The Old Grey Wizard
Playlist Navigation Bar
The Kindness of Strangers: 20. Author's notes
This is a gap-filler based mostly on book-canon but borrowing from movie-canon.
It seemed to me that Saruman wouldn't have been one to make idle threats, and his efforts to "persuade" Gandalf were likely to directly involve "trouble and pain." Although in LotR Gandalf doesn't say that Saruman threatened to hand him over to the Nazgul, this is explicitly mentioned in the notes on "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales. It seemed likely that Gandalf's famous pride would have prevented him from telling anyone about how he was treated. He wouldn't have wanted his friends to know how much danger he had actually been in while he was "delayed." He might have wanted to hide that Saruman had found a way to physically overpower him, so those who would need to trust and rely on him would feel confident in his ability to protect them. And he might simply have felt shame at being so vulnerable.
I wanted to show some of both wizards' inner feelings: anger, frustration, fear (for himself and also for Frodo and for the fate of the Ring) and grief for Gandalf, as well as (at least at first) a willingness to do whatever was necessary to try to persuade Saruman to let him go, even to put aside his anger and disappointment and forgive (or pretend to forgive) him. For Saruman, I wanted to show hidden lifelong jealousy, profound ambivalence at his own behaviors and choices, and a hotbed of unresolved and unexpressed emotion beneath his cool and logical exterior, and that at his core he really wasn't entirely corrupt.
I thought Gandalf would be relying on Narya for hope and strength, and he might find himself absently rubbing it. I gave Gandalf physical characteristics as he is described by Frodo in FotR: Gandalf was shorter in stature than the other two; but his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. I thought a Maia in the flesh would have similar attributes as those ascribed to Elves, i.e., able to withstand long deprivation, darned hard to permanently damage and able to recover and heal quickly.
Finally, I based the story of the Ringwraiths coming to Isengard on version C of "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales.
About the original characters with feathers.
Since the bald eagle is such a metaphor for strength, integrity and patriotism (in my part of the world), I thought this story ought to clarify some facts about the species. Where I live, eagles routinely steal from the much more industrious-appearing osprey, doing little fishing or hunting on their own, just scavenging (mostly road kill), and can behave like big lazy bullies of the air. (How's that for a national symbol?) Ravens are loyal and smart and can learn and problem-solve amazingly well, and research has shown that they can indeed count to about 5. Gatherings that appear to be raven (and crow) courts have been reported, as is the fact that ravens call to their fellows and lead them to the location of food, particularly in winter. In fact, ravens (and crows) seem much closer to humans in their skills and adaptability than eagles, except of course that humans routinely take advantage of other weaker species of animals, just like eagles.
Corvus corax is the scientific name for the common raven, so I used a slight twist on the species name of corax for the major character of Coräc. This name also sounds similar to Roäc, the raven in The Hobbit, and mimics the raven's call. Morigian is a twist on The Morrigan, one name of a Celtic goddess associated with ravens, war, death and fertility. Her name is Morgan in Welsh, and she became Morgana Le Fey in the Arthurian legends. Also, mori is "black" or "dark" in Quenya. Another name for her (or perhaps one of her daughers) is Anann, who is also the Irish spirit, "Gentle Annie," who accompanies us to our deaths. Fiach is the Irish Gaelic name for raven and was a mythical prince and some say one of the sons of The Morrigan. Kruk is the Ukrainian name for raven and also sounds like the raven's voice. Hrafn is Old English and Icelandic name for raven. A flock of ravens is an "unkindness of ravens," just as a flock of crows is a "murder of crows." I chose Corvidian for the language of ravens, after the genus name.
Haliaeetus is the genus name for the American bald eagle and for the European white-tailed and sea eagles. I picked Haliaen for the race name a raven might use to indicate all types of eagles, since it sounds vaguely like "alien" and thus sort of an insult.
Aquila chrystaeros is the genus and species name of golden eagles, which are found in the mountains worldwide throughout the northern hemisphere. I chose Aquilish for their language. Arathoron is my version of a Sindarin name meaning "King of Eagles," as JRRT did not name the Eagle that plucked Gandalf out of the burning tree in "The Hobbit" other than to call him the Lord of the Eagles.
Playlist Navigation Bar