Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Post: Another Tolkien Trilogy by Lauren Bailey

Hello to all my bloggy friends :-).  I really hate I am not around much these days, but I am busy, busy, busy!  School is about to start, and combined with a much more demanding editing schedule, we're trying to scramble to get all those last minute, end of summer tasks completed! 
I haven't been able to read as much or as quickly as usual, but I am rereading The Hobbit right now. It's slow going, but I plan to be all finished by the time the film releases this winter, after which I will have an updated review for you. I can't wait to see what Mr. Jackson does with this timeless classic!
So, I was thrilled when Lauren presented me with this little article about the upcoming trilogy. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Another Tolkein Trilogy 

Tolkein fans have been awaiting the completion of The Hobbit for two years now. Director Peter Jackson returned to complete the film, and after substantial delays, the film is complete and scheduled to release in December of 2012.

Though the adaptation was scheduled to span the length of two full-length films (subtitled An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again), last week Jackson announced that the film would be expanded into three films.  The second film will be released in December of 2013 while the third is scheduled to open in summer of 2014.

Like so many Tolkein fans, I have been anticipating the release of The Hobbit since the announcement of the release date.  The story has been one of my favorites since childhood. Even as a bookworm, my first memory of The Hobbit is of the 1977 animated version.  I later read the Lord of the Rings trilogy to coincide with the movie releases that extended into my college years.

The 1977 version remains one of my favorite children’s movies. It is a dark and lyrical movie that does not spare children from the more terrifying aspects of trolls, enormous spiders, goblins, wolves and elves. Even as a full-grown Hobbit, Bilbo is immature, naïve and innocent to the ways of the greater world. It is for him, as it is for the children who read the tale, a quest of self-discovery that requires bravery.

At its heart, The Hobbit is about the search for wealth and about the destructive nature of greed. Bilbo, though he remains uncorrupted, is incapable of stopping the war that follows the death of the dragon Smaug. The allure of wealth is enough to destroy ties between otherwise peaceful people; and the arrival of a common enemy is all that can bring peace again.

Though The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are intertwined, Tolkein had to make revisions to The Hobbit in order to align the greater context of the stories, most notably in the chapter Riddles in the Dark. In the original version, Gollum is a good sport about losing the riddle game. In the revised version, Tolkein illustrates the ring’s evil influence as Gollum secretly plots to kill Bilbo and becomes increasingly aggressive.

Fans of The Lord of the Rings film can easily make the connection between Gollum and Bilbo during the Rivendell scene when Bilbo sees the ring for the last time. Catching a glimpse of the ring, Bilbo is aggressive and desperate, echoing Gollum’s description of “the precious.”

Though the ring is precious, it does not represent a greed for earthly treasure the way Smaug’s hoard does. Instead, the ring represents greed of power, which is powerful enough to destroy an entire world.

Tolkein also attempted to revise The Hobbit in order to match its tone to LOTR, but he abandoned changes after the story lost its essential quality.

The risk that Jackson takes with extending the film over the course of three movies is similar to the problem Tolkein himself had when working to revise the book. To write the book, or the screenplay, as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings threatens to destroy the light-hearted and quick pace of the tale.

However, Jackson is also drawing inspiration from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and will be telling a more involved tale that will involve the history of Middle Earth, which is something that has yet to be done before.

Lauren Bailey is an education writer and freelance blogger. She frequently writes about online colleges and courses and welcomes comments and questions via email at