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2.10.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 12, “Barrels Out of Bond,” Part 1)

2.10.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 12, “Barrels Out of Bond,” Part 1)

Tolkien, "Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves" (The Hobbit, 1937)

Tolkien, “Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves” (The Hobbit, 1937)

Good Evening, Everyone!

J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Elvenking's Gate" (from The Hobbit, 1937)

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Elvenking’s Gate” (from The Hobbit, 1937)

Continuing with comparisons between J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit, and Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of the work, whose latest outing was 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Captured by the Wood-elves (Alan Lee)

Captured by the Wood-elves (Alan Lee)

To sum, before getting to the nitty-gritty of how Jackson & Co. presented their version of Tolkien’s Chapters 7-12:  at the end of Chapter 8, we saw that Tolkien had related Thorin’s encounter with the king of the Wood-elves, and got thrown in the elven dungeon until the dwarf saw fit to tell why he’d come to Mirkwood Forest.  At the start of Chapter 9, Bilbo and the dwarves — exhausted from their fight with the Giant Spiders — quickly get caught by a troop of elves, taken to the king, and also thrown in the dungeons with Thorin.

Tokien, "Barrels Out of Bond" (Alan Lee)

Tokien, “Barrels Out of Bond” (Alan Lee)

Thanks to the invisibility granted by the One Ring, Bilbo eludes the capture but then needs to spend a couple of weeks eluding the elves as he searches for an escape.  He discovers an underground exit — via a stream that flowed under the caves to the Forest River and thence to Long Lake — and arranges to free the dwarves and sequestering them in empty barrels when some elven guards get drunk.  There are some descriptions of the interactions between the guards and songs they sing when they awaken, their rolling of all the barrels into the hole that plunges into the underground stream, the collective journey down the Forest River (with grumbling and sneezing dwarves being heard from inside the barrels), and stopping briefly at the huts of the Raft-elves to get the barrels bound together for the final transit to Lake-town.

During this last part of the chapter, Bilbo wanders ashore, tries to get warm, starts to sniffle and catch a cold, and the chapter ends with him (still invisible) floating with raftsmen on the barrels towards Long Lake and Lake Town.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what you thought of this chapter in Tolkien — give me a Tweet, or go to the bottom of the page and the “What do you think?” box!

Next time:  Peter Jackson’s take on the journey down the Forest River!

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