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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Copycat Dialogue or a Prelude to Genius? TH vs LOTR scriptwriting


Jan 31 2013, 7:05pm

Post #1 of 23 (2427 views)
Copycat Dialogue or a Prelude to Genius? TH vs LOTR scriptwriting Can't Post

It has occurred to me, upon multiple viewings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, that one can find many examples in which particular phrases from the dialogue are strongly remindful of specific scenes in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I've tried to compile a list of those that I have managed to spot and the scenes in which they occur.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Bag End - An Unexpected Party)
Gandalf: "... let us have a little more light"

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Moria - Journey in the Dark)
Gandalf: "Let me risk a little more light"
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Rivendell)
Gandalf to Thorin: "...we have questions that need to be answered"

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Bag End)
Gandalf to Frodo: " Questions. Questions that need answering"
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Riddles in the Dark)
Gollum to Bilbo: "Mustn't ask us! Not it's business!"

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (The Dead Marshes)
Gollum to Frodo: "Mustn't ask us! Not it's business!"
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Trollshaws)
Kili to Tom the troll: "Drop him!"

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Shelob's Lair)
Sam: "Let him go!"

(Okay, so in this case, the dialogue isn't very similar - but the actions are. In The Hobbit, the trolls ruthlessly throw Bilbo upon Kili; whilst in Sam's case, Shelob carelessly drops Frodo's body to the ground).
I could swear that I heard Gollum's "That's a meaty mouthful!" to Bilbo during the Riddles in the Dark sequence, somewhere in The Two Towers or The Return of the King - but I just can't find it.

However, I'm sure there are more phrases like this!

I think it's quite fascinating that there is this subtle (or not so subtle in case of fans) connection - apart from the other references throughout the film. I have no doubt that we will see more of these extracts we've grown so accustomed to through The Lord of the Rings, in the next two installments of The Hobbit

I don't think it's merely a case of the screenwriters "adopting" parts of the Rings script and using it sparingly into that of The Hobbit. But rather as a means to further reinforce the connection between both stories and create an interesting symmetry between the simple and innocent story, with the darker and more complex tale.

On the other hand, does it maybe (like some of the used score from Rings) draw you back out of this film and make you think of that particular dialogue as it occurred in The Lord of the Rings?

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review


Jan 31 2013, 7:19pm

Post #2 of 23 (1548 views)
Another one is .... [In reply to] Can't Post

There's another one that stands out to me everytime I see it:

An Unexpected Journey
On Thorin's arrival at Bag End, Gandalf: "He is here"

Return of the King EE
When Pippin looks in the palantir, Legolas: "He is here!"

'And I name you elf-friend and blessed. May your shadow never grow less (or stealing would be too easy)!'

Tol Eressea

Jan 31 2013, 7:22pm

Post #3 of 23 (1495 views)
I agree and think this is more likely... [In reply to] Can't Post

a means to further reinforce the connection between both stories and create an interesting symmetry between the simple and innocent story, with the darker and more complex tale.

There is symmetry between the two stories that Tolkien wrote, so I don't see why there can't be in the movies.

I think the copycat dialogue doesn't consider the context in which those lines are placed or the characters that are voicing them. I don't see a reason why Gandalf or Gollum or any character couldn't have sayings or phrases that would reverberate throughout time.

Middle Earth is New Zealand!

"Question everything, embrace the bad, and hold on to the good."


Jan 31 2013, 7:25pm

Post #4 of 23 (1446 views)
Think it is just coincidence [In reply to] Can't Post

I think anybody could take any two unreleated movies and find the same or similar lines of dialogue in each movie. One needs to look at the context in which the dialogue was placed.

Registered User

Jan 31 2013, 7:45pm

Post #5 of 23 (1441 views)
Fly you fools/ This way/run you fools [In reply to] Can't Post

Also lots of "You know of whom I speak" or something similar

Grey Havens

Jan 31 2013, 8:11pm

Post #6 of 23 (1420 views)
Considering that most of the lines you cite [In reply to] Can't Post

were spoken by the same characters, it could also be a case of individuals using certain phrases, patterns of speech, as a matter of course. After all, if it's possible to recognize individuals by their writing styles, the same should hold for their speech patterns. For me, it's a continuity that doesn't warrant the negative implications of a word like 'copycat' but, as you point out, helps reinforce the knowledge that this very different story happens in the same world as LotR and involves some of the same people.

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Jan 31 2013, 8:16pm

Post #7 of 23 (1394 views)
In all of your examples [In reply to] Can't Post

the same characters are using similar dialogue or phrases in AUJ and LOTR....
You wouldn't expect the same character to speak in a totally different way or use and entirely different phrase when trying to communicate the same idea, would you?
Gandalf says "I want more light" in a very specific way...so when he says it more than once, it should be somewhat the same. Not that you were, but to say that this is 'copycat dialogue' would be completely unfounded.


Jan 31 2013, 8:19pm

Post #8 of 23 (1377 views)
I agree with the speech patterns... [In reply to] Can't Post

Most of these are spoken by characters in the previous trilogy...gandalf and gollum. Of course they will say similar things in similar situations (asking for a light in a dark place?? Never!). The Kili/Sam comparison is not similar at all in my mind, though- they are telling the bad guy to drop their friends...I'm not really sure what else you would say in that situation.

I would argue that the characters DIDN'T use similar speech patterns from one trilogy to the next, people would complain that they didn't feel the same.

(This post was edited by bborchar on Jan 31 2013, 8:21pm)


Jan 31 2013, 8:46pm

Post #9 of 23 (1372 views)
How 'bout within the film? [In reply to] Can't Post





NAArP: Not An Ardent purist since Arda was dented


Jan 31 2013, 8:53pm

Post #10 of 23 (1352 views)
Not quite... [In reply to] Can't Post







Jan 31 2013, 8:59pm

Post #11 of 23 (1353 views)
similar lines. [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice one.I spotted them too.I think its great that we get these phrases repeated,it ties stuff together and as people have previously said it makes sense that characters would reuse certain phrases,just like we do ourselves....did you also spot the 'get a fire going' from thorin and the gandalf bump of the head on the chandalier?brilliant.

Arrow....black arrow,I have saved you to the last.you have never failed me and always I have recovered you.I had you from my father and he from old.if ever you came from the forges of the true king under the mountain,go now and speed well


Jan 31 2013, 9:54pm

Post #12 of 23 (1327 views)
not really... [In reply to] Can't Post

People tend to use certain phrases in their speech often--so it's not surprising that Gandalf would be slightly repetitive (and of course we KNOW Gollum is compulsively repetitive.)

Lily Fairbairn

Jan 31 2013, 10:04pm

Post #13 of 23 (1327 views)
What about . . . [In reply to] Can't Post





Jan 31 2013, 10:50pm

Post #14 of 23 (1273 views)
And [In reply to] Can't Post

He's Dead Jim
Don't shoot.
Don't run or I'll shoot
Don't make me do it.
I love you.

I can't remember but maybe someone else here can what the most repeated line of dialog is in movies in general, but I think it is Don't shoot. SmileSmile

The question for all of us is, "Do casual watchers of these movies notice this or is it just us?

Kristin Thompson

Jan 31 2013, 11:25pm

Post #15 of 23 (1287 views)
I noticed most of these [In reply to] Can't Post

Knowing how screenwriters work, and how these particular screenwriters work, I have no doubt that all these are very, very deliberate. People who know the films well will consider them repetitive to the point of preciousness. (Gandalf's "He is here" when Thorin arrives seems unnecessarily portentous, IMHO. Well, yes, he was invited and expected.) Casual viewers might notice them. I suspect they are aimed at the latter.


Feb 1 2013, 1:21am

Post #16 of 23 (1243 views)
The Gollum one is obviously deliberate, though others could be coincidential [In reply to] Can't Post

People say the same phrases in real life, so why not characters?


Feb 1 2013, 4:57am

Post #17 of 23 (1186 views)
Re [In reply to] Can't Post

In Gandalf's case, I got a sense of phrases he uses with some regularity. Of course "let there be light" is always a loaded variation on a phrase.

But Gandalf thematically is all about shedding light on situations, and answering questions.

Saruman also mirrored his line in Fellowship of "My old friend."

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 1 2013, 7:09am

Post #18 of 23 (1188 views)
Also, "It cannot be", said by Aragorn and Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

Aragorn says it when he sees Gandalf the White, while Thorin says it when he sees Azog.

Both of them say it with incredulity at seeing someone they thought was dead.


Feb 1 2013, 1:17pm

Post #19 of 23 (1140 views)
Says basically the same thing to Pippin and Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

Which is basically dont talk about this, dont talk about that, actually better if you dont speak at all - says this to Thorin as they are making their way down into Rivendell.

There are quite a few times where the dialogue is either the same or almost the same.

I think it is a deliberate nod to the previous trilogy, it seems to happen quite a lot and as i have watched the lotr films quite a few times i picked up on them but my friend who i went with - regular guy not super fan/geek didnt.

So really i think they were placed there either for us super fans or basically themselves.

I would prefer less copying in the next film as that combined with lots of the music being used again made me feel like it was almost done on the cheap in parts.

Grey Havens

Feb 1 2013, 1:55pm

Post #20 of 23 (1123 views)
Gandalf example [In reply to] Can't Post

I like your additional example, Gandalf's comments to Pippin as they go to speak to Denethor, and his comments to Thorin as they approach Rivendell.

But I would say this is again an example which, as has been said before, is about consistent characterization. In both cases, the person making the similar comments is Gandalf. He is in similar situations in both scenes - he has an agenda he feels it is important to further, and he needs the involvement in it of persons (Denethor/Elrond) who do not necessarily share this agenda in full. He has plans, in both cases, for how to obtain this cooperation (he expects Denethor is ready and willing to defend Gondor against Sauron';s armies, and expects Elrond will be curious about the map and willing to apply his deep knowledge of Middle Earth lore to plumb its mysteries), and understands which information it would be wise not to share. (For Denethor, no mention of returning Kings, for Elrond, no mention of the Dwarves' quest). I would say that there are also differences in this scene which reflect Gandalf's understanding of the (rather different) personalities he is speaking to also. Pippin is likely to just say things out of friendliness/chattiness and without considering the bigger picture; Thorin is predisposed to dislike and distrust Elrond and has himself been maneuvered by Gandalf into coming to Rivendell and thus is likely to be rude (which, actually, he is, but perhaps to a lesser degree than he might have been because of Gandalf's sharing of his plan).


Feb 1 2013, 2:00pm

Post #21 of 23 (1117 views)
Oh yh i understand [In reply to] Can't Post

And it seems that most of the repeated lines are coming from Gandalf either talking to one person, the group as a whole or even just himself.

As i say i think it is very deliberate but just for someone who has watched the films a few times like myself, combined with my irritation that there was quite a bit of music from lotr being used made me feel they were using too much of the same - like i could guess what they were going to say before he said it.

Like you say i think its just his way of speaking - it didnt ruin the film or anything for me, lol, more i just noticed it and went 'oh he says that in lotr when ....' and led to a feeling of it being rushed or too many pats on the back for fans/themselves. I am sure i will feel different when DOS comes out.


Feb 1 2013, 6:22pm

Post #22 of 23 (1104 views)
I've written [In reply to] Can't Post

and produced for the stage. It's very difficult not to re-use phrasing when you are working in the same genre, and dialogue style. Very difficult.

Some of it is certainly character-based. Gandalf's lines certainly are very 'Gandalfian' where it's similar.


Feb 4 2013, 3:21pm

Post #23 of 23 (1430 views)
I spotted a couple at the weekend.. [In reply to] Can't Post

They were:

Balin's 'The enemy got there first' about the attempt to reclaim Moria reminded me of Gandalf's 'The enemy found him first' when talking about his search for Gollum.

And Thorin's 'What help came from the Elves?' when he and Gandalf are talking at the abandoned farmhouse made me think of Theoden's 'Where was Gondor when...' speech at Helm's Deep.

I don't know that either means anything particularly; they just triggered memories of LOTR for me. No bad thing really Smile

"...under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth."


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