Sister J - you could never be a canon nazi
You have a sense of humour for starters
Middle Earth fandom is a wonderfully weird place where people's sense of reality tends to get very blurred, contrasting with very rigid views on how 'The Master' went about writing up his world. Online debates tend to get very heated and there's a very clear demarcation between the film lovers/gamers and 'canon' book fans and very little tolerance between the extremist camps on those lines.
Fact is Tolkien could write passionately about landscapes and settings (emotional as well as physical - think of how Strider/Aragorn was introduced into the LotR at the Prancing Pony), but wasn't too great at conveying personality for all but his key characters (Sam Gamgee's and his relationship with Frodo is arguably the best example of this, or possibly Gimli and Legolas
). For that, seen justly, he's not the perfect writer of fiction (not fantasy per se
) but his strong grasp of conceptual themes mitigates any shortcomings to rightly place him amongst the literary greats where he'll be joined, come the melancholy day, by our Pterry. So I don't worship him as a writer so much as thoroughly admire him, including his 'warts', which some Tolkien fans are totally unable to do, to the extent that nothing would satisfy them in any adaptations but complete, almost slavish, adherence to his published dialogue and the main storylines, even where Tolkien himself was not above tweaking, vascillating wildly, or changing his mind altogether (the arrival of the wizards in ME varies by about 2,000 years and the Glorfindel who scared the willies out of the Witchking of Angmar in LotR is not necessarily
Glorfindel the Balrog-slayer in the Sil...
With Radagast, seen from a roleplay
perspective, the scope for interpretation is massive as he has no 'voice' in either TH or LotR and is only mentioned a few times and very scantily indeed in the rest of the companion books, none of which I regard as mainstream fiction - I think the Silmarillion may as well be a text book in most places as I only tend to use it for reference purposes, or as a sovereign cure for insomnia when I'm really
So, from a purely theatrical
approach, Radagast's almost an clean sheet since Tolkien laid down the potential for him to be a completely feral wizard with no real interest in the 'sentient' population of ME by having Gandalf describe him as friend to birds and animals and not intruding into the affairs of Men, Elves and the rest. The Ents might have been the exception to this, but then with Radagast being based in Mirkwood, it's likely that the Ents had all been driven out (or the Entwives made extinct, as this was also within the territories they were thought to have moved eastwards into when they left Fangorn) when the Necromancer began to despoil Greenwood and drove the Elves into the far north-east of the forest.
So he's very much a 'stand alone' wizard even down to his Valinor 'sponsor', Yavanna the Earth Mother equivalent in the Middle Earth pantheon (Gandalf was the servant of Manwe (Jove equivalent) and Saruman of Aule (so Vulcan) - also of Sauron in the very beginning interestingly...
) so in that respect Radagast's more to do with nature and the 'sanctity' of the land. So why not have him very
eccentric, exceedingly tolerant of bird poo (you should have heard the shrieks about that!
) and BFF to hedgehogs and clever bunnies or hares? Certainly fits right in with having Saruman openly contemptuous of his skills and Gandalf barely thinking about him enough to call on him in a crisis I'd have thought...
I think the Silmarillion would make an absolutely brilliant film or an even better Game of Thrones
style serial as there are so many aesthetic holes to fill in and 'lore' to interpret, but whether the Tolkien Estate will tolerate any more cavalier messing with the 'Bible of Middle Earth' is another matter. It probably won't happen in Christopher Tolkien's lifetime I suspect, but I hope someone somewhere is seriously thinking about dramatising it because there's some cracking fantasy to realise in there that could do with pixie dust - so long as it's not Disney's (well maybe their money...