Tag Archives: differences between the Hobbit book and Movie

Changes in the Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill

21 Dec


In the 4th chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit when compared to the new movie version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey there are less differences than any of the previous chapters.  The story pretty much progesses with only a few minor differences.

The first main difference is that on the book the dwarves and Bilbo start out from Rivendell accompanied by Gandalf.  In the movie Gandalf is still in a council with Elrond, Saramun, and Galandriel when Thorin and Company sneak off to the Misty Mountains by themselves.  Additionally in the book the group stilll has there ponies with them when they start out on their journey over hill and under hill.

The second main change occurs when the group stops to take shelter in a cave in the Misty Mountains.  Peter Jackson would have you believe that Bilbo Baggins had decided to leave the company of Thorin in order to return to his comfy little hobbit hole.  While this notion is not out of his character, the real reason that Bilbo has trouble sleeping that night is because he is having a nightmare that the back of the cave was opening while they slept, something that was more true than he had ever imagined.  In the book Bilbo wakes just as the last of the ponies are being taken by the goblins, causing him to let out a shriek and wake Gandalf just in time.

This of course allows the wizard to defend himself with a flash of lighting, dropping the goblins trying to capture him. All of this actually brings the two stories closer together, allowing for Gandalf to eventually come to the rescue of his captured companions.

During the initial capture there is one more point of divergance. In the book all of the dwarves and Bilbo are brought before the great goblin under the mountain. However, in the new cinematic version Bilbo manages to slip away from his captors and is left behind from the very start. He is then attacked by a stray goblin and during the struggle they both fall down into the depths, which sets up Bilbo for his encounter with Gollum and the ring of power. In the book version Bilbo is not separated from the group until after Gandalf kills the great goblin and the party is fleeing from under the mountain.

The next difference is in the meeting between the great goblin and the prisoners. The movie continues to build upon the character of the pale orc. The great goblin knows of Thorin and his people, but he does not seem to have any particular hostility towards them that a goblin wouldn’t already show towards unwelcome visitors. On the other hand he is very interested in selling them to the pale orc. J.R.R. Tolkien’s work tells a different story. The book alludes to the dwarf and goblin war, which seems to have been turned into the dwarf and orc war that the movie is focused around. The hostility that the pale orc holds for Thorin is actually the great goblin’s, but the book leaves the details for a different story.

The last point of difference is hardly worth mentioning, but for completeness lets just say that the escape scene from the chamber of the great goblin is spiced up with cinematic flair that you just can’t have in a book. They kill a lot more goblins than needed in the Tolkien version and Bilbo is already having his own encounter with riddles in the dark. Where as in the book, fat Boomber is forced to carry the hobbit on his back until he is seperated from the group by goblin scouts.

All in all it seems that Peter Jackson stayed truer to the original work than other parts. Next I will be taking a look at the changes in Chapter 5: Riddles in the Dark.