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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why does Peter Jackson hate floors?


Jul 7 2013, 9:43am

Post #1 of 15 (1728 views)
Why does Peter Jackson hate floors? Can't Post

So in Erebor, it kinda made sense that, like Moria, it wouldn't have a great deal of flooring because they're both mines so naturally the majority of flooring would be platforms and bridges. (Although if you've ever actually been in a mine you'd know they're more akin to tunnels than gigantic wells, but this is a fantasy)

PJ's Rivendell, rather than being surrounded by water is surrounded by really high cliffs, liked together by railingless bridges, for no reason other than to look cool. Again, I let him off, it has a dramatic feel and isn't really against the book in any way.

Then we get to Goblin Town and we get another walkway network above another bottomless pit. Okay, it looks kinda cool and gives a reason to Bilbo falling down the hole to meet Gollum, but it's getting old.

Dol Guldur, is again crazy high up and reached by narrow bridges with no railings. Tolkien did describe it as on top of a hill, but I'm pretty sure he didn't mean this.

High Fells, again another series of bottomless pits maneuverer via narrow railing-less ledges

Elvenking's Halls. The word "halls" here is a big hint that Tolkien did not picture what PJ has created. For those who don't know PJ's idea is that, because Thranduil's halls are underneath a woods, the tree roots have grown through the ceiling, creating natural walkways above, guess what! Another bottomless pit. To back this one up, the book does mention Thorin being locked in the "deepest" dungeon, But isn't the narrow walkways thing getting boring? Surely there's a more original idea for the next location design?

Laketown! Envisioned by Tolkien as a wooden platformed town atop a calm lake. How has PJ put his artistic spin on this one? Let's do the whole town in tiny railingless walkways!

I have a feeling that if PJ was to redesign Hobbitton for these films he'd probably have Bag End as a bottomless pit too, I just don't understand his obsession with it, when was the last time you've actually been anywhere with a bottomless pit? And yet everywhere the dwarves go that's all they seem to see. Hmm.


Jul 7 2013, 9:56am

Post #2 of 15 (795 views)
I guess it shows home is the only safe place [In reply to] Can't Post

Everywhere else is just an express lane to Middle-earths fiery core


Jul 7 2013, 10:43am

Post #3 of 15 (764 views)
floors are quite useful [In reply to] Can't Post

and friendly, they always seem to want to come up and meet me when I have had a few Bacardi Breezers

Lieutenant of Dol Guldur

Jul 7 2013, 11:24am

Post #4 of 15 (719 views)
Don't forget the caverns of Isengard and Lothloriens trees [In reply to] Can't Post

But we've also a lot of parts without these bottomless pits and bridges like Minas Tirith (also it is very high if you jump from the top), Edoras, Hobbiton, Bree, Osgiliath or Fangorn

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

Hamfast of Gamwich

Jul 7 2013, 12:32pm

Post #5 of 15 (694 views)
I've been thinking this to recently. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think these large cavernous spaces with elevated walkways are particularly overdone in the hobbit. My main explanation for this is that they look good in 3D.

"Durin's Heir you may be, but even with one eye you should see clearer. If this is victory, then our hands are too small to hold it. We will not enter Khazad-dum. You will not enter Khazad-dum. Beyond the shadow of the gate it waits for you still: Durinís Bane. The world must change and some other power than ours must come before Durinís Folk walk again in Moria.Ē


Jul 7 2013, 7:30pm

Post #6 of 15 (500 views)
Rivendell does have floors.... [In reply to] Can't Post

So does Hobbiton, Dale, Rhosgobel, Beorn's house... Peter Jackson's own house too, I wouldn't mind betting.... Wink

I doubt if he hates floors as such, but what he loves, or so it seems, is creating really dramatic spaces as a backdrop for the story. It's his style.

Erebor is magnificent, though I do find myself hoping the dwarves had somewhere more comfortable to sit of an evening. Some actual rooms (with floors and chairs) that we just don't get to see.

Goblin town - well, I think I can see a kind of logic behind that. In the book there are caves and tunnels. Filming the whole of that part of the story, with thirteen dwarves being harried along tunnels cut into rock by umpteen goblins might have been difficult to film and would have been claustrophobic to watch. Could have been done. Might have worked, but he's chosen instead to make the caves vast and turn the tunnels into walkways. It's dramatic - it's amazing to look at and, so far as I can see, it's the only place we've seen so far that seems to have no floors at all. It does have a bottom, though, where Gollum lives (and he has a floor).

As far the Elvenking's halls, like a sort of underground Lothlorien, from the little we've seen I think they've breathtaking. I always found it hard to imagine elves living underground - this looks just perfect to me (and I bet they do have floors in the rooms). And it isn't bottomless 'cos there's a river.

I can see what you mean but it doesn't both me. Tolkien made a lot of references to bridges which Peter Jackson has obviously taken to heart!


Jul 7 2013, 9:22pm

Post #7 of 15 (429 views)
A few railings would go a long way. [In reply to] Can't Post

I do find it a little funny that the dwarves designed the bridge of Khazad-dŻm to be thin and dangerous, so that it could serve as a line of defense...and then they went and used the exact same design philosophy in the throne-room of Erebor.


Jul 7 2013, 9:32pm

Post #8 of 15 (460 views)
Becuase they weren't mentioned in the Appendices... [In reply to] Can't Post

But seriously that is a very interesting design motif you have picked up on, one I never really noticed before, I guess its to give more depth of field in the 3D effects, as as the description in the hobbit is so sparse, who's to say it wasn't like that in the book? Perhaps PJ enjoed himself so much in King Kon's spider pit sequence he wanted to replicate this for the hobbit.

I am kinda annoyed that PJ ignored Tolkien's very clear vision for Laketown, just for the sake of maing something more cinemtic-waht happened to sticking to the book's descpritions as rigidly as possible?

A non sensical and rather pointless reply, but I'm rather too tired to muster my thoughts coherently

This is not a very interesting signature is it?

Tol Eressea

Jul 8 2013, 4:39am

Post #9 of 15 (329 views)
some ideas [In reply to] Can't Post


It could be that the narrow bridges did indeed offer a line of defense. Although having a VERY afraid of heights mother all the gold in Erebor would not have induced her to set foot in it! Sly

I would imagine a throne room would have been a good line of defense, although when it comes to things like coronations and other such events that require a great deal of people to be in attendance, I can imagine that would be problematic (perhaps they have balconies where their subjects can sit?) I had often wondered and even started a thread a long time back that basically asked- if there would be a coronation where the heck would all the people sit? It ended up turning into a Dain won't have a coronation because it's inappropriate given their deaths etc etc but it was far more of a logistical question than a I-actually-think-its-going-to-happen point.

I thought the elvenking's palace looked absolutely stunning! It was light and airy and still very woodsy, and we know from LOTR book that elves can run across tightropes like it was a floor over rushing rivers, and that they are very sure footed, so I cannot imagine railings being necessary.

Also regarding Erebor, perhaps dwarves are also sure footed because they have a very low center of gravity? I am 5'1" tall (so an inch shorter than movie Thorin and Dwalin) and even at my nine months pregnant and as wide as my hips go, I was still able to pick up my two year old daughter and my friends two year old daughter one on each side (four months apart but same height and my daughter weighs a bit more-the other one is a rail) held them around the waist facing out, and was STILL able to spin in a one spot circle on a wood floor quickly to amuse them while dinner was cooking (helps that I don't get dizzy), but I DID NOT FALL OR EVEN STUMBLE. My low center of gravity even not being a dwarf has lent me an excellent sense of balance!

As for the other places, keep in mind which ones are elvish and which ones are dwarvish. Most of the "cavernous" spaces were one or the other. Even Goblintown was originally a dwarvish colony if I remember correctly.

As for Laketown, that has a much more logical possibility. It has been 171 years since Thorin saw Erebor (60 or so if you are going by movie timeline), and it is perfectly logical that the lake may have risen in that time, and while Laketown was once on stilts the water now reaches to its pathways. Also, can you imagine the logistical NIGHTMARE of building such a large set that must be disassembled with such tall houses and trying to support them on stilts? If done properly in an actual lake with the posts several feet down in the bottom of the lake, it could work. But on a deconstructible set? With no way of cementing the stilts several feet into the ground? You would have a very dangerous collapsing set very quickly! Talk about workman's compensation for that one! (also when the lake ends up on fire from Smaug and you are doing this in a small space relative to the size of the set, you would WANT it to be on the water to help prevent your studio from burning down!)

The other places we have seen involve hobbits and humans, neither of which are generally speaking sure footed for the most part, and they do have floors.

Hobbits are earthy, their dwellings are in the earth, and Bilbo's house has the roots from the tree atop it going into the floor. It fits hobbits. The dwellings of men are sometimes poor sometimes spectacular and often designed for defense while considering the limits of human physicality (balance)- it fits. The dwellings of elves are very nature oriented-lots of leaves and vines, and since balance isn't an issue the narrow walkways and such often reflect the flowy, rounded nature of trees and vines. It fits. And the dwellings of the dwarves have defensible walkways (possibly due to balance capability and distrust of other races), very angular and intricately knotted cuts, reflections of what cut stones look like in their angles, and a heavy emphasis on the decor of gold and jewels incorporated into their design. It fits.

So it is actually a good attention to detail on the parts of PJ&co to differentiate the dwellings of the different races to reflect characteristics of each!

Course, it could also boil down to 3D, 48 fps, and ease of which to pan the camera and ease of filming (regarding Goblintown) without giving the audience clastrophobiaWink

But I think my theory has merit at any rate! Cool

Half Elven Daughter of Celethian of the Woodland Realm


Jul 8 2013, 10:06am

Post #10 of 15 (258 views)
What is it about Laketown that you don't like? [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you're talking about the fact that it doesn't look like a town on stilts? Maybe it actually is a town on stilts, but you just can't see it because the water level has raised. If you look at this pic, it kinda appears that there are some kind of stilts under the wooden floor: http://timsfilmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-lake-town.jpg

Other than that, i don't see what's so different between PJ's Laketown and Tolkien's Laketown though.


Jul 8 2013, 10:15am

Post #11 of 15 (252 views)
He probably just ignored a lot of "Wet Floor" signs as a Kid...// [In reply to] Can't Post


"You're love of the halflings leaf has clearly slowed your mind"


Jul 8 2013, 12:15pm

Post #12 of 15 (279 views)
It could be because [In reply to] Can't Post

The highness is used to create a feeling of insecurity emotionally as well. The Shire is very low, very "secure on the ground" and also feels safe and homely. Rohan and Helms Deep are both safe places for our heroes, and are firmly on the ground. Minas Tirith is the same.

On the other hand we have Rivendell; it's set high with no railings to speak of, and the safeness of Frodo's room is is countered with a feeling of awe and difference. The Mines of Moria are extremely dangerous, and what do they consist of? Endless drops. Lothlorien's towering flets create an alien atmosphere, which mirrors the feelings of wonder and unease the fellowship is experiencing.

So the Goblin Town, Dol Guldur, and Thranduil's Halls are most likely set off the gound to bring in that added emotional aspect. Lake Town? Imo I haven't seen enough of it to judge, but maybe it will reflect the antipathy of the Master of Lake Town or Bard. Maybe it will be similar to Rivendell and Lothlorien with both the safeness and the sense that it is not quite home.

Anyway, just some rambling thoughts; what do you think about the theory? Smile

'There lie the woods of Lothlorien!' said Legolas. 'That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold.'

(This post was edited by Lothwen on Jul 8 2013, 12:16pm)


Jul 8 2013, 12:47pm

Post #13 of 15 (239 views)
Great theory [In reply to] Can't Post

I have perceived the designs of the different realms as an aesthetic thing and love the contrast between the beautiful but heavy interior of Erebor, the equally lovely but more ethereal halls of Thranduil and the ugly, sloppy, untrustworthy constructions of the Goblins. But there are no accidents in PJ's movies and you could well be right Lothwen.

Whether the designers and PJ intended it or not, the high walkways and such obviously make a lot of us feel uneasy.Wink

Edited because I forgot to mention that I love the title of this thread and it's an unexpectedly interesting topic.

(This post was edited by Noria on Jul 8 2013, 12:51pm)


Jul 8 2013, 5:25pm

Post #14 of 15 (165 views)
Easy [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to have chase scenes!

The Shire

Jul 8 2013, 7:23pm

Post #15 of 15 (135 views)
And the Paths of the Dead. Instead of a haunted city in the mountains, it's a cave city [In reply to] Can't Post

built around, you guessed it, a bottomless pit.


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