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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Article: "7 Rules for Making 'The Hobbit"

Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2009, 1:43am

Post #1 of 17 (1958 views)
Article: "7 Rules for Making 'The Hobbit" Can't Post

Thought some of you would get a kick out of this article (especially seeing as some of these 'rules' are things us board members have been discussing for at least a year...). And, of course, I posted this to hear your thoughts!

My own thoughts:

Rule 7: I know this has been a point of debate on the boards, and we all know (as does the article) that GDT, PJ, and co decided to go two films. I disagree with the article writer's thoughts that it's "going to suck". I don't think he's thought out the whole Dol Guldur sequence, and IMO, while having Bard randomly appear in the chapter that he kills the dragon, I don't think that will work well, movie-verse. I would love to see him built up as an actual character before he delivers the killing blow, and having a second film gives ample time for that.

Rule 6: I agree with this on many levels. While I enjoyed carefree Legolas in the books, one thing that would be nice between the films is some sort of consistency- and let's be honest, the Rivendell elves in The Hobbit don't follow the Rivendell elves much at all in the novel, nonetheless the films. Please no choruses of fa-la-lalling (exception: Galion the Drunk Butler sings the verses).

Rule 5: Yes, agree completely. The songs work for the goblins in the book; it's a children's book. I would hope that the goblins in this film are akin to their cousins seen in Moria. No orc choruses (As enjoyable as Where There's A Whip, There's a Way is...).

Rule 4: Disagree completely. I think their number adds part of the fun to it. Granted, the movie-makers should make some dwarves more important than others, and perhaps distinguish them even more than Tolkien did (with his colored hoods and all). As it is, when I read the book to my five-year-old sister, the only two Dwarves she remembered were Thorin and "the fat one". Hopefully the film makers can resolve this in a way that works.

Rule 3: Hehe! I think I am going to have to agree here (though who knows, Nimoy may come up with something spectacular...)

Rule 2: Disagree for obvious reasons, one of them being that the stone trolls already exist in Jackson's trilogy, getting a mention from Bilbo (and pointed out by Sam in the EE).

Rule 1: This is a big, obvious Yes. Smaug must simply be THE dragon that all other dragon films will envy and look to for inspiration for many years to come.

My LiveJournal ~ My artwork and photography ~ My LOTR fan fiction

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NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.


Nov 20 2009, 4:44am

Post #2 of 17 (1033 views)
the only rule that matters and isn`t there is [In reply to] Can't Post

for fans to stop holding onto "You haven`t aged a day" line and Bilbo flashback in FOTR as if it`s the Holy Bible. They filmed it then because they didn`t think they would do the Hobbit and needed something more descriptive than expository talk. Show don`t tell. It worked. And now that The Hobbit is indeed in the production, I really wish that fans stop rubbing filmakers nose with it. Holm won`t play Bilbo so it`s totally irrelevant if he`s 20,30,40,100 in the movie since it`s going to be completely different actor. They used Holm in FOTR because it would confuse audience if it was another actor in the flashback. This way everyone of any age and IQ knew it was Bilbo who found the ring. Good thinking on their part.

This obsession with a simple line and flashback reminds me of Underworld fans who were getting fits over Sonia being brunette in UW:ROTL since she was blonde in UW flashback. Again, they just needed an extra for the UW scene, didn`t think of making the prequel yet, but fans went nuts. Messed up their fanfics or something.

Grey Havens

Nov 20 2009, 4:49am

Post #3 of 17 (1016 views)
Ehhh [In reply to] Can't Post

I disagree with almost everything in that article.

While I want to get the impression that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place in the same universe, I also don't want a carbon copy of Jackson's trilogy. Where's the fun in that for Del Toro, who is one of the best and most imaginative fantasy directors out there nowadays? Why film something if you can't make it your own?

I'm fine with Del Toro keeping the creatures and such in the same "gene pool" as Jackson's films, so we get the sense that there is some degree of continuity. At the same time, The Hobbit has an entirely different tone and feel to it than the Lord of the Rings, and I want that preserved. It should be preserved. It's a fairy tale, a children's book, and I honestly think one of the biggest missteps Del Toro could take with these films is forgetting that fundamental truth.

This is NOT the Lord of the Rings.

EDIT: And for the record, Gandalf explains why the trolls don't turn to stone in LotR. Sauron manifests dark clouds in the sky to block out direct sunlight.

(This post was edited by duats on Nov 20 2009, 4:51am)

Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2009, 5:38am

Post #4 of 17 (998 views)
But at the same time [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not interested in seeing "The Chronicles of Narnia", which is definitely aimed at children, in The Hobbit. While the Hobbit has a different tone than LOTR, it is still Middle-earth, decades in the past or not. That should not be forgotten, either. What I love about Tolkien's writing that always bothered me about Lewis (at least, as I recall in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) is that Tolkien does not necessarily hide the grit of the world, not even in The Hobbit. We have a narrative of the Dragon destroying Lake-town and his death, and the part of the Battle of the Five Armies that Bilbo is conscious for (and even a bit of a narrative of it afterwards). The Hobbit, children's book or not, is rather dark when you really think about it. Humorous? Certainly. But there is also a considerable amount of humor in LOTR, especially in the first part of FOTR.

Besides, fairy tales- the original ones- are very dark in nature. It's only the Disney ones that are so darn cheerful (and even then, when you really think about it, sometimes not really... the Lion King is pretty bloody dark at times). So there is certainly an episodic, "going on an adventure" feel to the Hobbit, but at the same time the visual depictions of what the Dwarves, Gandalf, and Bilbo go through are going to end up dark on-screen- and if not dark, then really cheesy and more suitable for an animated Disney film, where evil minions of all shapes and sizes breaking into chorus is appropriate.

My LiveJournal ~ My artwork and photography ~ My LOTR fan fiction

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NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.


Nov 20 2009, 7:31am

Post #5 of 17 (999 views)
About #7... [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with the article on this one. They're making two movies solely because the studio wants another $2B. Every studio exec in the world wants a $1B/picture franchise, with as many movies as possible. And every franchise gets run into the ground till the movies become unwatchable. The only thing that will save us here is that the rights are very narrowly-defined and the Estate is unlikely to grant any more.

The "bridge film" was a lame idea, because there isn't enough plot to make anything but a thin fan-fic. And The Hobbit isn't enough book for two films without a lot of added fan-fic there, too.

It's really all about the money. And if the films are too thin ("like butter spread over too much bread") they won't make $1B each anyway.

The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Nov 20 2009, 2:20pm

Post #6 of 17 (933 views)
I don`t mind darkening The Hobbit a bit to fit in movie continuity [In reply to] Can't Post

I would mind inserting LOTR cast that has no business in the movies for the sake of the reunion. It`s The Hobbit, not LOTR the Reunion Edition. Therefore, very happy that they dumped the "bridge" idea.

Kangi Ska

Nov 20 2009, 3:53pm

Post #7 of 17 (1035 views)
Seven Things to AVOID in making the Hobbit movies: [In reply to] Can't Post

Avoid pretty much everything this author advocates (at least if it is the Hobbit that you are making)

I truly believe that the proper path is being followed in the creation of the film adaptation of the Hobbit.
I am sure that the Films will be rated PG13 and that it will include sufficient carnage to justify this.
I see a natural turning point in the narration that justifies the split into two films and
given the inclusion of peripheral and historical events mentioned in the tale but not part of the central narrative that are
critical to the understanding of Middle Earth and the War of the Ring (in effect providing a bridge to LOTR)
the story of the Hobbit is actually much larger than the book.

The Trolls are stone in the Fellowship EE and should become so in the Hobbit after all this is J.R.R. Tolkiens story
and I think that should be honored. There is also a lot more magic in the Hobbit than there is in LOTR. (Talking animals, shape shifting, Etc.)
The shift from the age of Elves to the Age of Man is about the loss of magic. If you follow through the entire Middle Earth sage (including the Silmarillion)
you might realize that this is one of the great underlying themes. After all it is about the killing of the last magic dragon.

Kangi Ska


Nov 20 2009, 6:02pm

Post #8 of 17 (931 views)
Ori [In reply to] Can't Post

I notice the author of that article dosen't mention Ori in the *13* dwarves, and in fact refers to the *12* dwarves in Rule 4. Isn't the whole point of Bilbo being included was because it would have been an unlucky number?

And Rule2? Pfft, did this guy do any research?

Some of the suggestions are just plain stupid, like the Leonard Nimoy one. Of course he's gonna be nowhere the film's soundtrack.

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2009, 6:21pm

Post #9 of 17 (904 views)
He's being silly [In reply to] Can't Post

All the suggestions are tongue-in-cheek the guy wrote for National Lampoon.

Shop smart! Shop... S Mart!

Kangi Ska

Nov 20 2009, 8:38pm

Post #10 of 17 (903 views)
Regardless [In reply to] Can't Post

This kind of stuff just muddies the water.

Kangi Ska

The Shire

Nov 20 2009, 9:14pm

Post #11 of 17 (941 views)
Pretty silly article [In reply to] Can't Post

His rules range from the obvious (of course they're going to make the tone more mature and take out the sillier songs) to the idiotic (i.e. the whole troll thing). Seems kind of like a bad try at comedy, but that doesn't make it much better. There are ways to draw humor from Tolkien without making yourself look like a total ass.

The Midnight Gang's Assembled...

(This post was edited by Eledhwen on Nov 20 2009, 10:54pm)


Nov 21 2009, 6:53pm

Post #12 of 17 (865 views)
rules [In reply to] Can't Post

7. That is my biggest fear about this film too.

6. and 5. agreed, but hard to reconcile with the spirit of the Hobbit being so diferent to LOTR.

4. Yes.

3. No doubt this will happen.

2. I guess these trolls will turn to stone.

1. Of course.


Nov 28 2009, 6:59am

Post #13 of 17 (747 views)
Let The Hobbit be its own story [In reply to] Can't Post

I disagree with most of that article because the author of it treats The Hobbit as merely the "prequel" to The Lord of the Rings. The problem with this is that TLotR was written as the sequel to TH, with TH written prior and in an entirely different manner. I would rather see the Hobbit movies tell their own story; related to that of TLotR to be sure, but also capable of standing on its own instead of merely being "the prequel to LotR". In that vein, I think it's important to remember that TH is a children's book. No, it's not Dr. Seuss and no, it's not frivolous; but it isn't as dark or serious as LotR. I'd like to see that reflected - to a degree - in the films.

I do agree with point #7 however: TH is a relatively short book telling a self-contained, linear story. A movie telling that story and just that story would be quite lovely to me.


Nov 28 2009, 10:16am

Post #14 of 17 (722 views)
Re: Let The Hobbit be its own story [In reply to] Can't Post

You can't blame anyone for seeing the Hobbit as a prequel to LOTR.

Tolkien himself began thinking about it like that, or why else would he start the massive task of rewriting The Hobbit in 1966 so that it fits in tone with LOTR? Too bad he never could complete that. Even back then people were so attached to the original that he got criticised even for the mere effort! But the attempt itself is quite interesting to me and its a shame he stopped it after 3 chapters!

Tolkien did originally present the story as a children's book, there were reasons for that. But his attempt at a rewrite shows that it is very much legit to treat it as something more mature. And that's what the filmmakers will do, whether you like it or not. GDT has said nowhere that he's interested in making a children's movie. Rather the opposite. He will do some pretty weird and scary stuff.

So why should he acknowledge the fact that it was originally a book aimed at children? If Tolkien had considered that tone so very essential he wouldn't even have considered a rewrite.

People are just used to things and don't like change. I can understand that, but artists must not pay attention to such sentiments or they are doomed.

(This post was edited by micha84 on Nov 28 2009, 10:23am)


Nov 28 2009, 2:19pm

Post #15 of 17 (740 views)
I have to respectfully disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
You can't blame anyone for seeing the Hobbit as a prequel to LOTR.

You mean except for the fact that it isn't, according to the dictionary definition of prequel.

In Reply To
If Tolkien had considered that tone so very essential he wouldn't even have considered a rewrite.

No, if Tolkien had considered the tone so INessential he would have gone through with the re-write. Merely considering something does not mean that Tolkien decided on it, as of course he didn't. I don't see how we can reasonably ignore the text of the The Hobbit in favor of some ideas Tolkien never finalized, especially since Tolkien had no problem changing The Hobbit (he did it twice: once in 1951 and once in 1966). Since he didn't complete the re-write to make it mature I suspect he had a good reason for it.

And again, talking about what The Hobbit might have been doesn't change the fact of what The Hobbit is.

(This post was edited by Eldorion on Nov 28 2009, 2:20pm)


Nov 28 2009, 3:31pm

Post #16 of 17 (668 views)
... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was talking about The Hobbit being a prequel with the movie adapation in mind as well. Whatever a dictionairy says about what a prequel is, most people going to cinemas will see The Hobbit as exactly that. And as a filmmaker, that does play a part when you get to work. Choose to ignore it if you don't like it, but The Hobbit WILL be perceived as a prequel to PJs trilogy.

They should have done The Hobbit first. This way around it CAN only be seen as a prequel by anyone who doesn't bother to go as deep into these matters as we all here like to.

And I didn't say that Tolkien had no good reasons to abandon the 66 rewrite. I only said that a) Tolkien toyed with the idea, so why shouldn't others; b) all artists, including filmmakers, should be free to do what they feel is right instead of just catering to the wishes of fans.


Nov 28 2009, 3:43pm

Post #17 of 17 (1161 views)
Perhaps I should clarify [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Choose to ignore it if you don't like it, but The Hobbit WILL be perceived as a prequel to PJs trilogy.

Seeing as my first post about prequels was saying I disagreed with someone who treated The Hobbit as a prequel I'm not sure how you can get the idea that I'm ignoring it. Unless of course you're just making snarky comments for the sake of being rude, but I'd like to think you wouldn't do that. Regardless of whether or not people perceive The Hobbit as a prequel to LOTR or not though, the fact remains that The Hobbit is NOT a prequel. If the filmmakers are going to try to remain true to the book (which I personally doubt they will) they need to recognize this.

In Reply To
They should have done The Hobbit first. This way around it CAN only be seen as a prequel by anyone who doesn't bother to go as deep into these matters as we all here like to.

We agree at least that The Hobbit should have been done first. I believe PJ actually wanted to but he couldn't sort out the rights situation. Anyway, given what it is, there is another way to do it. Instead of making The Hobbit be integrated with LOTR it could be a somewhat separate story that is capable of standing on its own instead of of only as the prelude to LOTR.

In Reply To
a) Tolkien toyed with the idea, so why shouldn't others;

Because Tolkien is the author and its his book to do with as he pleases. The filmmakers are supposed to be adapting the existing story, not rewriting it.

In Reply To
b) all artists, including filmmakers, should be free to do what they feel is right instead of just catering to the wishes of fans.

If the filmmakers cater to the wishes of fans than in all likelihood we will see very radical changes to the story, such as Aragorn showing up in The Hobbit. Even the more modest change (since it doesn't wreck the timeline) of including Dol Guldur in the story, thereby shifting the focus of the story away from the Quest, is largely accepted by fans. The "purist" contingent who wants the films to be true to the book is rather a minority, at least in my experience.

The only thing I want the filmmakers to "cater" to is the book. I think it's a fairly reasonable wish.


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