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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Chapter of the Week discussion-Dinnertime

Grey Havens

Oct 12 2013, 5:54am

Views: 432
Chapter of the Week discussion-Dinnertime Can't Post


This CHOW discussion will focus on Dinnertime.

This is the part of the movie that begins with the dwarves pillaging Bilbo's pantry, and ends with Thorin's ominous knock on the door.

Did you like how the scene opened, with poor Bilbo scurrying around, all politeness gone, as he tries in vain to "save" his belongings?

I liked it. The transition from polite Bilbo when Dwalin knocked to the freaking out Bilbo here, with all politeness gone, was great. He was clearly uncomfortable with the intrusion, a great testament to his wishing for a comfortable life.

Bilbo tries to save his prize tomatoes, his wine, his jam, his Grandpa Mungo's chairs, a book (which was apparently being used as a coaster), and sternly tells someone to "Put that map down!"

Does anyone see whether or not Old Bilbo uses these particular items in a similar way that the dwarves did (like trying to use the book as a coaster) in either the beginning of An Unexpected Journey, or in Fellowship of the Ring? If so, how does this illustrate the change in character from "Fussy" Bilbo before the quest to "I don't care" Bilbo of Fellowship?

I asked this out of curiosity, because it has been a while since I watched FOTR (having been on a bit of a "hobbit" kick Tongue) I do remember from FOTR that Thorin's map of the Lonely Mountain was just sitting in his study, as though placed there carelessly.

Do you feel that this illustrated Bilbo's hobbity nature very clearly?

Yes. I think that Bilbo is clearly someone who doesn't like dwarves and their very unhobbitlike habits. He is complaining about how the dwarves clearly don't value the things that (at this time) are clearly important to him.

During this "raiding" part of the scene, we clearly see the dwarves ignoring Bilbo for the most part (although Ori does relinquish his hold on Bilbo's prize tomatoes, but not after much insistence by the hobbit) as they move to set the table.

A lot of characterization comes into play as we simply observe the dwarves and how they go about their tasks and interact with both each other, with Gandalf, and with Bilbo. (subtitles help with this, if anyone is confused about the points I bring up and how I got there Wink)

We get to see what a reunion of those who clearly know each other, but haven't seen each other for a while. And we learn quite a bit about the dwarves during this scene.

In this scene, Dwalin is shown carrying platters of meat-maybe an indication of his preference for that particular food group?

I think that Dwalin is primarily a meat and potatoes guy, and this was a nice indication of that.

We see Bifur take a bite out of a string of sausages hanging up just as Bombur strides out of the pantry carrying three whole cheese wheels (with apparently no need for a cheese knife, as Bofur so eloquently puts it), and later on we see Bofur take a bite out of what appears to be a biscuit, then places the rest of it back on the platter- perhaps this is a good indication that all 3 of the related trio Bifur/Bofur/Bombur thoroughly enjoy their food, though only Bombur seems cursed with it showing?

All three seem to enjoy food very much, though Bombur must have gotten the short stick as far as genetics are concerned in the weight department....

Bofur is also the one that answers for Bombur, as though he knows him quite well. Could this be a subtle indication of familial relation?

I think so. He doesn't ask Bombur if he could answer, and his response "he eats it by the block" indicates he has actually SEEN Bombur eat quite often before. His answer was very nonchalant, indicating that this didn't surprise him in the least, and having two sisters myself, I can see the family relationship here. Either that, or it could be prior knowledge coming out Wink

Could it also be an indication that the dwarves are so hungry that they cannot wait for everyone else, indicating the hard times that have befallen them since Smaug stole Erebor?

They most certainly seem to be quite hungry. Either they are truly not doing all that well, or they just love to eat and have good appetites at the end of the day.

In the background, we see Kili and Fili messing with a barrel of ale, and it appears that Fili takes a drink straight from the tap. Later on, we see the two of them working together to move the barrel of ale closer to the dining room.

Could this be an indication of their brotherly bond? We do hear Kili answer Fili with "Over here, brother." when Fili asks the group, "Who wants another ale?"...as he is walking across the table, so that bond is confirmed in the first film, as is Dwalin and Balin's brotherly relation.

They never seem to be separated, and clearly work well together (and seemingly conspire together). Even if I hadn't heard the Brother word from Kili, and even if I hadn't known before that they were brothers, it is made quite clear, at least to me.

Could his walking on the table be a prank, or was it simply because he couldn't fit around the others, proving what Balin had said before about it being a tight squeeze for all the dwarves? We also see most of them ducking through the doorways as they pass through.

I think that dining room could not possibly be more packed than it already is....I don't think Fili could have managed to squeeze behind the chairs even if he wanted to. Though I did find his muddy boots to be rather humorous, because he obviously got drafted to move furniture before he had a crack at the glory box Tongue

Is this an effective way of showing the difference in both height and build of hobbits and dwarves?

Absolutely. There was some scaling issues between Bilbo and the dwarves at various points in the movie, but the dwarves are clearly ducking while Bilbo has clearance, so I felt that it was a good indication that they are taller, but Gandalf is still quite a bit taller than they are. And they are obviously broader and deeper chested, because before they cleared the dining room out, there were four chairs set in place with the hutches behind them, so unless Bilbo moved furniture every time he entertained guests, hobbits clearly can fit between table and hutch no problem.

Dwalin calls Fili a "great galumphing git" as he strides across the table. Does this possibly indicate that Dwalin knows him quite well, and doesn't care about his Prince status? Or has possibly earned the right to speak to him that way? Could it also indicate a respect for the older dwarf by Fili not reacting to it at all?

I remember reading that Dwalin is the most loyal to Thorin, aside from Fili and Kili. I would like to entertain the idea that he had a hand in their upbringing, or at least in their weapons training, but I don't have proof of that. But Fili clearly respects him, and Dwalin clearly has earned the right to "scold" the lads, even if it was a good-natured scold Smile

We see Gandalf and Ori setting the table, meticulously placing silverware for each place, but as dinner progresses NO ONE uses the silverware, not even Gandalf. Ori is also the only one who actually listens to Bilbo and lets go of his tomatoes, and after dinner Ori politely asks Bilbo what he should do with his plate.

Is this a good indication of Ori being more well mannered and polite?

I think that Ori is clearly a scholar and mannered, not a warrior or fighter, and this move illustrates that.

Khuzdul (and the Dwarven sign language Igleshmek) is a very secretive language amongst dwarves, and yet Bifur speaks to Gandalf completely in Khuzdul, holding up his shield arm and tapping it as he does so (so possibly using a combination of Khuzdul and Igleshmek).

Do you think this is too far of a deviance from Tolkien, or do you think the film team's justification of brain injury resulting from the axe in his head causing the sole ability to speak Khuzdul/Igleshmek only is sound? What do you think about this aspect of Bifur's character?

I wasn't keen on the axe bit at first, but I think the actor portrays it well, and am curious to see where it leads.

It has been suggested that Bifur's sign of hitting his forearm might be construed as his sign for "Thorin Oakenshield". At this point, Gandalf has not mentioned Thorin by name, and neither does Dwalin, though he seems to know exactly where Thorin went.

Could this also be an indication of Dwalin and Thorin's friendship? And Dwalin's loyalty to Thorin?

I liked the idea of the Igleshmek sign to represent Thorin Oakenshield. I also think that Dwalin, like Balin, is pretty close in counsel to Thorin, and obviously trusted by him. I think that their friendship goes back quite a ways.

We see Dori first offer Gandalf Chamomile tea, and there are two cups on the platter. When Gandalf refuses, asking for red wine instead, Dori returns with a little (emphasis on the "little") glass of red wine, also sporting one for himself.

Could this be an indication that Dori admires and looks up to Gandalf? Sort of an instance of "imitation is the best form of flattery" perhaps?

It could be a bit of "hero" worship, or flattery (or a desire to not piss off the wizard lol Tongue)

We also see Dori's fussiness with this. Could it be an indication that Dori and Ori are brothers, since they both seem to be unusually polite (compared to the rest of the dwarves)?

I have a feeling that Dori is quite fussy, and that he had a hand in bringing up Ori as well. They are obviously brothers by how similarly they act and carry themselves.

Gandalf takes a drink of the red wine and looks forlornly at the cup, realizing just how "little" it is. This is an interesting opposite with Fellowship, in which Gandalf foregoes wine and asks for tea specifically. Could this be an indication of Gandalf not being the same either 60 years later?

I think Gandalf was not the same 60 years later either. He has seen a lot in that 60 years (SPOILER), including three people he led on a quest he instigated perish, and two of them just as they were entering the prime of their lives, and innocent and untouched by the gold sickness. Between that, and his experiences in Dol Guldur, I can safely say that he is most definitely changed during this quest, just like Bilbo.

Now dinner has actually started.

As the camera pans over the completely filled table, we see fruits and meats and breads and cheeses, but it appears that the only "greens" on the table are there for purely decoration (between the bowls, not in them). Could this also be an indication of the dwarves not being fond of greens?

I have a feeling their mothers had an absolutely TERRIBLE time getting them to eat their vegetables lol Tongue

Bofur throws a hard boiled egg to Bombur, who catches it in his mouth, causing cheers.

Could they have played this game before?

It is a good possibility, as they seem to have quite a bit of practice Wink

Bilbo paces back and forth, unsure of what to do at this point. There is clearly no room for him at the table, nor is there a place even set for him.

Could this indicate that the company has not accepted him as being part of their quest, and not accepted him as belonging amongst them yet?

I definitely think so. I think this whole dinnertime scene reminded me of a group of guys getting together for a reunion. And Bilbo was obviously left out.

Poor Bilbo goes back into the pantry, where the only remaining food is pieces of fruit that have somehow escaped the dwarves' pillaging.

What do you think about the 13 dwarves and 1 wizard being able to eat his entire pantry?

I think that all their whining later about Bilbo's desire for several meals a day might be a projection of their own wishful thinking of many meals a day... Wink

I think having them stay with me in my own home would result in them eating me out of house and home.....

On a more serious note, I think that they were enjoying the feast while they could, because they knew that there would be meager rations for many months.

We see the dwarves' playful side when Dwalin pours ale into Oin's hearing trumpet and laughs heartily. What do you think about the dwarves' cheerfulness despite it being the eve of a dangerous quest?

I think that's why they were so cheerful. They aren't stupid-they know this could very well be a suicide quest. I think that this "unexpected party" was allowing them to blow off steam and release their tension before the seriousness would have to begin.

Also with the ale, Kili uses both hands instead of just one-a very child-like habit. Could this be an indication of him being the youngest?

Being the mother of two small children, I definitely see the childish tendency to hold the cup with two hands on a daily basis, so yes I think this was a nice indication of that.

We see Nori burp, much to the amusement of the company. In turn, we see Ori let out a massive belch. Could this indicate the relationship between the two, in that Ori looks up to Nori as well? What do you think about the dynamic within that family (they are brothers). Could Dori be the stuffy elder brother, while Nori is the antagonizing middle brother, and Ori being the naive youngest?

I think Dori is fussy, Nori just enjoys annoying the h*** out of Dori, and Ori is torn between being polite like Dori and going along with Nori, both of whom he looks up to.

What does this tell you about Nori's nature?

I think Nori is a prankster who enjoys annoying Dori, and likes to get Ori to do so as well. He is the initiator, and it shows his sharp wit (even though he later protests against Balin's brightest comment, saying who're you calling dim?) and his cunning nature. Fits right in with what we as the audience knows about his less than respectable "occupation".

Bilbo is quite annoyed at the belching. Again, a reference to his respectable nature?

I think belching is considered a compliment among dwarves, and rude amongst hobbits-much like how it is perceived differently amongst the different cultures in our own world.

Now they are cleaning up.

Nori is using a doily as a dishcloth. Could it be that he has never seen a doily before?

I highly doubt it, but then again...maybe he was just messing with Bilbo. I can see dwarf fingers be able to perform intricate works of jewelry. Intricate works of thin string to make something that's (to be honest, though I do like them) rather pointless? Not so much.

Bofur makes a joke about Bilbo's reaction to the doily. He is clearly messing with Bilbo, and finds it highly amusing that the hobbit is so clearly annoyed and frustrated. Could this be an indication of his cheerful nature? Do you think that it is appropriate, or against the general nature of dwarves?

I think that Bofur has a good sense of humor, is a prankster, and an optimist. I think dwarves, like humans, have a group of traits that is common, but at the same time they, like humans, also vary from dwarf to dwarf, so no, I do not think its against Tolkien's dwarf nature.

Bilbo is clearly frustrated that he knows absolutely nothing about why the dwarves are there. Yet Gandalf seems perfectly relaxed and content.

Is the wizard that confident in his choice of the hobbit, or is he simply amused that he is clearly pushing Bilbo out of his comfort zone-maybe an attempt to draw the "Tookish" side of him out that he had caught a glimpse of earlier during the firework discussion? Or is the wizard bothered by seeing the potential in hobbits who clearly aren't interested in exploring that potential?

I think Gandalf is used to dealing with many different kinds of people, and is amused that Bilbo is so disconcerted. I think he is confident in his choice, even though he hesitates later on when Bilbo faints. I think Gandalf knows that Bilbo has that Tookish streak buried deep within him, and that he needs to have a little "nudge" to get it to come out, and is hoping that the dwarves' presence will help. Unfortunately for Gandalf, it seems to be doing the opposite.... Unimpressed

Next we see the dwarves sing as they "do the dishes" in a rather creative manner, starting with Fili throwing Ori's plate to Kili.

Did Fili truly instigate this prank against the hobbit, or was it a collective prank?

I think Fili instigates it, but Kili's convenient positioning tells me that he may have had something to do with it as well....again, partners in crime, as it were Wink

Kili starts pranks later on (when Thorin is around) but Fili clearly starts this one. Could this be an indication that, around Thorin, Fili takes his responsibility as heir seriously, but is more relaxed when he is just around his brother with Thorin absent and is more willing to let out his childish nature?

I think Thorin's presence definitely dampens Fili's mischievous side, reminding him of his responsibilities and burden of being Thorin's heir, and knowing that, should something happen to Thorin, it will be his responsibility to finish the quest.

Does this effectively show that Fili is in that transition point between childhood and adulthood, and thus still inexperienced and naive?

Yes, I think it does quite nicely. You can tell that Fili is trying to be mature in his role, but is not quite ready to leave childish things behind.

Poor Bilbo about has a heart attack when his dishes start flying. What did you think of the dwarves' prank?

Loved loved loved it! Laugh

We see how the dwarves seem to have very quick reflexes (Kili turns just as the plate is about to hit him in the face, catches it, and in the same motion throws it to Bifur, who is already at the sink) and are also very coordinated in that they do so many different things with the dishes, and yet never even CHIP one, let alone drop it. We also see that, when they work as a team, they operate much like a well oiled machine. Could this be a way of overcoming the height disadvantage while fighting?

I believe it is a very effective way to overcome the height disadvantage, and can see that dwarves are very group oriented. I also think that their reflexes and coordination are very admirable, and could point to their range as dwarves with the variety of weapons within the company.

We hear a very different style of music during this song. It is more upbeat, less surreal, and uses a very Celtic style of fiddling and fluting, as opposed to Lord of the Rings, which has very surreal music and more emphasis on slow, long drawn out notes and harps, or more flowing and slower violin music.

Could this be the difference between dwarven music and the music styles of the other free peoples, indicating this to be a dwarven tale, not an elf/men tale?

I liked the Rohirrim music theme, but I can honestly say that the dwarf music is thus far my favorite racial style of music in Middle-earth Sly In fact, I have played the violin/fiddle for 17 years now, and have at least two or three Celtic fiddle books that have songs I am attempting to learn-Celtic fiddling is HARD! But so worth it Smile

Bilbo has quite the astonished look on his face when he finds his dishes quite whole and unharmed and clean, and the dwarves are quite cheerful and find it highly amusing. Gandalf is chuckling too. What do you think of the dwarf style of doing dishes?

I think it would be a blast, but I am afraid that it truly would end up being a "BLAST", meaning I would end up destroying my kitchen with broken dishes...I am coordinated, but not THAT coordinated....I thought it was great though Smile definitely got them done far more quickly than I would have Wink

The scene ends with a loud knock on the door, and the environment instantly switches from raucous laughter to incredibly serious. Could it be that they didn't hear the doorbell amidst the singing and laughter? Is this an indication that the fun is over, and the quest is truly beginning?

I have a feeling they didn't hear it, and wonder what was going through Thorin's mind when no one answered and the singing was heard through the door... lol Tongue

Probably something like, "Boy am I glad I got lost....twice...so I didn't have to hear this caterwauling of drunk dwarves!" lol...

On a more serious note, I thought the sudden shift in attitude at the realization that Thorin had arrived was absolutely astounding, and gave a lot of gravity and weight to the importance and danger of the quest. Very well done, in my opinion Cool


Let's talk cinematically.

What did you think of the lighting in this scene? Was it well done in terms of supposedly reflecting the light of the many candles in Bag End? Or do you feel that it could have been different/brighter/darker/etc?

I thought the use of toned down light to emulate the candles was well done, especially since I could see the dwarves' shadows on the wall-I think that if it had been any darker, we couldn't see what was going on, but if it had been brighter, it wouldn't have made any sense.

The actors never stop acting, even if the camera wasn't on them. Did you find that this helped you believe that it was really happening and immerse yourself in the story?

Absolutely. The acting in the movie as a whole, and especially during this scene, made me feel as though I was actually there, and that they were actually their dwarf characters, and not actors. Very, very well done Laugh

When Gandalf (Ian McKellen) is listing off the dwarves' names (which the actor admitted to struggling to remember all of them) he was in a different, scaled set than the dwarves, and using tennis balls for reference to eyes. Yet, with each name he listed off, those particular dwarves happened to be crossing the room right as he said it.

Do you think that was a clever move on PJ&co's part to reaffirm dwarves' identities to the audience?

I thought it was very, very clever. It was as though Gandalf remembered the various family groups as he saw members of them, and said them in turn. Plus I giggled when he had to use his fingers to make sure he got everyone...reminded me of a mother or teacher counting off to make sure they didn't miss a kid Wink And I am quite sure the wizard felt like their parent several times during the quest too Tongue

What did you think about the choreography of Blunt the Knives? We saw in the vlogs that not all of it was cgi-they were actually bouncing the plates toward "Balin" to find the correct trajectory for them.

I was impressed. Truly.

What did you think of the setup of Bag End? Was the set just as good as it was in FOTR? Or was it better with being cleaned and clear, as opposed to the messy Bag End we see in FOTR?

I liked how neat and clean Bag End was, as opposed to FOTR where it was so messy. And I knew I was there, and didn't notice any differences besides the cleanliness.

Did the actors sufficiently establish their characters for you in this scene? Were you able to distinguish their names/personalities/relationships with others (not limited to just family, but friendships and so forth)?

Yup. I got all the actor's names correct with their characters, and I thought the various relationships were well indicated amongst the groups. Most of them definitely knew each other, and as more than just merely acquaintances. Like I mentioned above-a reunion among friends.

What did you think of the costuming/makeup/hair styles? Did they reflect the character's personalities well? Was there enough similarities between the clothing styles in the "family" groups to indicate their relations? Did those who were of noble birth stand out from the others with regards to finer clothing?

I thought the costuming/makeup was amazing. I think the hairstyles/beard styles reflected the characters well. I did see some similarities among family members-primarily Fili and Kili, as their back of head clips were the same, their hair (with exception to Fili's braids) were pulled back in a similar manner, they both wore identical except for color tunics, and both wore leather jerkins over them. I saw that Dori's braids reminded me somewhat of Ori's knitted items and Nori's hair-all intricate work. I saw similarities between the way Oin and Gloin's beards were fancy on the upper layer, but had a lower layer hanging underneath, and that both Dwalin and Balin didn't have any adornments in their hair or beards. I saw how Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur's clothing was much more simple and worn, whereas Fili and Kili's clothing looked to be brand new, and there were more intricate patterns on their clothing, with a repeated crest/sigil imprinted or embroidered throughout. Definitely an indication of their noble status as Princes of the line of Durin Smile

Do you think this scene was well executed overall?

I thought it was brilliant work, hence why it was one of my favorites Smile

Finally, are there any other thoughts on this scene?

Not for me, since I wrote this lol Wink

The CHOW team asked me to include a link at the bottom to the original CHOW setup post to refamiliarize everyone with how this is structured:


Thanks, and I look forward to discussing what is one of my favorite scenes with you all! Namarie! Cool

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Oct 12 2013, 6:34am)

Subject User Time
Chapter of the Week discussion-Dinnertime Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Oct 12 2013, 5:54am
    A lot of good questions and thoughts. Macfeast Send a private message to Macfeast Oct 12 2013, 11:19am
    Thanks for This IdrilofGondolin Send a private message to IdrilofGondolin Oct 12 2013, 2:46pm
    Yay - dinnertime! Kim Send a private message to Kim Oct 12 2013, 9:21pm
    Dinnertime! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Oct 13 2013, 2:23am
    This is really well thought out. You put a lot of effort into this, Cirashala. Silwen_Peredhil Send a private message to Silwen_Peredhil Oct 13 2013, 2:35pm
    Planning on responding to this week's CHOW soon! cats16 Send a private message to cats16 Oct 14 2013, 9:16pm
    I have never been so hungry in all my life Riven Delve Send a private message to Riven Delve Oct 15 2013, 3:04am
        Poor Thorin, Kim Send a private message to Kim Oct 15 2013, 5:07am


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