The Lord of the Rings has been hugely successful film saga, and although I enjoy watching them I preferred the original trilogy, and found the recent films (The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies) a little too rushed and with too many deaths. One question I always wondered was who was Gandalf fond of more—Bilbo or Frodo? The actors were all equally excellent, but which Baggins did Gandalf favor?
I recently watched some behind the scenes footage and I was impressed with the dedication of the actors getting into character who were also giving their input. It was such a huge production and it was heart warming to see the wrap on the final scenes for various actors. When you work on such a project it’s hard to leave suddenly when it’s been your life for an extended period of time. Those behind the scenes carry on, whereas for an actor when your final scene is shot, that’s it. It can feel a little insecure and teary as you leave some friendships and also the character that you have developed. I used to feel this way when I was on a shoot or a series of events, and when the last day came it was a rush of hugs and then you go from sharing you life from dawn to dusk with these strangers back to your own bed.
Frodo was played by Elijah Wood, and Bilbo, was originally played by Ian Holm and then Martin Freeman. It was Bilbo that started it all, but somehow I didn’t feel it so much with the young Bilbo, but with Ian Holm’s Bilbo, I felt Gandalf was more protective of him. He knew Bilbo had the ring all along, but I think he let him off when he said he had lost it thinking it would be safe in the Shire. I found Gandalf grew protective of Frodo much later on, only when he knew that he had to leave with the elves to live, and maybe through guilt as it was he that put him on the quest. Gandalf of course was played by Ian McKellen and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Apparently he was reading for a film with Tom Cruise, but they wouldn’t let him see all the script so he passed on it (he wanted to see what the film was about and his role in it) and LOTR came up the following week.
What I loved about Gandalf is that he was neutral and knew everyone. You could take him anywhere and without Orcs and get in. Yet he chose a Hobbit to be a burglar and then to carry the ring to Mordor. Maybe Hobbits were trustworthy and loyal which is why he entrusted them to these tasks? I enjoyed watching the relationship between Gandalf and Frodo grow because Gandalf knew he was almost certainly sending him to his death, yet he had to put his feelings aside for the sake of all the realms. I always thought Bilbo didn’t trust Gandalf until much later on or maybe it was the ring), and he knew he shouldn’t have kept the ring, but it became his precious. Gandalf was fond of both Frodo and Bilbo, and while both were brave, Frodo hadn’t asked to be involved whereas Bilbo knew what he was getting into. I guess he loved them both and saw Bilbo as his friend, but Frodo is the one he wanted to protect. Sometimes an unexpected journey can result in defining your life in ways you never dreamt of with friendships that were unimaginable—a Wizard or a Hobbit as a BFF? I found an eccentric Jewish drum maker, and a bohemian cat loving redhead as friends on my last journey, so I wonder what is next?