If you know anything about me, you know that I am an ardent fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. I have read all of his books and poems that were produced during his lifetime and even the ones that his son Christopher gave us after the masterful wordsmith left us, and truthfully I continue to read them. Tolkien was able to do something that no other author has been able to do, create an enduring world. I realize there are many series of books that are well written and have a good story but they all seem to fall short when compared to the masterpieces that Tolkien left us. For example The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind is a great series and it even translated well into a short lived television series called the Legend of the Seeker. Although it is well written the depth of the characters and the feel of the world it is in does not compare to the vision of Middle Earth that Tolkien privileged us a glimpse into. Michael Scott also has a series called The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. This series is 6 books and starts out great but in my opinion lost my attention and although I liked reading it, I did not connect with his characters like I connected with good old Bilbo, Gandalf, Frodo, Thorin and company. Probably the most popular series that gets compared with Tolkien is the Harry Potter series. I have tried to read the Harry Potter stories and I just never seem to be able to finish them. I still contend that the Harry Potter books were written for a generation that could not understand the Lord of the Rings, however I think they translated well into movies because the stories were so generic that any liberties that the directors took were not really game changers for the story line. Peter Jackson is a great director. I want to start by saying that I really enjoyed his Lord of the Rings trilogy and I enjoyed the Hobbit as movies but as a Tolkien buff and fan the appreciation stops there. Peter Jackson took far too many liberties and have presented something that never happened and in essence has tried to re-write the stories that we all have known and come to love. Below is a list of some of the changes with how it appeared in the movie and how it appeared in the book. I am still of the school of thought that we should not change Tolkien’s words.
Film: As does The Fellowship of the Ring, this film opens with a prologue. Bilbo narrates the story of how the dwarves were driven out of their mountain home Erebor by the dragon Smaug after finding the Arkenstone.
Book: These events are related by the narrator, Gandalf and Thorin during the “unexpected party” at Bilbo’s home.
Film: A second prologue lasting nearly ten minutes take place on the day of Bilbo’s “long-expected party”. While Bilbo jots down in a journal his memories of his adventures with Thorin & Company, Frodo runs about getting the mail, reminding Bilbo about his party, and going off to greet the arriving Gandalf.
Book: No scenes taking place during the timeframe of The Lord of the Rings appear in The Hobbit.
Gandalf’s recalls a Young Bilbo
Film: Gandalf remembers Bilbo as a young child who loves adventure and danger, but the wizard is disappointed to find that Bilbo has become stuffy and conservative.
Book: When Gandalf first greets Bilbo at Bag End, the wizard says that he has sought out Bilbo because Bilbo’s mother, Belladonna Took, was adventurous. Bilbo’s Tookish side never had a chance to come out until his adventure with Thorin & Company.
Film: Dwalin is the first to arrive, followed by Balin, Fili and Kili, and then Gandalf with the remainder of the dwarves, except for Thorin, who doesn’t arrive until later in the evening. As the dwarves greet one another, they say they haven’t seen each other in some time.
Book: After Dwalin; Bali, Fili and Kili arrive, they are followed by a group composed of Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin and Gloin; and a then final group composed of Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Thorin and Gandalf.
Dwarves Out of the Hood
Film: The dwarves who come to Bilbo’s door are hoodless; their beards are of normal, human colors; and their clothing color is dark or muted colors.
Book: As the dwarves arrive at Bag-End, they are described as follows: Dwalin has a blue beard and a dark-green hood; Balin has a white beard and scarlet hood; Kili and Fili each have yellow beards and blue hoods; Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin and Gloin have two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood and a white hood; Bifur, Bofur and Bombur have two yellow hoods and a pale green one; and Thorin is wearing a sky-blue hood with a long silver tassel.
Film: Thorin and the dwarves present Bilbo with a lengthy contract for his burglar services.
Book: Thorin and Company leave Bilbo a two-paragraph note, written on Bilbo’s own notepaper, left for him under the clock on the mantle.
Film: When Bilbo runs off to join Thorin & Company on their adventure, he dons a backpack.
Book: Bilbo departs without even a pocket handkerchief.
Bypassing the Inn at Bywater
Film: Bilbo meets Thorin & Company at the Green Dragon Inn in Bywater before setting off on their journey.
Book: Bilbo catches up with Thorin & Company as they are riding out of Hobbiton.
Betting on Bilbo
Film: As they ride out of Hobbiton, Bilbo learns that the dwarves had bet Gandalf that Bilbo would not show up to go with them.
Book: There is no equivalent passage.
Gandalf Argues with Thorin
Film: While in some shelter during a rain, Gandalf gets into an argument with Thorin and leaves.
Book: Gandalf leaves before anyone notices while they are riding in the rain.
Troll Snot Jokes
Film: While cooking their supper, one of the three trolls sneezes, sending snot into their cooking pot. Another troll suggests adding squirrel droppings for more flavor.
Book: The trolls speak rudely and crudely to each other, but they do not mention bodily functions.
No Talking Purse
Film: The trolls discover Bilbo as he is attempting to pickpocket William when William suddenly reaches behind and grabs Bilbo.
Book: William’s purse suddenly squeaks, “‘Ere, ‘oo are you?” as Bilbo grabs it.
Gandalf’s Stone Cracking Maneuver
Film: After the trolls capture the dwarves and begin to roast them on a spit, Bilbo sees Gandalf approaching. Bilbo distracts the trolls by explaining the best way to cook the dwarves. Gandalf then appears on a large rock, thrusts down his staff, and exposes the rising sun that turns the trolls into stone. Gandalf credits Bilbo for buying time for Gandalf.
Book: Gandalf imitates the troll’s voices to get them arguing with each other so that they don’t notice the rising sun that turns them into stone.
Gandalf Presents Bilbo with Sting.
Film: Gandalf finds a short bladed weapon while searching the troll’s cave. He gives it to Bilbo, but the hobbit is reluctant to accept it. Gandalf then tells him, “True courage is not about knowing when to take a life… but when to spare one.”
Book: Bilbo himself finds and takes the weapon, a knife in a leather sheath.
Radagast at Rhosgobel
Film: Radagast the Brown appears in scenes taking place at Rhosgobel, his home at the edge of Mirkwood.
Book: In Chapter 7 of The Hobbit, Gandalf speaks of “my good cousin Radagast who lives near the Southern borders of Mirkwood”, and at the Council of Elrond in The Lord of the Rings, he says that Radagast “at one time dwelt at Rhosgobel.” However, there are no passages in either works telling of events taking place in Rhosgobel.
Gandalf Unaware of Necromancer
Film: When Radagast tells his story about the Necromancer, it is the first time that Gandalf has learned of this enemy.
Book: Gandalf has previously been in the Necromancer’s dungeons. It was there that he found Thorin’s father, Thain, who gave the wizard the map and key to Erebor.
Radagast’s Necromancer Encounter
Film: Radagast’s investigation into the darkness overtaking Mirkwood leads him to Dol Guldor, where the brown wizard encounters the Necromancer, whom The Hollywood Reporter says looks not unlike the video sensation Slender Man. Radagast is chased away by orcs and wargs.
Book: Although Gandalf mentions the Necromancer several times, The Hobbit has no passages in which any character actually encounters the Necromancer, and the Necromancer’s appearance is never described. (In The Lord of the Rings, the identity of the Necromancer is revealed to be Sauron, who, according to Tolkien’s descriptions and illustrations, took the form of a giant man with burnt, black skin).
Azog the Defiler
Films: During a rest stop, Balin tells Bilbo about how Thorin and his fellow dwarves attempted to reclaim Moria after Smaug had driven them from Erebor. In a flashback sequence, Thorin fights the Chieftain of the Moria Orcs, huge, albino orc named Azog, and hues off his arm. Azog wants his revenge and so he appears as a dominant and recurring adversary later in the film. His pursuit of Thorin and company leads to the film’s action-heavy climax.
Books: Azog died in the Battle of Azanulbizar. Azog’s son, Bolg, does appear in The Hobbit to get revenge, but appears only at the Battle of Five Armies at the story’s conclusion.
Film: Finbul is one of Azog’s master hunters. He commands a horde of warg riders who trace their victims in the saddle of their gigantic wolf beasts. Finbul has taken up the scent of Thorin & Company and will catch the dwarves before they reach the Lonely Mountain.
Books: There is no character named Finbul and no horde of warg riders who pursue Thorin & Company.
Film: The dwarves of Thorin & Company brandish a wide variety of weapons: axes, hammers, swords and bows.
Book: Other than some knives, the only weapons the dwarves carried was Thorin’s sword, Orcrist, that he recovered from the troll-hoard, and the bows that Beorn had given them later in the story.
Rivendell Roundup Time
Film: When Thorin and Company arrive in Rivendell, they are encircled by elves on horseback who are returning after slaying most of the orc party that has been pursuing Thorin.
Book: As they enter the valley of Rivendell, Thorin and Company are welcomed by laughing and singing elves.
Let the Chips Fall Where They May
Film: When sitting down to a meal of healthy greens in Rivendell, one of the dwarves says, disgustedly, “Do you have any chips?”
Book: There is no such line in the books.
Galadriel at Rivendell
Film: Galadriel, once again played by Cate Blanchett, appears in scenes taking place at Rivendell. She is already present when Thorin & Company arrive, having been summoned from her home in Lothlorien by Saruman.
Book: Galadriel does not appear in The Hobbit. Although Tolkien never explicitly mentions in other works that Galadriel ever journeyed to Rivendell, it is not reasonable to assume that she occasionally did so — both as the mother of Elrond’s wife, Celebrian, and as a member of the White Council (see below).
Saruman at Rivendell
Film: Saruman, once again played by Christopher Lee, appears in scenes taking place at Rivendell. He is already present when Thorin & Company arrive.
Book: Saruman does not appear in The Hobbit. Although Tolkien never explicitly mentions in other works that Saruman ever journeyed to Rivendell, it is not reasonable to assume that he occasionally did so as a member of the White Council (see below).
The White Council Convenes
Film: The White Council — which in this film is comprised of Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and Saruman — meets in Rivendell to discuss the recent appearances of orcs, trolls, and spiders, and the growing threat of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. Saruman believes that Gandalf’s concerns are unfounded.
Book: The deliberations and activities of The White Council are not chronicled in The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings appendices do describe The White Council meeting several times, and although Tolkien did not specify that they met to deliberate during the events of The Hobbit, they did gather during that time to launch an assault on Dol Guldur. Members of the White Council included Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, Saruman and Cirdan the Shipwright; however, Tolkien suggests that there were additional members as well.
Dwarves Sneak Out of Rivendell
Film: Galadriel observes Thorin & Company leaving Rivendell a night, without Gandalf, because Thorin is distrustful of the elves; however, she surmises that Gandalf is aware of their plans. Gandalf later follows them and arrives when they are captured by the Goblin King.
Book: The entire Company was reluctant to leave Rivendell even after staying there for fourteen days, and they rode off amid songs of farewell and good speed. Gandalf departed with them, but he disappears shortly after the Company is captured by the goblins, only to reappear when they are brought before the Goblin King.
Film: Galadriel clasps Gandalf’s hand as the two talk on a ledge outside the White Council chamber. As Galdariel withdraws her hand, Gandalf looks up and finds that Galadriel has suddenly disappeared.
Book: Neither Galadriel nor any other elf is described as having the ability to disappear.
Stone-giant Close Encounter
Film: As Thorin & Company cross a narrow ledge over the Misty Mountains, stone-giants hurl rocks at an alarmingly close range, and one of the giants rolls headlong down the mountain and past a ledge where the dwarves and hobbit cower. The ledge turns out to be another stone-giant.
Book: The stone-giants were across the valley from Thorin & Company, and hurled rocks at one another for a game, tossing them into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below.
Goblin Chute Trap
Film: The Company takes refuge in a cave to escape the wind and rain. Bilbo feels he is not valued by the dwarves and decides to head back to Rivendell. However, before he leaves, a crack in the floor opens, and the entire Company slides hundreds of feet down a rocky chute into a waiting basket below, where they are captured by goblins.
Book: The Company enter the cave to take shelter from the wind and rain. While the Company is sleeping, Bilbo sees a crack opening in the wall and wakes up the Company. However, before they can react, goblins emerge from the crack and seize everyone, except for Gandalf, who remains on the other side when the crack closes again.
Film: Grinnah is the interrogation specialist of the goblins. He ensures that Thorin & Co. are brought before the Goblin King. Although cunning and vicious, he is like all goblins basically a coward. Fawning and obsequious, he serves his master, but secretly he despises him.
Book: There is no character named Grinnah.
Extended Goblin Town Chase
Film: As Thorin & Company escape through Goblin Town, they race through an elaborate labyrinth of scaffolding, ladders and bridges, killing hundreds of goblins who stand in their way. One of the scaffolds the Company attempts to cross falls hundreds of feet down a chasm, but the Company is unhurt when it lands.
Book: The passages describing their escape has no such details.
Great Goblin Scaffold Crash
Film: The Great Goblin’s dead body comes crashing down upon the dwarves as they are crossing over scaffolding during their escape from Goblin Town.
Book: As the captured Dwarves are brought before the Great Goblin, Gandalf slays him with a swift stroke from Glamdring. As the Great Goblin falls down dead, the goblin soldiers flee.
Bilbo Sees Gollum Drop Ring
Film: Bilbo and a pursuing goblin tumble down a chasm in an underground chamber of Goblin town. Gollum discovers the injured goblin, and as he tries to drag the goblin off eat it, Bilbo observes Gollum drop the Ring onto the ground. When Gollum isn’t looking, Bilbo takes the Ring.
Book: Bilbo feels something grab him from behind before he falls into the darkness and hits his head. When he recovers, he finds himself in total darkness. As he reaches out to find a way back, he finds the Ring on the ground.
Button Burst Moved
Film: Bilbo loses all of his buttons when squeezing between two rock walls while trying to escape Gollum’s cave.
Book: Bilbo’s buttons burst off in all directions when dodging past the goblin guards and squeezing through a door they are closing to prevent anyone from escaping.
Battle with Azog
Film: Azog and his Warg-riding orcs finally track down Thorin as he and the rest of the Company have escaped Goblin Town. The Company climbs up some trees to get beyond their reach, but when escape seems impossible, Thorin climbs down to confront Azog. Azog battles Thorin when the vengeful white orc and his horde finally catch up with Thorin & Company. When it appears that Thorin is about to be killed, Bilbo jumps to his aid and rescue him.
Book: Azog does not appear in the Hobbit, having been killed by Dáin II Ironfoot many years earlier in the story. The Company is instead trapped by a group of Wargs who live in the area. The Company tries to escape from the Wargs by climbing some trees, but then the Warg’s howling attracts the goblins from whom the Company has just escaped. The entire company remains in the trees until rescued by the Eagles.
Gandalf Contacts Gwaihir by Messenger-Moth
Film: Gandalf sends a moth to tell Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles, to rescue him and the rest of the Company from Azog and his Warg-riders.
Book: Gwaihir sees the fire and commotion from afar, and he and his fellow eagles decide to investigate. When they see the Company, they decide to rescue them from the wargs.