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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
There are a lot of Bombur fat jokes in the book
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kzer_za
Rivendell

Oct 1 2012, 12:51am

Post #1 of 46 (2000 views)
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There are a lot of Bombur fat jokes in the book Can't Post

I'm about halfway through my latest reread and I'm struck by how much "fat Bombur" humor there is. Almost every time Bombur comes up individually, Tolkien says "he was fat." There's lots of physical comedy involving him - crushing people at the door with his weight, falling in a river, getting tired running, and more. I actually think Tolkien may have gone too far with the Bombur jokes - Gandalf and Thorin even make fun of his weight! He does appear to be one of the more capable fighters, though (gives the trolls a hard time).

Even LotR has a Bombur fat joke in Many Meetings.

So if Peter Jackson goes overboard in this case, it won't be because it wasn't in the text. My hope is that Bombur will have a little more to him than that, though. He is the only married dwarf besides Gloin, after all.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Oct 1 2012, 12:56am)


Carne
Tol Eressea

Oct 1 2012, 12:57am

Post #2 of 46 (990 views)
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The complaining is going to be funny [In reply to] Can't Post

"Wow, Jackson made Bombur into a fat joke! Tolkien would be rolling in his grave Frown"


Estel78
Tol Eressea

Oct 1 2012, 1:24am

Post #3 of 46 (902 views)
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Yep. [In reply to] Can't Post

And when you confront them they will try to explain that Tolkien's fat jokes are different. Wink


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Oct 1 2012, 1:33am

Post #4 of 46 (923 views)
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Tolkien's humor is subtle [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ's is not so subtle though... there is a big difference Tongue BUT Tolkien did include A LOT of fat jokes about Bombur as well. But I hope they will remember how fierce Tolkien also said he was instead of Bombur ONLY being one big fat joke in the films


squitzl
The Shire

Oct 1 2012, 1:53am

Post #5 of 46 (943 views)
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Tolkien not subtle [In reply to] Can't Post

I never found Tolkien to be particularly subtle. Least of all in the hobbit. I mean take the section where he mentions Bilbo's great uncle Bullroarer inventing golf by knocking a goblin's head down a rabbit hole. Also the chapter Roast Mutton is quite absurd and fairy tale-esque. Also he tells of Bilbo's nightmares after he faints in Bag End as him twitching on the mat and screaming "Struck By Lightning!"


(This post was edited by squitzl on Oct 1 2012, 1:55am)


Milknut
Rohan


Oct 1 2012, 1:58am

Post #6 of 46 (882 views)
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Thank you for standing up against revisionist readers! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's easy to forget! Angelic

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The cake is a lie.
The cake is a lie.
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Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Oct 1 2012, 2:02am

Post #7 of 46 (852 views)
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I found the humor subtle [In reply to] Can't Post

especially the stuff about Bombur, it wasn't described as 3 stooges over the top slapstick that PJ comes up withAngelic If Peter Jackson would use some subtlety it would be better IMO than all his directly in your face tacticsUnsure


squitzl
The Shire

Oct 1 2012, 2:05am

Post #8 of 46 (810 views)
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That's a good point [In reply to] Can't Post

A lot of the non-subtle jokes and jabs that come from Tolkien are not so much physical slapstick so much as his use of narration and the way he describes the characters and their actions. Unfortunately, PJ doesn't have the option to use narration (well he does, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen). It'll be interesting to see, but I don't mind a little bit of slapstick, especially seeing as they are a ragtag bunch of rowdy dwarves. Tongue


(This post was edited by squitzl on Oct 1 2012, 2:08am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 1 2012, 2:38am

Post #9 of 46 (778 views)
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It's always nice to describe people as "them" [In reply to] Can't Post

There are indeed a few fat jokes in the book, and it will be difficult to complain if there are a few in the films. However, most of them are descriptive. "He was fat," and "he was difficult to carry, because he was fat" etc. There were very few "fat gags," though the one where he tumbles in on top of everyone, and when the dwarves have to carry him, can possibly be described as such. But most of it is not "slapstick," as the brief bit of Bombur breaking the bench in Rivendell seems to be. In total, there are roughly five or six mentions of his fatness in the book, I think, and most of it is not gratuitous.

In any event, if I were to venture to guess, I would say that PJ will create at least forty-five fat jokes more than were in the book. Smile

And yes, there can be "differences" in styles and modes of humor. Not everything is black and white. A reference to someone's weight is a very different thing than an eleborate piece of physical comedy that revolves around someone's weight. So yes, it will likely be perfectly justifiable to call Jackson's interpretation of Bombur's weight "different" than the way Tolkien did it. With humor, the execution is everything.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 1 2012, 2:43am)


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 1 2012, 3:10am

Post #10 of 46 (746 views)
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Welcome, squitzl! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Unfortunately, PJ doesn't have the option to use narration (well he does, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen).


One thing I like so far about what we've seen of Bombur, *and* the way the other dwarves interact with him, is that he and they seem totally comfortable with who he is. From that perspective, 'jokes' become more camaraderie (from the other dwarves) and sheer enjoyment of who he is (from Bombur). That raises the humor a notch or two above gratuitous slapstick, and I like that approach. Smile


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squitzl
The Shire

Oct 1 2012, 3:18am

Post #11 of 46 (709 views)
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I Like that idea :) [In reply to] Can't Post

And thanks! It's good to be posting Tongue


Ring-Bearer
Rivendell


Oct 1 2012, 3:30am

Post #12 of 46 (706 views)
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I would imagine [In reply to] Can't Post

That Tolkien was not using Bombur's 'fatness' as much more than character description and comic relief. The book itself has so much travel and rough edges that things such as Bilbo's curiosity at the world and Bombur's clumsy disposition lighten the mood a bit. Let's just hope that PJ uses this to the advantage of the film.

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There&ThereAgain
Rohan


Oct 1 2012, 3:41am

Post #13 of 46 (739 views)
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my favorite bit of Bombur-ness [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo and the Dwarves are abandoned by Gandalf meant to travel into a woodland they do not know. It's oppressive, soul-sucking and dull. They are running low on food and hope when Bombur falls into the water falling into a deep sleep.

I love that Tolkien acknowledges this absurd situation, the dwarves hauling Bombur around on a stretcher. It's darkly humorous and I can imagine the characters having to reconcile their fear and hunger with their grumbling about Bombur's peacefulness as they carry his heavy load through Mirkwood.

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marillaraina
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 5:35am

Post #14 of 46 (661 views)
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But... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
A lot of the non-subtle jokes and jabs that come from Tolkien are not so much physical slapstick so much as his use of narration and the way he describes the characters and their actions. Unfortunately, PJ doesn't have the option to use narration (well he does, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen). It'll be interesting to see, but I don't mind a little bit of slapstick, especially seeing as they are a ragtag bunch of rowdy dwarves. Tongue


As I recall a lot of the Bombur fat jokes in the book WERE quite slapstick, physical type humor.

Heck what do you think the dwarves falling in the door on each was? THAT was slapstick.


Quote
"he was difficult to carry, because he was fat"


How do you think that would look in action though? It would be "slapstick", it would the dwarves struggling to carry him, trying not to drop him. :) Most of those descriptions when put into actual action, as a film will do, would come off as physical comedy.


(This post was edited by marillaraina on Oct 1 2012, 5:39am)


redgiraffe
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 6:13am

Post #15 of 46 (633 views)
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agreed [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One thing I like so far about what we've seen of Bombur, *and* the way the other dwarves interact with him, is that he and they seem totally comfortable with who he is. From that perspective, 'jokes' become more camaraderie (from the other dwarves) and sheer enjoyment of who he is (from Bombur). That raises the humor a notch or two above gratuitous slapstick, and I like that approach. Smile


I like this idea a lot. The jokes from the other dwarves would seem much more like jokes you make with a very close set of friends. I think it would be great in building the sense of camaraderie and "family" among the dwarves.

I'm expecting that PJ will include a lot of fat jokes with Bombur. But I'm hoping that Bombur has more depth to him in the movies than just being comic relief. I liked Gimli in LOTR but I feel like all PJ really did was use him as comic relief. There were a few elements of depth to his character but I kind of wish there were a few more. I'm hoping PJ really puts some depth behind each of the dwarves so that they don't seem like they are just comic relief.

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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 1 2012, 6:26am

Post #16 of 46 (647 views)
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Agreed, to an extent [In reply to] Can't Post

As I said earlier, I do think that some of the Bomburisms from the book could be classified as slapstick, particularly when translated to film.

But those moments were quite natural within the story, and do not come off as unusually gratuitous. Plus, there really weren't that many.

My guess, based on PJ's track record, is that he will include endless jokes at Bombur's expense, and that many of them will not seem so natural. In the trailer, we have already seen him breaking a bench in Rivendell, due to his weight, and staring obsessively at what looks to be a sausage. We also have good hints that there will be many scenes of him stuffing his face, and apparently fighting bad guys with both his belly, and large cooking utensils.

Based on this, and previous evidence from LOTR, PJ's execution of "Bombur humor" is almost guaranteed to be gratuitous, overcooked, and well past its welcome by the end of film one. I, for one, don't much look forward to it.


redgiraffe
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 6:54am

Post #17 of 46 (621 views)
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Ehhh, yeah I feel ya. [In reply to] Can't Post

While I expect that there will be quite a few I'm hoping it won't be overdone. Of course, the word "overdone" is subjective to the viewer.

As I stated earlier, I'm hoping there's more to his character in the films than just comic relief.

But your description really does bring up a great point about different styles of humor. I would much more prefer less slapstick style humor with Bombur and more humor like with Balin's "letter-opener" dialogue with Bilbo. Slapstick can get old pretty fast. It should be used sparingly.

-Sir are you classified as human
-Negative, I am a meat-popsicle


triptrap
Lorien

Oct 1 2012, 7:09am

Post #18 of 46 (625 views)
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i expect there will be quite a few "slapsticks" [In reply to] Can't Post

with Bombur, although i hope they will do it cleverly. Clever slapstick can be great. As others pointed out it would be good if the humor revolving around Bombur would happen in some kind of comradry with the other dwarves.

But i also think the humor is a good oportunity to develop Bombur in the ongoing of the story. Where he may be clumsy and a little ridiculous at the start, he may be growing as the journey proceeds, of course there will still be humour with him but i hope it gets shown that he also has a witty and serious side(giving the trolls a hard time e.g.)

Somehow i feel he's a little like BilboWink


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 7:40am

Post #19 of 46 (587 views)
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Given that PJ [In reply to] Can't Post

struggles with his weight, I doubt we will see as many jokes at Bombur's expense than we do in the book.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


stoutfiles
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 11:23am

Post #20 of 46 (527 views)
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Which is why I worry about the other dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombur is already set up as the comic relief, but it appears that half of these dwarves will be comic relief from what I've seen in the trailers. I don't want a slapstick routine all the way to the mountain.


(This post was edited by stoutfiles on Oct 1 2012, 11:24am)


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 1 2012, 1:26pm

Post #21 of 46 (472 views)
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thing is, [In reply to] Can't Post

once you have seen one 'fat bloke falling over' joke it quickly gets boring if its repeated every 5 minutes. I hope they keep it to a minimum.


Elthir
Gondor

Oct 1 2012, 1:52pm

Post #22 of 46 (466 views)
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To note a few things [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
There's lots of physical comedy involving him - crushing people at the door with his weight, falling in a river, getting tired running, and more....



In the books it is not simply Bombur who falls on Thorin, despite that Tolkien adds the bit about Bombur's weight here. I'm just noting that Tolkien doesn't play it as the fat guy crushing someone, although obviously he is part of this moment of physical comedy.

And I would not call Bombur falling into the river a 'fat joke' myself. Bombur was last (as so nearest the river when the hart appears) because of his weight, as the Dwarves thought this practical ('you must be with the last and lightest boatload'), but he did not topple in the river for being fat, but had stumbled because of being startled by the hart (the hart who had knocked over other Dwarves and leapt over the river).

Someone else mentioned the carrying of Bombur. The text describes...


Quote
'... and they were burdened with the heavy body of Bombur, which they had to carry along with them as best they could, taking the wearisome task in turns of four each while the others shared their packs.'




And...



Quote

marillaraina wrote: How do you think that would look in action though? It would be "slapstick", it would the dwarves struggling to carry him, trying not to drop him. :) Most of those descriptions when put into actual action, as a film will do, would come off as physical comedy.



I note that Tolkien doesn't describe a lot of struggling, or near dropping, or even any 'puffing or blowing' by any of the Dwarves in 'comic exertion' here (I don't think there is anything notable later with respect to this either, before Bombur wakes up). Of course simply carrying the fat-est Dwarf is in play here, but Tolkien doesn't overdo it in my opinion. Carrying any of the Dwaves would be wearisome, and there is humour in that it 'happens' to be Bombur, yes... but slapstick?

As for 'getting tired running' -- to what scene does this refer?

In the goblin tunnels anyway, it's noted that Bilbo could not keep up, and the Dwarves took turns carrying him -- so that ultimately Bombur has him, who when running carrying Bilbo is described as 'who was fat, and staggered along with the sweat driping down his nose in his heat and terror.' But maybe you refer to some other moment?


One moment I recall is from On The Doorstep, where Bombur notes that he is too fat for 'flywalks' and that the knotted ropes are too slender for his weight -- again this is more of a reference that can simply be spoken by Bombur himself -- although in connection to this we get some physical comedy later when: '... up came Bombur, puffing and blowing while the ropes creaked, and still all was safe.'

Ok... but even here there are plenty of ways to 'overplay' this, and I fear Jackson will -- and of course this is subjective, and there will be (once again) no objective 'proof' that Jackson has gone 'too far' based on the text.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Oct 1 2012, 1:57pm)


kzer_za
Rivendell

Oct 1 2012, 2:10pm

Post #23 of 46 (435 views)
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Gandalf says "You're fat enough to count for two people" [In reply to] Can't Post

How subtle. Crazy Also, Tolkien is constantly attention to his fatness (he probably tells us "Bombur was fat" more than "Bilbo was short").

Tolkien generally had a more subtle sense of humor than Peter Jackson, but that doesn't mean he was incapable of tasteless and overdone jokes.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Oct 1 2012, 2:15pm)


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 1 2012, 2:52pm

Post #24 of 46 (383 views)
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It maybe [In reply to] Can't Post

that the fat jokes where one of the reasons PJ didn't like the Hobbit.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 1 2012, 3:19pm

Post #25 of 46 (382 views)
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Just as long as PJ doesn't have Bombur say he's "big boned" [In reply to] Can't Post

Otherwise I'll be throwing something at the screen...

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