You Should Be Reading: ‘The Hobbit’

Copyright: Allen & Unwin

Copyright: Allen & Unwin

…or at least the final 85 pages of JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, ‘The Hobbit’, that is, according to Charlie Derry.

From the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, and the same crew behind their film adaptations, the final instalment in a trilogy of adaptations of ‘The Hobbit’ is set to be released on 12th December.

…not a lot actually happens in these final 85 pages of the novel…

Although they are all based on the same, single novel, ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy of films began with ‘An Unexpected Journey’ in 2012, followed with ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ in 2013, and is set to conclude at the end of this year with The Battle of the Five Armies.

Again directed by Peter Jackson with screenplay written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Jackson himself and Guillermo del Toro, the final instalment will focus on the final third of ‘The Hobbit’ novel, as the dwarves attempt to reclaim their homeland of Erebor.

Written by English author JRR Tolkien, before he went on to write ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, which was actually intended to be a sequel, ‘The Hobbit’ was originally published in 1937 and remains a classic even today. It is a story that many of us are likely to have read whilst growing up, or were at least forced to during education, with the novel and its adaptations now being a part of one of the biggest film franchises to date. Although it was as early as 1995 that Jackson originally expressed interest in adapting the novel, filming of the adaptations only began in 2011, with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy of adaptations hitting the silver screen before production on The Hobbit even began.

With the second of three adaptations of ‘The Hobbit’, ‘The Desolation of Smaug’, focusing on the central third of the novel, as the dwarves find and awaken Smaug, the final third continues as the titular battle ensues on The Lonely Mountain, with the Goblins and the Wargs fighting against the Men of Lake-town, the Elves, the Dwarves and Eagles, to gain control of Erebor and the vast treasure inside.

Whilst this sounds like a film worth of footage, not a lot actually happens in these final 85 pages of the novel, with the war itself being skipped over quite quickly in no more than 3 pages. At this point in the novel, the exhilarating adventure that ‘The Hobbit’ is known for being is, unfortunately, pretty much over, as Tolkien begins to conclude the story quite rapidly from this point on. But we’re all immensely eager to know how the story comes to an end, so you won’t be disappointed with what’s to come.

…this is a war, so there may be some tears to be shed, too.

However, reading these final pages of the novel, you wouldn’t think that the story is worthy of a whole film to itself. But the adaptations have something that the novel does not. Peter Jackson – the man of epic battles and films that can run for 3 hours without flaw. The battle may be rushed over in the novel, but you can be sure that Jackson will make it the central focus of his film, throwing in gruesome characters, brilliant CGI effects, and many inside jokes with the characters we already know and love from ‘The Lord of the Rings’. But this is a war, so there may be some tears to be shed, too.

…Jackson knows what he’s doing with the story.

Nevertheless, with so little happening in the novel it’s a given that the film is going to have a lot of alterations in store. No change there, though, as the first two instalments were also very different from the novel, using characters we know from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy that didn’t actually appear in ‘The Hobbit’, and additional plots to bulk the adaptations out. This is because Jackson made extensive use of the appendices published in the back of ‘The Return of the King’, using these additional scenes and detailed pieces of background information to expand the story of Middle-Earth and subsequently turn one novel into three lengthy films.

So, whilst this last section of the novel is the least exciting, you can be sure that Jackson is going to do something fantastic with it, and even there are going to be many changes in place, at least ‘An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ prove that Jackson knows what he’s doing with the story.

What do you think? Have you seen the other two films? Are you excited by the final part in the trilogy? How do you turn 85 pages into a full length film anyway? Let us know: @rifemag

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