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<   No. 22   2003-02-11   >

Comic #22

1 Saruman: You have lost, Kyros, and I, Saruman, have prevailed!
2 Saruman: I cast you to the top of Orthanc, from whence even the might Gandalf could not escape unaided!
3 Kyros: I cast Feather Fall and step off the edge.
4 GM: Say what...?!

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2011-11-24 Rerun commentary: This is a re-enactment of a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring, as portrayed in the Peter Jackson film. I really liked how this scene was shown in the film. However I couldn't help feeling that a wizard as powerful as Gandalf should probably know the first level Dungeons & Dragons spell Feather Fall, which would have trivially allowed him to escape from his isolation on the top of Saruman's tower.

You could argue that Saruman had some other magic preventing Gandalf from just jumping off, but this is kind of contra-indicated by the fact that he eventually did jump off, on to an eagle.

You could also argue that merely landing at the bottom of Saruman's tower would have placed Gandalf in danger of being captured or killed by the orc armies surrounding the tower. Of course then you'd also be arguing that Gandalf isn't powerful enough to escape from a bunch of orcs.

I like the starburst lighting effect in panel 2 here, achieved by photographing a light source just out of the frame. The "ground" below the tower in panel 3 is a couple of the translucent plastic fishing tackle boxes I use to store small LEGO pieces. I wanted something that would look kind of odd and industrial, rather than a flat plane. I'm not sure it's the right look, but it's certainly interesting.

EDIT: Well yes, obviously Tolkien wasn't thinking about Dungeons & Dragons when he wrote the books. It's clear that magic simply doesn't work that way in Middle-earth, and there is some good reason within the context of the story for why Gandalf can't escape from the top of Orthanc more easily. I was trying to make a humorous out-of-context observation, not criticise Tolkien. Thank you for all your correspondence on that matter. :-)

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