In the Snowden movies I watched today, U.S. generals and spooks are concerned with being prepared for any fork in the timeline (e.g., they install malware on critical Japanese infrastructure in case one day Japan is no longer an ally).

Gandalf has the same attitude in The Hobbit, at least in the movie version. He wants to help the dwarves take back Erebor in case The Enemy returns: a dragon would be a powerful ally to such an adversary. Gandalf expresses this sentiment exactly.

Not that Gandalf and American security officials are especially similar; the comparison simply helped me better understand Gandalf’s motivations, which had been obscure previously. Wizards!

I suppose Gandalf is a security consultant when you get right down to his job functions. Attached to no one organization or state actor, he articulates geopolitical narratives to state officials, presses for overarching strategies and particular courses of action, applies proprietary technology (magic) in intractable tactical situations, assembles groups of fighters or black operatives (the Fellowship!) to achieve the determined objectives...

Now I need a T-shirt that says “Frodo was black ops.”

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