Friday, November 23, 2012

The Hobbit

Who's excited for the film The Hobbit? I am, for sure, and I know many others are! Ever since he directed The Lord of the Rings, fans have been hoping that Peter Jackson would undertake The Hobbit.

Not only is Peter Jackson one of the directors, but Sir Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Ian Holm (as an older Bilbo), Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, and Christopher Lee all playing the same roles as they did in The Lord of the Rings. Wonderful news!

Bilbo, from The Hobbit
However, from the production videos and trailers I've seen, the film seems to diverge quite a bit from the book. Galadriel does not even appear in The Hobbit. All the wizard action (Involving Radagast the Brown and Saruman the White) happens simultaneously as the action of the story, but is off-set so to speak: Tolkien never takes us there. We don't see the defeat of the Necromancer, we just hear about it. 

Secondly, I never would have pictured the village of Dale as an Italian/southern France village. It's cute though.

Thirdly, they added to the dwarves' characters. Ok, fine. Sounds entertaining. 

Fourthly, they got the beards wrong for the most part. In the film some of them don't really have beards, they have glorified mustaches. However, they are dwarves, therefore they ought to have full beards. Thorin Oakenshield from the book would be ashamed to go about with as little a beard as they gave him in the movie.

Fili and Kili, being younger, can certainly have smaller beards (in my opinion), but I think they should be longer and fuller than men generally wear theirs. Kili and Thorin in the movie look rather like Rangers or Men of Gondor.  In this photo, Kili looks like he could be a brother to Aragorn.
Here are pictures for comparison's sake.

Full, long beards are part of what make dwarves, dwarves (see The Blog That Time Forgot if you don't believe me). In the book, The Hobbit, Dwalin at least was able to tuck his beard in his belt: "It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt" (page 7). Once, when Thorin was very angry, he said to Gandalf, "May your beard wither." Thorin was furious, showing that this is one of the worst things he could possibly wish upon another. The state of one's beard was a matter of pride. To loose one's beard would be like losing one's "man-card,"  or in this case, one's "dwarf-card."

The Blog that Time Forgot 
This blog goes into a detailed textual analysis of the dwarves' beards in the book. You can skip down to the section about beards. Basically his argument agrees with my observations from the book: dwarves should have beards and that beards are a source of pride.

In a production (behind-the-scenes) video one of the people on set suggests that maybe Fili and Kili can't grow beards yet. The above blog mentions this, and in addition to that blogger's analysis, I'd like to point out that Fili and Kili, most certainly did have beards in the book, "It was two dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards" (page 8).

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Ballantine Books, published 1965.
The Hobbit (Official Site)
The Lord of the Rings (Official Site)
All photos come from the downloads sections.

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