Amph The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, Battle of the Five Armies

Discussion in 'Community' started by -Courtney-, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    It's always odd to me that in many fictional stories Dragons are very rare or extinct yet they are depicted as being extremely powerful that only exceptional people or perhaps even those with magic can defeat them. You'd think a race of element-breathing super-reptiles would be harder to eradicate than they seem to be
  2. I Are The Internets Chosen One

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    Nov 20, 2012
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    [IMG]
    Only apply it to dragons instead of dinosaurs.
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  3. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Let me say this about that. I've consulted with my mother, for whom Huckleberry Finn is a favorite book, and we agree you have a point but that ultimately you're nitpicking a masterpiece. The ending pages of Huck Finn return to the lighter tone of the first book in this two-book series, Tom Sawyer, and reintroduce the first story's protagonist into the narrative. It's presumed readers will already be familiar with Tom Sawyer, and his appearance and the shift in tone are a way of coming full-circle in a literary sense.

    /sidebar
  4. Force Smuggler Chosen One

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    The climax of the story was pointless!
    Huck was going to save his friend on his own.
    Oh wait, no he isn't, Tom will come up with a plan!
    Mission successful!
    Oh wait! Tom's plan wasn't needed!
    This was Huckleberry Finn.
    Not Tom Saywer the Sequel. If I want Tom Saywer saving the day I'll read Tom Sawyer, not Huckleberry Finn.
    Huckleberry Finn wanting to save his friend was one of the best character growth moments I have ever read about and that was wasted.
    Maybe I'm taking the wrong thing away from it since I am not a professional writer but that just doesn't sit well with me.
  5. Havac Former Moderator

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    They don't breed much.
  6. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Tom doesn't save the day, he pulls a prank, but I've PMd you so we don't run this thread off the rails.

    As to Tolkien, he liked to use these last-minute switch-ups -- Gandalf appearing in Goblin Town, Bard shooting Smaug -- to keep his readers (and originally his audience: his children) guessing as to what might happen next. Sometimes a story or character arc can be too on-the-nose. Surprise in fiction is almost always a good thing, and I think Bard is an innovative choice to resolve what might otherwise have been a "pat" payoff.
  7. Force Smuggler Chosen One

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    Since Gandalf was there at the start of the adventure and bounces in and out of the story (including LOTR since I read those first) I can buy him saving the Dwarves. Surprises and plot twists are good but that one just seems a bit weird to me.
  8. timmoishere Force Ghost

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    I guess it depends on how well Bard is built up prior to him offing Smaug. In the novel, Bard is just "o hai, im bard," then the Dwarves run off to the Mountain.
  9. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

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    Since they gave him a family (I believe) and all, I'm quite sure they're going to expand his backstory and properly introduce him as a character before having him kill the dragon.
  10. Havac Former Moderator

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    You've also got to consider Tolkien's fascination with mythology and legend. Mythology is often complex and interweaving -- a god may be a hero in one story and a villain in the next, a supporting character in one story may be a hero of his own story, the hero of one story may bump into the king who has his own legend from when he was younger, multiple heroes may encounter the same foe or be said to go on the same quest. I think Bard plays into that idea. The dwarves are out to recover their homeland and their treasure from the dragon Smaug, and they do. The legend of Thorin Oakenshield intersects with the story of Bilbo Baggins, who went along on a strange adventure to a faraway land and came back rich and eccentric. Both intersect with the tale of Bard the Bowman, the villager who defeated the mighty Smaug. It's a different story to each audience in Middle-earth, Dwarves, hobbits, and Men. Even in a children's story, I think Tolkien is naturally playing with his idea of a "legendarium" and weaving together multiple interconnected stories into one. Bard's story is the shortest and simplest, and it takes a while before the story gets to a place where his can be woven in, but that doesn't make it that left-fieldy. It's the same with the Battle of Five Armies -- everyone in the story ultimately has a part to play in how it is resolved, but that doesn't mean they're all in the story all the time. People come in and out of it, like they do in real life and like they do in legend, and the climax doesn't turn out to be exactly what you expect -- the killing of Smaug isn't it.

    Tolkien's storytelling is complex, surprising, and unconventional, but that doesn't make it sloppy or unsatisfying.
  11. ac4155 Jedi Master

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    May 11, 2013
    To be honest, I'm alright with the unexpected/ lesser known character saving the day. I think in a way it gives more realism to it all. Rather than there being a group super awesome people who can kill/solve/escape everything, we see people who have weaknesses and downfalls which can only be solved with the help of others.

    It's the same with the Eagles (though better explained in the books than the films), Gandalf, the Bard, at the Battle of Five armies. Some complain of it all being a Deus Ex machina, but I think it's more of a way to keep the audience guessing how the heroes will solve a problem when the are clearly supposed to be too stuck to do it themselves.
  12. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with the Bard part. It's pretty left-field, mainly because 1) Bard is never developed as a character to the degree most of the others are (such as say, Beorn or Thranduil), even after defeating Smaug, and 2) Tolkein spent an awful lot of time building up to a climatic confrontation between Smaug and the dwarves. Like any good story, he put all the odds in Smaug's favor, so like the dwarves, the reader is trying to come up with some clever way to defeat the dragon. Which is why it's pretty darned disappointing nothing came of it.

    It's sort of like if Wedge or Biggs destroyed the Death Star in ANH. Sure, Luke gets to shine in his equivalent of the Battle of the Five Armies against Palpatine in ROTJ. But he didn't defeat baddie #1, the reason he left home to begin with.
  13. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

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    Personally, I like the twist that (to quote a certain website) "an obscure co-star slays the dragon". :p It's against all clich├ęs, it's fresh, unexpected, original. Yes, the only downside is that Bard isn't developed as a character - well, neither were most of the Dwarves, who in the book were just a list of names. The films seem to be giving everyone proper development and history, so Bard's slaying of the dragon won't stand out so much in a negative sort of light.
    Last edited by Mar17swgirl, Jun 26, 2013
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  14. timmoishere Force Ghost

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    Yeah, in the books, only 3 of the Dwarves got any sort of development: Thorin, Balin and Bombur. The rest were all interchangeable.
  15. darth-calvin Force Ghost

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    Dec 10, 2002
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    Force Smuggler - in regards to the killing of smaug, what you have to remember is that this is Bilbo's story, not the dwarves. The story is about Bilbo's journey of self-discovery in a larger, more dangerous world away from his safe little hole in the ground (awesome symbolism, btw). The dwarves are simply the foils to highlight Bilbo's character development, nothing more. They constantly doubt him and complain about him and he keeps proving himself. And in the end he shows better moral conviction than the dwarves (mainly Thorin) by trying to avert a war based in greed (even though he has to betray his friends to do so). And Thorin ultimately recognizes the value of this in the end.

    Upon my first reading of it I thought the dwarves were whiny little beeches who didn't deserve any treasure. They never actually accomplish any great feats on their own. In this way, some unknown stranger dismissing Smaug for them actually makes a lot of sense. There is absolutely no doubt that they could never have defeated Smaug by themselves. They don't even care how he dies or who killed him - all they want is their treasure.

    In the movie this is very different. Thorin has been built up as a great hero (I assume this is the reason Azog is given such importance - he will have his own demon to conquer in the end). I'm interested in seeing how the arkenstone thing plays out and if Thorin is going to ultimately choose greed to complicate the war. The first movie set it up to be more about losing their home than their wealth so I suspect not.

    Anyway, as far as the story is concerned, it holds true to its intention: the hero finds his courage in his dangerous journey and he confronts the greatest of these dangers (Smaug) and bests him and comes out all the wiser. Bilbo himself never resolved to kill Smaug, he could care less, and he is certainly never shown to have any significant interest in the treasure that Smaug guards.

    Also, you have to keep in mind that this book was written in 1937, for audiences in 1937, who weren't constantly inundated with the same "hero slays the beast" action trope that we've been trained to expect.
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  16. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    The Dwarves also want Erebor itself back, the symbolism of that place is important especially for Thorin. I think the city itself matters more to Thorin than the gold (at least it appears that way in the movie, that might change) that is in it.
  17. darth-calvin Force Ghost

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    I think that will stay the same throughout the movies. Gimli set up dwarves to be quite loveable. I think PJ will try to keep them in a heroic light.
  18. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    It's more like Wedge and Lando and Nien Nunb destroying the Death Star in ROTJ.
  19. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    But Wedge and Lando were established characters by ROTJ, supporting as they might be. Wedge had been in the first 2 movies and Lando in the previous one, they were known by the audience well so it was OK they helped the fleet in victory.

    Bard on the other hand did not appear in AUJ and it's uncertain exactly how much development time he'll get before he encounters Smaug, that's different.
    Last edited by SithLordDarthRichie, Jun 26, 2013
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  20. Everton Chosen One

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    Jul 18, 2003
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    The other thing to note re: Smaug's death is that although Bard fired the fatal shot, the crucial information only came to him because Bilbo bravely entered the mountain. The story of Thorin's quest to retake Erebor, Bilbo's own arc, and the story of Bard the Bowman all had a part to play in the dragon's downfall.
  21. Legolas Skywalker Force Ghost

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    It's gonna be fun watching these last 2 movies unfold, this is so exciting :p
  22. Ghost Chosen One

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    Oct 13, 2003
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    There's also a small chance that Smaug isn't killed by Bard, and instead only falls into the Lake and then retreats to Dol Guldor so Sauron can steal one of his eyes...

    [face_nail_biting]
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Jun 26, 2013
  23. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
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    Oh, hahahahah... wait, maybe Sauron was always a cyclops.

    ETA: We never do get to see under that great steel tree-trunk helm of his.
    Last edited by Merlin_Ambrosius69, Jun 26, 2013
  24. I Are The Internets Chosen One

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    Maybe Bilbo stares very hard at Smaug causing his head to explode?
  25. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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