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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Did Tolkien actually want to rewrite The Hobbit?
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Níniel
The Shire


Dec 17 2012, 5:02pm

Post #1 of 60 (1567 views)
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Did Tolkien actually want to rewrite The Hobbit? Can't Post

Please excuse me if this has already discussed. I have been wondering about this a lot lately. I keep hearing from various sources, most notably PJ, something like this:

"After he wrote Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wanted to rewrite the Hobbit in a similar, more mature style, but eventually gave up on the idea."

I was just wondering if anyone can substantiate this claim. Didn't "The Quest of Erebor" basically accomplish this (albeit in a short space)?


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Dec 17 2012, 5:08pm

Post #2 of 60 (776 views)
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Yes, but not badly enough to complete a full revision... [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien did begin a complete revision of The Hobbit, but stopped after showing his early efforts to a friend who told him that it was very nice--but it just wasn't The Hobbit. Tolkien did rewrite "Riddles in the Dark" and parts of the following chapter to bring the book more in line with The Lord of the Rings.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Níniel
The Shire


Dec 17 2012, 5:13pm

Post #3 of 60 (609 views)
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thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the reply! I was wondering if you could explain where you got this info (Tolkien biography, letters, etc)?


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Dec 17 2012, 5:27pm

Post #4 of 60 (660 views)
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My source [In reply to] Can't Post

I got this from the two-volume The History of The Hobbit written by John D. Rateliff. The book includes early drafts of The Hobbit as well as the existing text and notes for the uncompleted 1960 revision.

I believe that there are also notes about the proposed changes in The Annotated Hobbit, but I have yet to read that book.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


geordie
Tol Eressea

Dec 17 2012, 5:34pm

Post #5 of 60 (616 views)
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If I might pop in - [In reply to] Can't Post

- the info is to be found in its fullest form in John Rateliffe's two-part work 'The History of The Hobbit'. It's an odd story - basically, JRR published TH; the publishers wanted a sequel, and in December 1937 he began writing what would turn out to be LotR. But in 1947, he realized that Gollum's character didn't gel with that in LotR, so he sent what he intended as a sample of a new ch. 5 to the publishers. And boy, was he surprised to see this new material in print when Allen & Unwin published the 2nd ed. on 1951!


geordie
Tol Eressea

Dec 17 2012, 5:35pm

Post #6 of 60 (595 views)
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Gosh, you're quick - [In reply to] Can't Post

- posted your reply while I was still typing mine.

Smile


Níniel
The Shire


Dec 17 2012, 5:39pm

Post #7 of 60 (580 views)
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Wow, that's an interesting story!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 17 2012, 9:08pm

Post #8 of 60 (663 views)
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Just to add... [In reply to] Can't Post

... there is no indication that Tolkien was including material from the Appendices as the filmmakers have, in The Hobbit proper I mean. In my opinion some of Jackson's commentary has implied [even if unintentionally] that Tolkien intended this.

Tolkien revised The Hobbit for the second edition of 1951. It's a bit of an unusual story in general [already hinted at by geordie], as to how this revision came about, but generally speaking, a notable revision was made with respect to Gollum's relationship with the One Ring [as it came to be].

Tolkien next wrote the Quest of Erebor for inclusion in the Appendices, but cut most of this out of the Appendices to lighten the boat (as JRRT put it in a letter).

Later JRRT began a major revision -- the 1960 Hobbit -- but abandoned it quite early, as already noted in the thread. In addition to changes to the text, Tolkien was also trying to fix problematic details: like the phases of the moon for example, or distances, or why Gandalf could not read the name [in runes] Orcrist on Orcrist for another example.

In the 1960s JRRT revised The Hobbit again for the third edition, due to the Ace Books controversy.

I think that's a correct external chronology... if very very simplified!


(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 17 2012, 9:16pm)


demanon
Rivendell


Dec 18 2012, 1:12am

Post #9 of 60 (597 views)
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look for the Steven Colbert [In reply to] Can't Post

interview with Peter jackson. Peter asks Steven about this and Steven schools PJ on it.. Talk about a great moment! Oh heck heres the link

http://www.colbertnation.com/...6-2012-peter-jackson


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 18 2012, 3:47am

Post #10 of 60 (564 views)
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Yes but... [In reply to] Can't Post

... Stephen seems to confuse things a bit. As I see this video...

... Peter Jackson raises the idea, with Stephen Colbert, that the Appendices were Tolkien's notes to revise The Hobbit. First Jackson says something like, this is the case as he understands things, and then that he 'heard' this, but in any case asks Mr. Colbert about it.

Stephen does not specifically note that Jackson is wrong, but gives an explanation that does not confirm Jackson's idea at least. Mr Colbert, while wearing his 'Hobbit feet' incidentally, explains about The Quest of Erebor (the text), but at the end I think he confuses this a bit with the 1960 Hobbit.

Tolkien explained that The Quest of Erebor was cut from the Appendices to lighten the boat. Stephen's explanation was that Tolkien's publishers sort of 'rejected' it, or at least gave the opinion that it was nice but not The Hobbit -- but that rather seems to be the response from an unknown critic to Tolkien regarding the later 1960 Hobbit.

I'm a fan of Stephen but he seems to have mistakenly taken the response to Tolkien's [abandoned] 1960 Hobbit and given it to Tolkien's publishers as a response to The Quest of Erebor. Although he does add that he thinks the entire scenario he described is the case, implying that he is not wholly certain about all of it.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 18 2012, 3:48am)


Escapist
Gondor


Dec 18 2012, 3:57am

Post #11 of 60 (577 views)
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Well there might be some split hairs lying around here somewhere <checks the floor> [In reply to] Can't Post

What do we know:
*Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (including those parts that were included in the appendices), The Quest for Erebor, and other works all set in the same world and involving many repeated characters, events that reference each other, and a continuous timeline drawing events all together.
*Tolkien mentioned something about revising The Hobbit
*The only person that would really know what Tolkien was intending would be the man himself - no matter what you might think

So, is anyone suggesting that Tolkien's revision of The Hobbit would have been undertaken without the use of any related appendix material?
If something were to be used in the process of a revision, does that mean that it would have to necessarily put to that use exclusively? Similarly, if something is used as part of the appendix to something else, does that mean it is excluded for use in any other way?

I sometimes wonder ... yes being precise is important ... but can anyone really be as precise as they claim to be about this to the extent that they can definitively state what Tolkien's full intentions were for the appendix material to the exclusion of anything else?


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 18 2012, 5:23pm

Post #12 of 60 (538 views)
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But Peter Jackson has introduced the idea... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that the Appendices were initially written as 'notes' to revise The Hobbit. Why does he think this? And do you agree?

If Jackson wants to better justify his films by pointing out the mere 'possibility' that Tolkien might have actually revised The Hobbit in this way, that's one thing -- but he is rather implying that this is what Tolkien did intend, at least at one point, by mis-characterizing the Appendices as notes to revise The Hobbit...

... and conflating that with the general truth that Tolkien did intend to revise The Hobbit [again, at least at one point in a 'major' sense, but abandoned this, although the texts of that revision are now available in The History of The Hobbit].


(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 18 2012, 5:29pm)


Escapist
Gondor


Dec 18 2012, 5:28pm

Post #13 of 60 (489 views)
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That sounds too precise to be warranted to me // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 18 2012, 5:30pm

Post #14 of 60 (482 views)
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What exactly... [In reply to] Can't Post

... sounds too precise? Are you going to argue that the Appendices were just 'notes' to actually revise The Hobbit?


Escapist
Gondor


Dec 18 2012, 5:48pm

Post #15 of 60 (471 views)
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no // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


elevorn
Lorien


Dec 18 2012, 6:16pm

Post #16 of 60 (465 views)
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when did he introduce this idea?// [In reply to] Can't Post

 



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


geordie
Tol Eressea

Dec 18 2012, 6:38pm

Post #17 of 60 (517 views)
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If nobody minds, i'll just pop in this quote here - [In reply to] Can't Post

- it's from the article 'In their own words' on the Home page -


On the addition of Galadriel and material from the appendices:
Peter: It goes back to the appendices. We can adapt “The Hobbit” and we can take these appendices, which appear in “Return of the King,” which has material I think he was developing as an expanded version of “The Hobbit.” >snip<

So I think he was intending to go back and revise “The Hobbit” or write a companion novel that was going to sort of tie it all together. He never did publish that book or even finish it, but a lot of the material his son published in the back of “Return of the King.”
-end quote -
So according to pJ, the Appendices contain material published by Christopher. Which is nonsense. Earlier this year, pJ announced 'We. Have had Access. To the Appendices! - and later he said that the Appendices are in 'some of the later editions of return of the King'. The fact is that it was JRR who published the Appendices, in the first printing of RotK in October 1955. And in every hardback edition ever since. The Appendices have been available for the last 57 years!


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 18 2012, 6:47pm

Post #18 of 60 (474 views)
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Here, in this interview... [In reply to] Can't Post

... he raises the idea, first saying as he understands things (or similar), then saying that he 'heard' it, and ultimately asks Stephen Colbert about it.

Earlier someone quoted this much [at another site]. Sorry I don't have the source.


Quote

'That goes back to JRR Tolkien writing The Hobbit first, for children, and only after did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when The Lord of the Rings came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious.

What people have to realize is we've adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that's what you'd call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time. In 1936, when Tolkien was writing that book, he didn't have a clue what Gandalf was doing. But later on, when he did The Lord of the Rings and he'd hit on this whole epic story, he was going to go back and revise The Hobbit and he wrote all these notes about how Gandalf disappears and was really investigating the possible return of Sauron, the villain from The Lord of the Rings. Sauron doesn't appear at all in The Hobbit. Tolkien was retrospectively fitting The Hobbit to embrace that mythology.

He never wrote that book, but there are 125 pages of notes published at the back of Return of the King in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially his expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them.' Said Jackson: 'We haven't just adapted The Hobbit; we've adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together. The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We've explained it using Tolkien's own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in The Lord of the Rings era and incorporate it with The Hobbit.'





Jackson's more implying things here in my opinion, and even if unintentionally, he's also leaving out details about the actual textual history of The Hobbit.

Ah geordie beat me to it!


elevorn
Lorien


Dec 18 2012, 7:05pm

Post #19 of 60 (454 views)
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okay... [In reply to] Can't Post

So is the issue that he refers to the Appendices as notes? or that he incorrectly understands when they were added on? I think its kind of well known that Tolkien flirted and even began rewriting the Hobbit to fit the tone of his Mythology and abandoned it for whatever reason.

Tolkien wrote "The Quest For Erebor" it was unfinished and published by Christopher in "Unfinished Tales". It also exists in the Appendices and is quite similar in nature is it not? PJ only had access to the Appendices of LOTR so he couldn;t really go around saying they used "Quest for Erebor" for script writing stuff, so somewhere in the conversation of script writing they probably took up the language of calling them notes, which, I mean they kind of are notes meant to fill in the gaps of the history writing style of the book.

I don't think he was necessarily meaning to state that they were only notes and meant to be drafted out on a much larger form. But I guess I can see where he may have implied that. I watched the Colbert Report with that interview and didn't get that sense. I felt more like Peter wanted Stephen to talk about it and for himself to come across as ignorant to any other story other than what they had access to. Plus, how many interviews had he done and how much sleep had he had? I know those guys do a whirlwind of interviews in one day.



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 18 2012, 8:59pm

Post #20 of 60 (456 views)
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the issue at the moment [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
So is the issue that he refers to the Appendices as notes? or that he incorrectly understands when they were added on?



Rather the issue is that he states [and also elsewhere implies] that the Appendices were notes made with the intention of actually revising The Hobbit.




Quote
Tolkien wrote "The Quest For Erebor" it was unfinished and published by Christopher in "Unfinished Tales". It also exists in the Appendices and is quite similar in nature is it not?




It survived somewhat. As I noted already, Tolkien said it was cut out of the Appendices to lighten the boat.



Quote
PJ only had access to the Appendices of LOTR so he couldn;t really go around saying they used "Quest for Erebor" for script writing stuff, so somewhere in the conversation of script writing they probably took up the language of calling them notes, which, I mean they kind of are notes meant to fill in the gaps of the history writing style of the book.



But not 'notes' [even if one calls them that] intended to revise The Hobbit. And Tolkien did revise The Hobbit in 1951, and again in the 1960s as well.




Quote
I felt more like Peter wanted Stephen to talk about it and for himself to come across as ignorant to any other story other than what they had access to. Plus, how many interviews had he done and how much sleep had he had? I know those guys do a whirlwind of interviews in one day.




As geordie and I have provided, Peter Jackson has noted this elsewhere. By virtue of ultimately asking Stephen about it one could say that he reveals that he wasn't sure, but he still raised the matter yet again [as he had in print], first explaining [in this interview] that this was the case as he understood it, or heard it -- then asks if it's true.

And I think Peter Jackson must have had time -- even to give the job to someone else -- to investigate this before talking to the press, or to Stephen Colbert.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 18 2012, 9:01pm)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 19 2012, 12:11am

Post #21 of 60 (441 views)
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I read this a few days ago [In reply to] Can't Post

and brought it up in one of the thread on the Hobbit board, but it's since been long buried - probably on page 4 or 5 by now Laugh

Anyway, when I read it, I was just shocked at the implications of the quote. I wonder if Jackson actually believes that's what the appendices are, or if he's just trying to explain it to someone who doesn't know, or if he's just blowing smoke to make it appear that his added material has some basis in Tolkien.

I don't know about you, but it just saddens me (and infuriates me) that the very people who are adapting this material don't seem to know what it actually is.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 19 2012, 12:16am

Post #22 of 60 (463 views)
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Philippa [In reply to] Can't Post

As I recall, wasn't Philippa initially brought on board LOTR because she knew the material so well? So I wonder if Peter has just let her (and possibly Fran) mine the appendices and he just works on the script based on what they report to him? It would explain why he doesn't seem to understand what they are.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 19 2012, 1:11am

Post #23 of 60 (468 views)
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...and Fran perhaps don't know the appendices that well, either. [In reply to] Can't Post

That is, if I was wrong here, and it was Ms. Walsh not the New York Times reporter who thought that there was lots of information about Gollum to be gleaned from the appendices.

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Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 19 2012, 3:40am

Post #24 of 60 (421 views)
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It's interesting, to say the least [In reply to] Can't Post

And with all this misinformation going about between the three, it goes a long way to explaining why the appendix stuff in the new film is so wonky.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 19 2012, 4:25am

Post #25 of 60 (436 views)
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the smoke [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
... or if he's just blowing smoke to make it appear that his added material has some basis in Tolkien.




This is my problem with it: I've never heard anyone characterize the Appendices as notes once written with intent to revise The Hobbit... until the film comes along... and oddly enough, the filmmakers are using the Appendices to 'revise' The Hobbit.


I'll still give Jackson the benefit of the doubt that he's not raising this to better justify his films. Incidentally Janet Brennan Croft just revealed that she was consulted for the film, and she notes [Mythsoc list]:



Quote
As David Bratman said, they had the rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but not to any other material. The “Blue Wizards” line is an example of something I told them they shouldn’t use since it’s from Unfinished Tales – I don’t know why they used it anyway, but I get the feeling that Peter Jackson is similar to Tolkien in one respect – he seems about as easy to influence as a Bandersnatch!



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