First, a thank you to those individuals who have been reading this blog! I can’t tell you what an unexpected joy it was for me to learn that what began as a personal exercise is actually of interest to other people. I must confess, however, that I have already failed one of my 2013 Resolutions; I promised myself I would read two books a month and write about them here. I managed Talking Pictures at the start of January, but then I just began making my way through The Hobbit so slowly that it’s now February and I’ve only just finished.
I first read The Hobbit after I received a copy as a Christmas gift from my parents when I was 12 (my mom always felt it was important to read the “classics”). I remember loving it! It kind of changed my world as it was my first foray into the Fantasy genre and it created this vivid landscape in my mind that no book had ever inspired before. I also remember my 12-year-old self had a bit of a crush on Thorin Oakenshield (although why that was escapes me now upon rereading it – his part is fairly understated in the novel. I was reminded of this crush when I saw the film because Richard Armitage is just super delicious and his Thorin is kind of badass). Since it had been 14 years since I last read the book, I forgot how action-packed it really is.
At first, I was a little miffed when the friend I saw the movie with explained to me that it was going to ultimately be a trilogy. I remember saying, “What the hell is there to tell for 3 long movies? Bilbo finds the ring, they reach the Mountain and then they go home.” The second I got in the door from the theatre I ran to my library and dug out my old, tattered paperback to figure out exactly how much story was left at the end of the film. Turns out, there’s quite a bit! The first movie ends at about the end of Chapter 6 “Out of the frying pan into the fire”, leaving another 13 chapters to spread across two more films. They plumped up the events in the book to be more interesting on screen (and added a few things that weren’t in the book at all), and they embellished the characters for a little more depth. This last thing is what I actually liked about the film; since the novel was meant to chronicle Bilbo’s adventures, the dwarves are fairly under-developed. With the film you actually get a chance to like them and feel for them.
The problem that I’m kind of expecting with the next installment of the trilogy is a pretty thin plot stretched thinner over three hours with a few smatterings of completely fabricated events to fill in the holes. Why? Because I’m thinking the second movie is going to end at the end of Chapter 8 “Flies and Spiders”, after Bilbo frees some of the dwarves from the giant spiders, but just as Thorin is captured by the Wood-elves and held prisoner. If you’re keeping track from the last paragraph, that means that I think movie two will probably only cover two chapters. The reason that I think this is because this point of the novel is the next most climactic point before the group actually encounters Smaug, which must surely be in the final film, or else movie three will only be about the long journey home. I hope I’m wrong, because this novel is just so interesting that a boring middle installment would be a real shame. That being said, a recent episode of SNL made a great joke out of Peter Jackson’s penchant for long, sweeping epics that don’t quite know when to pack it in.
At any rate, boring or not, I will definitely be seeing the rest of this trilogy if for no other reason than the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch will be appearing in the next two films. I’m soooo looking forward to seeing him not being Sherlock Holmes! As for my well-loved paperback, I will be replacing it at some future time with a lovely annotated version as soon as I can justify paying more than $60 for one book. For the moment, I’ll stow my copy with its LOTR brothers and choose another book from my seemingly endless shelf of new arrivals. Hopefully I can keep my resolution this month, which between the Netflix and the PVR may be easier said than done…