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

Dec 20 2012, 10:08pm

Post #51 of 60 (682 views)
Why are you injecting this into this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

May I ask.

Is anyone here 'bashing' Jackson or Boyens?


Dec 20 2012, 10:38pm

Post #52 of 60 (656 views)
Yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

And why are we discussing whether PJ knows the appendecies or not at the Reading Room?

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Grey Havens

Dec 20 2012, 10:45pm

Post #53 of 60 (650 views)
Who exactly... [In reply to] Can't Post

... is 'bashing' Jackson in this thread?

(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 20 2012, 10:50pm)

The Shire

Dec 21 2012, 2:58am

Post #54 of 60 (649 views)
Please excuse me [In reply to] Can't Post

if I've broached a sore subject! I was honestly just curious because I've read some things about Tolkien but I'd never heard he thought about revising The Hobbit (beyond just Riddles in the Dark and other LotR-continuity parts). I don't have anything against PJ or Boyens; heavens if I can't keep Tolkien's biography straight in my head, I certainly don't expect busy, talented moviemakers like them to. Wink

Grey Havens

Dec 21 2012, 3:36am

Post #55 of 60 (833 views)
Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and we don't yet know who Macfalk thinks is bashing Jackson or Boyens. But I would only add that no one expects Peter Jackson to keep Tolkien's biography straight, if by that you are implying a lot of information (and yes I noticed the wink).

However if Jackson is going to choose to make comments about a specific 'text' that he is using, a text which will significantly alter the story of The Hobbit compared to the version readers know -- then one might, naturally enough I think, want to investigate a bit about that text before describing it to the press.

And again, yes he might arguably be busy. He's also quite wealthy and could have someone look into the matter for him -- or more simply, why not avail himself of the Tolkien consultants involved with the film, like Janet Croft.

(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 21 2012, 3:46am)


Dec 27 2012, 9:36pm

Post #56 of 60 (662 views)
JRRT's Rewrite [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that one of the interesting things about JRRT's abandoned rewrite, as seen in Rateliff's book, is that while he made the style more serious by eliminating the first- and second-person asides, he did not change the comic speech of the trolls, nor even alter their names to something less English. So from a stylistic point of view, his goal was not to make it closer to LotR (though that was certainly his intent in matters of plot detail), or less comical, but rather to adopt what he had come to consider a better, less patronizing writing style, noting that even his children had not cared for the original chattiness.

I posted an article a few months ago about Jackson's careless (or deliberately misleading) mischaracterization of the Appendices, and took a fair bit of heat (and some support) for my taking Jackson to task for this. In any case, what we get in the movie seems less to be an adaptation of that material than a general mining for scattered plot elements that are barely recognizable in the final screenplay. Radagast's investigation of Dol Guldur (seemingly surprised that there is dark sorcery at a place called the Hill of Dark Sorcery). The wholly invented Witch-king's tomb. The nearly complete alteration of the history involving Thror, Dain, Azog, and Thrain. And Balin, for that matter (who was a child of seven years at the sack of Erebor). We may still get a flashback involving Gandalf and Thrain, but we can be sure that it will not happen in the dungeons of the Necromancer as Gandalf learns that he is indeed Sauron. You may make your own list. And I have certainly seen comments in various forums from people who believe that this is all 'what Tolkien intended', almost certainly because they heard Jackson say so. Intentionally or not, Jackson has succeeded in spreading misinformation that people remember.

N.E. Brigand

Dec 27 2012, 11:40pm

Post #57 of 60 (597 views)
I missed your article in August. [In reply to] Can't Post

So I'm just catching up now with your good words. For anyone else who was away, here is its appearance on TORN's home page (with extensive comments following, many of them nonsense), and here is a discussion of the article on the Hobbit-movie board.

Reading the quotes from the Peter Jackson interview you cited, this one particularly struck me: "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." This reminds me of the announcer at the Cleveland TubaChristmas, who each year delivers a farewell message which is invariably described as deriving from "Ebeneezer Scrooge, as quoted by Charles Dickens". Tolkien's tale, like Dickens's, is not a work of journalism. What Gandalf is doing "offstage" matters only insomuch as his absence seems believable and Tolkien chooses to explain it. In fact, Gandalf's departures from the story are part of the art of the storytelling (let me say this again: not knowing what Gandalf is up to is part of the book's appeal) and not a mistake that needs correction.

Anyway, I am very glad to see someone make the point that the 1960 Hobbit probably wouldn't have been very much like Jackson's version!

You can make your own list.

FYI, on the movie board, titanium_hobbit has made a preliminary attempt to list differences between the book(s) and film. I'm going to link there to your post, for your comment on Balin's age, which hadn't been mentioned there.

Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Jan 1 2013, 9:51am

Post #58 of 60 (565 views)
Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I think Tolkien should have just started over - I find it strange he would think about re-writing the hobbit.

This makes me believe he wasn't happy with it.. :)

I am very happy I wondered into this post.
I can add this to the list of why I don't like Tolkien.


Jan 4 2013, 10:58am

Post #59 of 60 (578 views)
To be fair this doesnt seem heavly implied... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
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.

Jackson really doesnt seem to be making this point very strongly and I'd say the idea that Tolkien wrote parts of the appendices to "fill in the details" is not too far from the reality of the situation IMHO.


Jan 4 2013, 5:25pm

Post #60 of 60 (684 views)
But there are other interviews with him [In reply to] Can't Post

that shed light on these comments. Elthir, geordie, and myself have already heavily discussed all these (along with a few others). I actually found this whole thread to be very enlightening in regards to Peter's thoughts on the material.

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).

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