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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey--the unrepresented audience; or, will someone please think of the children!

Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Jan 22 2013, 4:34pm


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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey--the unrepresented audience; or, will someone please think of the children! Can't Post

In reading all the reviews and opinions that people have shared here on the forum, there is one voice (or many small voices) we don't hear. The Hobbit was written for children, but not just as a static unchanging book--just like children are not static and unchanging, but grow and learn over time--The Hobbit evolves the same way. Beginning as rather childlike and occasionally silly, it then evolves and grows just like children do. It never completely loses that childlike and whimsical perspective, but by the end the child has grown and the whimsy becomes a bittersweet memory of the past.

In this perspective, it is interesting that the audience for whom this book was mainly written are those whose voices are not heard here, many of whom have seen the movie. We argue and debate whether Radagast is too silly, with his stick insect and crazy bunny sled and eye-crossing; we groan over the exaggerated and over-the-top portrayal of the stone-giants; we shake our heads over the endless running and falling bridges and the "civilized grotesqueness" of the Goblin King. And yet...

I can't speak for all children who have seen the movie, but I've asked some of my friend's children what they thought; as well as my own daughter. Interesting answers!

One of the universally liked scenes is Gollum and Bilbo. There's certainly threat and danger--Gollum kills the goblin that has fallen down with Bilbo. Bilbo both hears and sees this happen, and Sting's glowing stops when the goblin dies--showing Bilbo that not only is Gollum deadly, but that Gollum is an unknown enemy and not a goblin. But there are also parts that are more whimsical and even touching: Gollum's excitement at the Riddle-game, perching his chin on a rock while listening to Bilbo's riddle, his hilarious faces when trying to think of the answers; his sorrow at losing the one thing most Precious to him--what child has not lost a beloved toy and cried, making parents look frantically for the missing object?

Most of the children I've talked to loved the Stone Giants! What is "over-the-top" to us is both entertaining and heart-stopping anticipation to them. Will they be hit by the flying rocks? Will the Dwarves find each other again? Will Bilbo be rescued from the cliff?

Radagast is another favorite, and here the words of children makes me realize that Radagast isn't just for us adults, but for children as well. Most loved the stick insect, the wild bunny sled, the care for which he shows to Sebastian in trying to heal him--and almost in tears when he realizes nothing is helping. This softens the danger that Radagast faces when he follows the spiders to Dul Guldur and faces the Witch-King; and his blind fear in running away from the Necromancer is countered somewhat by the rabbits starting to run with the sled, almost leaving Radagast behind! Danger contrasted with silliness, this is what the children I've talked to enjoyed. My daughter in particular loved Radagast because of his "charm and personality". I have a feeling we'll see more of Radagast, and his charm and personality will be needed in the very real dangers he will face.

The Great Goblin's final line-which many of us found distracting--again lessens the graphic impact of the death of the Great Goblin by Gandalf's sword. Would him screaming in pain, or being decapitated be more effective? You would have a theater full of children gasping in horror. And the final fall of the Goblin King onto the Dwarves again softens the gritty reality of his death.

I think many of us would have liked the more serious tone of Lord of the Rings, which is the adult version of the adventure which began in the childhood of the Hobbit. However, I feel that AUJ has kept very well the tone of the book, as well as the spirit in which it was written, and especially the audience--both old and young. There is already a lot of frightening scenes and characters in the movie (which has given it a PG-13 rating), including Azog, the Trolls, Smaug! Gollum. Without some lighter tones in the movie, it would be too strong for one of the audiences for which the book was intended.

So! This wasn't meant to be a disagreement of others opinions, this was meant to show that there are other perspectives that we don't always hear. I would like to ask others here, do you have a child that watched this? Or know children who have? What do they think? Did they like it, or was it too silly, or too scary?

Thanks!

There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don't expect too much.

Subject User Time
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey--the unrepresented audience; or, will someone please think of the children! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 4:34pm
    Good thoughts Rostron2 Send a private message to Rostron2 Jan 22 2013, 4:43pm
        Good thoughts :) Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 8:01pm
        Agreed. AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Jan 23 2013, 11:15pm
            Agreed Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 23 2013, 11:24pm
            Me too Súlimë Send a private message to Súlimë Jan 24 2013, 8:09am
                They tried to split the difference, didn't they? Kassandros Send a private message to Kassandros Jan 24 2013, 1:26pm
    through the eyes of children andwise Send a private message to andwise Jan 22 2013, 5:08pm
        Thank you, andwise! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 7:59pm
            happy to say i think we're right! andwise Send a private message to andwise Jan 22 2013, 11:40pm
    This was a great read. Thank you. // Kassandros Send a private message to Kassandros Jan 22 2013, 5:13pm
    Thanks for starting this thread! arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Jan 22 2013, 5:16pm
        Thank you for sharing! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 5:37pm
    I took my daughter to see the movie... Angharad73 Send a private message to Angharad73 Jan 22 2013, 5:55pm
        I'm glad she liked it! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 7:42pm
            We are reading the book now! Angharad73 Send a private message to Angharad73 Jan 22 2013, 7:55pm
    wow Oscarilbo Send a private message to Oscarilbo Jan 22 2013, 7:27pm
        The Book and the Movie Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 22 2013, 7:52pm
    Wow... MasterOrc Send a private message to MasterOrc Jan 22 2013, 9:38pm
    Wonderful! Let's too embrace our inner child (now where did I put it?) belfalas Send a private message to belfalas Jan 22 2013, 10:18pm
        Delightful Read IdrilofGondolin Send a private message to IdrilofGondolin Jan 22 2013, 10:35pm
    The child in all of us Rostron2 Send a private message to Rostron2 Jan 22 2013, 11:50pm
    Thanks for this topic Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Jan 23 2013, 12:49am
    Exceptional post Elessar Send a private message to Elessar Jan 23 2013, 1:05am
    * mods up* -- thanks for this perspective! weaver Send a private message to weaver Jan 23 2013, 2:17am
        Yes! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 23 2013, 2:37am
    Excellent post! Súlimë Send a private message to Súlimë Jan 23 2013, 3:38am
    Exquisite post! Old Toby Send a private message to Old Toby Jan 23 2013, 4:44am
    The other thing that these stories always bring me Rostron2 Send a private message to Rostron2 Jan 23 2013, 5:00pm
    What excellent insight! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jan 24 2013, 2:41am
        There is ample deep and abiding truth AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Jan 24 2013, 5:17am
    Very nice post, Yva Send a private message to Yva Jan 24 2013, 7:20pm
        It is all subjective! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 24 2013, 7:38pm
    Thank you all for your responses! :) Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 27 2013, 4:57pm

 
 
 

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