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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Short version: Excellence in all but design. Also, SPOILERS


Oct 11 2013, 3:27pm

Views: 1474
Short version: Excellence in all but design. Also, SPOILERS [In reply to] Can't Post

1) What do you think of his development during the movie? Has his character grow from the beginning (by learning something new) in any way or he is the same on the end as he was in the beginning?

I'd say that he's very much the same as he was from the start - haughty and grumpy, yet proud - the major difference of course being his acceptance of Bilbo, which I'm not sure how much I'd attribute to Thorin having a change of heart, respectively Bilbo proving his worth; How much of it is "this hobbit is not so useless after all", and how much of it is "I should not be so dismissive towards new people"? In any case, apart from taking place chronologically too early, brought by going with three films rather than two, it feels very much as per the book.

2) So what was Thorin's most memorable moment for you in An Unexpected Journey?

Though I see it as more of a memorable dwarf-moment than a memorable Thorin-moment, I will say the singing of "Over the Misty Mountains cold". It almost brought me to tears when I heard it in the very first trailer, and it still holds plenty of power in the finished film.

3) What do you like in Thorin's character and what you don't like or even hate?

I like most, if not all, of his character traits, and how they are utilized, and I like the approach towards Thorin's character taken by the writers. There were no dramatic changes from the book (as with, say, Aragorn) beyond further emphasis upon his desire to reclaim Erebor (which is there in the book, though oft dwarfed by the goldlust), and the essence of book-Thorin - grumpiness and haughtiness, pompousness and pride - is very much there. No, the essence, the core, is there, and then there are additions to it, and expansion upon the bits that were less emphasized in the book. We've got heroism (which there were traces of in the book even before the Battle of Five Armies, indeed as early as the troll-sequence), tragedy (again, present in the book, but not as emphasized), and strong leadership, which helps balance out other traits that alone would make him a rather unsympathetic hero.

4) Tell us your opinion about his relationship with other characters? Dwarves in common or invidual, Gandalf and Bilbo, elves and do not forget on Azog with goblins and orcs.

Now that I think about it, there is little direct, meaningful interaction between him and his fellow dwarves, Balin, Dwalin, and Fíli and Kíli aside; They are more often referred to in group. Personally, I think his relationship with Balin and Dwalin felt right, but I would have liked a little more interaction between him and his nephews, and I do think it a great shame that they didn't ever introduce Fíli and Kíli as Thorin's nephews, and thus heirs to the throne. With the approach the writers are taking towards the film, expanding upon so much, it strikes me as weird not expanding upon that point. At the very least, a mention would have been nice.
His relationship with Gandalf, a more antagonistic one, I think work very well, and it is a nice contrast towards the LOTR-trilogy, where the leading heroes usually welcomed Gandalf, if not outright cheered at his arrival.
With Bilbo, as mentioned above, very much as per the book, if forced to progress a little faster.
Not much to say about his feelings towards the orcs; No surprises there, really. As for his feelings towards the elves, a little more antagonistic than I expected.

5) Was his clothes more royal then that of other Dwarves? Was there something on them that indicates his royal origins?

Hard to say; A few dwarves sport clothes almost as decorated and ornate as Thorin's. I think the fur-trimmed coat makes for a more regal look, though.

6) What is his style of fighting in your opinion? He is using sword but is he a good swordsmen or perhaps better at wielding an axe?

Hard to tell how good he is with the axe; I can't recall seeing him use it. During the troll-sequence, he's wielding Deathless (his pre-Orcrist sword), and during the warg-chase, though he wields the axe, Orcrist delivers all the blows. I think it only really sees direct use as a walking stick during select sequences.
Good swordsman? Definitely, though I'd rather he'd be more direct with it; I could do without the pirouettes (which, to be fair, were few).

7) Is he a better strategist, tactics? Would he be a better warrior or commander? Here I am talking mostly about his role in battle.

Certainly he is a good warrior. I haven't seen enough of his strategical side to really say if he is a good commander; Truth be told, I saw little strategy in any of the battles he fought in, beyond rare occurrences such as "cut the ropes". No, he leads by example, not by command. The counter-charge at Azanulbizar, for example, is a prime example; He did not lead that charge with strategy and tactics, he led it with raw emotion, and authority won by besting Azog.

8) How will his character develope in the next two films in your opinion?

I expect we will see him start putting a little more trust in Bilbo, now having accepted him, before slowly turning more antagonistic towards him. I am really looking forward to what is to come.

9) Did you like Thorin as portrayed in the movie or would you change his character in any way (appearance, character or maybe even another actor)?

The design (well, the facial design, the costume is excellent) has been a sore point for me ever since I first saw it, and time has done little but make it worse; Were I in the position to change it, I would, increasing the length of his beard, and maybe making him look a little more aged, if possible. Certainly the idea of a longbearded and perhaps more visually aged Thorin does not at all strike me as incompatible with Armitage's Thorin, as written and acted in AUJ, and I seriously doubt that it would change the character in any dramatic way; The writers, and Armitage, are simply too good for it to have a detrimental effect.
Truth be told, though it may sound melodramatic, Thorin's design isn't just something that clashed with the image I had in my head, it represents a great many things that I do not like about not only adaptions, but cinematic storytelling as a whole, and it feels like it promotes a narrow-minded and non-creative approach to storytelling and its heroes.
For the sake of brevity, I will limit myself to one thing, though, and say that I think Thorin's design takes away from the fantastical feel of the setting; Here we have this fantastical, non-human race with a very clear and distinct visual aesthetic, yet Thorin sports a dramatically different, more human design simply on account of being a leading character? It is such a meta-concept, so convenient and artificial, that it hurts my belief in the world. If they wanted to sell me on their diverse approach to dwarven designs, then they should not have limited the shortbearded, more human-looking designs to important characters; As it is, it feels too isolated for me to think of it as genuine diversity.
Had relatively unimportant dwarves like Óin, and Bifur, as well as some of the unnamed dwarves in the background, been designed with a similar approach as that towards Thorin in mind, I would have been more forgiving towards Thorin's design. As it is, it really feels like there is this distinction in design between "dwarves who are supposed to die tragically to our mourning, and other important dwarves" (Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli in the former group, Bofur, Balin, and Dwalin, in the latter; Balin and Dwalin comes across as token dwarves among the important dwarves, strangely), and their unimportant kin, and that's just too artificial and convenient for my taste. To me, it's the equivalent of Frodo being tall and wearing shoes, just to make him stand out from Sam, Merry, and Pippin, or Gandalf being played by a bare-chinned 20-30 year old while Saruman stays the same.

Lastly, I will add, that I am not a "this is the only way to do it"-kind of guy, I'm not one for definitive claims when it comes to storytelling; To me, going down that path takes you to the death of storytelling. Armitage was indeed great in the role. I reckon other actors also could have been great, though we may never know it; Different, perhaps, but still great. Not that I mean to say a change in actors was in order - Armitage was brilliant - merely a personal anecdote. Armitage being great does not prove that any actor would have failed miserably.

Subject User Time
Character of the Week: Thorin Oakenshield Old Pilgrim Send a private message to Old Pilgrim Oct 8 2013, 3:58pm
    In a hurry, cos I'm supposed to be working but keep being diverted here. Glorfindela Send a private message to Glorfindela Oct 8 2013, 4:14pm
        Forgot to say, re. favourite moments Glorfindela Send a private message to Glorfindela Oct 9 2013, 10:29am
            I also forgot to add to my own post Avandel Send a private message to Avandel Oct 10 2013, 4:20pm
    Oh my gosh, my favorite character Old Toby Send a private message to Old Toby Oct 8 2013, 5:12pm
    Could write pages about why I love Thorin in movie - favorite Avandel Send a private message to Avandel Oct 8 2013, 8:15pm
        awesome response Avandel! Kim Send a private message to Kim Oct 8 2013, 8:54pm
            I'm also a little short on time at the moment... Queen of Erebor Send a private message to Queen of Erebor Oct 8 2013, 9:53pm
            Thanks for the welcome! Avandel Send a private message to Avandel Oct 8 2013, 10:50pm
                Yeah, it was the same for me Kim Send a private message to Kim Oct 8 2013, 11:31pm
    Thanks Old Pilgrim Kim Send a private message to Kim Oct 8 2013, 8:47pm
    On Thorin Kilidoescartwheels Send a private message to Kilidoescartwheels Oct 8 2013, 9:52pm
        Ah, another Robin Hood fan! Roheryn Send a private message to Roheryn Oct 9 2013, 8:17am
    Thorin is awesome Elskidor Send a private message to Elskidor Oct 9 2013, 12:23am
    Thorin is the Man! Ziggy Stardust Send a private message to Ziggy Stardust Oct 9 2013, 12:50am
    There is one I could follow... Esmeralda Send a private message to Esmeralda Oct 9 2013, 5:23am
    Finally got here again, and here are my answers Old Toby Send a private message to Old Toby Oct 9 2013, 6:33am
    Ah, Thorin! Riven Delve Send a private message to Riven Delve Oct 9 2013, 1:04pm
    Great idea Old Pilgrim The Tenth Walker Send a private message to The Tenth Walker Oct 9 2013, 8:56pm
        Thorin will always be my King... Queen of Erebor Send a private message to Queen of Erebor Oct 9 2013, 10:41pm
    Short version: Excellence in all but design. Also, SPOILERS Macfeast Send a private message to Macfeast Oct 11 2013, 3:27pm


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