Movies: A tribute to Gandalf’s Mothmail Delivery System.
No one can dispute the Moth’s singular importance as the saviour of the day, at least where Gandalf is concerned in the ME movies. Yes, the Eagles were the muscle, but how would they know where to bring the brawn if not for the stalwart Moth?
We’ve seen how in LotR, the Moth quietly saved Gandalf from his imprisonment atop Orthanc by literally bringing an Eagle in, and displaying great
sense of timing by telling Gandalf when to jump. No one else could lay claim to making a Maia jump where and when.
the Moth goes on to save the host at the Morannon single-handedly
(antennaly?) by bringing a flock of Eagles, even considerately notifying
Gandalf in that signature discrete unassuming way. Who knows what dangers the
Moth risked to complete these insane lifer missions for Gandalf with such quiet
The Hobbit movies, at least in AUJ, showed us the relationship between Gandalf and the
Moth went back a ways. In the time-honoured work ethnics of true unsung heroes, the Moth didn’t brag about saving the behinds of
Gandalf and the Company from Azog’s rampage.
With the importance of the Moth to Gandalf’s continued well-bring, I had thought there would be big scenes where the Moth would flap in to save Gandalf in BotFA. It’s all moot now, but I suspected the Moth
might answer two calls of deployment, one to line up the transport for
Gandalf from Dol Guldur, and then to call in the flight squadron at the
end of That Day. Twice, a good encore number for the unsung hero of PJ’s ME
But nope, the Moth’s moment of glory was never meant to be. Still, how did the unassuming Moth take on all that dangerous work and still manage to deliver with such impeccably-timed spectacle?
Two words: aerodynamics, and gumption.
Moth gumption was on display every time Gandalf needed saving. But what about aerodynamics? Call upon science and the answer is there for the taking. Without further preamble, the secrets of mothmail success revealed:
An interesting new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jesse Barber and colleagues found that moth hindwing tails are an
effective defense against bat predation. Pretty cool stuff!. (Continue reading)
Truly. Mothmail: Deus ex machina supremo.