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2.15.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 16, “A Warm Welcome,” Part 2)

2.15.14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Film Comments 16, “A Warm Welcome,” Part 2)

Approach to Erebor (Lonely Mountain) via Long Lake (from The Hobbit, DoS, New Line Cinema, 2013)

Approach to Erebor (Lonely Mountain) via Long Lake (from The Hobbit, DoS, New Line Cinema, 2013)

Good Morning, Everybody — Just watched the U.S. vs Russia Shootout in Men’s Hockey, & NOW can finally get to blog…GO USA!!!

Okay, that was better than a 3rd cup of coffee, so where were we?  Ah.  Just finished top-line sketch of “Chapter 10, A Warm Welcome” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and now time to take a look at how Peter Jackson interpreted the chapter in his 2013 film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second of a three part trilogy that will conclude this December in The Hobbit: There and Back Again. 

Here are Jackson’s alignments and departures with Tolkien’s work:

— no huts of the Wood-elves as lading & transfer point for barrels & dwarves; instead, after the wild ride down the rapids & escape from Bolg & the orcs, Thorin & Co. are next seen drying off and meeting Bard (allows for more interaction among members of party)

— Thranduil (Lee Pace) orders kingdom shut, but Legolas (Orlando Bloom) slips out to find Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) & both elves deliberate about dwarves and darkness growing in Mirkwood (complete departure from Tolkien, in that neither character appeared in the text, and both warriors are far removed from the drunken and/or mercantile wood-elves that do appear in Tolkien’s narrative)

Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans)

Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans)

— introduction of Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) much earlier than in The Hobbit; in the film, he owns a boat and agrees to convey Bilbo & the dwarves across Long Lake for a fee (in the book, he appears when Smaug approaches Lake-town to destroy it for Bilbo’s intrusion); entirely changes dynamic, as it allows for viewer to see politics at work in Esgaroth (Master & Bard don’t like each other) and shifts the dynamic of “A Warm Welcome” from Tolkien’s story that had the dwarves making their own way through Lake Town to confront the Master, to one where Bard sneaks them into the town

Master (Stephen Fry) & Alfrid (Ryan Gage) of Lake-Town

Master (Stephen Fry) & Alfrid (Ryan Gage) of Lake-Town

— depiction of the Master of Lake-Town (Stephen Fry) as (1) an enemy of Bard’s (in the book he was mainly concerned with money &  a friend of the bowman), and (2) served by “Alfrid” (Ryan Gage), a character wholly invented for the film trilogy

Lake Town

Lake Town

— depiction of Lake-town itself is as active and engaged as in Tolkien’s work, but different; whereas Tolkien focused on the Master’s concern with Thranduil and his doubts and ultimate welcoming of the dwarves, Jackson depicted a medieval town with its own dynamics (fishermen, gate sentries, merchants, villagers, the Master’s spy network, Bard’s family, etc.)

Gandalf approaches Dol Guldur

Gandalf approaches Dol Guldur

— Gandalf (Ian McKellen) & Radagast’s (Sylvester McCoy) arrival at Dol Guldur, where they separate to respectively discover the secret of the abandoned fortress and warn Galadriel

— the spells that Gandalf casts to remove the glamour over the Dol Guldur, and his skirmishes with Azog (Manu Bennett), orcs, and warts are completely new additions

Thorin & Co. in Lake Town

Thorin & Co. in Lake Town

— the declaration by Thorin of his name and lineage is as public as in the book, but the argument with Bard (who doesn’t want the townspeople to do anything to awaken the dragon) doesn’t occur in Tolkien’s text

— the splitting of the company that leaves behind Kili (Aidan Turner), Fili (Dean O’Gorman) Óin (John Callen), and Bofur (James Nesbitt) doesn’t occur in Tolkien’s book

Legolas fights in Lake Town

Legolas fights in Lake Town

— the surreptitious entry into Lake-Town by Bolg and his band of orcs, & then attack upon the injured Kili and other dwarves are completely new to the story, as is (1) Legolas’s defense & pursuit of Bolg (Lawrence Makoare) and (2) Tauriel’s defense and healing of Kili (Aidan Turner)

— scenes with Bard and Black Arrow are entirely new (in book, Bard slays Smaug with the Black Arrow, but completely different context)

Next time: What I liked about the film adaptation of “A Warm Welcome”

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