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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Chapter of the Week: Prologue
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Tol Eressea

Sep 16 2013, 6:06pm

Post #101 of 113 (203 views)
darn it, had a big reply ready, then I closed the tab accidentally >__>. Anyway! -awesome- thread, [In reply to] Can't Post

my first impressions:
--> I -loved- Bilbo narrating the intro; this for me was also quite ingenious as it eased viewers into the film, in a comfortable, and very cosy way. Full of feeling and expectation.
--> The prologue was exciting and tantalising.... but .... was shocking to my senses and mind (partly due to 3D-48fps :P), but also the whole array of colours, tones, graphics and general depictions needed a lot of getting used to for me.
--> BUT it was epic :)

--> LOVED Thorin looking on at Thror's gold-lust and gradual diseased state of mind. That moment was so deep, and perfectly designed in terms of cinematography

Question answers:
1. Dale. Looked awesome, and I love the romanesque style they've employed. Erebor I found very very cool of course, but also not as appealing due to it's coldness.... I guess that's dwarven architecture for you ;)
2. Yes, it was very much alive!
3. --good-- that we didn't see much of the Old Worm!
4. VERY glad to have Dwarven kingdom awesomeness!! It was more than perfectly depicted to be honest. I did not expect so many Dwarven Lord statues however.
5. .... will leave this 'what would I have done' question for later when I have more time! I think it was great, but Elves kiiinda weren't needed for me.

Cheers Arda CoolCool

Tis cool to post again after aaaaaages Smile

"So your own praise will forever keep your name green,
Both here on Earth and on the stage of the stars" - J.G.Kittel, writing about the composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1740)

Join us over at Barliman's chat all day, any day!


Sep 16 2013, 6:41pm

Post #102 of 113 (197 views)
Well [In reply to] Can't Post

Now, you might be wondering why someone who you thought hated the movie is leading the first chapter's discussion. No, I'm not here to troll. Nor will I be heaping false praise in order to "fit in" in this discussion. I will both gush and critique, and everyone else is free to do the same. I hope this can be a civil discussion where fans can discuss some things that we haven't really discussed before. Well, without further ado, let's jump right in!

Actually it is a sign of great maturity to recognize the merits in something you do not like, and, alternately, to admit that something you really really like may not be at the apex of human excellence.

Congratulations. Seriously.

Obviously, this thread covers the whole Fall of Erebor prologue. Were you expecting the movie to begin this way?

Everyone raved about the one in FOTR, so I assumed The Hobbit would open the same way. It’s very unfortunate that Jackson would listen to the fans.

Did you even want the movie to begin with a prologue?

I would have preferred the mystery and suspense of having things revealed gradually and naturally during the film. I do think it somewhat spoiled things, just like knowing right off in FOTR that Bilbo’s ring was the One Ring. The original FOTR script had the reveal in Rivendell. Similarly I think the reveal of Smaug and Erebor would have worked quite well (and produced a few goosebumps) in the small hours of the dark night and shadows of an unexpected party.

But hey, Jackson listened to the fans who wanted another LOTR.

And what of Old Bilbo as the narrator. Was that something you liked or wish had been done differently?

I wouldn’t have wanted Freeman in old man, er, that is, old hobbit makeup. I most definitely wouldn’t have wanted a dead-eyed synthespian version of him either.

Personally, I love him narrating.

The Narrator is a distinct character in The Hobbit. Might as well be Bilbo. Though Frodo or Sam might have worked.

I wish we wouldn't have seen him,…

Any opportunity to see Ian Holm act is a treasure.

…but I do enjoy his voice-over. It's widely known that The Hobbit is feigned to be a personal account written by Bilbo, so the idea of him narrating seems very natural.

Elanor would have been an inspired choice.

Let's talk settings. Would you rather live in Dale or Erebor? I would definitely have to go with Dale (and not just because it's built at human scale ).

Not Erebor if I was the one in charge of keeping all those fires going. And definitely not if I was one of the young dwarves that had to lug fat old dwarves (like Bombur later became) up and down all those stairs!

Dale seems a bit cramped and crowded for me.

I’d probably live in a boat and travel up and down the river hauling freight.

It's just so beautiful and natural looking. And I love the tan-colored stone. It just looks so lively and vibrant. It really made me feel so very sad at its destruction. Did seeing its fall make it really come alive for you? It did for me.

It reminded me of Dresden. I wonder if that similarity was deliberate given the terrible fiery destruction that that Eastern European city endured before rising like a phoenix in the post-war years?

We don't really see Smaug here. Did you want to see him in full?


I liked not seeing him.

I bet you also always save your dessert for last and never peek at the last page of a book you’re reading.Wink

I always thought that revealing him so early on would have been a mistake. Of course, this was totally ruined by the DoS trailer.

Similarly, Gandalf’s return was totally ruined by the TTT trailer, but hey, packing theaters is what trailers are meant to do. Of course some trailers are so revealing that you don’t even need to bother going to see the entire movie-you just have.

Was there one shot from the prologue that just blew you away on first viewing?

I was floored by the scene where Thror walks through the treasure room looking all “Mine! Mine! Mine!”, then we see Thorin watching from a distance, and we know he knows something ain’t right.

Is this subtle foreshadowing or is this subtle foreshadowing? Or is it subtle foreshadowing?

They heyday of the dwarves was spectacular to see. Are you glad we finally have gotten to see a live dwarven kingdom and an army of dwarves?

I do wish they’d been a bit more effective against Smaug by trying some tactics other than “Let’s all line up like tenpins behind the door and wait for Smaug to bust in”.

For the final question (or series of questions) I'll ask what you would have done differently.

Start it with a black screen like FOTR, then you hear a feminine voice (Elanor) say the words “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Anything about this scene is up for grabs. What would you change?

If you really want a connection with LOTR, start it this way:

And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap
He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said.
And after the evening meal little Elanor begged him for a story. And so he took up a great red book and began to read:

'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.'

Besides the picture quality (which I think is far too fake-looking), ...

I’d always taken this and other instances of seemingly unnatural color grading as an homage to the look of Middle-earth:

It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful.

But I’m sure that’s just me.

I've already mentioned that I would have not shown Old Bilbo. I think it should have opened with the lighting of the candle, then seeing the book opened and Bilbo's hand beginning to write. The narration could then start.

No Ian Holm?

But anyway, the conceit of the film being a tale told as it's being written seems a step too far to me. I'd prefer it be already existing, and being read, like to a group of hobbit children.

But since it was still being written at the start of FOTR I guess it also has to be in the process of being written in The Hobbit.

"Continuity is the hobgoblin of little minds."
-Cecil B. DeMerson

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


Sep 16 2013, 6:43pm

Post #103 of 113 (184 views)
Well said, Grey Wanderer. [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed on everything you said.

I think the key's importance was even glimpsed at in the last trailer, with *I believe* Thorin saving it from falling off the edge of the Mountain as they look for the Door. There is going to be a lot of buildup with the key--as we saw during the Party in AUJ when Gandalf revealed it.

I really like your idea of a transition from the prologue to the Carrock having Thorin looking at/admiring the key. It would have to be done in a way to have continuity with other prologue-to-present-day transitions in the filmverse, but I believe it could be done quite well.


Sep 16 2013, 9:55pm

Post #104 of 113 (168 views)
Gonna give this a shot [In reply to] Can't Post

I was hoping the movie to begin this way. We had seen hints of Pre-Smaug Erebor in the vlogs, but that what is it. In a way I had a feeling the movie might start this way but I was extremely glad it happened. Ian Holm's narration was great, his voice was well suited for the prologue and it was like hearing an old friend again. It probably helped more casual movie goers reacquaint themselves with Bilbo.

Dale was interesting. A sort of mash up of different cultures. It felt sort of Mediterranean/Moroccan but with a slight Himalayan feel (this was probably down to the location). Dale was great, but I prefer Erebor. It was amazing to see what it was like before Smaug took over. Seeing all the different levels and Dwarf workers helped bring the world to life. Seeing both Dale and Erebor fall and the citizens of each place really emphasised what our cast would eventually be up against.

The bits we saw of Smaug were great. I think it was a wise decision to show reveal him fully. It hypes up his gradual appearance.

Think the stand out shot of the Prologue for me has to be Thorin and Thrain leading the dwarf soldiers to the gate, knowing a very large dragon is about to come through. You just knew they weren't going to stand a chance, but they still went for it. It says a lot about the determination of the dwarfs.

I think I would have shown Dwalin in the prologue. It always felt odd to me that Balin was there but he wasn't. Maybe he'll pop up the extended edition. Can't really think of any thing else I would change, will probably end up thinking of something in after I post this.

Yes, my username is terrible.

Werde Spinner

Sep 17 2013, 3:09pm

Post #105 of 113 (149 views)
I hadn't actually thoght of that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just assuming the chasms were there to intimidate Elves and Men. Dwarves, I imagine, being made out of the bones of the earth, have a natural connection with dirt and stone and so are very sure-footed. They're not likely to slip and go falling down into the darkness. Men, on the other hand, are big and clumsy. They will be afraid of falling into the chasms. Elves are creatures of the forest, so they're going to be uncomfortable in an environment entirely out of stone, built on proportions alien to them and stamped with the design of a different culture. Everything in the throne room is designed to overawe and intimidate.

But, if all else fails, the Dwarves can kick the Elves off. Laugh Laugh Laugh If it works, it works.

Although I'm not sure that the fear and intimidation tactic worked on Thranduil. He didn't seem too bothered. He may have realized the tactic for what it was and have been even more annoyed by Thror than before.

Haha, if my description gives you any peace about Smaug's fire, you're welcome to it. I just couldn't help but think that his fire couldn't be just a plain flame. Pondering the different biological and chemical processes that would have to produce it... it just seemed more like a flamethrower to me - liquid set on fire. Plus, you can see some black stuff pouring down as he blasts the gates of Dale - it's more like crude oil blazing than a simple flame. The sight was so different and innovative that I just loved it, and can forgive it for when it doesn't look like the 'normal' fire we're accustomed to. Cool

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Sep 17 2013, 6:12pm

Post #106 of 113 (141 views)
If you are referring to the incident with the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

he was barely involved. All he did was... happen upon it during his travels and take it home as a memento.

Couldn't resist! Wink

What's this? A Ranger caught off his guard?


Sep 17 2013, 6:13pm

Post #107 of 113 (141 views)
Oh and with that post... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've reached Bree!

Prancing Pony anyone? Wink

What's this? A Ranger caught off his guard?


Sep 17 2013, 6:24pm

Post #108 of 113 (132 views)
I like this idea [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Thror's throne room. I think this is the throne room reserved exclusively for receiving foreign delegations. It is *designed* to intimidate and unsettle non-Dwarves. Hence, the chasms on either side. Thror receives the Elves here because he is trying to prove that here, in Erebor, he is the master, and if they want jewels out of him they will have to bow and kowtow to him. I would imagine that he has another throne room somewhere just for Dwarf business, with no chasms, allowing people to congregate.

I agree, I think this is used for business more than anything else. In the throne room there is certainly no room to argue against whatever the Dwarf King says. This room would definitely make other cultures such as the elves uncomfortable because it is all stone, however since Thranduil's halls are underground it may not intimidate him as much as some.

What's this? A Ranger caught off his guard?


Sep 17 2013, 6:41pm

Post #109 of 113 (134 views)
Say hi... [In reply to] Can't Post

to Butterbur for me. I'd give anything for a good meal at the Pony, given that all we get here in Rohan is Eowyn's soup...FrownCrazyLaugh


Sep 17 2013, 6:47pm

Post #110 of 113 (129 views)
Sure [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll say hi to Butterbur for you. I'll see if he does carry outs and ask him to send some on to you.

If he forgets I might even get Gandalf to roast him. Wink

What's this? A Ranger caught off his guard?


Sep 17 2013, 6:52pm

Post #111 of 113 (128 views)
PPS- Thanks. ;) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Sep 17 2013, 9:50pm

Post #112 of 113 (117 views)
Prologue options [In reply to] Can't Post

I absolutely love the prologue to FOTR. It's an almost perfect sequence, in my opinion. But because of that, I think the one in AUJ has a sense of falling flat because of its repetition. I agree with you that doing something different would have been the way to go, and I also would have chosen to put the fall of Erebor content in the unexpected party scene. My ideal would have been to start black with a fade into the green hobbit door. Over this would be narration (probably by Ian Holm) saying, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." I'd immediately go into the good morning scene. It would have been a nice way to differentiate this movie from LOTR. I don't like that Jackson was so determined to brow-beat the audience with allusions, references, or similarities to the LOTR trilogy. Giving The Hobbit its own flavor would have been better.

Elanor is an unexpected option. Any reason why you selected her?

See, I don't dislike Holm, not in the slightest. He was a fantastic Bilbo in LOTR. But after seeing the overly CGI'd Holm that ended up on screen, I can safely say I wish he'd not been shown. I absolutely understand that 12 years or so ages a person, but the solution to CG his face is, I think, an insult to both him and the audience. Also, I just don't think that he was needed for this movie anyway. I'd have preferred for no framing device at all, but that's a discussion for the next CHOW.

Why would I read the end of a book first? Tongue

'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Sep 17 2013, 10:19pm

Post #113 of 113 (127 views)
It does seem to bring up the question... [In reply to] Can't Post

Which trilogy is meant to be viewed first?

I think--of course this can only be a guess--that both films, in a way, refer to each other, giving each the possibility of appearing to be the "first" viewed of the two. Some things, which to some look like references to LOTR, could look, to others who watch TH first, as referenc es to this trilogy when watching LOTR afterwards. (Did that make sense?Crazy)

The reasonable example I can think of is the moth. Whether one sees TH or LOTR first will determine if it feels like a "callback" to the other trilogy. Won't it feel weird, say, in 5 years, when those on TORn to whom TH was "first" in their ME viewing experience say that things like the moth coming to Gandalf at Orthanc was an 'unnecessary callback' to TH? Of course that may not happen, but to me it's quite plausible. Just as things like Balin's tomb in FOTR become enhanced by TH, things like the moth could have a reverse effect for others with different experiences.

The framing device really does throw things for a loop, at least for now until we've seen it come full circle at the end of TABA.

Also, I think the idea of Elanor is really neat! That never popped into my head when considering this. That would be a really interesting way to expand on the "storytelling" aspect of these tales, from both Sam's family handing down the Red Book and Frodo and Bilbo's initial writings we see in the films.

Edit: Erm...that last section on Elanor is directed also at Darkstone. This is a moment where I'd love to "tag" other posters in a post.

(This post was edited by cats16 on Sep 17 2013, 10:22pm)

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