I finished reading Chapter 5 of The Hobbit. Of all the parts of PJ's movie, this section, Bilbo and Gollum's meeting in the heart of the mountain and the transfer of the ring, was my favorite. It felt most like what Tolkien had written. Or so I thought, until I reread the chapter. Actually, I should deal with chapters 4 and 5 both, including the battle of the stone-giants and the dwarves' altercation with the goblins in the mountains.
First, Gandalf is with them on the mountains when the storm hits. The ponies are with them also. PJ's depiction of the giants' stormy fight was wonderful, but the troop is never thrown from one cliff edge to another. They do want shelter, and hide in a cave. They don't fall through the bottom of the cave; there's a crack in the back wall that slowly opens while they're asleep. Bilbo does not, does not, try to leave and abandon the mission. And Thorin does not criticize him and call him worthless! Again, PJ is introducing more personal conflict into the story line than ever existed. (This kind of thing bothers me the most.)
Gandalf disappears with a crash of light from his staff in the cave, when the dwarves are kidnapped. They are led by their captors to see the Great Goblin, their ponies are eaten and all their possessions are taken. Then Gandalf reappears, kills the Great Goblin quickly, darkens the cavern, and leads the 14 friends away at a run. Bilbo is carried on various dwarves' backs because he can't keep up.
|Peter Jackson's "Great Goblin"|
All in all, PJ's description of the events in the goblin cavern are much more extensive and elaborative than Tolkien's. The long chase scene did not occur, or if it did, it was in pitch darkness, which PJ of course could not use. The Great Goblin's corpse did not fall on anyone. I did enjoy PJ's goblin lair with all its ladders and swaying bridges.
On to the riddles. In the book: Bilbo does not fall down into the mountain's heart with a goblin on his heels, Gollum does not snag the goblin and kill him, and Bilbo does not see Gollum lose the ring. Bilbo finds the ring in the pitch darkness on the tunnel floor, and puts it in his pocket before he ever meets Gollum.
|Gollum, in the cartoon version|
I do find PJ's whole depiction of Gollum excellent, and always have. The split personality. Right down to his six teeth. And Bilbo's character is excellent, and Gandalf's. Perhaps casting and character development is one of PJ's gifts. The only exception I'd make is Thorin. Although I love Richard Armitage, I simply disliked the sullen, angry image of the dwarf. Perhaps there was just not enough to go on in the book? I wish PJ had not opted for a character development in Thorin that darkened the story even more.