June 14, 2014

Finally! Hobbits in Bree!

While I sit on the edge of my seat for the next Hobbit trailer here's a short little observation that will hopefully give you some food for thought...

I certainly have my quibbles with some of the liberties taken in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit adaptations.  But at the same time I also greatly enjoy the movies, especially the moments when the filmmakers stay true to Tolkien's books.  The Fellowship of the Rings is often regarded by many as the film that stayed truest to Tolkien's word, but it still had many alterations.  One of the smaller deviations appears in Bree, more specifically in the Prancing Pony.  In chapter 9 of book I the four hobbits (Frodo, Merry, Pippin, & Sam) rest for a short time in the common-room of the inn and there encounter men, dwarves, and other hobbits.  In the film men appear to be the only 'kind' in Bree.  No travelling dwarven merchants and no Bree-hobbits.  As a result, the episode where Frodo falls off the table while singing "the cow jumped over the moon" had to be altered.  Such a change worked well in the film, but I still would have liked to see some Bree-hobbits (at least in the background or EE).  My wish to see some hobbits from Outside was later fulfilled when The Desolation of Smaug hit theaters.  Near the very beginning of the prolog this little fellow walked by the camera to the bar where a man lifted him up to the stool:

Just as side note, isn't that Kiran Shah playing the hobbit?

This short clip in the film conveys a lot of key information Tolkien wrote in FotR concerning hobbits in Bree.  First, we see that a hobbit (or hobbits) came to Bree and the Prancing Pony before Frodo.  (Whether this is an actual Bree-hobbit or an adventurous Took or Bucklander I don't know.)  Second, men and hobbits there were on friendly and hospitable terms.  Indeed, in the book the Big Folk and the Little Folk valued each other's presence in Bree and each viewed the other as "necessary parts of the Bree-folk."  Tolkien also remaked that, "Nowhere else in the world was this peculiar (but excellent) arrangement to be found."  While this relationship wasn't seen in the FotR film I glad it can finally be realized on screen in this Hobbit trilogy.

It's a small part in story that only took a few seconds to unfold on screen, but it made this Tolkienphile very happy! :-)  But that's often true in these Middle-earth films isn't it?  Whether it's a piece of topography, carvings in the sets, a little prop in the background, etc, all the details put into the film just add so much depth and realism to the world (as in the book).

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