The Hobbit: Book VS AUJ

I will admit to being one of the biggest fans of JRR Tolkien.  The Hobbit and Lord of Rings are among my favourite books. When I found out that Peter Jackson would be directing a movie adaptation of The Hobbit, I squealed like the crazy fan-girl that I am and immediately booked online cinema tickets for the Boxing Day showing as soon as I was able. I also saw it again at the Ballarat Regency Cinema (classy place, very old school, I encourage people to check it out).

Both times I watched the film I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I could not pull my eyes away from the screen even if I wanted to, and while there were changes that I did not completely agree with, I had expected Peter Jackson to deviate (to a degree) from cannon and I understood why those changes had occurred. These changes didn’t stop me from being to enjoy the film as whole, in fact, some changes I prefer to the book.
Now, before all the die-hard fans with their PHD’s in Tolkien-ology start their flaming, I understand that some of the changes that Peter Jackson has made would be annoying. With the exception of the Deathly Hallows part 1, I have never been able to sit through a Harry Potter movie without thinking, “Why did you do that? You’ve created a giant-sized plot hole! Stop violating my Childhood!” and various other curse words (especially when it came to the movie adaptation of The Order of the Phoenix, which was epically terrible). However,
Some Things That Need To Be Considered:

Limitations of Time – The book has been split into three movies, with each part being three hours long, some things were going to be cut out and some sections were going to be changed in order to appeal to the masses.

In-Cannon Alterations – JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a standalone book for his three sons, with no intentions of continuing the book in anyway. It was only until his publisher told him it was awesome and urged JRR Tolkien to continue did The Lord of the Rings come into existence, which meant to JRR Tolkien had to retcon several sections of the original publication of The Hobbit so it would interconnect.

The Intended Audience – As mentioned previously, The Hobbit was written for JRR Tolkien’s three sons, so it is in fact a children’s book. The Hobbit is no-where near as serious as The Lord of the Rings; it’s mostly jovial and filled with songs and limericks. For example, the Goblins get two Villain songs and while watching The Great White Orc sing about roasting the dwarfs in the trees could  be intimidating (if done right), I highly doubt the average movie-watcher (of which the majority has never read The Hobbit) would be able to take The White Orc seriously if he suddenly burst into song.        
What I enjoyed about The Hobbit:
  • The Quest While this is going to sound stupid and perhaps kind of obvious, one of the things I enjoy the most is “The Quest” or “The Journey” aspect of the novel and how all these unlikely characters all come together and not only bond over it but grow and change into better people.
  • Subversion of Traditional Hero Roles  – Thorin and Co. and Bilbo (Gandalf as well in a way) are the most unlikely of heroes and although not everything happens the way the characters plan or the readers expect, they all achieve what they all set out to do.
  • The Characters – I have a fondness for them all, Gandalf especially.
What I didn’t enjoy about The Hobbit:
  • Limited Third Person Perspective As with the Harry Potter series, the majority of the time the reader only sees things from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins. The problem is there is so much going on and often the party gets split up and separated.
  • Jarring Narration – Narration should be a smooth barely noticeable aspect of a book or movie, but when I went to re-read The Hobbit, there were often moments where I felt I was jolted out of the world of Middle Earth because of the narration. I don’t tolerate “As you know” sections very well either.
  • There are no female characters mentioned nor are females (of any race) given a significant role throughout the entire novel.  It’s a great big sausage fest and frankly, it confuses me. Especially as a few of these characters have to be married, like Gloin (Gimli’s father) and Thranduil (Legolas’s father). Fili and Kili are Thorin’s nephews, yet the fact that Thorin has a sister isn’t mentioned until near the end of the book.
  • Bilbo passing out during The Battle of the Five Armies
What I enjoyed about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • The Epic fight scenes and Dwarven Bad-Arsery
  • Bilbo gets his character development a lot quicker in the movie and it’s awesome
  • The detailed backstory of Dwarf History and Thorin & Co. – It amazed and awed me to see the mines of Erebor and the mightiest Dwarf kingdom in it’s full glory
  • Explanations that the book lacked – The fact that JRR Tolkien never originally intended for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to be connected, from my perspective, explains a lot of things in the book. I never associated the Necromancer with Sauron, for a long time I had no idea that they were connected. I saw them as separate Evil Villains with their own independent evil agendas. There can be more than one bad guy  
  • I also enjoyed seeing Gandalf’s private journey being showed alongside Thorin & Co. and Bilbo’s journey. In the book, the reader only finds out at the very end what Gandalf has been up to this whole time. I feel this approach is better.
  • The Characters – In the book, it was difficult at times to able to separate each dwarf from the rest of the company, and the reader was only exposed to the dwarfs that got along with Bilbo more personally (not that they didn’t all like him).  Peter Jackson has managed to make all thirteen dwarfs unique and distinctively separate from each other; to me, that is the mark of a talented writer as Peter Jackson only has three hours to work with.
  • Azog – He is a Kick-Arse Orc with his own white wolf! He really does exist in cannon, just not in that time period.
  • The White Council – I loved the subtle snarky parts, I especially loved Galadriel and Gandalf’s interaction. I certain Elrond had that rotating platform installed just for her. I mean, who else would use it? Unless Elrond likes to use it to model clothes in his spare time…
What I didn’t like about The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey 
  • Azog – I know the number one rule of writing is Conflict, Conflict, Conflict! Peter Jackson has a habit of adding unnecessary and/or poorly written drama because the original source material is lacking in it for the average movie-watcher (*cough* Aragon’s insecurities, Arwen dying *cough*). Though I understand the possible need for an over-arching villain, and I think Azog will be a very good Villain for the trilogy, I just think Peter Jackson has plenty to work with already.
  • The Trilogy Aspect – I can understand Peter Jackson making The Hobbit into two three-hour movies, but three? The book is half the length of The Fellowship of The Ring. What is he going to do in the middle?
  • Time line confusion – If Elrond raised Aragorn at Rivendell, I would have thought a younger version of Aragorn, and possibly Arwen, would have at least been mentioned. 

Overall, great book and thus far the movie adaptation of the book is great as well. I recommend both as enthusiastically as possible.   

2 comments

  1. As someone who literally watched The LOTR Trilogy over a hundred times, I feel really ashamed of myself because I fell asleep in the first 30 minutes of the movie lol.

  2. Yay! Thank you for commenting :D. Did you really fall asleep? How did you do that? I understand if you were really tired, but the sheer volume of the movie alone should have kept you awake. However, I understand that not everyone is as enthusiastic about the movie as I am. Hope your Matrix is going well :3

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