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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Dwarf personalities

1415dr
The Shire

Feb 6 2013, 12:04pm

Post #1 of 15 (1259 views)
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Dwarf personalities Can't Post

Hi there. This is my first post to the forums. Iíve been reading for almost 10 years and I finally decided to join the conversation.
Anyway, I was very skeptical about how the Hobbit movie would turn out, but I actually really enjoyed it. I especially liked how all 13 dwarves had their own presence even if they didnít talk. I tested my memory and wrote down all 13 names and I was actually able to picture each of the actors with their correct name. This is a pretty big deal. Iíve been reading the Hobbit for 25 years and I never cared about any dwarves except Thorin and Bombur. Even in the Rankin Bass cartoon theyíre all fairly interchangeable. I wondered why I actually cared about the difference between Bifur and Bofur now.
I think it shows the great skill that Peter Jackson, the designers, and the actors have to be able to make a crowd of dwarves so memorable. I also think they might be giving each of the dwarves their own 15 minutes of fame across all 3 movies. Thatís why my favorite, Bombur, didnít have any lines. His time to shine will be in Mirkwood. It would be great to see him and poor Bilbo torturing each other with conversation about food when they run out of supplies. And they canít forget the drowsy water.
I think that AUJ focused on Balin, Bifur, Kili, and Dwalin more than anyone else. Dori had some great moments but he still has time to get his personality across (maybe in Beornís house). Ori and Gloin had some lines but they need some work too.
Overall Iím pleasantly surprised with how well they pulled it off. At first I was afraid they would just look goofy. I was wrong! The small details go a long way.


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 6 2013, 12:31pm

Post #2 of 15 (734 views)
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I feel the same way. [In reply to] Can't Post

After reading the Hobbit many times, I can honestly say that I never cared for the Dwarves very much. I would remember Thorin,Fili and Kili. And I remembered there was a fat one that has to be carried around in Mirkwood.
After watching the movie that changed completely. Like you, I remember each Dwarf, by their looks and personality. I feel very attached to each and every one of them. I think PJ did an amazing job in developing their character and I look forward to seeing more in the next 2 movies.
And by the way, I remember Thorin and his hair quite well now. Hard to forget!Blush


joec_34
Rivendell

Feb 6 2013, 4:29pm

Post #3 of 15 (673 views)
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Bifur or Bofur [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think that AUJ focused on Balin, Bifur, Kili, and Dwalin more than anyone else.

Bofur got a lot more focus than Bifur.

"Happy painting and God bless, my friend." - Bob Ross


Owain
Tol Eressea


Feb 6 2013, 5:58pm

Post #4 of 15 (608 views)
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Welcome to tORN, 1415dr! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I tested my memory and wrote down all 13 names and I was actually able to picture each of the actors with their correct name. This is a pretty big deal.


I agree. Tolkien himself, didn't really flesh out those characters. I've read The Hobbit many times over the years and even as a child I had a hard time picturing each of the dwarves as distinctive characters... except for Thorin, Balin, and Bombur.

This being the first movie of 3, I think PJ and Co. did a wonderful job of introducing us to the plot, themes, and ultimately establishing the characters for the 2nd and 3rd acts.

I remember PJ saying in several different interviews, that part of the reason he wasn't originally looking forward to making The Hobbit, was tackling the characters of so many dwarves. And once he stepped up to take over the director's chair for Guillermo Del Toro, the dwarves became a major delight.

As you've pointed out, the design of each of the dwarves, has played a key role in distinguishing them.

Thorin, Balin, and Bofur really stood out for me in this first movie... mostly because they enjoyed the bulk of the screen time.

Middle Earth is New Zealand!

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


Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 6 2013, 6:34pm

Post #5 of 15 (603 views)
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Hi & welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

I too found the dwarves so much more memorable, each in their own way. In addition to PJ's own hand in that, I think he also has a wonderful ability to give his actors space to contribute to the characters. I wonder if that's something they look for in the auditions, whether the actor has the ability to 'fill in the blanks' in ways that fit into the character and also expand it. Several of the actors have commented on how they were given the opportunity to make suggestions about their characters and were so happy to find that many times they were incorporated into the film.

I bet over the next two films, each of them will be given their moment or moments to shine.

Welcome again 1415dr! Pull up a comfy chair and make yourself at home :-)!


Lio
Lorien


Feb 7 2013, 3:30am

Post #6 of 15 (503 views)
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Welcome! And I love the Dwarf designs. [In reply to] Can't Post

Each Dwarf has his own, distinct personality that makes me love them all! I like how Bombur stands out from the crowd in AUJ despite not saying anything. He doesn't have any lines but he does have his moments! And I must say Ori is adorable! They really needed to give Nori a bit more to do though. He somehow stood out the least to me despite having starfish hair! Crazy

Although I hope the remaining movies focus on the Dwarves more or less equally (with the exception of Thorin who is obviously most important, and maybe Fili and Kili who seem to be getting extra attention). I'm not sure I like the idea of someone getting five minutes of fame in one movie and being relegated to the background in the others. I hope they all get something outstanding and heroic to do in the final battle!

Want to chat? AIM me at Yami Liokaiser!


Nunilo
Bree

Feb 7 2013, 4:56am

Post #7 of 15 (494 views)
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I can't wait for Mirkwood (mild book spoilers) [In reply to] Can't Post

As you said there is so much scope for characterisation there, what with their grumbling and problem solving (getting the boat). I am very much looking forward to them taking turns carrying the sleeping Bombur! It will also be very interesting to see if they are all still distinctive when wrapped up in spider webs and hanging from trees. (Hopefully that scene is included?)


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 7 2013, 6:00am

Post #8 of 15 (485 views)
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I'll join the small chorus and say, "I agree! and welcome to TORn!"// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Walk to Rivendell: There and Back Again Challenge - traveling through Middle Earth with thirteen rowdy Dwarves, one grumpy Wizard, and a beleaguered Hobbit

Join us, Thursdays on Main!


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 7 2013, 7:35am

Post #9 of 15 (475 views)
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Nice first post, 1415dr! [In reply to] Can't Post

And welcome to TORn. Smile

I think PJ's most brilliant stroke of genius with this trilogy was the decision to make each dwarf unique. Not only do they all have very distinctive looks and personalities, but most of them have unique backstories too (ok, so we don't actually see anyone's backstory in the movie but Thorin's, with a bit of Balin's and Dwalin's thrown in, but the backstories for most of the others are described in various "official" sources like Weta's Chronicles book). This makes the movie, to me at least, so much more interesting than if we had 12 more or less interchangeable dwarves, plus Thorin.

And don't even get me started on how great I think Thorin's characterization is in the movie, relative to the book. Movie-Thorin is a lot more like the Thorin in The Quest of Erebor (especially in the full-length version, published in the 2nd edition of The Annotated Hobbit) -- as seen through Gandalf's point of view -- rather than like the Thorin in the book -- as told from Bilbo's point of view. PJ and co did a fantastic job of extrapolating and reading between the lines, and giving us a fully and deeply characterized Thorin, something that is quite lacking in the book. Of course, Thorin's hair is pretty well characterized too...but I digress. Angelic


Old Toby
Gondor


Feb 7 2013, 3:52pm

Post #10 of 15 (458 views)
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Welcome, welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the boards! Very nice post!

I've just started reading through Weta's book, the Chronicles. It's absolutely fabulous, for those interested in the design process, not just of the sets, but particularly of each of the dwarves. It's amazing what they (the Weta designers and PJ) went through - their thinking, their ideas, their various sketches - in order to create the look of each of the dwarves they wanted to achieve. It was interesting that they said PJ wanted the actors to be fairly free of prosthetics on the lower half of their faces, so they 1) wouldn't suffer the discomforts that John Rhys-Davies had to go through, and 2) so they could be more expressive facially. Also some actors's skins and facial structure didn't lend themselves to a lot of prosthetics, such as Aiden Turner. Both he and Richard Armitage both got more nose and more eyebrow added, but that was pretty much it for them, and they were happy that RA could grow his own beard out that looked like the one they had for him anyway. (And of course I thought the one who designed his hair was a genius!)

The development of their costumes was also fascinating to me. They went into designing things with such passionate enthusiasm and detail, all the weapons having to be in keeping with their owners. And Richard Armitage is the one who came up with the idea of the branch/shield for Thorin. He proposed the idea to PJ, who liked it, and had Weta design it.

Evidently PJ had some clear ideas about the personalities of each of the dwarves, and what they wore and how they looked had to be in keeping with those ideas in order to make them the individuals they are. Also, each of the dwarves was 'color-coded' in keeping with Tolkien's descriptions, but in muted tones for the film. The inside of each of their hoods reflects this.

What PJ absolutely didn't want, according to the Chronicles, was 13 Gimlis. Once they got the actors for the film, they worked digitally with their faces to see what would work best for them, then with the actors themselves. The Chronicles really makes you appreciate how much work and love went into brining these dwarves to life for us.

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


Kirly
Lorien


Feb 7 2013, 7:08pm

Post #11 of 15 (416 views)
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I wonder what makes an individuals facial structure not lend itself to prosthetics.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

My avatar photo is Lake Tekapo in New Zealand's South Island. Taken by me in 2004 on a Red Carpet Tours LOTR Movie Location Tour. 'Twas the Vacation of a Lifetime!

pictures taken while on the tour are here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/Kirly7/LOTRNewZealandTour#


Angharad73
Rohan

Feb 7 2013, 7:40pm

Post #12 of 15 (419 views)
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I'm reading the Weta Chronicles, too! [In reply to] Can't Post

And it really is fascinating to see the kind of work and the thought-process that went into creating the individual dwarves, their looks, clothes and weaponry. It is amazing how they can all be so different, but still have enough common ground that identifes them as a different race than elves or men or hobbits.

I liked Gimly in LOTR, but it was kind of hard to actually really see his facial expressions with all those prosthetics. The dwarves in AUJ really have a far greater range of expressions thanks to the minimal prosthetics. I am glad that they don't all look alike - and Gloin still looks enough like Gimli to be able to make it plausible that they are father and son - and I'm very much looking forward to finding out more about their backstories and personalities, which I hope we will get in the remaining movies. They do seem like such a merry gathering!


Kimtc
Rohan


Feb 7 2013, 7:44pm

Post #13 of 15 (402 views)
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I couldn't remember all their names until I saw the movie! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
I tested my memory and wrote down all 13 names and I was actually able to picture each of the actors with their correct name. This is a pretty big deal.


I agree. Tolkien himself, didn't really flesh out those characters. I've read The Hobbit many times over the years and even as a child I had a hard time picturing each of the dwarves as distinctive characters... except for Thorin, Balin, and Bombur.

This being the first movie of 3, I think PJ and Co. did a wonderful job of introducing us to the plot, themes, and ultimately establishing the characters for the 2nd and 3rd acts.

I remember PJ saying in several different interviews, that part of the reason he wasn't originally looking forward to making The Hobbit, was tackling the characters of so many dwarves. And once he stepped up to take over the director's chair for Guillermo Del Toro, the dwarves became a major delight.

As you've pointed out, the design of each of the dwarves, has played a key role in distinguishing them.

Thorin, Balin, and Bofur really stood out for me in this first movie... mostly because they enjoyed the bulk of the screen time.



Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 7 2013, 9:29pm

Post #14 of 15 (412 views)
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good point [In reply to] Can't Post

about being able to see the actor "act" and not just walk around in plastic. The original Thorin with the Klingon forehead would have obscured too much amazing expressiveness. All of them so well done.

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.


iduna
Rivendell


Feb 13 2013, 2:47pm

Post #15 of 15 (502 views)
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Maybe prosthetics were too distorting [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember reading somewhere that with some characters, like Kili, the heavier prosthetics made AT look "too thuggish" -- so Kili wasn't looking like the character they'd imagined. He's young and this is his first quest. So, to keep Kili as a younger-looking, more innocent character, they didn't want to go too heavy.

 
 

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