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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why do most people dislike Alfred? Even those who love the movies?
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2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 12, 5:01pm

Post #1 of 41 (3895 views)
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Why do most people dislike Alfred? Even those who love the movies? Can't Post

In the PJ-ified version of the story, he sort of just fits in with everything else. I don't get it, he's really no worse than any of PJ's other inventions.


(This post was edited by 2ndBreffest on Jan 12, 5:06pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jan 12, 5:34pm

Post #2 of 41 (3818 views)
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I'll bite, [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously I donít agree with your negative opinions of all of PJís additional material and characters in TH.

As for Alfrid, I loved him in DOS. I felt that he injected some snide comedic elements and was a great foil for both the Master and Bard.

But in BOTFA he was over-used and over-the-top for my taste. I also disliked his death .

Similarly, in DOS I loved Tauriel as a whole and her rejection of Thranduilís elitism, callousness and isolationism in particular. I was fine with Tauriel and Kili as well. But in BOTFA Tauriel became nothing but half of a love story and that was disappointing.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 12, 5:49pm

Post #3 of 41 (3807 views)
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His death scene.. [In reply to] Can't Post

was actually kind of reserved for PJ. I mean, he could of easily done something where his head fell off, or involved gross bodily functions and a corny one-liner last words sort of thing and he didn't. But yes, in light of everything else, the character wasn't that horrible.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 12, 7:35pm

Post #4 of 41 (3796 views)
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My thoughts exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

Alfrid is fine where he's just there for The Master to play off of. With the Master removed, he's just abnoxious.

However, there's so little of him that I hardly take offense with it. Just fast-forward through one or two of his gags, and the film functions well enough.

And, unlike so many annoying characters in films, Alfrid actually does die, which is rewarding.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 12, 8:20pm

Post #5 of 41 (3780 views)
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but [In reply to] Can't Post

...wasn't he written to be obnoxious on purpose though? In this case, finding the character to be annoying is a good thing and means that PJ actually did a good job. Now on the other hand, a character like Radagast, although not invented by PJ (but rather re-invented), is quite irritating and I don't think PJ intended this...or maybe he did?


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 12, 9:00pm

Post #6 of 41 (3777 views)
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What's the big deal with Radagast?! [In reply to] Can't Post

His design is a bit out there, but if you look at Radagast's dialogue its mostly quite ominous. Besides, Radagast is less in these films than Alfrid is!


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 12, 9:43pm

Post #7 of 41 (3765 views)
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well... [In reply to] Can't Post

he's used by PJ for mostly cheap gags and not much else, and his cringe factor is off the charts.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 13, 11:16pm

Post #8 of 41 (3654 views)
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Hmm, well, I actually like the actor, Ryan Gage [In reply to] Can't Post

But I don't really find the character to be anything but a Wormtongue rip-off. A bit one-dimensional. He's fine, I suppose he's sometimes funny, I never personally felt strongly one way or the other with regards to him.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


Cygnus
Lorien


Jan 14, 4:39am

Post #9 of 41 (3619 views)
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Love and hate [In reply to] Can't Post

I like that Alfrid was added in the movie. He is a despicable character in a different kind of a way than an orc is despicable. You have to have bad people in a movie or book because they make the good people look even better and you want to have those extremes to add to the drama. He's the JR Ewing of Middle Earth. We love to hate him.
edit: actually the Master would be more like JR since he has money.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf

(This post was edited by Cygnus on Jan 14, 4:41am)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 14, 12:59pm

Post #10 of 41 (3559 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

He plays well off of Stephen Fry, but otherwise feels extremely out of place in the grim BOFTA. Mathematically speaking, he doesn't dominate the film, but his gags pull me out of the narrative almost every time he turns up.


jlj93byu
Rivendell

Jan 14, 5:23pm

Post #11 of 41 (3536 views)
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Radagast vs. Alfrid [In reply to] Can't Post

While I felt Alfrid was overused, I felt Radagast was underused. I would have gladly swapped the amount of screen time between these two. Then again, I enjoyed Sylvester McCoy as Radagast and loved seeing him on screen.

It seems there's a general trend that most don't mind Alfrid in DOS, but then in BOTFA there's just too much. That's how I felt as well. When they were in Laketown, he was annoying, but not to the point of detracting from my overall enjoyment of the films. But in BOTFA, he is given so much screen time that I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking to myself, "Seriously, Alfrid again?! How is what we're seeing Alfrid do more interesting or exciting than maybe seeing what literally ANYONE ELSE is doing right now?!" Alfrid was just bumbling around. Wouldn't it have been better to have had a few scenes of Radagast rallying the Eagles, or his efforts? Those scenes would have served a far greater purpose.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 14, 6:31pm

Post #12 of 41 (3527 views)
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Yeah, I would agree with this [In reply to] Can't Post

I felt that Alfrid was fine in DoS, but in BoFA he was just everywhere, and for no reason whatsoever. More screen-time spent on Radagast would have been enjoyable.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


Noria
Gondor

Jan 14, 6:49pm

Post #13 of 41 (3522 views)
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I loved Radagast [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I would rather have seen more of him and Beorn than Alfrid in BOTFA. Radagast is such a contrast to both Gandalf and Saruman and very endearing in my opinion.

I didn't care for the bird poop, the smoke out of the ears and the stick insect but I never noticed the poop again after my first viewing of AUJ. The other things I just let slide by like I do my other niggles with all six movies.

As I've said before, the bad is just a few drops in an ocean of goodness.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 15, 11:58am

Post #14 of 41 (3440 views)
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That's true of several elements [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It seems there's a general trend that most don't mind Alfrid in DOS, but then in BOTFA there's just too much. That's how I felt as well.


Really, that's true of almost all the subplots.

Legolas works well in The Desolation of Smaug because his presence keeps Thranduil in the loop of the plot, and he injects the film with action. In The Battle of the Five Armies, Thranduil re-enters the plot early on so that's not an issue, and there's enough action without Legolas present.

Tauriel works well in The Desolation of Smaug because her curosity of the outside world is a great foil for Thranduils' isolationism. Her romance with Kili mostly works, too, because its only budding and acts as an extension of her curiosity of the outside world.

In the Battle of the Five Armies, the love story is "out there" from the outset, and so it has nowhere else to go. Since Tauriel's little screentime is spent mostly away from Kili, it feels that much more inconsequential at the end.

The Master (and Alfrid) work in The Desolation of Smaug, because they are used to prop-up Bard's arguments. When The Master sides with Thorin against Bard - clearly doing so from greed alone, it makes us understand the vanity in Thorin's point-of-view, and side with Bard instead.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 15, 11:58am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 15, 3:04pm

Post #15 of 41 (3417 views)
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The Premature Death of the Master [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Master (and Alfrid) work in The Desolation of Smaug, because they are used to prop-up Bard's arguments. When The Master sides with Thorin against Bard - clearly doing so from greed alone, it makes us understand the vanity in Thorin's point-of-view, and side with Bard instead.


I occasionally wonder if the Master of Lake-town was originally meant to survive Smaug's attack as he does in the book. but was only killed off when it was clear that Stephen Fry would be unavailable for The Battle of Five Armies. I agree that Alfrid worked better when he was being played off of the Master. The character might have even had a better ending for himself if he abandoned his Master and the stolen gold in the wastes of the Desolation.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 15, 3:17pm

Post #16 of 41 (3416 views)
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Unavailable [In reply to] Can't Post

There was no separate shoot for The Battle of the Five Armies, so there was no cause to "write off" Stephen Fry, as it were.

I believe it was always the plan.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 15, 5:04pm

Post #17 of 41 (3404 views)
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That's not quite how I recall it. [In reply to] Can't Post

As I remember it, Stephen Fry was contracted for the original periods of principle shooting before the three-film structure was settled on, but was unable to extend that for a third period due to other commitments. That suggests that the death of the Master during Smaug's attack on Lake-town might have been a compromise that allowed him to bow out gracefully. Of course, I might not be remembering this accurately.

Admittedly, the Master of Lake-town does not have a lot of agency in the original story once Esgaroth is destroyed and he drops out of the narrative as soon as the events leave the shore of Long Lake. We only learn of his ultimate fate years later when Balin and Gandalf visit Bilbo at Bag End. I still didn't care to see him replaced outright by Alfrid and think that the two characters worked better as a duo.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 15, 5:05pm)


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 15, 9:40pm

Post #18 of 41 (3333 views)
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Overused and unnecessary [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm one of those that loved the movies, but as so many have pointed out Alfrid is overused in BOTFA, and of all PJ's invented characters he is the most unnecessary. The Master of Laketown could have done all of his part, and the movie wouldn't have been any worse off for it. But I have an even bigger problem with the dress scene. I know it was done for comic relief, but it was also bad timing IMO, not to mention the sort of thing that's been done hundreds of times, and in many cases to better effect. Nor do I think he was needed to hero up Bard. You already had Thranduil and Thorin to do that part, so Alfrid was completely unnecessary for that purpose as well. Finally, saying Alfrid's "no worse than any of PJ's other inventions" hardly makes him BETTER or more likeable than any of the others, does it?





Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 15, 10:12pm

Post #19 of 41 (3326 views)
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Its a nice mirror to the Thorin-Bilbo relatioship [In reply to] Can't Post

Thorin is becoming vain and Bilbo tries to bring him back. Bard is becoming more noble and heroic, while Alfrid is trying to corrupt him.

If you fast-forward through one or two of his scenes, the rest works much better.


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 15, 10:56pm

Post #20 of 41 (3315 views)
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I could cut almost all of his scenes [In reply to] Can't Post

in BOTFA between the Lake scene and his "abandon the cripples" scene. And the dress scene. For reasons I explained, that one is the WORST! But I'm sure Ryan is a fine actor, PJ doesn't screw up in that regard. Maybe I'll see him in something else someday. Btw, I don't think Alfrid is trying to corrupt him so much as attach himself to the most powerful man in Dale. Bard is the de facto leader in Dale. Alfrid sees the writing on the wall and is trying to take advantage, but rejects Bard when it's clear that his position won't be the same as it was with the Master.





(This post was edited by Kilidoescartwheels on Jan 15, 11:02pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jan 16, 2:06pm

Post #21 of 41 (3215 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

IMO, after Bard saves Alfrid's life, he attaches himself to the new leader the way he did to the Master, hoping to manipulate him in the same way for Alfrid's own benefit. He just doesn't get that Bard is not corrupt or corruptible, by Alfrid at least, and abandons him when he realizes that.

Ryan Gage seems to be a good actor and I enjoyed Alfrid's smarmy slyness in DOS. The over-the-top character in BOTFA is almost certainly PJ's fault.


Lindele
Gondor

Jan 16, 7:04pm

Post #22 of 41 (3185 views)
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It seems [In reply to] Can't Post

this might be just bait trying to get a rise out of people but Alfrid is a terrible character that is entirely unbelievable (unlike most of PJ's characters whether they are silly or not), he ruins every scene he is in. If Alfrid had been left out I think the second two films would've been 50% better.
Alfrid is supposed to be obnoxious and is executed poorly so that he comes across as actually obnoxious to watch. Radagast is obnoxious because that was how he was intended and it works on screen. Maybe you had a different idea of what Radagast was in your mind but I think his execution was totally fine and justified.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 17, 9:04am

Post #23 of 41 (3049 views)
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well... [In reply to] Can't Post

as much as I dislike what PJ did with Radagast, I would take him over any of his completely invented characters. Alfred and Tauriel are equally unnecessary characters, and their omission would have been an improvement overall.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 17, 12:15pm

Post #24 of 41 (3036 views)
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Really?! [In reply to] Can't Post

I like Radagast, but is he - at what's basically a cameo - better than Tauriel? Just because she's an original invention?!

Tauriel is a fine character. Her romance - not so much, although it does have its own moments of sincerity - but the character is very nice.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 17, 12:16pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jan 17, 8:52pm

Post #25 of 41 (2970 views)
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This reminds me of the old Purist/Pragmatist wars [In reply to] Can't Post

I assume from your posts that you dislike any significant deviations from the text and what are used to be called a purist. So are there any non-canon aspects of these movies that you think work? Could there be any additional elements that you would like?

I got over any latent purism when I saw FotR for the first time and immediately became a pragmatist, which for me means looking at everything in terms of how it works in the movies to tell the story. So I can often see the cinematic reasons for a lot of PJ's choices, even if I don't like them.

It was predictable that the two (and then three) Hobbit films were going to be epic movies in the vein of LotR and not a close screen adaptation of the little book. Therefore the story and world were going to have to be expanded by additional story and characters. Whether one likes these or not is personal.

I think Tauriel is a great addition to the expanded world of the Hobbit and enhances the movies. I like the character and the portrayal, if not all aspects of her story. Old women like me were long accustomed to reading and watching adventure stories that were exclusively about boys but in that way the world has changed for the better.

How do you feel about the expansion of the canon characters Thranduil and Bard? Do you object to the presence of Legolas? How about the White Council/Dol Guldur subplot? I ask out of genuine curiosity.

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