Tag Archives: The Pale Orc

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.


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.