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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What is considered "within the spirit of Tolkien" in the hobbit movie?

Cirashala
Gondor


Nov 17 2013, 3:27am


Views: 1233
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What is considered "within the spirit of Tolkien" in the hobbit movie? Can't Post

This is not directed at any poster in particular at all. I have just been thinking, and believe that I may have found a way that even purists may at least consider deviations from the book to film to still be within the spirit of Tolkien.

Ok, for starters I am no Tolkien expert. I have never claimed to be (though I did snort with Stephen Colbert's massive insistence that the Silvan elves are Atari, or unwilling, because he is actually wrong, and most of the world saw it Tongue) I have only recently become even aware of the existence of Tolkien 6 years ago.

However, since I was first introduced to the world of Tolkien via my now brother in law, I have come to have a full admiring respect for BOTH Tolkien and Peter Jackson and co (my term for the movie team).

I have heard a lot of discussion on here regarding deviations from the books. Some are arguing that they are within the spirit of Tolkien, while others argue that they change canon too much, and thus aren't.

But can something be in the spirit of Tolkien, and yet be a deviation from canon?

I believe it can Smile

I will start with probably the second most controversial character in the films- Azog.

From canon (this includes all works by Tolkien that I have read, including the appendices at the end of LOTR) Azog was a Gundabad orc who had taken up residence in Moria. When Thror, in a moment of madness, walked into the east gate of Moria, Azog beheaded him, carved his name on the dwarf's forehead, and threw it out for the messenger that came with him with a purse of worthless coins in his mouth. The orc then claimed that HE was lord of Moria.

When the messenger returned to his people, and told Thrain and Thorin what had happened, they spent quite a long time recruiting help from all 7 of the dwarf kingdoms, seeking revenge for this defilement of the descendant of the eldest father of the dwarves, Durin I. Thus began the 7 year war between dwarves and orcs. In the final battle outside Moria, Azog slew King Nain, the father of Dain II Ironfoot (though Dain was not known by that epithet at the time) and lord of the Iron Hills. Dain, at the age of 32, then slew Azog. But when Thrain, in his madness, went to enter Moria, or Khazad dum in the dwarf tongue, Dain stopped him, reminding him that Durin's bane still lived- the balrog who had caused the dwarves to flee Moria in the first place.

It was during this battle that Thorin earned his epithet, Oakenshield, and where his brother, Frerin, perished.

That's canon. And these events happened many decades before the Quest for Erebor.

Now, in the films, this has been changed. The dwarves, led by the mad Thror, try to retake Moria since they lost Erebor. Azog slays Thror, cutting off his head and carving his name in the Black Speech on his head. Thrain goes mad, and disappears. Thorin, in grief and rage, attacks Azog. The pale Gundabad orc had sworn to wipe out the line of Durin, of which Thorin is descended. In a last desperate attempt, Thorin has to use an oaken branch to deflect the blows from Azog's club/mace. He succeeds in cutting off Azog's hand and turning the tide in the dwarves' favor to win the battle. And believes Azog to be dead.

Now, during the quest, we see that Azog is in fact alive. He's still out for the blood of the line of Durin, or more specifically, the head of Thorin as the king of Durin's folk (though in exile). And now he has a personal beef with Thorin as well, for taking his hand.


Many people are very upset with the inclusion of Azog, since, by canon, he is supposed to be dead at this point. While I understand their points, saying that it isn't "in the spirit of Tolkien" and being angry at the filmmakers for changing canon and being unfaithful to the source material may be a bit of a stretch.

See, I believe it to be within the spirit of Tolkien, even if it's a deviation from the book canon.

Tolkien had very specific "rules" guiding his world. That is what makes it Middle-earth, and not just some other random fantasy with pretty scenery and other races besides humans.

What makes an Orc in Tolkien's world? An orc is evil. They are cruel, and they need little provocation to fight. They are misformed and ugly to human eyes, and are mutilated and distorted into something evil by Melkor, the Valar who brought discord within the song of Illuvatar.

Azog in the movie is an orc who seeks to wipe out the line of Durin. He is from Mt. Gundabad, which is the awakening place of Durin I himself, set there by Aule (Mahal to the dwarves) who first created them, perceiving Illuvatar's design for the firstborn, the elves. Orcs overran Gundabad a long time before the quest, yet the dwarves still regard it as a sacred place.

So, does a Gundabad Orc's desire to wipe out the line of those who used to call his home theirs? Well, if that's not in the spirit of Tolkien, then Thorin wishing to reclaim HIS home from a dragon certainly isn't either. Yet Thorin's desire is in the book Wink

Orcs don't exactly need much provocation to be angry, or to want to kill something. It's in their very nature. Once Thorin cuts off his hand, then it just became personal.

As for him being alive, yes, it's a deviation from canon. Is it against the spirit of Tolkien? I think Azog presents himself just like any other (semi-intelligent) orc would, given his history, his home, and his experiences with battle. He fights like an orc-brute strength and wielding a mace/club-not exactly a weapon you have to have much instruction on, and very orcish. He speaks the Black Speech, just like an orc would in ME. He has a symbiotic relationship with wargs- that is also what some orcs would do in ME. He is cruel- hence his epithet- Defiler.

He does not break any of the rules of Tolkien's world. He IS a Middle-earth orc by definition.

And that's why Azog is in the spirit of Tolkien, and why the filmmakers have kept his inclusion in the film within the Spirit of Tolkien, even if it didn't necessarily follow canon timelines.


I am not sure I want to enter the Tauriel debate just yet- but know that she, from what little I have heard, could well NOT be within the spirit of Tolkien Wink

I will wait to see DOS before I come to that conclusion 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.

Subject User Time
What is considered "within the spirit of Tolkien" in the hobbit movie? Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Nov 17 2013, 3:27am
    Dain had indeed seen The Balrog, the Bane of Durin. He had scene the Demon of Might AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 17 2013, 3:53am
        I wasn't necessarily saying Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Nov 17 2013, 4:30am
            Was just thinking.... BlackCountry Send a private message to BlackCountry Nov 17 2013, 5:00am
                Absolutely my hope as well. Perhaps Dain and Thorin. AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 12:53am
            Not fully revealing the Balrog, but at least properly and definitively alluding to him. Perhaps a glimpse. AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 17 2013, 6:05am
                as always Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Nov 17 2013, 6:46am
                    Thank you, and yes we do hope! AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 12:56am
                Is that really a problem though? starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 17 2013, 9:48am
                    In a way they do, sense Durin's Bane IS mentioned before we meet him, however, beyond that AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 1:12am
    The only Tolkien I found in AUJ Smeagol Bagginsess Send a private message to Smeagol Bagginsess Nov 17 2013, 4:03am
        And Smeagol Bagginsess Send a private message to Smeagol Bagginsess Nov 17 2013, 4:07am
    hmmm book Gandalf Send a private message to book Gandalf Nov 17 2013, 4:27am
    No one disputes the way he's depicted, just the fact that he's there Fredeghar Wayfarer Send a private message to Fredeghar Wayfarer Nov 17 2013, 4:44am
        there are many alterations to the canon Cirashala Send a private message to Cirashala Nov 17 2013, 5:03am
            I think the problem here really..... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 17 2013, 9:30am
                Dormouse, as usual I agree with you completely. Noria Send a private message to Noria Nov 17 2013, 1:14pm
                Knee-jerk? Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Nov 17 2013, 1:51pm
                Other options Fredeghar Wayfarer Send a private message to Fredeghar Wayfarer Nov 18 2013, 3:49am
                Subjective Elessar Send a private message to Elessar Nov 18 2013, 4:17am
                As always, a very thoughtful post by you. Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Nov 18 2013, 11:47am
        *I* dispute the way he's depicted. sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Nov 17 2013, 9:11am
    My gut feeling Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Nov 17 2013, 5:00am
    "Within the spirit" Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 17 2013, 5:01am
        I was going to mention the "re-characterization" issue too... Eleniel Send a private message to Eleniel Nov 17 2013, 9:29am
            Including the Great Goblin may be canon, sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Nov 17 2013, 5:35pm
                But then..... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 17 2013, 11:16pm
                    Agreed. AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 1:15am
                To me, nothing about Aragorn was "in the spirit" of Tolkien. RosieLass Send a private message to RosieLass Nov 18 2013, 5:03am
                    Aragorn Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 18 2013, 6:12am
                        Tolkien's Aragorn single-layered? Smeagol Bagginsess Send a private message to Smeagol Bagginsess Nov 18 2013, 6:23am
                            easy there Hero....its only fiction. Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 18 2013, 9:19am
                        Single layered Aragorn eh? ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 18 2013, 10:50am
                            Aragorn Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 19 2013, 1:35am
                                I'll see your "C'mon man" and raise you a good old Kiwi "Yeah.......Na" ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 19 2013, 6:31am
                                    aragorn Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 19 2013, 10:20am
                                        last thing about aragorn and ill stop... Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 19 2013, 10:53am
                                            in the spirit of tolkien... Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 19 2013, 11:18am
                                    On predictability starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 19 2013, 10:32am
                                        btw, good point Starlesswinter. Snowghost77 Send a private message to Snowghost77 Nov 19 2013, 11:32am
                                It's a matter of terminology. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 19 2013, 6:32am
                                    That all makes perfect sense and reason to me ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 19 2013, 7:09am
                        Aragorn Elskidor Send a private message to Elskidor Nov 18 2013, 11:14am
                            He does seem to be a polarising character with readers/viewers especially in book. ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 18 2013, 11:26am
                    Yes Rosielass ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 18 2013, 10:56am
        What themes? starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 17 2013, 9:49am
        This is really what bites me... Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Nov 17 2013, 2:06pm
            Correction to my post... Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Nov 17 2013, 3:20pm
            Bingo! AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 1:14am
        Your thoughts mirror mine exactly here, with the exception of the design, which I AinurOlorin Send a private message to AinurOlorin Nov 18 2013, 12:55am
    I do not consider canon and spirit to neccessarily co exist, although at times the can and do. ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 17 2013, 9:21am
    To me... Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Nov 17 2013, 9:51am
    Just a quick little nitpick... Salmacis81 Send a private message to Salmacis81 Nov 17 2013, 1:57pm

 
 
 

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