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CHOWS Chapter: Bilbo's Choice
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Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 25 2013, 4:58pm

Post #1 of 43 (783 views)
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CHOWS Chapter: Bilbo's Choice Can't Post

WELCOME ALL!!!

This week's AUJ Chapter is "Bilbo's Choice". It covers the scene from where Bilbo and Gandalf are talking in front of the sitting room fire to after the Dwarves close out "The Misty Mountains Cold". Within it are three critical scenes: Gandalf and Bilbo debating the Quest; the interaction of Thorin and Balin in the hall; and the singing of the Misty mountains song, which impacts everyone in the Hobbit-hole that night.
I have split it into two posts, covering the more detailed Misty Mountains scene on its own. Feel free to discuss as much or as little as you like!


Gandalf and Bilbo debate Bilbo's involvement the Quest...



Gandalf is persuasive, but Bilbo is quite resistant. How much do you think this conversation influenced Bilbo's choice to follow the Company? Was it the primary influence or do you see something else as stronger?




**An apprehensive Bilbo is seeking reassurance from Gandalf that he will come back: there is a small but dramatic pause before Gandalf answers. What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?



A key scene: Balin and Thorin in the hall. It is a very private, intimate exchange, and they appear to switch roles back-and-forth as counselor and counselled, strong and vulnerable, in this scene. It begins with Balin, pessimistic and defeatist about their chances;



Thorin speaks from his heart about loyalty, honor and a willing heart. Then it is Thorin's turn to look uncertain,


and Balin speaks about his many priceless accomplishments in the Blue Mountains, as their leader. Each seems to know what the other needs in that moment. I feel this scene in both writing and execution speaks volumes, of these two Dwarves.

Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 25 2013, 5:20pm

Post #2 of 43 (463 views)
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"The Misty Mountains Cold": a turning point? [In reply to] Can't Post

The magnificent scene in which Thorin leads the Company in song. One of my favorite moments.

Firstly, what did you think of the choice of acapella for this rendition?

Each Dwarf is pictured here, as the camera pans slowly around the room. I would like to touch upon their reactions and their characterizations as we see them revealed without dialogue, plus the net effect of the scene.
It begins at Kili's back, entering the room; where we see Bifur stand first among all the Dwarves.


Thorin begins to sing, with his back half to the Company,








and we pan slowly to Balin - sitting, looking very, very sadly into the fire.




[Fili was in this shot was not Dean O'Gorman. His figure is wreathed in smoke, and we get no other close up, presumably due to the casting change.]

Dori stands half in, half out of the room - with one foot on the step and looking down the hall and away from the Company; it is like he is halfway to departing in some way - quite literally with one foot out of the door.




Oin sits in he back with shadow covering his face, across from his brother. Interesting n(and perhaps a foreshadowing?) - of all the Dwarves his reaction is the most hidden.

Kili's seems to be trying very hard to look grim and determined, from his tense posture to his frown. In the firelight his youth and slenderness seems very apparent. The song has even brought Bombur from the table.





Gandalf is deep in thought, but not with the Dwarves - he sits quite alone, frowning.





Nori, whose back was to the others, has turned very slowly, by degrees and almost against his will it seems, called away from the window to join in the low hum.






Ori rises, with his book in hand, clear-eyed and curious yet seemingly untouched; Dwalin still remains seated, watching Thorin silently. He does not sing.





Bilbo is also sitting alone, his brow furrowed, listening.


Balin has finally slowly (almost painfully) risen to stand beside Thorin, and Thorin now turns towards the Company to face them. His has raised his hand to just below his heart, covering the viscera. As Balin sings, standing at Thorin's side, his eyes do not look at anyone, particularly Thorin it seems, but into some distance to the left of the fire.






Dori is looking closely and with deep significance at Ori,




and Nori has moved forward and joined his brothers. Playful Bofur is quite serious here and chooses to clearly sing the words, not the harmonized hum - perhaps the most clearly heard of the singers next to Thorin. He is utterly sincere.
Dwalin has now stood, his mighty arms closed and locked across his chest; as he stands, now not looking at Thorin, but somewhere off to the side. His lips move only slightly. Gloin's eyes are very far away, and he looks deep in memory.





Bilbo is against the bedrail, with a sad and weary look as he watches his tiny fire. The shot closes beautifully with the small, hot sparks joining the larger night sky, jewelled with cold stars. Voices fade into silence.



Thorin's song has impacted all the Dwarves in the room; Dwarves moved around, their eyes and their postures told stories . What patterns can you see in the above reactions?


- For example, with the brothers Ori, Nori and Dori?
- What do Balin's actions say about how he is feeling about the Quest?
- Bifur rising first. Does this change your perceptions of him from earlier in the film?
- What does Thorin himself tell you with his movements?
- Dwalin's reaction is complex and multilayered. What's happening here?
- Our chipper class clown, Bofur: quite a different view here isn't it?
- Can you tell who was at the Mountain the day Smaug came from their reactions? Or no?
- The net reaction to Thorin's singing - what do you see?

Gandalf later says he did not doubt Bilbo joining. Yet as the Dwarves sing, do you think Gandalf is feeling at all confident?
Bilbo starts listening with a frown, and as the song closes he looks drained and sad - undecided perhaps? Touching again on influences on Bilbo: how much do you think the song had upon him? In relation to Gandalf's words earlier - more influence or less?

What do you think about the choice of the sparks in the sky as the closing shot here? What does that image say to you?


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





elaen32
Gondor


Oct 25 2013, 6:32pm

Post #3 of 43 (407 views)
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Well..... [In reply to] Can't Post

we all know why you chose this chapter Brethil, the opportunity to study Thorin photos- but I appreciate it all the same!!Wink

I think that Gandalf phrased his discussion in such a way as to awaken latent feelings and sentiments in Bilbo. ie Gandalf knew which buttons to press to appeal to Bilbo's deepest nature. However, he feels that he needs to be honest with Bilbo- if Gandalf had been mistaken in Bilbo, not telling him the whole truth and then having Bilbo completely freak out and ruin the quest at an early stage would have been disastrous!

Discussion between Thorin and Balin- one of my favourite Thorin/RA scenes btw- shows the depth of trust and shared experiences between these two. I don't think that Balin is ever in any doubt that he will support Thorin's quest, but he does have reservations. Some of it may be unwillingness to see Thorin suffer yet more pain should the quest fail. But also, I think Balin is fearful for Thorin in light of the family history of mental illness/dragon sickness. Overall though, Balin feels he has to be there with Thorin, whatever happens.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



elaen32
Gondor


Oct 25 2013, 6:49pm

Post #4 of 43 (403 views)
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Heh, heh- yes, another favourite moment indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love this song and I feel that the acapella setting gives it a feeling of antiquity and mystery. Also it evokes a sense of folk memory, in much the same way as the acapella section of Pippin's song in ROTK

The reactions of the characters are interesting and I think one can see who the veterans of Erebor were by this. I do wonder, though, whether the singing was to some extent a political move by Thorin, to reach out to the younger members of the company and to remind them of their history and their duty. It certainly seems to work for Kili, who is trying to comprehend the weight of responsibility on him as one of Durin's heirs. Even Nori seems to be affected, possibly against his better judgement! I'm not sure about Bofur- his family are from the Ered Luin and not of Durin's line, yet he seems to have adopted the quest and the cause of Durin's heirs as his own.
I think that Gandalf is possibly realising how much his motivation for the quest differs from that of the dwarfs at this point and is anticipating some future issues as a result. Bilbo has a number of thoughts whirling around his head. What a day and evening he has had!! And now, long suppressed Tookish thoughts and feelings are being awoken and making him feel uncomfortable. Also, his natural compassion for the dwarfs' plight in losing their home, is coming to the fore, despite the dwarfs' lack of manners.

And yes, I love the sparks from the chimneySmile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Oct 25 2013, 9:23pm

Post #5 of 43 (372 views)
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Since you asked... [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool

And since this just happens to be the place on my DVD that is almost worn through, if that is even possible...

And since I’ve been waiting for something special for my 100th post (thanks, Brethil!)

Yes, I love the way each of the dwarfs is allowed his moment in this scene. We’ve seen them fooling around, we’ve seen them singing even, but looking at that group chowing down around Bilbo’s table is not inspiring; they look like the most rag tag bunch of dwarfs.

They seem to know each other, but I wonder, is this the first time they’ve met since they “got the call?” They’re reaction to Thorin’s knock seems to say “yes” to me. And if so, that puts the song into an interesting light.

As Brethil mentions, there is an overtone of politics in that song; akin to singing a national anthem at a political rally. But, I believe it is more than that. If you read the lyrics, it is obviously a story song, but in the context of the dwarf culture, also a history lesson. Dwarf written language is, from what I’ve gathered, more utilitarian rather than artistic. Their art is in what they make with their hands and what they sing in their songs and therefore an a capella version is most fitting. Story songs are sung when no instruments are available - around a fire, to babies as lullabies, to children as bedtimes stories. So although the singing of that song at that particular moment did achieve political ends (rallying the troops so to speak), it also served as a history lesson for those who have never seen Erebor.

This rag tag group who may know each other in passing now becomes a united group with a common goal, a goal rooted deep in the history of their race. They are not only on a quest to reclaim Erebor, but they are following the last of Durin’s line on that quest. Other dwarf settlements exist - the people will not die out - but there is something to be said for reinstating Durin’s heirs to their rightful place.

The sparks up the chimney are a beautiful image, but to me also a very poignant one. I saw two images, the vestiges of dragon fire that they will face and then almost as shooting stars, winking on for a few seconds and then gone. The song was a wish on those “stars”, for success in the endeavor. Like incense, the sparks rise with a prayer to their god(s) for a good outcome. Despite the brave words, I don’t think any of the dwarfs in their secret mind was confident of success or confident in their own bravery in the face of that dragon fire.

It’s my view that the sleeping author/historian in Bilbo was being nudged by the dwarfs singing this song. His heart was touched by their plight but I think it was his mind that was awakened by their *story*. Lover of tales, he was primed, as Gandalf saw in the younger Bilbo, to be off on his own adventure. Sam and Frodo talk about being “in the story” instead of telling the story. That is what, I think, ultimately puts Bilbo’s foot over the threshold. This time, he will get to *write* the tale!

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

(This post was edited by Hengist on Oct 25 2013, 10:29pm)


Kim
Valinor


Oct 25 2013, 11:28pm

Post #6 of 43 (332 views)
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One of my favorite sequences :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the detailed post and photos Brethil – I put all my responses together. Smile

Bilbo and Gandalf:
How much do you think this conversation influenced Bilbo's choice to follow the Company? Was it the primary influence or do you see something else as stronger?
At this point, Gandalf’s argument seems to just push Bilbo even more towards wanting to stay in his comfortable hobbit hole, especially as you see him in his favorite chair with a book ready to go on the armrest. However, it certainly planted some seeds that sprouted up later. I do like how Gandalf used humor and referenced his ancestor to try to influence Bilbo.

What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?
I thought this was great that he was honest with Bilbo, even if at the time it seemed to seal Bilbo’s decision not to go.

The other thing that was nice about this scene is that Gandalf finally had a straightforward conversation with Bilbo after all the muddling and confusion of the previous scenes. It gave Bilbo a chance to catch his breath and try to take everything in.

Thorin and Balin:
Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?
I do think Balin still has doubts, but he’s given Thorin his word that “they will see it done”, so he will stand by Thorin no matter what happens from this point forward.

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?

I can see the dwarven culture being intensely loyal and guarded with their emotions. However, I think we’re seeing a unique relationship between the prince and his trusted advisor, who has been with him since he was a boy. That’s not to say there aren’t other similar relationships among the dwarves, but I think this one is special, especially considering their roles and the unique circumstances they find themselves in. Especially for Thorin, after being given the key, it’s really lit that spark in him and made him determined to follow through on the quest, for the sake of his father and grandfather, and Balin is really the only one he can discuss this with.

BTW, Thorin’s hair looks great in this scene! Laugh

Misty Mountains song:
Firstly, what did you think of the choice of acapella for this rendition?
Absolutely wonderful. When I saw the very first teaser trailer, my first thoughts were “it looks just the same!” (i.e. we’re going back to Middle Earth) and as soon as they started singing, my breath caught and I thought “they’re singing!” (i.e. it’s something new and special). This is my absolute favorite scene – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this! All those deep voices singing together - magical.

My favorite dwarf reaction is Bombur – I love how he practically tiptoes into the room.
- For example, with the brothers Ori, Nori and Dori? Ori seems very pulled in by the song, perhaps awed to be a part of this group, Dori and Nori perhaps not as much at first, but are gradually pulled in as well.
- What do Balin's actions say about how he is feeling about the Quest?
At first, he seems to be steeling himself, as in “OK, here we go”, then he gives in to it and joins in the song.
- Bifur rising first. Does this change your perceptions of him from earlier in the film?
I’ve heard that music can sometimes reach people with brain injuries more than speaking, so this was a great way to illustrate that.
- What does Thorin himself tell you with his movements?
I love it when he puts his hand over his heart. He just has to express himself with this song, and he’s not consciously trying to pull the others in, but it just happens naturally.
- Dwalin's reaction is complex and multilayered. What's happening here?
At first, his non-reaction seems to fit with his soldier status (not emotional, just here to get the job done), but then he joins in with the rest of the group in solidarity.
- Our chipper class clown, Bofur: quite a different view here isn't it?
Yes, and a really great change, for all his jokes, he understands the seriousness of their situation.
- Can you tell who was at the Mountain the day Smaug came from their reactions? Or no?
Not really, although Gloin’s far off gaze does seem more intent than, say, Nori.
- The net reaction to Thorin's singing - what do you see?
All the dwarves have come together as one unit to share this sacred song, really bonding as a company and acknowledging Thorin as their leader.

Yet as the Dwarves sing, do you think Gandalf is feeling at all confident?
No, I think he’s concerned at this point just how things are going to go.

Touching again on influences on Bilbo: how much do you think the song had upon him? In relation to Gandalf's words earlier - more influence or less?
I think he is starting to get influenced here by the dwarves plight, but still wanting to stay in his comfortable home. But this, coupled with Gandalf’s words, is really making him think hard.


What do you think about the choice of the sparks in the sky as the closing shot here? What does that image say to you?

Nice visual with the final words of the song, evoking “the trees like torches, blazed with light”.



Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Oct 25 2013, 11:32pm

Post #7 of 43 (355 views)
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* Rubs hands* Now for Thorin (...oh and Balin too) [In reply to] Can't Post

And for my first post in Rivendell too! (I know, I am much too proud of such a little milestone)

First, I love this scene between Balin and Thorin. It gave me a chance to see another side of Thorin almost immediately, setting him up as more than the grumpy dwarf with the blue hood that Tolkien wrote. Now, I know that The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were written for two very different audiences and I understand the differences in style, but in giving Thorin more depth, ultimately I think the story makes more sense in the end.

I see Balin’s misgivings at the table as his natural tendency to negotiate. He seems to be the guy that nitpicks the details, pointing out the weak spots in the arguments, making sure that if they are going to do anything, hire a burglar for instance, that all the pros and cons will be thrashed out ahead of time. So, instead of conflict, I see him as a necessary member of the company and someone Thorin would have sought out to fill that role. Exercising that role does sometimes put the brakes on Thorin’s forward motion, something that no dwarf takes easily, but I do not believe it is because of any animosity between the two.

Balin follows someone he sees already as his king, someone who has already proven his worth. (An interesting aside, Balin is listed in the appendices as 17 years younger than Thorin. SPJ chose to make him at least look older for some reason. ) What I think gives him pause is the quest itself and that is what he is expressing with his thoughts about Thorin’s accomplishments in the Blue Mountains. He values what he has in the present while Thorin only values what he has lost. It is, I believe, a symptom of the dragon sickness that pervades his family, the inability to see and value the small because the large is imbedded too deeply.

The question of of soul of dwaven culture is interesting. They are a proud people, not necessarily given to much introspection as a race. They are doers more than thinkers. What does become of the shared terrors and failures and defeats they experience? When reading these types of buried emotions, I invariably think of Tolkien’s own experiences in WWI. The stereotypical stiff upper lip man, burying their reactions, soldiering on for good of King and Country - that is how I see the dwarfs.

Now, just a bit about Richard Armitage and his performance (Brethil, you knew this was coming....) I read an article about the casting process and someone mentioned his ability to portray much with little to no movement. He is a master of stillness and uses it to great effect in this scene. Balin fidgets, Thorin is still. Balin reaches for him, Thorin remains motionless. The only real movement is him standing when he speaks of what he requires - Loyalty, Honor and a willing Heart. That very subtle change in posture shows us the commander and what he will ask of his troops.

But the eyes belie the stance, don’t they. He knows what they face, he understands what he is asking and unlike what he *says* to Gandalf, he does feel responsible for the fate of every single member of his company. I love the juxtaposition of those broad shoulders carrying the weight of responsibility and the sadness of the eyes who have already seen too much.

Another aside - I really hope Tami Lane gets recognized for her work. She threaded a very fine needle between making a slender-faced man look like a stocky dwarf and allowing the actor the needed freedom to use the tools of his own expressions to give the performance he gave. She deserves and Oscar for that feat!

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


Kim
Valinor


Oct 25 2013, 11:36pm

Post #8 of 43 (327 views)
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Congrats on making it to Rivendell! [In reply to] Can't Post

And yes, my DVD is probably worn through at this spot too Smile


Kim
Valinor


Oct 25 2013, 11:43pm

Post #9 of 43 (323 views)
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Wonderful post Dame Ioreth! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I could express myself as eloquently as you do. Smile

I especially love your comments about Richard's performance in this scene. This is the first time we've seen Thorin convey any vulnerability and you're right, with his stillness and the expression in his eyes, Richard really does a wonderful job showing us a new side of Thorin.


Noria
Rohan

Oct 25 2013, 11:55pm

Post #10 of 43 (323 views)
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Thanks Brethil [In reply to] Can't Post

  
Gandalf and Bilbo debate Bilbo's involvement the Quest... Gandalf is persuasive, but Bilbo is quite resistant. How much do you think this conversation influenced Bilbo's choice to follow the Company? Was it the primary influence or do you see something else as stronger?

The conversation didn't seem to shake Bilbo's resolve but maybe it brought back memories of a younger, more Took-like Hobbit and the dreams he had. Maybe it softened him up.

A bit OT: one of my favourite parts of AUJ is Gandalf's speech about Bullroarer Took and the invention of golf. I love how the writers took this bit of silliness in the book and worked it into the dialogue in such a way that it makes perfect sense. Gandalf’s so deliberately deadpan delivery and Bilbo’s response are great. I love the line about how every story should be embellished.




**An apprehensive Bilbo is seeking reassurance from Gandalf that he will come back: there is a small but dramatic pause before Gandalf answers. What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?

I think Gandalf was being honest and honourable. He may be manipulative but he's not deceitful and he wants Bilbo to know what he's getting into, even if in the end the Hobbit refuses.




A key scene: Balin and Thorin in the hall. It is a very private, intimate exchange, and they appear to switch roles back-and-forth as counselor and counselled, strong and vulnerable, in this scene. It begins with Balin, pessimistic and defeatist about their chances;
Thorin speaks from his heart about loyalty, honor and a willing heart. Then it is Thorin's turn to look uncertain,
and Balin speaks about his many priceless accomplishments in the Blue Mountains, as their leader. Each seems to know what the other needs in that moment. I feel this scene in both writing and execution speaks volumes, of these two Dwarves.

Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?

I think that Balin still had doubts about the likelihood of success, but he recognizes that Thorin is set on the quest and so will support him unreservedly. This is a lovely scene, with so much love and respect and history between the two Dwarves. Their conflict is not a clash of egos or a struggle for power but a difference of opinion. At the end Balin commits himself.

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?


Both, I think. There is obviously a strong relationship between Thorin and Balin. Clearly loyalty and honour are much valued. IMO Thorin's pain is related to the situation, the loss of Erebor and the destruction of his family rather rather than some Dwarven cultural antihedonia.


(This post was edited by Noria on Oct 25 2013, 11:59pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 12:01am

Post #11 of 43 (321 views)
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Ok: to start with... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
we all know why you chose this chapter Brethil, the opportunity to study Thorin photos- but I appreciate it all the same!!Wink

Tongue My friend. Just for you! Laugh (*grumbling* my reputation proceeds itself far too much around here!)
I think that Gandalf phrased his discussion in such a way as to awaken latent feelings and sentiments in Bilbo. ie Gandalf knew which buttons to press to appeal to Bilbo's deepest nature. However, he feels that he needs to be honest with Bilbo- if Gandalf had been mistaken in Bilbo, not telling him the whole truth and then having Bilbo completely freak out and ruin the quest at an early stage would have been disastrous! True about this, and the consequences deception or falseness might have had. I like the consistency here with Gandalf as the opponent to Sauron (though this is reaching far into other texts) as he simply will not use deception to steer Bilbo's choices. Humor - yes; behind-the-scenes arranging- yes. A lie - no. He trusts and has the wisdom to allow Bilbo to make the choice himself.
y
Discussion between Thorin and Balin- one of my favourite Thorin/RA scenes btw- shows the depth of trust and shared experiences between these two. I don't think that Balin is ever in any doubt that he will support Thorin's quest, but he does have reservations. Some of it may be unwillingness to see Thorin suffer yet more pain should the quest fail. But also, I think Balin is fearful for Thorin in light of the family history of mental illness/dragon sickness. Overall though, Balin feels he has to be there with Thorin, whatever happens.Yes, the pain of failure I think on very much on Balin's mind here. I see that as why he makes the objection at the table too - that insertion of logic that does take the wind right out of Thorin's sails.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 12:10am

Post #12 of 43 (325 views)
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Politics behind the emotion [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I love this song and I feel that the acapella setting gives it a feeling of antiquity and mystery. Also it evokes a sense of folk memory, in much the same way as the acapella section of Pippin's song in ROTK

The reactions of the characters are interesting and I think one can see who the veterans of Erebor were by this. I do wonder, though, whether the singing was to some extent a political move by Thorin, to reach out to the younger members of the company and to remind them of their history and their duty. It certainly seems to work for Kili, who is trying to comprehend the weight of responsibility on him as one of Durin's heirs. Even Nori seems to be affected, possibly against his better judgement! I'm not sure about Bofur- his family are from the Ered Luin and not of Durin's line, yet he seems to have adopted the quest and the cause of Durin's heirs as his own.
I think that Gandalf is possibly realising how much his motivation for the quest differs from that of the dwarfs at this point and is anticipating some future issues as a result. Bilbo has a number of thoughts whirling around his head. What a day and evening he has had!! And now, long suppressed Tookish thoughts and feelings are being awoken and making him feel uncomfortable. Also, his natural compassion for the dwarfs' plight in losing their home, is coming to the fore, despite the dwarfs' lack of manners.

And yes, I love the sparks from the chimneySmile




Antiquity - yes. Excellent point!

Indeed aside from the very emotional reaction we as viewers have to the scene, Thorin has a purpose with that song: to unify this group of Royals, Warriors, miners and craftsmen into a cohesive group. So I love that you brought this up, as I feel it myself. And Thorin's confidence clearly evolves through the song as well, as the response is generated by the Company - they are symbiotic.

Yes, actually I find Dori and Nori's reaction to be some of the most telling, and completely dialogue-free (which I love.) That slow, almost unwilling turn of Nori...and pulling Dori in from his pose of departure...so well staged and played by Mark and Jed. Potentially also expressing their initial 'outsider' feelings as being part of this Company?

Yes Gandalf does not look thrilled! Granted on film we have the jeopardy of Bilbo's decision pending, and seeming made in the negative. But I like what you have brought up here, that Gandalf may have stirrings of misgiving: this Dwarf (and among the whole Company of Dwarves) is strong-willed, and he has a challenge ahead of him perhaps. Possibly second-guessing Bilbo's fitness, or for his safety?

The sparks...what an evocative shot. It reminds me of small dreams in the larger, chillier world. Angelic

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 12:22am

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Congrats on your 100th post!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


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Cool

And since this just happens to be the place on my DVD that is almost worn through, if that is even possible...
And since I’ve been waiting for something special for my 100th post (thanks, Brethil!)
You are so welcome!!!! Cool
Yes, I love the way each of the dwarfs is allowed his moment in this scene. We’ve seen them fooling around, we’ve seen them singing even, but looking at that group chowing down around Bilbo’s table is not inspiring; they look like the most rag tag bunch of dwarfs.
They seem to know each other, but I wonder, is this the first time they’ve met since they “got the call?” They’re reaction to Thorin’s knock seems to say “yes” to me. And if so, that puts the song into an interesting light.
As Brethil mentions, there is an overtone of politics in that song; akin to singing a national anthem at a political rally. But, I believe it is more than that. If you read the lyrics, it is obviously a story song, but in the context of the dwarf culture, also a history lesson. Dwarf written language is, from what I’ve gathered, more utilitarian rather than artistic. Their art is in what they make with their hands and what they sing in their songs and therefore an a capella version is most fitting. Story songs are sung when no instruments are available - around a fire, to babies as lullabies, to children as bedtimes stories. So although the singing of that song at that particular moment did achieve political ends (rallying the troops so to speak), it also served as a history lesson for those who have never seen Erebor
.
I love your point about the Dwarven history lesson Ioreth. That's what I think we see with Dori, moving in and looking so intently and purposefully at Ori (who seems curious yet uninvolved, uninvested in the song). As if he is saying Are you getting this? Do you understand what this all means to us, as Dwarves of Erebor? And that rather oddball and separated trio of brothers come together: a microcosm of the cardinal effect of Thorin singing, and choosing this song, as you say next... This rag tag group who may know each other in passing now becomes a united group with a common goal, a goal rooted deep in the history of their race. They are not only on a quest to reclaim Erebor, but they are following the last of Durin’s line on that quest. Other dwarf settlements exist - the people will not die out - but there is something to be said for reinstating Durin’s heirs to their rightful place.

The sparks up the chimney are a beautiful image, but to me also a very poignant one. I saw two images, the vestiges of dragon fire that they will face and then almost as shooting stars, winking on for a few seconds and then gone. The song was a wish on those “stars”, for success in the endeavor. Like incense, the sparks rise with a prayer to their god(s) for a good outcome. Despite the brave words, I don’t think any of the dwarfs in their secret mind was confident of success or confident in their own bravery in the face of that dragon fire.

Fire as friend or foe - all depends on the origin doesn't it? And perhaps another thing they can quietly yet wordlessly share, getting past any bravado: the dread of that Day, and of the Dragon they have to face.
It’s my view that the sleeping author/historian in Bilbo was being nudged by the dwarfs singing this song. His heart was touched by their plight but I think it was his mind that was awakened by their *story*. Lover of tales, he was primed, as Gandalf saw in the younger Bilbo, to be off on his own adventure. Sam and Frodo talk about being “in the story” instead of telling the story. That is what, I think, ultimately puts Bilbo’s foot over the threshold. This time, he will get to *write* the tale! Very interesting idea into Bilbo's character and motivation. Is that why Gandalf references his 'books and maps'? Recognizing the restless author that Bilbo seems to have grown out of (and into a fussy old bachelor?)


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Macfeast
Rohan


Oct 26 2013, 12:28am

Post #14 of 43 (323 views)
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Wonderful scenes, all three of them. The song, in particular, ranks as one of my favorite Middle-earth moments. [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?

"No. And if you do... you will not be the same."
"I do not ask for pardon, Master Elrond (read: for speaking in Black Speech at the Council of Elrond)."
"There never was much hope (read: for Frodo and Sam). Just a fool's hope."

When push comes to shove, Gandalf does not hide the truth, does not hold back, and does not sugarcoat things so that people (even those he cares for greatly) won't get upset. When push comes to shove, he is an honest man, and says what needs to be said, regardless if it serves his immediate needs or not, and regardless if it may upset those he speaks to.

I would actually point to the Unfinished Tales here, and a conversation held between Gandalf and Thorin. Thorin questions Gandalf's intents, suggesting that "I am sure that you (read: Gandalf) have other purposes than helping me". To that, Gandalf answers "You are quite right. If I had no other purposes, I should not be helping you at all." He could have rebuked Thorin's claim, and suggested that he is as devoted to this quest as Thorin (sure, it would look suspicious when he would have to leave them at Mirkwood, but that's a later problem), so as to get Thorin off his back, but he doesn't. Gandalf does not fool people into doing his bidding; Instead, true to his purpose, he motivates them, but always making sure that the stakes and circumstances are known.

...ok, so maybe he would fiddle a little behind the scenes every now and then, like how he took advantage of the confusion during the warg-chase and led the dwarves to the hidden way into Rivendell. Still, it's always with the best of intentions.

Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?

Oh, Balin still has doubts, no question about that. This, however, is when he ultimately decides to give the Quest his all, recognizing that there is no talking Thorin out of it. Now, he is as involved, and determined to see it through, as the rest of the Company. The odds haven't changed, and Balin knows it; He threw his chips into the pot, anyway, out of loyalty towards Thorin.

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?

I think the latter. Loyalty and secretiveness, those are key ingredients to the dwarven race, as Tolkien penned them. Take note, for example, of Bofur's response to Bilbo's "You're used to not belonging anywhere"; You can see how deeply it hurt Bofur, but he is loyal to Bilbo, forgives him, and wishes him the best. The pain, he keeps inside.
Dwarves may very well weep openly at times, no doubt about that. Even then, during the act of grieving in public, I think they manage to make it into a private matter, if that makes sense. They don't cry for sympathy. They cry for themselves, everyone around them be damned; "I am grieving, and I will let no one but those close to me get in the way of it, or share in it with me." Remember Gimli crying at the Chamber of Mazarbul, and Boromir putting his hand on Gimli's shoulder (a wonderful moment, and I am saddened that it had to be pointed out to me years later for me to notice it)? The way I picture it, the hand on the shoulder was as far as Gimli would go; I don't picture Gimli accepting Boromir embracing him in an attempt to comfort him. No, the grief was Gimli's, and he would grieve as long as he wanted, leaving the others out of it.

--

As for the song, I'm not sure I have something to say about each and every one of the dwarves, but I will share a few random observations I've had.

I do like that Balin takes part in the singing, and elaborating on the above (and as I also mentioned in the relevant Character of the Week-thread), though he may harbor doubt, he is no Negative Nancy; He, too, can get caught up in the excitement of the quest. At the time of the song, he had ultimately decided to give the Quest his all ("Then we are with you, laddie"), and is as involved in it as the rest of the Company.

I also do like the closeup of Glóin, and I am reminded of the look Gimli had upon his face as the Fellowship of the Ring departed Lothlorien, and he told Legolas of Galadriel's gift to him. Despite all the prosthetics, the two were capable of being expressive, of being taken seriously, and I can quite clearly read them; These were emotional moments, for Glóin, and Gimli alike, and their walls of hair and noses of rubber did not get in the way of making that point clear.

Not much to say about the closing shot, beyond how wonderful it is.


(This post was edited by Macfeast on Oct 26 2013, 12:36am)


Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 12:37am

Post #15 of 43 (303 views)
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Such a great scene - how did I know you'd love it??? [In reply to] Can't Post


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Thanks for the detailed post and photos Brethil - you are most welcome!

Bilbo and Gandalf:
I do like how Gandalf used humor and referenced his ancestor to try to influence Bilbo.
What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?
The other thing that was nice about this scene is that Gandalf finally had a straightforward conversation with Bilbo after all the muddling and confusion of the previous scenes. It gave Bilbo a chance to catch his breath and try to take everything in.
Combining these two ideas - so true that someone is finally speaking TO Bilbo! Not around him, or over him...the time with Gandalf is just those two and its about him, not Dwarves or things he only half understands.

Thorin and Balin:
Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?
I do think Balin still has doubts, but he’s given Thorin his word that “they will see it done”, so he will stand by Thorin no matter what happens from this point forward.
So no matter what his doubts, he has been won over - I wonder if to Balin it is the unassailable fact of the Key and Thorin's legacy, or is it during the song that he makes up his mind for certain?

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?
I can see the dwarven culture being intensely loyal and guarded with their emotions. However, I think we’re seeing a unique relationship between the prince and his trusted advisor, who has been with him since he was a boy. That’s not to say there aren’t other similar relationships among the dwarves, but I think this one is special, especially considering their roles and the unique circumstances they find themselves in. Especially for Thorin, after being given the key, it’s really lit that spark in him and made him determined to follow through on the quest, for the sake of his father and grandfather, and Balin is really the only one he can discuss this with.


Excellently said! Ties in nicely with seeing them together in Erebor earlier.
BTW, Thorin’s hair looks great in this scene! Laugh When doesn't it...Cool

Misty Mountains song:
Firstly, what did you think of the choice of acapella for this rendition?

Absolutely wonderful. When I saw the very first teaser trailer, my first thoughts were “it looks just the same!” (i.e. we’re going back to Middle Earth) and as soon as they started singing, my breath caught and I thought “they’re singing!” (i.e. it’s something new and special). This is my absolute favorite scene – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this! All those deep voices singing together - magical.

My favorite dwarf reaction is Bombur – I love how he practically tiptoes into the room.
- For example, with the brothers Ori, Nori and Dori? Ori seems very pulled in by the song, perhaps awed to be a part of this group, Dori and Nori perhaps not as much at first, but are gradually pulled in as well.
- What do Balin's actions say about how he is feeling about the Quest? At first, he seems to be steeling himself, as in “OK, here we go”, then he gives in to it and joins in the song.
- Bifur rising first. Does this change your perceptions of him from earlier in the film? I’ve heard that music can sometimes reach people with brain injuries more than speaking, so this was a great way to illustrate that.
- What does Thorin himself tell you with his movements? I love it when he puts his hand over his heart. He just has to express himself with this song, and he’s not consciously trying to pull the others in, but it just happens naturally.
- Dwalin's reaction is complex and multilayered. What's happening here? At first, his non-reaction seems to fit with his soldier status (not emotional, just here to get the job done), but then he joins in with the rest of the group in solidarity.
- Our chipper class clown, Bofur: quite a different view here isn't it? Yes, and a really great change, for all his jokes, he understands the seriousness of their situation.
- Can you tell who was at the Mountain the day Smaug came from their reactions? Or no? Not really, although Gloin’s far off gaze does seem more intent than, say, Nori.
- The net reaction to Thorin's singing - what do you see? All the dwarves have come together as one unit to share this sacred song, really bonding as a company and acknowledging Thorin as their leader.
I like all your points. I agree about Bombur, it is a different side to the big guy, who seems to be rather the butt and/or a jokester, so to move so lightly, almost reverently, in response to the signing beginning is revealing. Underscores its importance. And I like the fact that Bifur, standing first, obviously knows what's up (consistent with expressive aphasia) and in full understanding of the Quest and what is at stake. It helps show that he has made the choice himself I think, and not just been dragged along into peril by his relatives.


Touching again on influences on Bilbo: how much do you think the song had upon him? In relation to Gandalf's words earlier - more influence or less?
I think he is starting to get influenced here by the dwarves plight, but still wanting to stay in his comfortable home. But this, coupled with Gandalf’s words, is really making him think hard.
Feeling torn in two, as Frodo will later say to Samwise.


What do you think about the choice of the sparks in the sky as the closing shot here? What does that image say to you?
Nice visual with the final words of the song, evoking “the trees like torches, blazed with light”.
It is...Smile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 12:49am

Post #16 of 43 (304 views)
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Speaking of Golf! [In reply to] Can't Post


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Gandalf and Bilbo debate Bilbo's involvement the Quest... Gandalf is persuasive, but Bilbo is quite resistant. How much do you think this conversation influenced Bilbo's choice to follow the Company? Was it the primary influence or do you see something else as stronger?

The conversation didn't seem to shake Bilbo's resolve but maybe it brought back memories of a younger, more Took-like Hobbit and the dreams he had. Maybe it softened him up.

A bit OT: one of my favourite parts of AUJ is Gandalf's speech about Bullroarer Took and the invention of golf. I love how the writers took this bit of silliness in the book and worked it into the dialogue in such a way that it makes perfect sense. Gandalf’s so deliberately deadpan delivery and Bilbo’s response are great. I love the line about how every story should be embellished.


I love going a bit OT Noria! Glad you bring this part up as part of the interaction. I agree, that Gandlaf uses various approaches here to 'soften' Bilbo towards the quest - drawing on his memories of adventure in his youth, the family story (which I agree: was worked in very believably). Gandalf seems to be giving it everything he's got in this scene to make it happen. Short of deception, as you say ...

**An apprehensive Bilbo is seeking reassurance from Gandalf that he will come back: there is a small but dramatic pause before Gandalf answers. What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?
I think Gandalf was being honest and honourable. He may be manipulative but he's not deceitful and he wants Bilbo to know what he's getting into, even if in the end the Hobbit refuses.
I brought this up because I love the Gandalfness of Gandalf here! He doesn't use deception even at need, especially for little Bilbo (considering Gandalf knows there will be peril).


A key scene: Balin and Thorin in the hall..
Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?

I think that Balin still had doubts about the likelihood of success, but he recognizes that Thorin is set on the quest and so will support him unreservedly. This is a lovely scene, with so much love and respect and history between the two Dwarves. Their conflict is not a clash of egos or a struggle for power but a difference of opinion. At the end Balin commits himself.


Exactly - the deep feeling and respect shows through. And if Balin has reservations I think they don't relate to himself or his own safety, but to the price Thorin may have to pay in the end. That moment of commitment I think is so well played by Ken Stott.
Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?
Both, I think. There is obviously a strong relationship between Thorin and Balin. Clearly loyalty and honour are much valued. IMO Thorin's pain is related to the situation, the loss of Erebor and the destruction of his family rather rather than some Dwarven cultural antihedonia.
I think the value of the prologue is to show that about Thorin - how much has been lost and the hint of explanation as to why he feels driven to reclaim Erebor; also a great point that the way the scene is written the wealth aspect is devalued, and the pride and honor are more in Thorin's mind.



Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 1:03am

Post #17 of 43 (292 views)
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Your wonderful avatar is almost back in season Macfeast! [In reply to] Can't Post


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What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?
"No. And if you do... you will not be the same."
"I do not ask for pardon, Master Elrond (read: for speaking in Black Speech at the Council of Elrond)."
"There never was much hope (read: for Frodo and Sam). Just a fool's hope."

When push comes to shove, Gandalf does not hide the truth, does not hold back, and does not sugarcoat things so that people (even those he cares for greatly) won't get upset. When push comes to shove, he is an honest man, and says what needs to be said, regardless if it serves his immediate needs or not, and regardless if it may upset those he speaks to.
I would actually point to the Unfinished Tales here, and a conversation held between Gandalf and Thorin. Thorin questions Gandalf's intents, suggesting that "I am sure that you (read: Gandalf) have other purposes than helping me". To that, Gandalf answers "You are quite right. If I had no other purposes, I should not be helping you at all." He could have rebuked Thorin's claim, and suggested that he is as devoted to this quest as Thorin (sure, it would look suspicious when he would have to leave them at Mirkwood, but that's a later problem), so as to get Thorin off his back, but he doesn't. Gandalf does not fool people into doing his bidding; Instead, true to his purpose, he motivates them, but always making sure that the stakes and circumstances are known.
...ok, so maybe he would fiddle a little behind the scenes every now and then, like how he took advantage of the confusion during the warg-chase and led the dwarves to the hidden way into Rivendell. Still, it's always with the best of intentions.


I love the tie-ins here Macfeast, to Gandalf's character as a whole. I see it that way too: never will he use guile and 'devices' to influence the choices of others when life is at stake (though he certainly knows how to have a bit of fun) as the enemy and opposite of Sauron. He trusts in the choices of those whom he chooses to aid - its such a deep wisdom revealed.

Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?
Oh, Balin still has doubts, no question about that. This, however, is when he ultimately decides to give the Quest his all, recognizing that there is no talking Thorin out of it. Now, he is as involved, and determined to see it through, as the rest of the Company. The odds haven't changed, and Balin knows it; He threw his chips into the pot, anyway, out of loyalty towards Thorin. I think we get the sense here that among all the Dwarves, Balin has the most sense of what is at stake.

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?
I think the latter. Loyalty and secretiveness, those are key ingredients to the dwarven race, as Tolkien penned them. Take note, for example, of Bofur's response to Bilbo's "You're used to not belonging anywhere"; You can see how deeply it hurt Bofur, but he is loyal to Bilbo, forgives him, and wishes him the best. The pain, he keeps inside.
Dwarves may very well weep openly at times, no doubt about that. Even then, during the act of grieving in public, I think they manage to make it into a private matter, if that makes sense. They don't cry for sympathy. They cry for themselves, everyone around them be damned; "I am grieving, and I will let no one but those close to me get in the way of it, or share in it with me." Remember Gimli crying at the Chamber of Mazarbul, and Boromir putting his hand on Gimli's shoulder (a wonderful moment, and I am saddened that it had to be pointed out to me years later for me to notice it)? The way I picture it, the hand on the shoulder was as far as Gimli would go; I don't picture Gimli accepting Boromir embracing him in an attempt to comfort him. No, the grief was Gimli's, and he would grieve as long as he wanted, leaving the others out of it.
Another great tie-in to the larger consistency here. What I like about them choosing this private talk is that I feel that NEVER would they reveal this kind of vulnerability and doubt in front of non-Dwarves (even trusted ones) and nor necessarily have even Dwarves not in their own circle be party to this kind of softer side. Grief at the battle, for example?, or Gimli at the Tomb? That's about honor, so that's OK. But the softer things: no, that's kept hidden.


As for the song, I'm not sure I have something to say about each and every one of the dwarves, but I will share a few random observations I've had.
I do like that Balin takes part in the singing, and elaborating on the above (and as I also mentioned in the relevant Character of the Week-thread), though he may harbor doubt, he is no Negative Nancy; He, too, can get caught up in the excitement of the quest. At the time of the song, he had ultimately decided to give the Quest his all ("Then we are with you, laddie"), and is as involved in it as the rest of the Company.
I also do like the closeup of Glóin, and I am reminded of the look Gimli had upon his face as the Fellowship of the Ring departed Lothlorien, and he told Legolas of Galadriel's gift to him. Despite all the prosthetics, the two were capable of being expressive, of being taken seriously, and I can quite clearly read them; These were emotional moments, for Glóin, and Gimli alike, and their walls of hair and noses of rubber did not get in the way of making that point clear.
The link between Gimli and Gloin was well thought out. He is quite expressive here, one of the most touching expressions in the scene.

Not much to say about the closing shot, beyond how wonderful it is. Agreed. Evocative.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Oct 26 2013, 1:21am

Post #18 of 43 (295 views)
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Well, garsh.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Kim.

I could wax poetic about RA's performance in AUJ (and RH and N&S and oh! Spooks, he killed me in Spooks, no pulse no breathing killed me) until the dawn. Come to think of it, I was up until dawn writing character biographies for my own novel after watching him in N&S, I was so inspired by his performance. He has so many ways he uses every tool given to him as an actor - voice, movement, posture, delivery. He truly *becomes* the character who has the emotions instead of what you see so much (especially on American TV) with performers acting the emotions. His immersion in the character is a sign of a true craftsman.

Case in point, watch him as Thorin realizes that the elves are going to stay on the ridge and not help the dwarves. He goes from relief that help in near to disbelief that help is not coming to anger that help was withheld and to do that he moves his head maybe an inch or two. It's all in his eyes and the change in posture because of a that small movement of the head. That is well-crafted, nuanced performance.

I like how he uses that stillness to achieve the nobility that I see in Thorin. The book Thorin was grumpy and a bit bombastic. I had a hard time, as an adult reading the story, understanding why any character would follow such a leader. I felt as if something was missing (and it was. It was a children's book and extensive character motivation is not needed.) By tweaking his character in this way, we see him as the bedrock of the group. He's still got a dwarf's temper and their uncanny ability to forge ahead when ahead is not necessarily the best direction, but in that stillness he sets himself apart, above the fray just enough that people are compelled to turn and listen and follow.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


Macfeast
Rohan


Oct 26 2013, 1:29am

Post #19 of 43 (288 views)
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Jingle beards, jingle beards, jingle all the way! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Kim
Valinor


Oct 26 2013, 2:05am

Post #20 of 43 (293 views)
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Again, I have to agree with you [In reply to] Can't Post

I love how with Richard's performances, I only see the character, not the actor. And yes, with N&S, Spooks and Robin Hood, as soon as I finished, I'd have to start right over and watch it all again. Although, to echo your comment, after the last viewing of Spooks, I don't know if I can put myself through all that again Unsure).

Definitely a combination of the stillness and facial expression that draws me in. I love how Peter Jackson called this out during the Japanese press conference this year. Definitely a big part of what made movie Thorin so much more sympathetic and believable as a leader than book Thorin.

Evil


elaen32
Gondor


Oct 26 2013, 8:09am

Post #21 of 43 (269 views)
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I so agree with you Kim & Ioreth + spoilers+ [In reply to] Can't Post

As for Spooks- aaaagh! All the way through those last two episodes I was still hoping that it was all a mistake and just another under cover job for Lucas. The way RA portrayed those emotions was awesome. And I still couldn't hate Lucas- he had certainly paid in part for his crime in the Russian jail. RA really nailed it imo
Sorry, totally OT hereWink


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Oct 26 2013, 11:41am

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My choice too (for best chapter, that is!) [In reply to] Can't Post


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This chapter features two great scenes with two one-on-one conversations, involving four fabulous actors. What a pleasure to watch!


Gandalf is persuasive, but Bilbo is quite resistant. How much do you think this conversation influenced Bilbo's choice to follow the Company? Was it the primary influence or do you see something else as stronger?
Yes, Gandalf is persuasive--but not to Bilbo's Baggins side! It's not until his Took side "wakes up" to the Dwarven song that Gandalf's words really sink in. (More on that later.)
I think it's very clever of Gandalf to bring up Bullroarer Took. Why would a respectable Baggins have a picture of a wild, freakishly tall Goblin-slaughterer hanging on his wall? Because he secretly admires him, of course. Deep down he probably wishes he could participate in a similar kind of adventure. Leave it to Gandalf to use this to his advantage!
Another thing I appreciate about this scene is not only the perspective, which I assume was done with the two-room method involving speaking to tennis balls, but also that Bilbo is firmly rooted to his chair, demonstrating his determination not to be moved. Gandalf paces around the room for most of the conversation, as one would expect from a wandering wizard. And yet when it comes down to brass tacks, the two are sitting face to face, as equals.



An apprehensive Bilbo is seeking reassurance from Gandalf that he will come back: there is a small but dramatic pause before Gandalf answers. What do you think of Gandalf's choice not to give the answer "yes" - the answer that would have served his own immediate and weighty need?
One of the things I most disliked about the book as a kid was that Gandalf harries Bilbo into the adventure and then abandons him for long periods of time to extreme danger and extremely cranky Dwarves. Here in the movie Bilbo makes the decision fully on his own, and fully aware (well, as much as he can be at this point) of the risks.
Even though we have seen Gandalf "trick" Bilbo into hosting a party and use sly arguments on him, we can see that Gandalf is fundamentally honest. This scene makes a large impact when we see how he maneuvers in Rivendell and faces his "questioners" at the meeting of the White Council.


A key scene: Balin and Thorin in the hall. It is a very private, intimate exchange, and they appear to switch roles back-and-forth as counselor and counselled, strong and vulnerable, in this scene. It begins with Balin, pessimistic and defeatist about their chances;

Thorin speaks from his heart about loyalty, honor and a willing heart. Then it is Thorin's turn to look uncertain, and Balin speaks about his many priceless accomplishments in the Blue Mountains, as their leader. Each seems to know what the other needs in that moment. I feel this scene in both writing and execution speaks volumes, of these two Dwarves.

Does it seem to finally settle the shadow of conflict between Balin and Thorin at the table earlier, as to whether Balin can accept the Quest and stand by Thorin once and for all? Or do you think Balin still has doubts?
First of all, I'd like to note that the scene takes place in a hall, a "transitional" area...and this scene is kind of transitional too, in the sense that it marks a place of doubt. They seem to have lost their burglar. Balin is not convinced the quest has any chance of success. Thorin even seems to have doubts.
And yet we are given insight into the reasons, which really are beyond "reason" that Thorin is determined to continue. And wow, what insight into both their characters in this soul-exposing talk! We see Thorin's pain, doubt, and vulnerability, and Balin's doubts and fierce loyalty. This scene is what really made me fall for both Balin and Thorin.Heart And I must add that Richard Armitage's eyes do almost all the acting here, with a supporting role for his voice. That is just incredible to me!
I think Balin still has doubts--it's his loyalty to Thorin that is carrying him along on this journey.

Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?
I think it's a little of both, as we see in the next scene.



"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton



Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Oct 26 2013, 12:09pm

Post #23 of 43 (255 views)
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Where Bilbo's choice really occurs [In reply to] Can't Post


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The magnificent scene in which Thorin leads the Company in song. One of my favorite moments.

Firstly, what did you think of the choice of acapella for this rendition?


I think the use of Russian folk music as the foundation for this song is a fabulous idea. It highlights the "deep throating singing of the Dwarves," mysterious and almost magical.


Each Dwarf is pictured here, as the camera pans slowly around the room. I would like to touch upon their reactions and their characterizations as we see them revealed without dialogue, plus the net effect of the scene.
It begins at Kili's back, entering the room; where we see Bifur stand first among all the Dwarves.
Go, Bifur! I think he understands that something important is happening. Maybe he is more in tune with things than we thought.


Thorin begins to sing, with his back half to the Company,


that is very interesting, because it's almost as if he is giving each Dwarf in the room time to think over what the quest means, and to reinforce their commitment to it as the song continues.



and we pan slowly to Balin - sitting, looking very, very sadly into the fire.
You know, I had never noticed that he looked sad before--I just thought he was pensive. But I think you're right, Brethil. Good observation! We know he witnessed the loss of Erebor, but I wonder how much other loss--the line of Durin, for example--he is contemplating.

[Fili was in this shot was not Dean O'Gorman. His figure is wreathed in smoke, and we get no other close up, presumably due to the casting change.]
Yeah, that stinks. Tongue


Dori stands half in, half out of the room - with one foot on the step and looking down the hall and away from the Company; it is like he is halfway to departing in some way - quite literally with one foot out of the door.... Dori is looking closely and with deep significance at Ori,


I noticed that Dori seems convicted about the point of this song as he looks into Ori's face. Whatever he sees there seems to convice him to participate.


Oin sits in he back with shadow covering his face, across from his brother. Interesting n(and perhaps a foreshadowing?) - of all the Dwarves his reaction is the most hidden.
Except for Fili, of course. Unsure


Kili's seems to be trying very hard to look grim and determined, from his tense posture to his frown. In the firelight his youth and slenderness seems very apparent. The song has even brought Bombur from the table.
I really enjoy Kili's reaction here. I think he knows that this is serious business--the most serious of his life, perhaps. No doubt he is feeling the weight of his heritage.
Bombur seems drawn in, doesn't he--maybe even against his will? Yet there he is.

Gandalf is deep in thought, but not with the Dwarves - he sits quite alone, frowning.
How am I going to get that infernal Hobbit to change his mind? Tongue
Actually, I think he is probably considering all that needs to be done to get the map translated, cross Middle-earth, get rid of a dragon...



Nori, whose back was to the others, has turned very slowly, by degrees and almost against his will it seems, called away from the window to join in the low hum.
He too seems drawn by Ori's reaction.


Ori rises, with his book in hand, clear-eyed and curious yet seemingly untouched; Dwalin still remains seated, watching Thorin silently. He does not sing.
I think Ori's reaction is my favorite. I think he is a sensitive, rather romanticly inclined young Dwarf, probably chock full of stories of adventure and Dwarven prowess, and this song brings out all the magic and mystery of their heritage, with the added pull of adventure. Evil He obviously knows nothing about dragons, and probably nothing just yet about loss. Dwalin, I think, knows both what Thorin is doing and why, and exactly what kind of fighting it's going to entail. He's ready for it, but he's not going to get carried away with emotion.


Bilbo is also sitting alone, his brow furrowed, listening.
His Took side is waking up!


Balin has finally slowly (almost painfully) risen to stand beside Thorin, and Thorin now turns towards the Company to face them. His has raised his hand to just below his heart, covering the viscera. As Balin sings, standing at Thorin's side, his eyes do not look at anyone, particularly Thorin it seems, but into some distance to the left of the fire.

Maybe he is grieving. Unsure

Playful Bofur is quite serious here and chooses to clearly sing the words, not the harmonized hum - perhaps the most clearly heard of the singers next to Thorin. He is utterly sincere.
It's good to know he can be serious! I respect him the more for it.

Gloin's eyes are very far away, and he looks deep in memory.
Yes, it's interesting to wonder how much the other Dwarves we don't see in the prologue knew or experienced of the fall of Erebor. Gloin certainly seems to feel it deeply.

Bilbo is against the bedrail, with a sad and weary look as he watches his tiny fire. The shot closes beautifully with the small, hot sparks joining the larger night sky, jewelled with cold stars. Voices fade into silence.
What a beautiful image--I love the symbolism, reflecting last chances, almost snuffed out...



Gandalf later says he did not doubt Bilbo joining. Yet as the Dwarves sing, do you think Gandalf is feeling at all confident?
Gandalf, I just got done saying you were honest. Wink

Thanks for these great insights, Brethil!!



"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton



Noria
Rohan

Oct 26 2013, 1:42pm

Post #24 of 43 (246 views)
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The Misty Mountains song is possibly my favourite moment in AUJ. [In reply to] Can't Post

The acapella is beautiful. Richard Armitage said in an interview that he’s a trained singer and had to dial it back for this scene, but it’s still lovely. The lighting, the camera work, the sound all make for a great scene. The Dwarven instruments from the book would have been an unnecessary complication.

This is another scene in which their knowledge of their characters' back stories and individual traits enable the actors to enrich this scene without any spoken words. Though all the Dwarves are drawn in and their hearts touched, they react differently

Thorin starts off looking into the fire (and looking magnificent), then turns to face the group, making him part of it instead of separate and probably engaging the others more. This group of individuals is moved by the events of the past and brought together for their shared purpose.

I think that Balin is fatalistic and sad rather than optimistic about their prospects but is resigned. After a moment he rises to sing with the others, signifying his commitment to Thorin and the quest.

Dwalin also doesn't look too happy but seems resolute. Like his brother he probably has a realistic idea of what their chances of success are.

Dwalin, Balin and Gloin look grim and lost in memory. I would expect them to have been at Erebor. Probably Oin as well of course but I can’t remember him in this scene.

Bifur rises first, perhaps showing us that he's not as out of it as he looks. Certainly he's in there fighting when required.

I always supposed that Bofur sang more prominently because James Nesbitt can hold a tune. I don't know why Bofur remained seated with his back to Thorin.

I like how Dori looks at Ori’s rapt face and turns away; maybe he had hoped to prevent his little brother from going on the journey and was realizing that he had failed.

Gandalf is enigmatic as usual. I wouldn't say that he’s confident but is still hopeful that Bilbo’s Tookish side will win through. He probably knows the song will help.

As for Bilbo, I think the song touched his Tookish side though he's still resisting. Maybe he's regretting thet he "can't" go running off into the blue.

The sparks flying up out of the chimney is a beautiful image. It reminded me of what the song was about, the attack of the dragon, and of course of hopes and dreams extinguished in the dark.

For me this whole sequence, Bilbo and Gandalf, Thorin and Balin and the Misty Mountains song are really what the movie is about.


Brethil
Half-elven


Oct 26 2013, 4:47pm

Post #25 of 43 (231 views)
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The Bullroarer: what a good catch R-D [In reply to] Can't Post


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This chapter features two great scenes with two one-on-one conversations, involving four fabulous actors. What a pleasure to watch! Entirely agreed R-D!

I think it's very clever of Gandalf to bring up Bullroarer Took. Why would a respectable Baggins have a picture of a wild, freakishly tall Goblin-slaughterer hanging on his wall? Because he secretly admires him, of course. Deep down he probably wishes he could participate in a similar kind of adventure. Leave it to Gandalf to use this to his advantage! That's an excellent point about the Bullroarer being on the wall R-D. Even in the text we get that sense of Bilbo admiring the Bullroarer - he brings him up to the Company. A clever angle to work trying to appeal to the adventurer Gandalf saw in Bilbo years before. Nice pick up here. Another thing I appreciate about this scene is not only the perspective, which I assume was done with the two-room method involving speaking to tennis balls, but also that Bilbo is firmly rooted to his chair, demonstrating his determination not to be moved. Gandalf paces around the room for most of the conversation, as one would expect from a wandering wizard. And yet when it comes down to brass tacks, the two are sitting face to face, as equals. Yes they are - and Gandalf, speaking the truth, treats him as equal as well...though it does seems to short-circuit the Burglar idea! I like too how Bilbo leaves the room - back straight, intensely dignified. MF used great body language there, as well as what you point out: being FIRMLY and gravity-defying in that chair!! Its a great similarity to how Sir Ian Holm uses body language for Bilbo in FOTR, with the little boxing move he makes against Gandalf...a subtle continuity in Bilbo done by two wonderful performers.

One of the things I most disliked about the book as a kid was that Gandalf harries Bilbo into the adventure and then abandons him for long periods of time to extreme danger and extremely cranky Dwarves. Here in the movie Bilbo makes the decision fully on his own, and fully aware (well, as much as he can be at this point) of the risks. Even though we have seen Gandalf "trick" Bilbo into hosting a party and use sly arguments on him, we can see that Gandalf is fundamentally honest. This scene makes a large impact when we see how he maneuvers in Rivendell and faces his "questioners" at the meeting of the White Council. I see many of us look at that moment in a similar way - internally consistent with Gandalf as a character; and though the scene is changed from text, I think it honors not only TH but other writings in regards to Gandalf's choices and behavior. Yet while preserving his integrity, it keeps Gandalf a bit fun too! Which is what he was: he was humble enough to have mirth, to enjoy small things.AngelicHeart


(Thorin and Balin in the hall) First of all, I'd like to note that the scene takes place in a hall, a "transitional" area...and this scene is kind of transitional too, in the sense that it marks a place of doubt. They seem to have lost their burglar. Balin is not convinced the quest has any chance of success. Thorin even seems to have doubts.And yet we are given insight into the reasons, which really are beyond "reason" that Thorin is determined to continue. And wow, what insight into both their characters in this soul-exposing talk! We see Thorin's pain, doubt, and vulnerability, and Balin's doubts and fierce loyalty. This scene is what really made me fall for both Balin and Thorin.Heart And I must add that Richard Armitage's eyes do almost all the acting here, with a supporting role for his voice. That is just incredible to me! I think Balin still has doubts--it's his loyalty to Thorin that is carrying him along on this journey.Its an very underplayed and subtle key scene. Which I love. I have always admired being able to import emotion and impact without histrionic or too-obvious dialogue. All that is done here.
Is this a unique and trusting relationship between Thorin and Balin, or is this a window into the soul of Dwarven culture: intense loyalty and private pain?

I think it's a little of both, as we see in the next scene.
We will see more of the Dwarven (and particularly Thorin's) losses as the next films unfold. I like that SPJ has chosen to show the events in degrees - not one piled-on sob story, but layered: paralleling Thorin (and I think Dwarf nature) himself.



Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Oct 26 2013, 4:48pm)

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