar though the power of Eru had the power to do this. No mortal such as Thorin could be given a new life.

  • LOL

  • Great comparison… thanks for sharing it!

  • S Thomas Flynn

    ah, but the STONE is missing. remember that Radagast removed the stone to treat Sabastian – it is just as likely, that, with his need being so much more pressing, Radagast gave Gandalf his staff so that the Grey Wizard could rush off to whatever it is he needed to do, while Radagast, kept HIS STONE, and possible source of His power, and created a new staff at a more leisurely pace (again, he wasn’t needed right away, so he could take his time). In LOTR:FOTR, Gandalf has the same staff but it now has a WHITE stone, so Gandalf, after BOTFA, got a new stone for the staff which now will channel HIS power.

  • Łukasz Skibiński

    I have 4 staffs made by United Cutlery 🙂 Radagast staff is amazing! 🙂