Saturday, April 04, 2009

From the "If Monty Python wrote The Lord of the Rings" Files...

Since this is a weekend, I'm reduced (as usual) to dragging out something old I wrote somewhere else. First of all, I have to deny, regretfully, any claim on the concept -- I did work up the following very derivative scene myself, but the idea wasn't original to me. This is my contribution to a thread on the Straight Dope Message Board from 2002. (There's much more in the same vein there, by other hands.)

GANDALF: Excuse me, I saw your advertisement for flying lessons and I'd like to make an application.

RADAGAST: Certainly. Would you come this way, please?

(RADAGAST leads GANDALF all over Arnor, and to the top of Orthanc.)

RADAGAST: Well, Mr Saruman's on the phone at the moment, but I'm sure he won't mind if you go on in. Through here.

GANDALF: Thank you.

(He goes through door. Saruman is suspended by a wire about nine feet off the ground. He is on the palantir.)

SARUMAN: Ah, won't be a moment. Make yourself at home. (into phone) No, no, well look, you can ask Mr Sauron but I'm sure he'll never agree. Not for an elf-ring ... no... no. Bye-bye Witch-King. Bye-bye. Oh dear. Bye-bye. (he throws receiver at telephone but misses) Missed. Now Mr er...

GANDALF: Gandalf.

SARUMAN: Mr Gandalf. So, you want to learn to fly?

Gandalf: Yes.

SARUMAN: Right, well, up on the table, arms out, fingers together, knees bent...

GANDALF: No, no, no.

SARUMAN: (very loudly) Up on the table! (GANDALF gets on the table) Arms out, fingers together, knees bent, now, head well forward. Now, flap your arms. Go on, flap, faster... faster... faster... faster, faster, faster, faster - now jump! (GANDALF jumps and lands on the floor) Rotten. Rotten. You're no bloody use at all. You're an utter bloody wash-out. You make me sick, you pipe-weed!

GANDALF: Now look here...

SARUMAN: All right, all right. I'll give you one more chance, get on the table...

GANDALF: Look, I came here to learn how to fly on an eagle.

SARUMAN: A what?

GANDALF: I came here to learn how to fly on an eagle.

SARUMAN: (sarcastically) Oh, on an ea-gle. Oh, I say, we are grand, aren't we? (imitation posh accent) 'Oh, oh, no more lembas for me, mater. I'm off to fight a Bal-rog. Pardon me while I fly on an eagle.' Now get on the table!

GANDALF: Look. No one in the Third Age has ever been able to fly like that.

SARUMAN: Oh, I suppose Eru told you that while you were out riding. Well, if people can't fly what am I doing up here?

GANDALF: You're on a wire.

SARUMAN: Oh, a wire. I'm on a wire, am I?

GANDALF: Of course you're on a bloody wire.

SARUMAN: I am not on a wire. I am flying with my ring-magic.

GANDALF: You're on a wire.

SARUMAN: I am flying.

GANDALF: You're on a wire.

SARUMAN: I'll show you whether I'm on a wire or not. Give me the ring.


SARUMAN: Oh, I don't suppose we know what an "ring" is. I suppose Ea thought they were a bit common, except for the bleedin' elves.

GANDALF: Oh, a ring.

SARUMAN: (taking ring) Thank you, your bleeding Highness. Now. Look. (he waves hoop over head and feet)


Voice Over: Anyway, this rather pointless bickering went on for some time until...

Caption: 'TWO DAYS LATER' (GANDALF riding on the back of GWAIHIR).

GANDALF: Gosh, I am glad I'm a fully qualified eagle-rider.

(Cut to Eagle sitting at a desk)

OTHER EAGLE: The Society of Eagles would like to point out that it takes Four Ages, not two, for a wizard to become a fully qualified eagle-rider.

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