Differences Between The Hobbit Movie and Book

19 Dec

How Hollywood Changed The Hobbit

image from The Hobbit Movie, goblin riding a warg

After writing my last post on Redesigning The Hobbit I decided to follow up with some other major differences that I believe need addressing. As previously mentioned there were many differences in chapter 1, The Unexpected Party, and chapter 2, Roast Mutton. This article is going to focus on chapter 3, A Short Rest, of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Hobbit and the dramatic changes made by Hollywood in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Changes in Chapter 3: A Short Rest

After the encounter with the three trolls, the Movie would have you believe that The Brown Wizard, Radagast, came to warn the Gandalf of an evil that had came of the land from a necromancer. Radagast the Brown, an animal loving wizard, had followed a couple of large spiders to the necromancer’s keep, where he was attacked by and defeated a ghost. After defeating the spirit he found an old Morgul blade, which is presented to Gandalf as proof of a new evil falling upon Mirkwood. In the movie version of the Hobbit, this little gathering is broken up by the sound of wargs, a large magical wolf like creature, under the command of the Pale Orc closing in on the group of adventurers. Radagast the Brown then leads the wargs and their orc riders on a chase with his magical rabbit pulled slay ride, while Thorin and company tries to escape. They manage to barely escape with the wargs snapping at their feet. The group is led down a winding path ending in the Hidden Valley of the Elves, a place that Thorin had wanted to avoid because of the elves’ betrayal when the King Under the Mountain lost his home to the dragon.

In the original book, this entire encounter does not happen. To start, Radagast the Brown is not even mentioned until much later in the book, and his part is much smaller than Peter Jackson would have you believe. Gandalf is not presented with a Morgul blade. There is no great chase scene with wargs and orcs. In all actuality there really is nothing dramatic going on at all during this time in the book. Actually, there is not even a mention of the Pale Orc. Instead Gandalf simply leads the group to the valley of Rivendell and into the Last Homely House before the Wild and the Misty Mountains. There are no objection about traveling to Rivendell from Thorin or any of the other Dwarves.

Morgul blade found by Radagast the Brown and presented to Elrond in the Movie the Hobbit

Upon arriving at Rivendell and the Last Homely House, the movie once again adds to the story to make it more dramatic. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey not only does the group arrive in Rivendell only after being chased into a hole by wargs, but also the meeting itself has more tension built in. Gandalf is meet by Elrond who informs him that there are people that do not believe his quest is wise. This leads to a Lord of the Rings style war council with Gandalf, Elrond, Galandriel, and Suruman the White. Suruman does not support Gandalf’s little quest and tells him that they are going to have to abandon the adventure to take back the Lonely Mountain. When Galandriel uses telepathy to convince Gandalf to present the Morgul Blade he had acquired, there is much debate about its meaning. It is obvious that there is a great deal of foreshadowing going on here about what is going to occur later. Even after being presented with all of the evidence of the looming evil, the sword, the evil happenings in Mirkwood, the necromancer occupying an old elvish keep, Saruman does not find the adventure prudent. At that very moment he would have made Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo abandon their quest, but the group had already left off for the Misty Mountains.

Saruman the White in the Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

As great as all of this sounds for cinematic effect, the truth remains that there was a lot less drama and tension in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. When the company enters Rivendell, they are greeted by elvish singing, which Bilbo Baggins loves, and not by being chased by wargs. The meeting between Gandalf and Elrond is just that. Suruman and Galandriel are not present. Elrond does show some displeasure upon learning about the dwarves quest, but this is just because he does not much like dragons or the way dwarves lust for gold. No one tries to stop the quest what so ever. The only swords that are presented are the ones that Gandalf and Thorin had taken from the trolls, which Elrond names as Orcist, The Goblin Cleaver, and Glamdring, Foehammer, a blade of the king of Gondolin. Elrond does mention the Dwarf and Goblin Wars in the Mines of Moria, which is possibly a source of inspiration for the embellished back-story that the movie provides.

If you enjoyed this post, my next article will continue with the differences between the book and movie version of the Hobbit in Chapter 4, Over Hill and Under Hill.

One Response to “Differences Between The Hobbit Movie and Book”


  1. Riddles in the Dark: A Look at how Hollywood Changed The Hobbit « Creativity Redesigned - January 6, 2013

    […] to continue on with my series of Redesigning the Hobbit. I have already discussed the changes in Roast Mutton and Over Hill and Under Hill, so now we will pick up with Bilbo’s encounter with all of ours […]

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