After Peter Jackson brought The Hobbit to the big screen with more than seven-and-a-half hours’ worth of painstaking detail, you wouldn’t think there’d be much more to unpack from J. R. R. Tolkien’s relatively short novel. But according to one Reddit user, we may have been fundamentally misunderstanding the book and the films this whole time.
Some of you may already know the popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theory which states that the more obnoxious children who visited Willy Wonka’s factory were deliberately led by their whimsical host to their various ugly and ironic fates. Now, Redditor Gweneverexoxo is suggesting that Gandalf, the seemingly kind old planner of the dwarves’ quest to the Lonely Mountain, is playing a similarly perverse game with his trusting companions for the sake of a little treasure.
“So a while back gandalf came into possession of the key to the secret door into the lonely mountain. He goes there himself and tries to find the entrance in vain. So he is forced [t]o share his key with thorin, who invites his party of dwarves with him, each demanding his own share of the treasures. Unhappy with sharing his treasure, Gandalf devises a plan to get rid of as many dwarves as possible, since the dwarves depend on him as the pathfinder, gandalf plans to lead them to lonely mountain through the most dangerous path to encounter the most amount of enemies and dangers.”
Gweneverexoxo backs up this bold claim by pointing to Gandalf’s mysterious periods of absence, explaining:
“Gandalf also have suspiciously good timing, he seems to dissapear from the party almost moments before they encounter a danger and returns at the nick of time to rescue to remaining survivors everytime. I believe gandalf was always with the team, just that he has hidden himself in the nearby shadows to watch the team reduce in numbers. This way he can watch them get killed but return [at] just the right moment to be able to keep a few alive, just enough to help him find the secret entrance before [Durin’s] day. His main goal would probably be to keep just two or three alive, enough to open the entrance and then still be able to kill them off to keep the treasure all to himself.”
Though the films would seem to contradict these claims with its scenes of the wizard’s side-quest, setting up the events of The Lord of the Rings, the theory offers the explanation that the story is all told from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins, and therefore is merely reporting the lies told to him by Gandalf. That being said, the naïve hobbit’s involvement in this nefarious plan also turns out to be its undoing.
“The main reason why gandalfs plan fails is due to two things, inviting bilbo to the party, since bilbo more times than [one] rescues the team/ buys enough time for gandalf to have to return/save them before rousing too much suspicion. Also when they finally arrive at lonely mountain. He expected the dragon to kill all the dwarves leaving the treasure to him alone, but he [didn’t] expect them to anger the dragon so much as to exit the mountain and attack lake town, and definitely [didn’t] expect the dragon to get killed (bringing about the events of the battle of the five armies) and prevented gandalf from taking all the treasure to himself.”
Though it seems highly unlikely that anyone involved in the book or the films intended for any of this to be the case, the theory could render The Hobbit movies a more endearingly twisted, darkly comic viewing experience if you keep these claims in mind.
Of course, the next time we see Tolkien’s work adapted to live action will probably be the Lord of the Rings TV series, which is projected to premiere by 2021. We can neither confirm nor deny at this point whether the show will subscribe to the Evil Gandalf theory, but we somehow doubt it.