Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hobbit Notes #4

This is the last of the Hobbit Notes for PJ's first movie. I finished reading chapter 6, "Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire." Generally speaking, PJ stayed rather close to the story line, except for the following:
1. Again, there are No Orcs. And the goblins that are present, do not ride on the backs of Wargs. Azog the Goblin (whom PJ makes look like a Saruman White-Hand Orc) is, of course, not present either.  However, I was very wrong when I said that Wargs are not mentiond in The Hobbit.  They are. Wargs are just large mountain wolves. In the movies, however, PJ really makes them look very little like wolves --
-- and much more like hairy wild boar, or warthog. I mean really -- how does this look anything like a wolf?
Tolkien says that his wargs are wolves. "The evil wolves over the Edge of the Wild" are what he calls them. They should look just like wolves, and perhaps just behave in a more evil way than some.

2. Bilbo does not save Thorin's life, thereby enlisting his gratitude and friendship. In fact, three times in this chapter Bilbo is tail-end Charlies, so to say, and only barely makes it with the group as they escape danger. He appears suddenly among the group when they escape the goblin gate (as PJ shows), he only barely makes it into a tree before the snapping wolves arrive, and he's rescued by the eagles only because he grabs onto a dwarf's legs. He is no hero in this section of the story; he's hungry as only a hobbit can be, after not eating for a couple of days.

3. Gandalf and his magical moth -- this is pure fabrication on PJ's part. Gandalf does not send for help, and the eagles only show up because they see the fire (which Gandalf does set), and they wonder what's going on with those wolves. The goblins come along almost as an afterthought and set up the dwarves' trees as a kind of bonfire. Tolkien even says Gandalf is about to hurl himself down upon the goblins and wolves in a fiery attack which would (Tolkien says) certainly take his life. In the book, Gandalf is not nearly so all-powerful and god-like as PJ makes him out to be.

4. The pine trees do not fall off the cliff. Thorin does not hug Bilbo. They're all taken back to the eagles' eyrie where they cook themselves supper and sleep soundly. And from this perch they do not see the Lonely Mountain.

I found this chapter to be plenty scary enough in the book, as it is, and I wonder why PJ decided to take such grand departures. His departures seem designed to reconfigure the characters -- to make Gandalf more powerful, or Bilbo more heroic, or Thorin more angry. These adjustments taken together can change the story line considerable, and change the relationships in it. Again, just remember always -- the very best Hobbit we'll ever have is between the covers of Tolkien's book.

1 comment:

  1. Now that my husband and I are reading The Hobbit, I am finding ways that PJ departed from JRRT. That magic moth I confess I did love in the movie!

    The whole question of what an artist does with another artist's work that he is working from -- it provides no end of fodder for thought and discussion.

    But of course, the real original Bilbo is the BEST!


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!