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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Azog's Original Barrel Ride
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 17, 3:40pm

Post #26 of 255 (1190 views)
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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"Twee:"

As is well-known, ca 1960 Tolkien began and abandoned a rewritten "Hobbit," one which was somewhat more Lord of the Rings-ish, at least in terms of a day's-march-by-campsite narrative as opposed to the original's jumping from adventure to adventure, conformed the geography to LR's, and which cut back on the authorial asides. However, he stopped largely because a (nameless) friend who read it said, "But it's just not The Hobbit!"

(It seems that in netlore this version is conceived of as being wholly, radically different from the original. It's actually not all that different)


Yup. Tolkien did abandon his 1960 rewrite. Even so, he agreed that some elements of the original book were a bit overly precious or patronizing, and he expressed some regret about that (see Letters 218, 297-8, 310; Houghton Mifflin; 1981. Or: Letter 165, Letter 215 and Letter234).

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 17, 3:43pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 17, 5:36pm

Post #27 of 255 (1185 views)
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What [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien actually wrote to Auden was

Quote
It was unhappily really
meant, as far as I was conscious, as a 'children's story', and as I had not learned sense then, and my
children were not quite old enough to correct me, it has some of the sillinesses of manner caught
unthinkingly from the kind of stuff I had had served to me, as Chaucer may catch a minstrel tag. I
deeply regret them. So do intelligent children.


What did he mean by "silliness of manner?" Some of his avuncular bedtime-story asides (funny as some of them are), and probably the Rivendell Elves.. but what else? What we have of the revision does not turn it into a proto-LR or a bombastic PJ-esque "epic;" it simply tones down the more egregious juvenility (and adds a rather overlong river-crossing sequence)

In particular, the Unexpected Party is essentially unchanged, comic dwarves and all; the last contingent with Bombur still fall on top of Thorin, and "confusticate and bebother these Dwarves!" remains in place.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Apr 17, 5:38pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 17, 8:19pm

Post #28 of 255 (1169 views)
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Quite true [In reply to] Can't Post

I have also observed this tendency to looked at the aborted 1960 Hobbit as some kind of radical rewrite "in the style of LOTR". I was pretty surprised, when I finally got the opportunity to read it myself, to see how little it really was changed.

Honestly, to my eye at least, it still was "The Hobbit" (contrary to the reputed opinion of Tolkien's reputed female friend who reputedly talked him into abandoning the rewrite). My own opinion (which is worth as much as the paper it is written on, which is to say, not much, since it isn't written on paper), is that the real reason Tolkien abandoned the rewrite was precisely because he realized that it was "The Hobbit" and it always was going to be "The Hobbit" and never was going to be on the level of The Lord of the Rings (which is not to say that The Hobbit doesn't have its own charm and value; it most definitely does). But Tolkien had learned some lessons between the time that he came up with The Hobbit and the time that he wrote The Lord of the Rings that made them fundamentally different works. In their Introduction to Tolkien On Fairy-stories (their expanded edition of Tolkien's famous essay) Verlyn Flieger and Doug Anderson talk about how the very talk of writing that essay served to improve his craft, as seen in the advances from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. They state, "All of these improvements can be subsumed under the heading of the most potent phrase in Tolkien's essay, "the inner consistency of reality." The Lord of the Rings has it; The Hobbit has it intermittently, but not consistently" (OFS 18). No rewrite was going to change that fundamental fact.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Apr 17, 8:21pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 17, 8:33pm

Post #29 of 255 (1172 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact Tolkien said so explicitly, in his letter to Jane Neave (No. 234, 22 Nov 1961)


Quote
I am not interested in the 'child' as such, modern or otherwise,
and certainly have no intention of meeting him/her half way, or a quarter of the way. It is a
mistaken thing to do anyway, either useless (when applied to the stupid) or pernicious (when
inflicted on the gifted). I have only once made the mistake of trying to do it, to my lasting regret,
and (I am glad to say) with the disapproval of intelligent children: in the earlier part of The Hobbit.
But I had not then given any serious thought to the matter: I had not freed myself from the
contemporary delusions about 'fairy-stories' and children.

I had to think about it, however, before I gave an 'Andrew Lang' lecture at St Andrews on
Fairy-stories; and I must say I think the result was entirely beneficial to The Lord of the Rings,
which was a practical demonstration of the views that I expressed.



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 17, 8:39pm

Post #30 of 255 (1166 views)
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I have nothing to add to that [In reply to] Can't Post

But since we don't have a "like" button, I had to at least acknowledge your post. Heart

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Chen G.
Rohan

Apr 17, 9:42pm

Post #31 of 255 (1160 views)
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The 60s Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have also observed this tendency to looked at the aborted 1960 Hobbit as some kind of radical rewrite "in the style of LOTR". I was pretty surprised, when I finally got the opportunity to read it myself, to see how little it really was changed.


Yeah, it was mostly fixed to be in continuity with The Lord of the Rings (i.e. mention of Rangers, etc...) and have a more robust chronology and the same florid style (read: LOOONG) that The Lord of the Rings has, but in terms of tone its still very much The Hobbit.

That doesn't mean that a filmmaker can't re-interperate it for himself as an adult enterprise, especially when that filmmakers changed the focal point of the work (from A Hobbit's Tale to a Dwarvish one, ostensibly) and the tone just follows suit.


Noria
Gondor

Apr 18, 12:37pm

Post #32 of 255 (1126 views)
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Two movies [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that whoever made them, two films would be required to really do justice to The Hobbit. Even leaving out all the PJ additions - Azog, Legolas, Tauriel, Bard’s family, the Dwarves left in Laketown, the battle between Smaug and the Dwarves and so on - there is still quite a bit of story to be told.

A movie aimed at a wider audience than six-year olds and nostalgic adults would need to have something more in the way of characterization and coherent world building than the novel provides, for Bard for instance.

IMO the White Council subplot, with at least the most important members Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, should be included, because Gandalf’s comings and goings would otherwise be too random and “deux ex machine”. We need to see what he is up to. His story is contemporaneous with Bilbo’s but plays into LotR and besides, it’s just interesting. More Gandalf, Elrond etc. is good.

I’ve only seen the Rankin-Bass cartoon once but I remember it as rushed, simplistic, ugly and unappealing, never mind the omissions. Hardly a standard to which to aspire.


Noria
Gondor

Apr 18, 1:57pm

Post #33 of 255 (1122 views)
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Hmm [In reply to] Can't Post

It’s interesting to me that some of the elements I don’t care for in The Hobbit – some of the “precious or patronizing” “Dear Reader” bits and the Tra-lally Elves - are ones that Tolkien seems to have had some second thoughts about. I had figured that he just thought that was how children should be addressed eighty odd years ago.

Decades ago when TH and LotR were pretty much all of Tolkien that I knew, I think I had assumed that TH, set in a rather nebulous and unformed world, was just Tolkien’s first published stab at fantasy. LotR seemed to be the result of more thought and world building and was a much more complex and deep second foray into the same world, as well as being aimed at an older readership. Then The Silmarillion was released as well as Unfinished Tales etc., and I learned about Tolkien’s long existing and much more fully realized alternate world. It seemed to me then that TH was a fairy tale-like story for kids somewhat loosely set in Middle-earth, a tale that Tolkien had created partly by drawing in elements of his existing fantasy world, like Thranduil resembling Thingol. On the other hand, LotR was both firmly set in that world and went to new places, literally and thematically.

TH novel is more than fine as it is but for me it will always be a kind of sweet prologue to the real stuff of LotR and The Silmarillion.


Chen G.
Rohan

Apr 18, 2:20pm

Post #34 of 255 (1120 views)
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The White Council [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
the White Council subplot, with at least the most important members Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, should be included, because Gandalf’s comings and goings would otherwise be too random and “deux ex machine”. We need to see what he is up to. His story is contemporaneous with Bilbo’s but plays into LotR and besides, it’s just interesting. More Gandalf, Elrond etc. is good.


Its also been quite effectivelly well knit into the story of the quest itself. The very impetus of the quest is Gandalf intercepting a message to assasinate Thorin and fearing that "darker minds will turn towards Erebor." Then, he ties the Trolls coming down from the Ettenmoors to a rising evil.

Azog and his Orc Riders are soon thereafter shown to be working for Sauron, and we later learn that besides Azog's thirst for revenge, Sauron had sent them to hunt the company down.

We also learn that the Orc population of the Anduin Vales is on the rise, and of course Mirkwood itslef (a huge obstacle for the company) AND the spiders that waylay them are the result of Sauron's presence in the forest, and even some of Thranduil's isolationistic policy has to do with the wood itself growing dangerous around his people; and of course we have everything to do with Thrain and his Ring, not to mention the finding of the One Ring, which Tolkien explicitly links to Sauron's rising power in Mirkwood.

Eventually, we find that Smaug had been informed by Sauron of the company's arrival and the battle of the Five Armies is initiated at Sauron's behest to conquer the mountain.

It should be said, a lot of this has its roots in Tolkien. In the Quest of Erebor, Tolkien makes it clear that a) The Necromancer had already stopped an earlier quest by Thrain out of his interest in Erebor; b) that, had the council not banished Sauron, he would have stopped the company and/or made a pact with Smaug; c) that, while the Battle of the Five Armies wasn't initiated by Sauron, had the Orcs been victorious, it would have served his purpose all the same.

That Sauron intends to secure Erebor so as to secure the flank of Angmar against the Iron Hill Dwarves is explicit in the Quest of Erebor, or even just in its redacted form found in Durin's Folk.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 18, 2:22pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 18, 2:49pm

Post #35 of 255 (1111 views)
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How much is rooted in Tolkien? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It should be said, a lot of this has its roots in Tolkien. In the Quest of Erebor, Tolkien makes it clear that a) The Necromancer had already stopped an earlier quest by Thrain out of his interest in Erebor; b) that, had the council not banished Sauron, he would have stopped the company and/or made a pact with Smaug; c) that, while the Battle of the Five Armies wasn't initiated by Sauron, had the Orcs been victorious, it would have served his purpose all the same.

That Sauron intends to secure Erebor so as to secure the flank of Angmar against the Iron Hill Dwarves is explicit in the Quest of Erebor, or even just in its redacted form found in Durin's Folk.


a) Was Thrain captured because of his attempt to reclaim Erebor? Or to regain his Ring? My impression has been that Sauron was at that time more interested in the Dwarven Ring. It's not as though Thrain had any chance of reclaiming Erebor with just a handful of companions.

b) At what point did the White Council even attempt to banish Sauron, much less succeed? If anything, Saruman vetoed any such attempt.

c) Okay, I agree with you on this point.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 18, 3:28pm

Post #36 of 255 (1109 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
IMO the White Council subplot, with at least the most important members Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, should be included


And there I disagree, because any such attempt would have to be invented from whole cloth: in other words, just fan-fic. Even if not as horribly bad as what we got (Nazgul tombs, anyone? Gandalf and Galadriel acting like schoolchildren passing notes in class?), it would still be spurious invention, not Tolkien.

---------------------------------

The Quest of Erebor, in all its versions, never provides Sauron with a motivation, aside from Gandalf's speculation that he could have found a use for Smaug when the war came... and the threat was to Rivendell, not the Iron Hills. We do learn that Sauron sent out his minions to hunt Thrain, for the sake of his Ring. But that was well after Erebor had fallen, of course.

To my mind, the only real place that QoE material would be useful in a Hobbit adaptation is the matter of Gandalf having to persuade (strongarm) Thorin into taking that ridiculous Halfling along.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 12:43am

Post #37 of 255 (1048 views)
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Are you talkin' to Chen? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's interesting that you reply to my post when you are actually responding to Chen G's points. That said, the introduction of the White Council into the story is rooted in Tolkien's own legendarium through "The Quest of Erebor" and "The Council of Elrond" in The Lord of the Rings. It is not "invented from whole cloth".

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 19, 1:49am

Post #38 of 255 (1044 views)
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sorry, [In reply to] Can't Post

I must have clicked on the wrong link.

But to me, "rooted in" has all the substance of a Hollywood piece "inspired by real events." The fact is, the Quest of Erebor gives us a fair amount of material on Gandalf and Thorin before the quest begins. It tells us nothing about the White Council (aside from reiterating the point already made elsewhere, that Saruman had vetoed an attack on DG some years before). The Hobbit tells us that Gandalf splits at the edge of Mirkwood, and then after the fact reports that the "white wizards" have driven the N out of Mirkwood. That's it. And the QoE adds nothing of substance to that.

On what would our screenwriter base an account of the WC's meeting and deliberations? On what would he base the Action Scene of the WC driving the Necromancer out? Nothing; it isn't there. It would have to be made up.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 2:21am

Post #39 of 255 (1040 views)
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Well, almost nothing. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
On what would our screenwriter base an account of the WC's meeting and deliberations? On what would he base the Action Scene of the WC driving the Necromancer out? Nothing; it isn't there. It would have to be made up.


We do learn from "The Council of Elrond" that the event happened. Unfortunately we are given no details about it. Strike that; we learn that Sauron somehow anticipated the Council and deliberately withdrew to Mordor.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 19, 3:06am

Post #40 of 255 (1040 views)
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Imagine [In reply to] Can't Post

for a moment, filming The Lord of the Rings, but with no source material except for "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age."


Chen G.
Rohan

Apr 19, 9:12am

Post #41 of 255 (1008 views)
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We do know how the Council itself went [In reply to] Can't Post

We have a few details that give us a sense of the dynamic within the council in terms of broad-brushstrokes.

We know that Saruman argued against action and tried to tell everyone that Sauron's Ring had been lost indefinitely - which is what happens in the film.

We know that Galadriel, having established the council, wanted Gandalf to head it; so its reasonable to assume that she would have been on Gandalf's side of the argument, as she is in the film.

We know that during the council, Gandalf appeared to Saruman to be absent minded and was repproached for this. With the exception of the specifics (that being, that Gandalf was smoking), this is what happens in the film.

The subjects on the itinerary of the council seem pertinent to the books, too: they're mostly talking about Thrain, Smaug, Angmar and the Necromancer.

The filmmakers clearly couldn't use the material from the Unfinished Tales, but its evident they knew it and were inspired by it (same goes for Thrain and for the Blue Wizards). Maybe they were working off of th e annotated The Hobbit during production: I know Howard Shore was.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 19, 9:15am)


Noria
Gondor

Apr 19, 12:38pm

Post #42 of 255 (993 views)
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Chen, I agree [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
the White Council subplot, with at least the most important members Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, should be included, because Gandalf’s comings and goings would otherwise be too random and “deux ex machine”. We need to see what he is up to. His story is contemporaneous with Bilbo’s but plays into LotR and besides, it’s just interesting. More Gandalf, Elrond etc. is good.


Its also been quite effectivelly well knit into the story of the quest itself. The very impetus of the quest is Gandalf intercepting a message to assasinate Thorin and fearing that "darker minds will turn towards Erebor." Then, he ties the Trolls coming down from the Ettenmoors to a rising evil.

Azog and his Orc Riders are soon thereafter shown to be working for Sauron, and we later learn that besides Azog's thirst for revenge, Sauron had sent them to hunt the company down.

We also learn that the Orc population of the Anduin Vales is on the rise, and of course Mirkwood itslef (a huge obstacle for the company) AND the spiders that waylay them are the result of Sauron's presence in the forest, and even some of Thranduil's isolationistic policy has to do with the wood itself growing dangerous around his people; and of course we have everything to do with Thrain and his Ring, not to mention the finding of the One Ring, which Tolkien explicitly links to Sauron's rising power in Mirkwood.

Eventually, we find that Smaug had been informed by Sauron of the company's arrival and the battle of the Five Armies is initiated at Sauron's behest to conquer the mountain.

It should be said, a lot of this has its roots in Tolkien. In the Quest of Erebor, Tolkien makes it clear that a) The Necromancer had already stopped an earlier quest by Thrain out of his interest in Erebor; b) that, had the council not banished Sauron, he would have stopped the company and/or made a pact with Smaug; c) that, while the Battle of the Five Armies wasn't initiated by Sauron, had the Orcs been victorious, it would have served his purpose all the same.

That Sauron intends to secure Erebor so as to secure the flank of Angmar against the Iron Hill Dwarves is explicit in the Quest of Erebor, or even just in its redacted form found in Durin's Folk.


I very much agree with this in terms of PJ's The Hobbit. The whole White Council subplot is effectively woven through the fabric of the trilogy.

I was trying to imagine what another version of TH, by some other film maker, could be like. IMO Gandalf's story should be part of any Hobbit adaptation.


Noria
Gondor

Apr 19, 1:03pm

Post #43 of 255 (985 views)
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The White Council [In reply to] Can't Post

As Chen says below (?), we do know broadly what happened at the White Council.

While this is an extreme example, any adaptation involves a certain amount of re-imagining.

There's going to be a great deal more of that in the Amazon series.


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 19, 1:32pm

Post #44 of 255 (989 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Its also been quite effectivelly well knit into the story of the quest itself. The very impetus of the quest is Gandalf intercepting a message to assasinate Thorin and fearing that "darker minds will turn towards Erebor." Then, he ties the Trolls coming down from the Ettenmoors to a rising evil.

Azog and his Orc Riders are soon thereafter shown to be working for Sauron, and we later learn that besides Azog's thirst for revenge, Sauron had sent them to hunt the company down.


And you can't recognize all of that as spurious fan-fic?


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 19, 1:35pm

Post #45 of 255 (981 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The subjects on the itinerary of the council seem pertinent to the books, too: they're mostly talking about Thrain, Smaug, Angmar and the Necromancer.


Angmar? Angmar??? Why in the world would the Council have been discussing a depopulated region whose existence as an evil kingdom was over a thousand years in the past?

Apparently PBJ missed that bit in the appendix-- just like they missed the fact that Azog was dead.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 1:53pm

Post #46 of 255 (979 views)
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I don't have to. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
[Imagine] for a moment, filming The Lord of the Rings, but with no source material except for "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age."


That's not the same thing. We still have the book of The Hobbit just as we have the book of The Lord of the Rings. It does mean, though, that the filmmaker has a lot of latitude in regards to exactly how the White Council was involved in the events of The Hobbit. We already know how this plays out in Peter Jackson's adaptation.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 19, 2:07pm

Post #47 of 255 (973 views)
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except [In reply to] Can't Post

that it is the same thing, with regard to the White Council/Dol Guldur threads. We do have Tolkien's book- but that tells of Bilbo's adventure, not the political backdrop.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 2:13pm

Post #48 of 255 (972 views)
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Book vs. Film [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
We do know how the Council itself went
We have a few details that give us a sense of the dynamic within the council in terms of broad-brushstrokes.

We know that Saruman argued against action and tried to tell everyone that Sauron's Ring had been lost indefinitely - which is what happens in the film.

We know that Galadriel, having established the council, wanted Gandalf to head it; so its reasonable to assume that she would have been on Gandalf's side of the argument, as she is in the film.

We know that during the council, Gandalf appeared to Saruman to be absent minded and was repproached for this. With the exception of the specifics (that being, that Gandalf was smoking), this is what happens in the film.

The subjects on the itinerary of the council seem pertinent to the books, too: they're mostly talking about Thrain, Smaug, Angmar and the Necromancer.

The filmmakers clearly couldn't use the material from the Unfinished Tales, but its evident they knew it and were inspired by it (same goes for Thrain and for the Blue Wizards). Maybe they were working off of th e annotated The Hobbit during production: I know Howard Shore was.


True, but I was referring to what we know from Tolkien's legendarium, not the films. All Bilbo discovers on the journey home from the Lonely Mountain is that Gandalf was one of a council of white wizards that drove the Necromancer out of southern Mirkwood. It's not until the Council of Elrond that we actually learn anything more about the White Council. We finally find out how Gandalf infiltrated Dol Guldur and discovered that the Necromancer was actually the Dark Lord Sauron (who had presumably regained Thrain's Ring of Power), and how Saruman in the year 2851 vetoed the Grey Wizard's proposal to take immediate action against Sauron, instead advising the Council to bide its time. It wasn't until the White Council of 2941 that Saruman agreed to move against Dol Guldur. And it wasn't until the final meeting of the White Council in 2953 that Saruman dismissed concerns about the One Ring, assuring the Wise that the Ring had been washed down the Anduin into the Sea.

#FidelityToTolkien


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 2:19pm

Post #49 of 255 (977 views)
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Weeell... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To

Its also been quite effectivelly well knit into the story of the quest itself. The very impetus of the quest is Gandalf intercepting a message to assasinate Thorin and fearing that "darker minds will turn towards Erebor." Then, he ties the Trolls coming down from the Ettenmoors to a rising evil.

Azog and his Orc Riders are soon thereafter shown to be working for Sauron, and we later learn that besides Azog's thirst for revenge, Sauron had sent them to hunt the company down.


And you can't recognize all of that as spurious fan-fic?


The bit about "darker minds will turn towards Erebor" can be traced to Gandalf's fears as voiced in "The Quest of Erebor". The rest is all Peter Jackson.

#FidelityToTolkien


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 19, 2:22pm

Post #50 of 255 (970 views)
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Yes... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
[Except] that it is the same thing, with regard to the White Council/Dol Guldur threads. We do have Tolkien's book- but that tells of Bilbo's adventure, not the political backdrop.


...but ONLY in regard to that subplot. A better comparison would be attempting to film a detailed movie about the entire life of Aragorn based only on "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" in LotR, Appendix A. At the same time, it might be interesting to see someone attempt such a film. I've even suggested it myself.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 19, 2:24pm)

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