Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Unexpected Party

The Movie: Just as Bilbo is sitting down to enjoy his supper, the doorbell rings. It's Dwalin, who invites himself in and helps himself to Bilbo's meal. The doorbell rings again; it's Balin. Balin and Dwalin are getting along like brothers when the doorbell rings once again: Fili and Kili. As the four start to get things ready, the doorbell rings a final time. It's Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur (who all fall on top of one another) and Gandalf. They raid Bilbo's pantry and prepare a huge feast while Bilbo runs around trying to stop them. They eat, raucous and laughing, and as Bilbo begins to vent his frustrations at how they're treating his house, they sing Blunt the Knives while doing the dishes. Then a heavy knock at the door. Thorin arrives.

I hope you like seeing him stare nobly into the distance. It's kinda his thing.

He briefly discusses how Bilbo is "more of a grocer than a burglar," before sitting down to have his meeting with the dwarves. After much discussion, Bilbo has had too much and faints. Even a pep talk with Gandalf cannot convince him to join the adventure, and he goes to bed. The dwarves gather around the fireplace and sing Misty Mountains before they all go to bed. They are gone when Bilbo wakes up.

The Book: Bilbo is about to have his afternoon tea when the doorbell rings; suddenly remembering that he had invited Gandalf to tea the previous day, he expects the wizard when he opens the door. It's Dwalin. After an awkward silence, Bilbo invites him in for tea. They're on their third cake when the doorbell rings again; once again, Bilbo is surprised it's not Gandalf. It's Balin, who asks for beer and seed-cake (which Bilbo scuttles off to fetch). As Balin and Dwalin are starting to get along like brothers (which the text makes explicit that they are), the doorbell rings again: it's Fili and Kili. The four dwarves begin discussing dragons, when Bilbo has to get the door once more, to let in Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin. They gave Bilbo their drink and snack orders, which he works hard at getting together when there comes a knock at the door. The last of the dwarves, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin, all fall on top of one another. Gandalf is with them.

All five place their orders with Bilbo, then after they eat, Bilbo invites them all to stay to supper. Thorin orders the dwarves to clean up, which they do, while singing Blunt the Knives. Gandalf and Thorin blow smoke rings as the other dwarves clean (Gandalf's are green, and they all come back to hover over his head like a halo). After the dishes are done, Thorin calls for music: the dwarves all run and fetch their instruments, and they sing Misty Mountains. Thorin begins to talk , but doesn't get far before Bilbo shrieks and collapses; the dwarves sit him in his sofa and go back to their meeting. Gloin says that Bilbo "looks more like a grocer than a burglar," and Bilbo, his pride wounded, agrees to join the adventure. After the meeting finishes, the dwarves place their breakfast orders with Bilbo, and go to bed. Bilbo falls asleep to the sound of Thorin singing Misty Mountains by himself. They are gone when Bilbo wakes up.

What does it matter? Most of the events happen the same, and in mostly the same order, though delaying Thorin's arrival allowed for a few things. It not only kept him apart from the more light-hearted singing and shenanigans of the dwarves over supper, but it attached to him a sort of serious importance that the book was lacking (despite the book saying, on a number of occasions, that Thorin was "a very important dwarf.") Bilbo's ubiquitous politeness is also somewhat cut back in the movie; he loses his temper much more quickly, somewhat eroding a bit of the charm of his character.

My Opinion: I like that they kept the order of the dwarves the same, and I especially liked that they somewhat condensed the whole "doorbell keeps ringing and it's more dwarves" thing the book does. A lot of things simply don't matter, like the fact that Thorin isn't present for Blunt the Knives, or that Bilbo shrieked at the beginning of the meeting, instead of fainting at its end. Bilbo's unfailing politeness, though important to his character (in my opinion), would not have been as funny as seeing him get so frustrated so quickly.

Can you imagine a world without this face? I wouldn't want to live there.

It also helps to highlight just how out of his element he was with these dwarves. They represent adventures and excitement, but he's worried about doilies and his mother's glory box. There's no excuse for cutting out the smoke rings of Thorin and Gandalf, though. Especially the halos of green smoke that surrounded the wizard; that would have looked amazing.

A small difference that I found to be a nice touch to change: the dwarves interrupt Bilbo's afternoon tea in the book (they're even invited to supper afterwards), and his supper in the movie. However, in the book, they never get around to supper, or any other meal, before going to bed. That means that, in The Hobbit, Bilbo would have skipped two meals! Unthinkable.

1 comment:

  1. Thorin arriving early was a spectacular change. My only problem with him is that he was portrayed as younger than his book counterpart.