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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
PJ's geographical pointers in The Desolation of Smaug


Apr 30 2013, 9:45am

Post #1 of 15 (1131 views)
PJ's geographical pointers in The Desolation of Smaug Can't Post

To many people unfamiliar with Middle-earth and its key locations in Tolkien's stories, these films' various locations might seem disorienting and undermine the appreciation and understanding of the story: where is Mirkwood? And where does Radagast live? What about Dol Guldur? Where is the Carrock in relation to all this ... etc, etc

True, we've already seen a glimpse of a 'map' in the prologue when an older Bilbo is writing his book and the camera sweeps away from the Shire and east towards Dale - but it's perhaps too quick and not really specific.

I remember watching the behind-the-scenes feature of TTT and how PJ utilized a scene (a fantastic scene, btw) between Faramir and (Mablung?) to view a map of Middle-earth and 'indirectly' point out the main geographical locations that had been mentioned throughout the film, so that the general audience could understand better where everything was in relation to everything else - helping to give an overall picture of where each character and event is taking place.

I was thinking that, considering the amount of new places to be featured in 'The Hobbit', that PJ may decide to do yet another 'map scene' in DOS - perhaps at Beorn's house or Thranduil's Halls?

Any guesses?

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review


Apr 30 2013, 9:54am

Post #2 of 15 (510 views)
I do not really see in which scene this should happen. [In reply to] Can't Post

It might make some sense in a White Council scene... however, you always have the issue of who is telling what to whom.

I found it rather ridiculous Faramir would point around on a map like this to one of his highest rangers - the guy surely knows where Rohan and Gondor lie, it is not like Faramir is describing any micro-movements of armies in Ithilien, but the overall situation of the war, which should be pretty clear to everybody.

So, it wouldn't make sense to have Gandalf pointing around on a map, showing the other WC members where they will go, and where the company might go or be.

Maybe he could show the company in Beorn's house where to go while he is away, or Bilbo could get a glimpse of a map in Thranduil's Halls while looking for an escape possibility (and then realizing that the river will lead them directly to Esgaroth). That Bilbo option might actually work the best...

However, I do not find it that essential... people not knowing the Middle-earth map will still have some troubles following such a scene, imho, and since Bilbo probably does not really know where he is right now either, it is simply part of an adevnture somewhere in the wilderness.

(This post was edited by Arannir on Apr 30 2013, 9:55am)

Lieutenant of Dol Guldur

Apr 30 2013, 10:09am

Post #3 of 15 (510 views)
Bilbo looking on a map would be logical [In reply to] Can't Post

After all he almost a fan of maps and the audience is supposed to see everything through his eyes... would be cool if he asks someone where exactly they are at some point and perhaps this one shows him? There are several/different options:

- Beorn showing them the entrance of Mirkwood and the beginning of the Old Forest Road on a map (Beorns House)
- Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel discuss the Orc attack on the Woodland Realm and that they may came from Dol Guldur (Thranduils Realm)
- Bilbo looks on a map in Lake Town (Lake Town)
- Gandalf or other members of the company look on a map to see where they are at the moment (somewhere on their way)

But I think it isn't that important this time because their journey starts in the west of Middle-earth and they travel almost straight east where Erebor is. In LOTR they change the direction one or two times. They first went east, then south and then they split east and west, Frodo and Sam again went south... and so on. Especially after Amon Hen and the breaking of the Fellowship it became more important to see where each character was. The rough positions of Rhosgobel, Mirkwood and Dol Guldur are is also very brief mentioned when Gandalf tells the company about Radagast, who looks after the great forests in the east.

Maps are very important in Tolkiens world and also in Peter Jacksons adaptations. In every movie you'll see a map of Middle-earth. Starting with the prologue in FOTR where we see all of it and especially Mordor and later the tracking shot from the Misty Mountains to the Shire. In TTT we've got the already mentioned scene with Faramir concentrating on Isengard, Rohan, Mordor and Gondor. And in ROTK we've got the tracking shot from Minas Tirith to Hobbiton. And in AUJ we've got the camera tracking shot from the Shire to Erebor and Dale. I'm sure that there gonna be at least one map shot per coming movie.

"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."


Apr 30 2013, 11:09am

Post #4 of 15 (488 views)
What was also important in TTT... [In reply to] Can't Post

... was to make sure that Gondor and Rohan are two seperate realms. With Rohan being featured so prominently in the story, I guess it was important to make sure nobody thinks Frodo and Sam are wandering through the borderland of Rohan.


Apr 30 2013, 12:27pm

Post #5 of 15 (470 views)
Yes! Maps was one of Tolkien's innovations... [In reply to] Can't Post

when Bomby was reading the Four Books at Christmas 1966,
and though the the next 6 months of 1967..
Like youall was flipping back and forth
... looking at the Maps.

Now, ANY Fantasy Realms have Maps..
Tolkien started it.



Apr 30 2013, 3:55pm

Post #6 of 15 (388 views)
Very true [In reply to] Can't Post

The maps are important, as they would be in a non-tech culture. Good maps could be as valuable as gold, and a bad one, with out-dated information could be disastrous. Bilbo and the dwarves take the elf road through Mirkwood, not the East Road which 'came to a doubtful and disused end...' in the book.

They never really do these kinds of things in films any more, where they are sparing of film time. However, just once I'd like to see someone looking at a map while they are paused, looking out over some scenery, like they are trying to find landmarks. You can do this with a background view of Thorin looking at the map while Bilbo and someone else talk the important stuff. It's not even really talked about in the books, either. There's maybe one or two mentions of Frodo looking at maps in Rivendell, but he has only a vague idea of landmarks to guide them, and Sam is completely lost.


Apr 30 2013, 9:55pm

Post #7 of 15 (312 views)
"where are we going?" [In reply to] Can't Post

"On this mission, quest, thing?" Crazy

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."-J.R.R. Tolkien

"Thanks for the money!" -George Lucas


Apr 30 2013, 10:01pm

Post #8 of 15 (307 views)
Interesting idea, [In reply to] Can't Post

If I had to guess, I would say either with Beorn or even possibly within Mirkwood itself. I know it's supposed to be nearly pitch black, but obviously this can't happen to that extent in a film (at least for the entire journey in Mirkwood) because no one can see a darn thing (ex: Riddles and the Dark's lighting is a prime example of this). Because they are in Mirkwood for what, to them, seems like ages, I would consider that they might pull out a map to guess where they might be. Bilbo, as said by others, may be especially curious to see the map to locate himself in a new location in the world (for him).


Apr 30 2013, 11:33pm

Post #9 of 15 (299 views)
I feel like the casual audience... [In reply to] Can't Post

Always gets accused of being "dumb" and not being able to think for themselves. Game Of Thrones, for example. Readers of the books (myself not included, even though I read them) think the show-only viewers are too stupid to put things together and follow the storylines and multiple characters, and yet a lot know what is going on. You're making it seem like those who haven't read The Hobbit or studied one of Tolkien's maps will be dumbfounded by all these locations. At least, that's the way I'm taking it. My friends who haven't read the book know where locations are due to dialogue between characters, and not have to be spoon-fed the exact location by having a map thrown in their face saying "IT'S RIGHT HERE!".

Sorry if I seem hostile, but us book readers seem to think the casual moviegoer can't think for themselves.

Lover of Medieval Fantasy
"I know what I must do. It's just... I'm afraid to do it."

Fredeghar Wayfarer

May 1 2013, 12:07am

Post #10 of 15 (288 views)
I don't think it matters to some moviegoers [In reply to] Can't Post

This seems like something that only us Tolkien fans and hardcore map nuts would care about. My impression is that many movie-only people are content to accept Middle-earth as a wondrous realm of many varied locations. Precisely where these locations are in relation to each other is not important to them, as long as they can follow the story.

The map at the beginning of AUJ pans to the right so casual fans know the region the company is traveling to is in the east. Beyond that, is it really necessary to know more? Maybe when the plot starts jumping between the Dwarves' storyline and the White Council's storyline. But by that point the Dwarves will have passed through Mirkwood so the audience is familiar with it and knows that Gandalf and the gang are a bit further back on the road that Thorin and Company have already traveled.

I could be wrong about this but I assume that movie-only fans are content to sit back and enjoy the ride. They aren't as concerned about knowing the exact geography.

(This post was edited by Fredeghar Wayfarer on May 1 2013, 12:09am)


May 1 2013, 8:48pm

Post #11 of 15 (201 views)
I would have liked to have seen a different map [In reply to] Can't Post

rather than the same one. You would expect each
people would have developed maps rather than use the single version presented. The lack of specific detail in the map that Faramir used made it seem unlikely. They would have used a more regional map that fit their theater of conflict.


May 2 2013, 12:36am

Post #12 of 15 (182 views)
How is Thizz Idea? [In reply to] Can't Post

In TRANNY's (ElvenKing) Hall
there is a Map of HIS

There are Mountains in Mirkwood
...and An ElvenKingdom Map
would be absolutely



May 2 2013, 1:46am

Post #13 of 15 (174 views)
I would love to see all kinds of maps, so yes! [In reply to] Can't Post


Tol Eressea

May 2 2013, 1:21pm

Post #14 of 15 (155 views)
Tolkien's maps are half the reason i fell in love [In reply to] Can't Post

with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when i first read them in junior high. So more maps please. Besides, what would a Middle-earth movie be without that iconic map?

(This post was edited by sauget.diblosio on May 2 2013, 1:29pm)


May 2 2013, 8:59pm

Post #15 of 15 (165 views)
Me too! / [In reply to] Can't Post


The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.


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