8 January 2014

The Hobbit (part one)

● Recently I watched Peter Jackson’s film of the first part of The Hobbit. Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings was meant for children, so is written in a more whimsical style. The movie was a little disappointing, on the one hand lacking the gravitas of the Rings films, but on the other failing to capture the whimsy of the book.
One scene was rather evocative, however. It is where the wise ones – Gandalf, Saruman (at that time, the number one wizard), Galadriel and Elrond – discuss the big picture. Gandalf suggests some evil is afoot, but Saruman insists there is nothing to worry about. Eventually Saruman starts waffling on and on about how, logically, it cannot possibly be the case that ... it is well known that ... etc. After a while Gandalf and Galadriel simply ignore him and communicate telepathically with one another about what they consider to be the important issues.
I am not sure what the film makers intended here, and it wasn’t clear whether Saruman at this point is supposed already to be plotting betrayal, but I found his wittering in an ostensibly rational (but unrealistic, whether or not deliberate) way an effective representation of what I call pseudo-rationality.