Friday, February 20, 2015

Wrapping Up The Hobbit, Part 3

Today, I present my final post in my Wrapping Up The Hobbit series. You can find Part I here and Part II here.

Wrapping Up The Hobbit Part 3

When the trilogy was first announced as a trilogy, a lot of people were upset. The accusations flew. How could Peter Jackson turn a short adventure story into a trilogy of films? Was he trying to match LotR? He’ll probably just ruin the story. He’s just after money. And on and on it went… I, personally, was quite excited at the prospect of three films. A bit, apprehensive, yes. Three movies did seem like a little more than the story could sustain, even with storyline material from the LotR appendices. Overall, though, I thought it would be neat to see The Hobbit placed in its broader context.

See, when J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was creating a children’s story. It’s a simple story written with little concept of the world it was set in. Sure, Tolkien had messed around with his elvish languages a bit, and he had written random stories that would later be incorporated into Middle-Earth history, but he didn’t know his world like he would later. The Hobbit was just a story. After it was published, though, Tolkien began delving deeper into this world he had created. By the time Lord of the Rings was published, the world of Middle-Earth was much broader and better understood. Tolkien only had a vague conception of what Gandalf was doing when he went off by himself in The Hobbit. Later, he created the White Council and the broader implications of the dwarves’ journey. Without their retaking of Erebor, LotR may have turned out very differently. But Tolkien didn’t know any of this when he wrote The Hobbit.

As Peter Jackson approached the story, however, he did know this broader context. Unlike Tolkien at the time of its writing, Jackson knew how the events of The Hobbit would play out in later history. And he thus chose to broaden the story. The last comment here words this very well, touching on the importance of Gandalf’s actions, and I encourage you to read it.

So, the trilogy sets the dwarves’ journey in its proper context, in my personal opinion, which better sets up LotR. I’d like to touch on Azog briefly, and then I’ll move on. It is true that, the way Tolkien wrote it, Azog, the Pale Orc, died long before the events of The Hobbit. However, his inclusion helped  the Battle of the Five Armies make more sense to me. In the book, everything climaxes in the Battle of the Five Armies before the doors of Erebor. And, though the book does mention the orcs following the dwarves from Moria, I never really understood why they were at the battle. With the added storyline of Azog and his personal grudge toward Thorin, the story gained tension, and the orcs’ presence at the battle made more sense. To me, anyway. The tension did get a little too ramped up at times, but, overall, it gave urgency to a journey, which can become boring without conflict of some kind.

Now, on to Fili. As I mentioned in my first post, I feel like Fili got passed over in favor of Kili. Though I liked both of them, Fili was definitely my favorite. He had such a kind heart and protective nature. His most highlighted moment in the movies is probably the dock scene, where he says, “No, I belong with my brother.” He has other gems, though. While Thorin is being all broody and unaccepting of Bilbo, Fili and Kili both take to the hobbit right away. They may tease him (and occasionally send him into the midst of trolls), but they’ll be there to protect him, too. Of course, Fili is fiercely protective of his brother, to the point that he stands up the uncle he’s probably idolized all his life. And during the attack on Bard’s house by orcs? He jumps in, without weapons, to defend Bard’s children. He tells Bard to flee with his children, even though that makes the dwarves more vulnerable. While Kili gets the spotlight in the films, Fili is the one who truly deserved it, in my mind.

Fili and Kili’s deaths have always confused me a bit. While Thorin’s death is thematic - his greed brought him to his downfall - his nephews’ deaths just seem pointless. If Tolkien wrote that just so Dain could take the throne of Erebor… What was wrong with Fili ruling? In the end, maybe its just a nod to the senselessness of war. People die who don’t deserve to. Dwarves die defending their uncle. And it’s sad. While the book’s climax made me sad, though, the movie’s climax broke me apart. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I knew it would hurt; I was tense from the very beginning of Battle of the Five Armies. The way Fili, Kili, and Thorin’s deaths were done, though… First of all, the writers completely departed from the book on this scene. Fili and Kili don’t even die together! Fili gets stabbed in the back like a sacrificial lamb, Kili dies defending Tauriel, and Thorin dies because of sheer stupidity. And it all runs together in an emotional wreck without closure. Fili’s death honestly just felt like a way to get him out of the way. I don’t know if it was intended that way, but he literally gets stabbed in the back by Azog, dropped over a cliff, and then ignored. Then the writers are free to focus on Kili and Thorin.

Kili’s death is pretty emotional, due in part to Tauriel’s reaction, but I’m still rather annoyed that he and Fili didn’t die together. And that scene kind of cheapened Tauriel’s character, in my opinion. It made her seem weak and ineffective, unlike the warrior she’s presented as. Though I believe female characters should both rescue and be rescued, as should male characters, this scene didn’t honor Tauriel’s character. It made her seem, as I said, weak, and that was unfair, in my mind. Kili ended up with the glory, though he died gaining it.

As for Thorin, oh boy. After finally snapping out of his selfish, gold-lusting state, Thorin joins the battle to save his kinsmen. It’s quite a heroic scene. Once Fili and Kili have been killed, though, all the focus shifts to Thorin’s fight with Azog. They fight to the death on a frozen lake, and, though Thorin defeats Azog, he stupidly follows after the “corpse.” And dies because of it. I mean, as I said, Thorin’s death is thematic. He should die. Having it come at the hands of his own stupidity, though, really annoys me. Thorin’s a better warrior than that.

The worst part of it all is the lack of closure. Though Kili is mourned by Tauriel, and Thorin gets time with Bilbo, no one mourns over Fili. It truly is like he just got ignored. Now, I believe there is a funeral scene in the extended edition, but, honestly, there should be closure of some kind in the theatrical version. Stories should feel realistic, but they’re also a means of escape for us. Each of these deaths was emotionally devastating for me, but there was no closure for Fili, in particular, and that feels entirely too much like reality.

Despite my problems with the climax, the very end of the movie brought everything back to the beginning, which made me happy. I liked the end. I’m just not keen on the rest of the movie. Overall, I’m not sure I’ll watch The Hobbit trilogy again. Maybe sometime in the future, but, for now, it honestly hurts too much.

For those of you who’ve seen Five Armies, what did you think of the climax? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I agree with everything you said. All three deaths were done poorly, especially Thorin's. And the scene with Legolas fighting Bold was completely unrealistic.

  2. I love how you write these posts; you put all my thoughts into words that make wonderful sense. :)
    I've seen it only once, and I was a emotional wreck by the end of it, so I don't remember everything perfectly, but I think you're totally right about Fili. When he died my friend and I were like, 'wait, that's it?' And it didn't really help that I knew they were going to die, every time they went around a corner or separated I was on the edge of my seat, expecting them to get killed.
    Kili's death scene and Tauriel I'm kind of fuzzy on, but I was a little disappointed in it, I do wish Fili and Kili would have died together, like you said. Although I did like the part where Thranduil tells Tauriel, 'because it was real.' :P
    Thorin...his death was just draaaaaged out. He almost died a couple of times, and then just when you think he won and might die of his wounds later instead of being killed, Azog kills him, and it makes it far worse than if he just was killed first time around.
    And the ending was my favourite part, going back to the Shire, and Bag End, and it was wonderfully refreshing after all the battle's and deaths and emotional wreckage. :)

    1. Aw, thanks! That means a lot. :)

      Pretty much. I was so tense the entire movie. I liked Thranduil's softening toward Tauriel, too. :) The end was refreshing, yes, but it didn't make up for everything else, at least for me. :(

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Rachelle, I totally agree with you about the climax. No. Closure. So many unanswered questions, so much pointless pain. And the sons of Durin were supposed to die together. I felt like they could have played up the family bond so much more in the movie if they had just tried...and instead they had Kili protecting the girl he loved, Fili dying just because they needed to get rid of him (he's my favourite, as well), and Thorin dying because it happened in the book and they felt like trying to make it funny.
    After they died, PJ made a worthy effort to wrap the movie making Thranduil tell Legolas to go find Aragorn and ignoring the fact that the audience wanted to see the funeral, whether the Arkenstone was buried with Thorin, whether anyone EVER paid any attention to Fili, etc.
    I actually liked BotFA far FAR more than the first two movies, and may watch it again (because really. I like feels, even if they're rather cheap :P) but I think you hit many of the biggest issues on the dot with this post. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it!

      I think you're right about Peter Jackson wrapping up the movie. He did include some good stuff. He just ignored a lot, too. :(

      *laughs* Ah, yes, the feels. I experience things like that pretty deeply, so it might be more than I could handle to watch it again. I don't know, honestly. That may just be me. :D

  4. I came away with the same feelings of no closure. I think it was definitely the absence of a funeral scene that bothered me. I really hope that there will be one in the extended edition.

    I also felt the same about the interaction between Legolas and Thranduil at the end of the movie. I thought it was so emotionless and rushed... until I watched it again on Youtube. Then I realized that though it was brief, it really was quite emotional, you just have to look deeper under the surface. After watching it a second time, I saw that both Legolas and his father were very moved, but their personalities, and the nature of their relationship for who-knows-how-long, would not allow them to go all gushy-heartfelt right away. What did make it into the movie was pretty well done after all, despite my first impressions.

    I was bummed about Tauriel's character arch. I would have liked to see more growth with her. Actually, I was expecting her to die, if not with Kili, then shortly after him. In my opinion, she either should have died in battle, or gone into exile after the death of Kili. She couldn't very well go back to Mirkwood after her treasonous words to the king (unless he was feeling particularly forgiving). It seemed to me that after losing Kili, she would have been unable to return to her small world.
    Instead, Legolas took that path, and Tauriel was left with no closure. :( I hope that they do more to resolve her grief in the extended edition.

    1. Hmm, that's an interesting take on Thranduil and Legolas. It makes a lot of sense. :)

      I expected her to die, too. My sister mentioned something about elves sometimes dying from grief, and I wonder if that happens to her. I don't know. Like you, I hope that is more resolved in the extended edition. I hope everything in general just gets better resolved.

      Thanks for stopping by, Rayne!


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