We had five people attend. Me (Ralph), Vicky, Laura, Elaine, and Seya. My daughter Pippa also joined us with props (a copy of the One Ring and Thorin's key).
Q. Does anyone else see a parallel between the history of the Dwarves and the
Jews? What do people think of that?
Response: Yes, some in the group agreed that they could see the parallels in the movie between the plight of the dwarves and the Jews. However, such allegory should not be extended to Tolkien himself. It was pointed out that he always spoke about against those who would draw such conclusions from his work.
Q. Gandalf was concerned Sauron would recruit the dragon Smaug to his side? What
does the group think Sauron could offer the dragon?
Response: It was generally thought the main difficulty with Smaug would be less of getting him on your side and more of getting him off of his lazy belly. Short of threatening to steal part of his treasure, what could Sauron offer the beast. The answer it was some what agreed, would be more and more treasure. And maybe an endless supply of food.
Q. Putting the history of Thorin's people into Lord of the Rings context, we
know that Thorin's grandfather wore one of seven dwarven rings. How do you think
that impacted their history?
Response: A couple of people in the group pointed out that the impact the seven rings have on the dwarves was discussed at the Council of Elrond. It produced a greed in the dwarves but did not so much enslave them to Sauron as much as it enslaved them to their greed of treasure. Dragons, or at least Smaug seems to share that greed. I wondered after the discussion if, perhaps, Smaug already has a dwarven ring or two in his belly on on his waistcoat. It would go towards explaining his own greed I think.
The Hobbit movie vs. book
Reading assignment: 1) The Hobbit Chapters 1 to 6
Appendix A, Part III and the first six chapters cover most of the action that
occurred during the first
of the Hobbit movie. We will discuss some of the key points and differences.
Q. Peter Jackson really plays up the tribe without a home aspect of the dwarves
in the movie. Does it help them as characters for the viewer?
Response: This discussion transitioned into one about the characterizations of the dwarves as a whole. One member of the group (Laura) pointed out that the movie did show us female dwarves, which was nice. But what was up with all of the hair cuts and funky styles? Vicky thought it might have been comparable to the bezerker warriors in ancient England that had special haircuts, tattoos and painted themselves blue before combat. That made sense to me. An interesting interpretation by Jackson.
Q. Hey, that big orc in the movie is supposed to be dead! Why did Peter Jackson
keep the orc alive and when with Thorin Oakenshield face him?
Seya's theory was that Jackson did this to simplify matters and introduce fewer characters. Similar consolidations were done with Arwen (and no Glorfindel) in Fellowship of the Rings.
What did you think of the dishes cleaning scene in the movie vs. the book?
The dishes scene was generally very well liked. It was only a couple paragraphs and a song in the Hobbit. To see it on film was great fun. I had a bit of a problem with the scene just because it seemed any dwarves who were that skilled in cleaning up dishes should be more amazing fighters. But Elain pointed out they were pretty amazing fighters by the time we get to Goblin Town. Laura pointed out the contrast in dwarves in that they ate like absolute pigs, but cleaned up very well after themselves. Which was funny because we all know slobs and also know that never happens.
What did you think of the Great Goblin's characterization movie vs. book?
I originally didn't like the film's great goblin, not because he was so disgusting, but because he was this petty bureaucrat. But then I re-read the scene in the book and he was kind of that way. When the dwarves got pulled into the lair in the first place it was to kill them and take their stuff. The whole trial scene was a complete set up in which the Goblin King tries to act like the injured party. Jackson just took that to an extreme in the film, which is what film makers do, frankly. It was also pointed out that the Great Goblin and Azog are 100 percent computer generated characters. They don't look real, unlike the villains from Lord of The Rings. It takes away from the movie when the main characters are fighting a cartoon.
Q. I was watching The Hobbit movie, when suddenly an Indiana Jones movie busted
out! What do you make of flight through Goblin Town? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Nobody much liked the Goblin Town scene. I think it was Elain who pointed out that was entirely for the target audience of 13 year-old boys. We all pretty much agreed with that.
Riddles in the Dark movie vs. Book. What did you think?
Everyone loved riddles in the dark. But some wanted to see ALL the riddles of the book in the movie. We are hoping for an extended version DVD that will contain them all.
Other stuff we talked about - Radagast. Nobody really envisioned him as a wizard wacky on `srooms before the movie. Some have come to accept it. Others, not so much.