Here are five of the biggest and most consequential changes that the beloved children’s fantasy book The Hobbit underwent while being turned into three blockbuster movies.
1. Kili and Tauriel’s Romance
Not only was there absolutely no romance present in The Hobbit book, but there also was no Tauriel the Silvan Elf. The inclusion of this little romance between Kili and Tauriel may have been meant to draw in a larger audience of moviegoers who were not already fans of the book, but it was not well received at all by dedicated Hobbit fans. It came across to many people as sloppy and thrown together. It didn’t really serve much of a purpose to the storyline, except to allow for a love triangle between Kili, Tauriel, and Legolas.
2. Legolas’ Appearance in the Movies
While Legolas was certainly alive during the timeline of The Hobbit, he was not present in the story (except for the one time when he was mentioned, but even then not by name). Don’t get me wrong, I love a chance to see Orlando Bloom in any capacity, but it just wasn’t true to the book. It seemed a bit unnecessary to take his singular mention in the book and run with it the way the writers did.
3. One Book, Three Movies
Of course, one of the most obvious deviations from the book to movies is that is was turned from one book into three movies. Who could take such a small book (masterpiece that it is) and turn it into three, two and a half hour long feature films? The answer is, Peter Jackson could. Once again, I’m not complaining about it. Since I happen to be a huge Hobbit and LOTR fan, I’ll take any chance I can to see as much Tolkien content as possible. Unfortunately, many devoted fans were not as pleased as I was with the fact that The Hobbit was made into three movies instead of one.
4. Azog The Defiler
In the movies, Azog the Defiler is one of the main antagonists, right next to Smaug. However, in the books, Azog is dead. He is mentioned briefly by Gandalf, but he has no actual role in the book. This seems to be another instance where the screenwriters took a small allusion to a character, and turned in into a major part of the plot. Maybe they thought the books needed higher stakes and more fighting sequences. Whatever the reason, it is certainly one of the larger notches in the belt of The Hobbit book to movie alterations.
5. Bilbo’s Age Difference
One of the most noticeable complaints that Tolkien purists had with the movies, was the very apparent age difference (at least in looks) between the two actors who portrayed Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman, the Bilbo of The Hobbit is a good deal younger than Ian Holm, the Bilbo of The Lord of the Rings.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo found the Ring on his adventure to the Lonely Mountain and kept it with him every day until he eventually gave it to Frodo, years and years later. Considering that it was clearly established in The Lord of the Rings that the One Ring had the ability to keep Bilbo looking youthful as long as he had possession of it, the stark contrast between the appearance of Bilbo in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings completely disregards that fact.
These are just a few of the problems that J.R.R. Tolkein fans around the world have with the movie adaptations, but there are countless other small details that could be added to the list.
Personally, I can put aside my feelings about the inaccuracies between the two, and appreciate the movie for what it is, instead of being upset about what it isn’t. From the adventure, to the action, to the emotion, to the characters, to the soundtrack, it is still one of my top favorite movies series of all time. But hey, that’s just me.
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