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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Concerning possible Werewolves, Vampires, Wights et al at Dol Guldur.
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Aug 15 2012, 4:44am

Post #1 of 40 (1401 views)
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Concerning possible Werewolves, Vampires, Wights et al at Dol Guldur. Can't Post

While I am admittedly much more of a purist, in many regards, than the majority of the "film first" group and those who are as much fans of Peter's adaptations as they are of the novels, it seems to me that some purists have a vision so rigid that it causes them to sometimes declare facts about the stories that are never clearly affirmed or refuted by the text.

One such issue is the Werewolves and Vampires who may or may not inhabit Dol Guldur and the surrounding region. The lore of the servants of Sauron would certainly support their inclusion, but the issue I hear the most contention about is their portrayl. The notion is generally that neither werewolves nor vampires should ever be shown in or suggested to have human forms, because didn't intend them that way. . . but this is a rather strict interpretation. I know what the lore says about wolves and fell bats inhabited with evil Maiar spirits. . . but this really is not entirely exclusive of shape shifting monsters. The lore is full of shape-shifters. Beorn is, essentially, a werebear, in the strictest meaning of the word. Draugluin, The Father of Werewolves, and the Vampire Turwengeitheil, The Lady of Shadows, were both Maiar. And of course there is Sauron himself, with his penchant for taking varied forms. Many among the Maiar took various shapes (unless they became locked in a form for the duration of its sustainability).

At the end of the day, while I am not arguing that it should be handled so, there is nothing in the lore which refutes the possibility of any of these monsters having hybrid forms, or being seen to alter their shape.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Elizabeth
Valinor


Aug 15 2012, 7:47am

Post #2 of 40 (682 views)
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Don't mix 21st Century mythology with medieval mythology. [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the glories of the Jackson films was their internal consistency to the fundamentals of Middle Earth as portrayed in the books, including the 18thC atmosphere of the Shire, the Saxon designs in Rohan, etc. The recent popular books, TV, and films about vampires and werewolves are a new and very different take on these ancient concepts. It would be jarringly anachronistic to include the modern versions.






Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


MouthofSauron
Tol Eressea


Aug 15 2012, 8:14am

Post #3 of 40 (604 views)
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i would like very much... [In reply to] Can't Post

to see vampires and werewolves in Dol-Guldur, sounds like something that would be right up Del-Toro's alley as well!!!!


From the waters of the Long-Lake a dragon shall be possessed...green lights from the deep waters shall be seen where the dragon fell...reanimated shall be Smaug that was killed...and the Dark Lord will fly over Middle-Earth unopposed...reigning fire down upon his enemies...

(This post was edited by MouthofSauron on Aug 15 2012, 8:20am)


Crunchable Birdses
Rohan


Aug 15 2012, 9:02am

Post #4 of 40 (583 views)
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Shapeshifters [In reply to] Can't Post

I think one argument for not making them shapeshifters is that it might steal Beorn's thunder. If PJ doesn't think that's an issue, then I'd say it's probably more likely that the weres and vamps etc. will be shapeshifters.

I'm reminded of the blurb from Warner Brothers' official plot summary of the film:

"Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers."

Emphasis mine - note that Shapeshifters is plural. This may not be significant, or it may be. Could it just mean Beorn (and the Beornings)? We don't know. Sorcerers is also plural, and it's less clear what that might be referring to - Radagast?, The Necromancer?

* crunch *


Seaber
Rivendell

Aug 15 2012, 9:44am

Post #5 of 40 (517 views)
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If they just said A shapeshifter [In reply to] Can't Post

it wouldn't sound right, although you are right.

My guess is that they won't shapeshift, not fully at least. The most we'd get is, for example, extending fingers. Something small, but noticeable.


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Aug 15 2012, 10:14am

Post #6 of 40 (550 views)
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I don't think I follow, sorry. [In reply to] Can't Post

Which bits of AO's post suggested 21st century mythology?

LR


Seaber
Rivendell

Aug 15 2012, 10:36am

Post #7 of 40 (514 views)
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Do you mean Twilight as a modern version? [In reply to] Can't Post

Because I don't think anyone was suggesting PJ would include anything along those lines :D

As far as I can tell, vampires as blood sucking undead creatures came about in the 1700's, and were popularised in Gothic Lit. Before this, vampire seems to be a term for an evil spirirt

Werewolves do seem to be more ancient, appearing in Greek, Roman and Old English texts, but don't seem to be that different from our modern perception.


stoutfiles
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 12:24pm

Post #8 of 40 (457 views)
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I'd rather they not show up [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit is a little out there concerning its creatures when compared to LOTR...it feels like a different world. I imagine PJ would like to link the two films without wondering where these creatures are.

Then again, he included the stone giants who I didn't expect to see, so who knows?


imin
Valinor


Aug 15 2012, 12:31pm

Post #9 of 40 (440 views)
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Reply [In reply to] Can't Post

I dont want the bats to be vampires as we think of them now. I want them to be big bats i guess. I also would like the werewolves to be a minor maiar spirit placed in a great wolf. I dont want them to change shape when seeing the moon or whatever.

Though i think they will go down the route of them all being allowed to change shape and do whatever, lol.


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Aug 15 2012, 2:25pm

Post #10 of 40 (395 views)
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New creatures expand the mythological feeling of Middle Earth [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a good thing that the Hobbit has many new creatures compared to LOTR as this will expand the mythological scope of Middle Earth (as it should).

By removing the barrow wights and the old willow, the LOTR films have become a much more "humano´d/orc-centric" universe when it comes to antagonists. In ROTK, it feels more or less as though we have seen all that there is to see of Middle Earth, creature/fantasy-wise (for non-readers). Shelob and Olyphants are good, but to the eye, they are just big animals. They're not as impressive as the Balrog or as sinister as the barrow wights.

If the Hobbit only had orcs/goblins, wargs and spiders as antagonists, only Smaug and Beorn would have some sort of "wow" factor going for them. ME is a fantastical universe and it is much more than a medieval setting with a few more humanoid races and some giant animals. ME should be properly mythological.

In a different way, Bombadil also contributed in promoting the idea that rare fantastical beings live in ME and that if you go on an adventure you might see incredible things. That is one of the charm of fantastical universes. That is also why I like the way the stone giant is portrayed so far. It is fittingly mythological in scope. If done right, werewolves and vampires could also help expand the fantastical aspect of ME.

I always really liked Boromir's "what is this new devilry's" line in FOTR, because that is exactly how the non-reader audiences feel at this point in the movies. The idea that "new devilries" abound in ME and that Sauron has many pawns at his disposal is in line with the LOTR books and is also very good for tension. I always feared more for our protagonists in the books because I was always under the impression that something new and evil could come up at anytime. This idea is summed up in Gandalf's line: "the ennemy has many spies in his service, birds, beasts..." But this is not ehough. We need to see more of the enemy's servants.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Aug 15 2012, 2:29pm

Post #11 of 40 (373 views)
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Good point on the wording [In reply to] Can't Post

I assumed they meant Beorn, but it's plural and included in a list of enemies, so I think you are right.


TomthePilgrim
Rohan


Aug 15 2012, 2:53pm

Post #12 of 40 (355 views)
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I am resistant to either . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

. . . especially Vampires, as I believe they are primarily a horror element, and the Hobbit IS NOT a horror movie.

Reading this thread, I can see the possible use of shapeshifters, i.e.: werewolves. I don't see them as stealing Beorn's thunder, but instead as confirming his ability. If there is one, there can be others.
My thought would be only a few shapeshifters, and warg-like . . . scouts for the Necromancer. And, if Beorn ends up at Dol Guldur, a few werewolves half his size would be interesting and, I think, a lot more 'Tolkeinish' then vampires.


The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,

"Thorin sat up with a start. 'Something is not right,' he muttered to himself as he stood up and
looked towards the mirror . . . . . . . . . 'Durin's bones', he gasped, 'what's happened to my beard?'"


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Aug 15 2012, 3:24pm

Post #13 of 40 (335 views)
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It really depends how they are done [In reply to] Can't Post

Vampires don't have to be blood-sucking Casanovas. Nosferatu-type vampires are sort of Gollum-esque.

They could also be pretty close to barrow wights or wraiths.

Tolkien's world is full of undead. It just depends how they are done. I hope however that they don't use the death marshes ghost or the path of the dead army as their main inspiration for design. I'd like to see something different and more sinister.


Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 3:42pm

Post #14 of 40 (354 views)
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Tone is more important than content. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be happy if they can keep the the old Norse/Northern European feel of the mythology. To me, as soon as they hit the mountains (even before that), it becomes a much less Celtic tale than the later books, and it references old Germanic and Scandinavian tales in tone - something I think Hollywood doesn't get at all. Those old tales are dry, bleak and dangerous, whereas Hollywood normally gives us expansive, spectacular and emotive - typical blockbuster stuff actually - much more in line with celtic style exaggeration and self-aggrandisement. I am hoping that the need to produce a blockbuster doesn't ruin these films.


Hanzkaz
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 3:57pm

Post #15 of 40 (322 views)
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I would say the more fantastic creatures are less common - [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It is a good thing that the Hobbit has many new creatures compared to LOTR as this will expand the mythological scope of Middle Earth (as it should).


- in the parts of Middle-Earth dominated by Men.

I think of the 'Hobbit' as taking place in the wilder and less explored regions of Middle-Earth, while the Lord of the Rings movies show realms where powerful nations of Men have ruled for a very long time.


(This post was edited by Hanzkaz on Aug 15 2012, 3:58pm)


Hanzkaz
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 4:07pm

Post #16 of 40 (329 views)
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Dol Guldur might be considered a place of horror. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
the Hobbit IS NOT a horror movie.


If Sauron is posing as a regular evil sorceror (as opposed to a Dark Lord), his choice of minions may be more of the monster-type than military type.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Aug 15 2012, 4:15pm

Post #17 of 40 (330 views)
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Werewolves and Vampires and Wights, oh my! [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with Tolkien's Werewolves is that they are nearly indistinguishable from huge Wargs. A Werewolf Captain with a more bipedal form, shouting orders in Common (and maybe casting spells?) would solve that.

When I think of Vampires in Tolkien, I don't think of the huge bats at the Battle of the Five Armies, but of Thuringwethil--Sauron's messenger in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. She had a magical 'shaping-cloak' that allowed her to assume the form of a vampire bat with an iron claw at each joint of its wings. When Sauron was in Dol Guldur, Thuringwethil, or another like her, could have relayed his commands to Mordor and to his commanders in the field.

Wights and lesser Wraiths would reinforce his identity as the Necromancer without the inelegant presence of zombies or animated skeletons and would still be true to canon.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Aug 15 2012, 4:24pm

Post #18 of 40 (309 views)
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It's never very Celtic to begin with [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure where that perspective comes from, really. Do you find the Shire-to-Rivendell Celtic in some way? If anything, we're talking about a difference in time rather than a difference in place or culture. You start in the relatively "modern English" Shire (not Celtic), and slowly progress back in time into England's heroic Germanic roots (which includes Norse and Anglo-Saxon influenced stuff - Beorn, etc.).

There is occasionally some Celtic "flair" in the Lord of the Rings, but not much, IMO. The Dunlendings, though, seem to be a loose analog to the Celts of Britain.


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Aug 15 2012, 4:37pm

Post #19 of 40 (285 views)
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Agreed and I hope this is made clear in the movies [In reply to] Can't Post

Being on the other side of the Misty Mountains should mean something.


Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 6:29pm

Post #20 of 40 (253 views)
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Celtic 2 Rangers 3 [In reply to] Can't Post

It's Celtic in that the mysterious magical people in our culture are a reference to previous people that were driven into the margins by new invaders. So when the Celts came to Britain, they drove the previous inhabitants into the hills and woods - living a kind of guerilla lifestyle - being able to disappear and hide from the invaders and becoming seen as mysterious beings, possessed of magical powers. So Celtic stories have a lot of magical elements, and a lot of animal spirits, along with a rather fanciful style and humour.
So, while the Shire is English rural Victorian (or even Georgian), it is surrounded by lands which have a very Celtic feel - represented by the elves and the natural spirits of the Old Forest etc. But when you get into the mountains, you come to a more Scandinavian type of danger - things like giants and trolls which represent the physical danger of these wild places - falling rocks etc.
The main difference is that the elves are hidden beings that you need to search for, and are dangerous and magical, but not necessarily unfriendly, whereas the Scandinavian/European trolls, giants, and dragons are both dangerous and unfriendly - but not magical, and are not hiding, but are waiting for you if you dare go into their mountains. Stories about them tend to be harsher and grimmer - much like the landscape.
I think that Hollywood understands the Celts much better than it does the dour Northern Europeans or the reserved and understated Victorian English, but I would hope that the mix of people in the production will be able resist the pressures to make Hollywood style monsters, and go for something more subtle and sparse.


Flagg
Tol Eressea


Aug 15 2012, 6:57pm

Post #21 of 40 (242 views)
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Not a huge part of the book, but I've always found the Barrow-downs evocative of Celtic culture [In reply to] Can't Post

They bring to mind Irish burial mounds and passage tombs like Newgrange.


Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 7:21pm

Post #22 of 40 (224 views)
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Burial mounds and barrows. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
They bring to mind Irish burial mounds and passage tombs like Newgrange.


We have many barrows on the moors of Cornwall where I grew up. They found a gold cup in one, if I remember correctly. I spent a lot of my childhood wandering around the moors, surrounded by things like this - standing stones and quoits also, and the mist can come down just as in the books when you're out walking. I think a lot of the barrows are bronze age or pre-Celtic - associated with the burials and various other rituals of the beaker people (not the guy from the Muppets), who must have seemed very strange and mysterious to the Celtic settlers.

The barrows were one of the reasons that when I first read the books, I was hooked - Tolkien could have been describing my own village, and the landscape I could see from my window.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Aug 15 2012, 9:24pm

Post #23 of 40 (194 views)
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I always thought of the barrows [In reply to] Can't Post

As haunted, abandoned Roman tombs, but that's just me...

The bit that seems to at least hint at Celtic and pre-Celtic myth are the elves. They are dominant before the coming of men from the West, and they slowly fade away as men become dominant. But then again, elves are most prominent in Germanic myth, though usually as dark spirits...Interestingly, though, the Rohirrim, who are very similar to Anglo-Saxons (just add horse), are suspicious and fearful of the elves in much the same way as Anglo-Saxons new to Britain may have been suspicious and fearful of Celtic druids and sorcerers, so you may have something there...

But I see the elves as the spirits of the land that were there before any men, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, pre-Celtic, or otherwise. I do not see them as necessarily Celtic...

The nature spirits of England are driven away by "progressing man" in general, not a particular ethnic group.

Though this is only one of a very many legitimate ways to look at it...


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Aug 15 2012, 10:47pm

Post #24 of 40 (195 views)
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Men transforming into abnormally large, somewhat monstrous wolves [In reply to] Can't Post

is not new at all. It is a very ancient notion indeed. The word itself translates to mean, literally, "man-wolf." Even the image of the bipedal werewolf, less prevalant in olden times, can be found in some antiquated depictions. Beorn might be better called a Berserker, but he is essentially a were-bear. There is nothing, regarding era or anything else, which disqualifies the basic notion of the werewolf from appearing in the film. Werewolves actually have not undergone nearly as many changes as vampires. Things like silver-bullets etc. have been introduced in modern times, but the basic premise of a man or woman turning into a massive, ravening wolf is the same now as it was when Zeus transformed Lycaon.

As to the vampires. . . certainly we would not expect the glittering, half-faery vampires of Twilight, nor the nocturnal Superman vampires of True Blood, nor suave, ponderous aristorcats like the Great and Legendary Lestat De Lioncourt. . . but a blood sucking monster that is sometimes humanoid and sometimes takes shape as a bat. . . that is a pretty old concept.

And as to anachronisims. . . well, 18th century anything is an anachronism, even if Tolkien himself introduced it, as The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings are set several millennia prior to the birth of Christ, and NOT in the 18th century.

I don't know that werewolves and vampires will be present at Dol Guldur, and if they are, I do not know how they will manifest. . . but I do find it peculiar that people object to the notion, when the lore makes ample room for it, and that people feel the need to stipulate that, if they are present, they bear no likenes to any of our popular concepts of werewolves etc., even though there is nothing to entirely rule that out either.

It is more astounding when some of these assertions (and I am not refferencing you in this , Elizabeth), come from people who make allowance for glaring deviations like the omission of Glorfindel, or who take umbrage at anyone complaining about the fact that not a single Harfoot was a shade even remotely resembling any tone of brown. I am fairly convinced that all of us fans tend to find justifications for alterations that we like (or at least don't hate), while objecting most rigidly to those which we dislike. lol.

In Reply To
One of the glories of the Jackson films was their internal consistency to the fundamentals of Middle Earth as portrayed in the books, including the 18thC atmosphere of the Shire, the Saxon designs in Rohan, etc. The recent popular books, TV, and films about vampires and werewolves are a new and very different take on these ancient concepts. It would be jarringly anachronistic to include the modern versions.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Aug 15 2012, 11:06pm

Post #25 of 40 (172 views)
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Well there is another fiver gone [In reply to] Can't Post

I really thought you couldn't possibly get you-know-who into this one!

LR

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