Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dawn Take You All

The Movie: About half the dwarves (Dwalin, Fili, Bifur, Bofur, Ori, Nori, and Dori) are tied up on a spit over a cookfire, while Bilbo and the rest of the dwarves (Bombur, Thorin, Oin, Gloin, Kili, and Balin) are all in a pile beside the fire. The trolls start to argue about how to cook the dwarves, but William tells everyone to hurry up - dawn is coming, and he doesn't fancy being turned to stone. Hearing this, Bilbo comes up with a plan. He tells the trolls that the dwarves will need something stronger than sage for seasoning. When challenged by William, Bilbo claims to know the secret to cooking dwarves: skinning them alive. The dwarves start yelling at Bilbo for being a traitor. Bilbo notices Gandalf scurrying behind some bushes just as Tom decides that he'll just eat them raw. He picks up Bombur for a snack, but Bilbo interrupts him by stating that he - and all the dwarves - have parasites. Thorin catches onto what Bilbo is trying to do, and kicks Kili. The dwarves loudly, and comically, start to play along with the hobbit's ploy. William, however, is also onto Bilbo, and angrily claims that "this little ferret" is taking them for fools.

You really think this is the face of somebody who's lying to you?

Just then, Gandalf appears atop a rock, and shouts that the "dawn will take you all!" He thrusts his staff down, shattering the rock beneath him, and allowing the light of the rising sun through. The trolls are all instantly turned to stone.

The Book: The trolls were arguing about how to cook the dwarves, and after much discussion, Bert came up with the idea to just roast the dwarves now, and eat them later. "No good roasting 'em now, it'd take all night," said a voice, and the trolls began arguing again. They finally agreed to boil the dwarves, but once again, a voice dissented against it, confusing the trolls and making them fight. Each time they came to an agreement, the voice disagreed; each time they heard the voice, the trolls thought one of the others was speaking. Then, a voice that sounded like William's cried out: "Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!" It had been Gandalf speaking the whole time; at that moment, the light came over the hill and turned the trolls to stone.

What difference does it make? This is a pretty huge one. The movie gives significant responsibility to Bilbo here; he very quickly acts after hearing the troll's weakness to sunlight, and acts quite deliberately to stall them before he even knows Gandalf was present. He's the reason the trolls didn't kill the dwarves immediately, before the dawn. Gandalf, too, was given a largely different role (since he was no longer responsible for stalling the trolls); his sundering of the rock was instrumental in exposing the trolls to such sudden sunlight. The conflict is resolved similarly to the book, but with sizable differences that change and expand the roles of the key players.

My Opinion: I'm all for things that make Bilbo Baggins look better, but this one really wasn't necessary. I don't want to start guessing at Peter Jackson's motivations, but, it looks like he's trying to speed up the pace in which Bilbo becomes a useful, contributing member of Thorin's Company. I get that, and I like it, but this is a little too much, too early. The troll incident suffices as an example of Bilbo screwing up royally - it's the sort of thing to show just how much he's grown later. One day, when he's killing spiders and dissing dragons, he can look back on this night and laugh.

"Remember when I nearly got you all killed by trolls? Yeah... good times."

A personal disappointment: I was looking forward to seeing how they were going to make Gandalf's voice sound like the trolls. Was Ian McKellan going to do his best troll impression? Were they going to use special effects to blend the voices together? Were they just going to use the troll's voices, having Gandalf use magic to literally make his voice sound exactly like theirs? It could have been a cool effect. Instead, we got a lame Bridge of Khaza-dum ripoff. 

1 comment:

  1. "The one with the yellow stockings."

    "Nonsense! The one with the grey stockings!"

    "I made sure it was yellow."

    "Yellow it was."

    "Then what did yer say it was grey fer?"

    I was SO looking forward to that line. One of my favorite chapters in the book when I was a kid. My brother and I had the whole chapter near-memorized, and would quote it all the time.

    I was also looking forward to the trolls calling each other "boobies."