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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
what if the prologue sequence was narrated by Thorin during the unexpected party instead of by Bilbo at the beggining?

LordElrond
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 4:39am

Post #1 of 16 (757 views)
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what if the prologue sequence was narrated by Thorin during the unexpected party instead of by Bilbo at the beggining? Can't Post

Even though I loved Ian Holm's voice over for the prolougue I still wish that the movie had opened with young Bilbo at Bag End. Just a little narration from Ian Holm where he introduces Bilbo Baggins starting with "in a hole in the ground.." and then talking about how he was about to go on an adventure would've been the good way to do it. Having no prologue at the start would make everything else that comes later more "unexpected" such as the dwarves showing up at Bag End. Since we were already shown a history of dwarves and know the main story will be involving them it took away the surprise. I remember the first time reading The Hobbit and the dwarves showing up seperately was very unexpected for me and it would've worked well in the film. If the movie had started with a clueless Bilbo I think the audience (especially non book readers) would feel more connected with him and the Dale/Erebor sequence would've been more powerful had it been told by Thorin at the party since it would be the first introduction of Middle Earth outside The Shire on such a large scale. Does anyone else wish it had been done this way?

Discuss.


Kimtc
Rohan


Feb 8 2013, 5:09am

Post #2 of 16 (384 views)
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I thought Gandalf could do it [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't mind the sequence of events in the movie now, but I did think that, if they had wanted to, they could have eliminated old Bilbo and Frodo and just had Gandalf do the exposition narration cold (like Galadriel did in FOTR). The existing one is fine, though.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 8 2013, 5:23am

Post #3 of 16 (375 views)
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Loved it as it was [In reply to] Can't Post

I would not want this changed. I could do without Frodo, but I really liked that Old Bilbo narrated the Prologue.There are a few reasons for this. One is that in Tolkien's world, it is he who wrote this story down for posterity. Having him start by narrating the introduction reflects that, and I appreciated that from my very first viewing.

A second one is something that came to me the second time I saw the movie. Bilbo's account is sympathetic towards, and shows an understanding of the Dwarves' plight, and the movie goes on to show how this develops (and I expect the sequels will continue this.) When he is talking about them, or Thorin specifically, he is talking about his old friends. I was really struck by this and it increased my appreciation for the prologue. Having either Gandalf or Thorin recount this later would change that, for me.

Finally, I liked Thorin in the film, a lot. More or less from the start. I liked that I did, and this is a way in which the movie was different for me than the book. And I suspect the positioning of the prologue helped with that.

I can see how saving the prologue for Thorin or Gandalf, in the Bag End party scene, might allow a non-book-reading viewer with no idea what the film is about, to enjoy a surprise. But for me as a book fan, the introduction of the movie did a great job building up my anticipation for what I knew was coming (an invasion of Dwarves, to Bilbo's surprise and consternation).


Gelir
Bree

Feb 8 2013, 5:45am

Post #4 of 16 (355 views)
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I agree with you both... [In reply to] Can't Post

I also thought it would be great to have Gandalf and then the dwarves show up at Bilbo's door without any back story. But at the same time, I do like that Erebor was told from Bilbo's perspective.

I think it probably worked out the best the way it is, but I also think it would have been great to show old Bilbo and Frodo, then go straight to young Bilbo. It would indeed have been very intetesting, especially for non-readers. I suppose old Bilbo could cut in after the map and key were introduced. Maybe have Thorin starting to explain, then his voice trails off, you see old Bilbo in thought, then he starts to talk about Erebor and it goes into the prologue... Hmm. It's fun to think about anyway. :)


Súlimë
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 7:09am

Post #5 of 16 (343 views)
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Interesting take [In reply to] Can't Post

I really liked Bilbo's narration -- how he says "Ah, Erebor..." I can't help but smile at the "ah" every time.

That aside, I think having any of the dwarves do the flashback narration would not have worked as well. I liked how it was done from a 3rd person perspective, which I guess gives a rather objective viewpoint on the story (and the dwarves-elves conflict). It also gave a bit of that fairy-tale sense.

Having the Erebor prologue at the beginning clues the viewers in in advance of what is coming and what is at stake. It conditions the audience to be sympathetic to the dwarves' quest from the beginning.

Otherwise we would have these unceremonious dwarves show up and make a mess out of the place and then demand that Bilbo goes on a quest to save their never-heard-of kingdom. I think it will make Bilbo's decision to join the quest quite questionable :P

I think having Bilbo narrate the prologue makes it Bilbo's story :)


Súlimë
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 7:12am

Post #6 of 16 (338 views)
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This [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I would not want this changed. I could do without Frodo, but I really liked that Old Bilbo narrated the Prologue.There are a few reasons for this. One is that in Tolkien's world, it is he who wrote this story down for posterity. Having him start by narrating the introduction reflects that, and I appreciated that from my very first viewing.

A second one is something that came to me the second time I saw the movie. Bilbo's account is sympathetic towards, and shows an understanding of the Dwarves' plight, and the movie goes on to show how this develops (and I expect the sequels will continue this.) When he is talking about them, or Thorin specifically, he is talking about his old friends. I was really struck by this and it increased my appreciation for the prologue. Having either Gandalf or Thorin recount this later would change that, for me.

Finally, I liked Thorin in the film, a lot. More or less from the start. I liked that I did, and this is a way in which the movie was different for me than the book. And I suspect the positioning of the prologue helped with that.

I can see how saving the prologue for Thorin or Gandalf, in the Bag End party scene, might allow a non-book-reading viewer with no idea what the film is about, to enjoy a surprise. But for me as a book fan, the introduction of the movie did a great job building up my anticipation for what I knew was coming (an invasion of Dwarves, to Bilbo's surprise and consternation).


This! Especially the 2nd and 3rd point! :)


Rolfina
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 11:56am

Post #7 of 16 (272 views)
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I prefer the prologue as the prologue [In reply to] Can't Post

What I liked most about this was that after narrating the story of the prince, and then having Thorin show up, singled out, expected and respected by all, at Bilbo's door, it is like "woah, a real and famous prince just walked into his house". Granted I am not sure if Bilbo at this time is aware of his importance, grandeur, and suffering, but I the viewer am, and his entry has a much greater impact than him just being one of the thirteen and then only later establishing his backstory.


Clifton8
The Shire

Feb 8 2013, 1:09pm

Post #8 of 16 (278 views)
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It cannot be Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought that PJ did an excellent job with the prologue... especially in recognizing that it was in fact Bilbo who recorded the story of the quest.

As far as the element of surprise, I believe that it is still there, because it is not us, the audience, who needs to be caught unawares, but Bilbo, the protagonist of the story.

That being said, if Thorin were to be the one that narrates the prologue, he would essentially be established as the MAIN protagonist of the story. As it stands, PJ has created a much larger presence for Thorin than in the book. So much that he is already competing for the lead story line.

However, I really am enjoying the added depth to Thorin's character, as he has many qualities that are true to the human condition. BUT, it is crucial that the film-makers, in the end, portray Bilbo as the hero of the story.

This was an interesting thought, and I am sure that the writers for the film discussed this point at length. The final product, though, does highlight their respect for the material and desire to maintain its integrity.


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 8 2013, 1:28pm

Post #9 of 16 (248 views)
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I agree, [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo is the narrator of this story and if Thorin had been the one doing the narration it would take too much away from Him. I also have enjoyed the developing of Thorin's character. In the book, he was not all that likeable, but in the movie RA did a fantastic job with his character. I feel very attached to movie-Thorin in ways that book-Thorin never was able to do. Not only Thorin, but all the Dwarves. I feel attached to them so much more than in the book.; they each feel very unique after watching the movie. But you are right, we have to remember that this is Bilbo's story and we can not let the Dwarves take too much away.


Angharad73
Rohan

Feb 8 2013, 1:36pm

Post #10 of 16 (245 views)
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It's Bilbo's story, [In reply to] Can't Post

...so if there is to be a prologue with a narrator, it has to be Bilbo. He is the one writing the book and he is the one that went on this adventure, so he gets to tell it.

Having no prologue at all might have worked, simply diving into the story when Bilbo good-mornings Gandalf and then maybe providing some backstory later. But I think that the prologue as it was was quite nice. As one of those viewers who knows and loves LOTR, it was lovely to have this bridge between the Hobbit movies and the LOTR movies. Perhaps the story of Erebor could have been taken out and told later, but then I'd actually have preferred to have Balin tell the story, like he told the one about Azanulbizar, perhaps to enlighten Bilbo on how the dwarves had been driven from Erebor. Balin would have been more patient with the ignorant hobbit than Thorin would have been, I imagine.


adnan
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 2:27pm

Post #11 of 16 (255 views)
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"Ah Erebor" [In reply to] Can't Post

Doesnt it seem strange that he says it like that considering he has not seen it in it's full glory?

Rivendell


Súlimë
Rivendell


Feb 8 2013, 4:45pm

Post #12 of 16 (212 views)
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It's precisely because of that [In reply to] Can't Post

that I like it so much! It becomes apparent that the whole narrative is Bilbo's take on it.

(This is also the reason why I didn't mind when he claimed Erebor was the greatest kingdom in Middle-Earth or the stuff about the Elvenking paying homage to Thror.)

I think it's clear from the beginning that he is telling a story, at first probably to young Frodo, hence all the 'embellishment', and now, with the prologue, he is telling it to us the audience. It sets the whole piece up with a bedtime story fairy tale feel, and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. :D

And you can totally imagine that if you were a child listening to a story like that, the "ah, Erebor" would do a lot for your imagination.


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 8 2013, 5:09pm

Post #13 of 16 (196 views)
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But He Has [In reply to] Can't Post

At least he has seen the restore kingdom under the mountain. He goes back to visit his friends. Maybe that is what he is referring to.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 8 2013, 6:26pm

Post #14 of 16 (190 views)
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Also [In reply to] Can't Post

He may have been impressed by it even in its ruined state, when he first saw it.

Though, that the film permitted us to see it at its height, is another reason a very much appreciate the prologue of the film. Seeing all the beautiful places in Middle Earth is one of the things I very much want when watching a PJ Middle Earth movie!


jtarkey
Rohan


Feb 8 2013, 6:37pm

Post #15 of 16 (202 views)
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I think it would have been much better [In reply to] Can't Post

Holm's narration doesn't make sense. Apparently, the story begins twice..."it began long ago.." and then "It began..well it began as you might expect".

So which is it? When does this story really start?

"You're love of the halflings leaf has clearly slowed your mind"


aarondirebear
Bree

Feb 12 2013, 7:31pm

Post #16 of 16 (145 views)
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it would have been better [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Even though I loved Ian Holm's voice over for the prolougue I still wish that the movie had opened with young Bilbo at Bag End. Just a little narration from Ian Holm where he introduces Bilbo Baggins starting with "in a hole in the ground.." and then talking about how he was about to go on an adventure would've been the good way to do it. Having no prologue at the start would make everything else that comes later more "unexpected" such as the dwarves showing up at Bag End. Since we were already shown a history of dwarves and know the main story will be involving them it took away the surprise. I remember the first time reading The Hobbit and the dwarves showing up seperately was very unexpected for me and it would've worked well in the film. If the movie had started with a clueless Bilbo I think the audience (especially non book readers) would feel more connected with him and the Dale/Erebor sequence would've been more powerful had it been told by Thorin at the party since it would be the first introduction of Middle Earth outside The Shire on such a large scale. Does anyone else wish it had been done this way?

Discuss.


It would have been better. Especially if they had done the entire dwarf song, unabridged, complete with instruments before the big explanation.

"Others are inclined to say that any two stories that are built round the same folk-lore motive, or are made up of a generally similar combination of such motives, are "the same stories." Statements of that kind are not true, they are not true in art or literature. It is precisely the colouring, the atmosphere, the unclassifiable individual details of a story, and above all the general purport that informs with life the undissected bones of the plot, that really count." J.R.R. Tolkien

 
 

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