Movie Recap: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

 

you're invited

DWARF PARTY

(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in theaters now.)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been a long time coming. Like a thousand years? Probably that long. The Lord of the Rings films came out when I was in middle school, and as a result, I read all the books plus The Hobbit. The Hobbit was the only one I liked, as it was written on a sixth-grade level and also had a dragon, which to this day are the only ways you can get me to read a book.

However, I remember precisely zero percent of the book, so going into this movie was like going in completely blind (what’s a hobbit???). And it worked out for the best, I think. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I didn’t have a chance to be disappointed. I advise all potential viewers to pick fights in bars until someone punches all memory of the book from your brain, so you can enjoy the film without getting agitated about what is or isn’t there. Keep in mind that there are going to be three of these suckers, so there will be a lot of things that are/aren’t there.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It had all the heartrending, breathtaking New Zealand scenery, frantic battle scenes, and gentle humor of the Lord of the Rings movies we loved, but with new faces. And whatever that framerate thing was all about. I didn’t notice a difference except during the fighting, and even then, it wasn’t that remarkable.

LET US PROCEED.

We begin the film with Ian Holm back as Bilbo Baggins, narrating a letter to Frodo as he putters around Bag End and gets nostalgic over flattering drawings of him as a young hobbit. The drawing sort of looks like Martin Freeman, but a beautiful lady version of Martin Freeman.

Bilbo tells us about Erebor, the dwarf settlement inside a mountain, and we swing in through a map to check that shit out. It’s gorgeous, and the dwarven architecture is fascinating, structurally. We learn from Bilbo that Erebor is ruled by Thror, Thror’s son Thrain, and Thrain’s thon Thorin (Richard Armitage). Thith ith not ath confuthing ath you’d think.

Erebor’s wealth comes from the precious stones and metals mined out of the mountain. We see Thror strolling through the mine workers, observing. You’re a king, dude. This micromanaging is out of control. The dwarves are wonderful craftsmen in addition to skilled miners. Showoffs.

One dwarf eventually finds a special glowy rock, the Arkenstone. Thror immediately calls dibs and renames it the King‘s Stone, saying it’s evidence that “his right to rule was divine,” and we learn that people from all over come to say yo and pay respects, even Thranduil (Lee Pace), the elf king of Mirkwood. Thranduil doesn’t say a word, but I watched this scene and said, aloud in a theater full of midnight-release nerds, “Haha, you sarcastic bitch.”

You can see his dickishness through the blur.

You can see his dickishness through the blur.

Thranduil is Legolas’s dad, and clearly the mismatched eyebrows/weave thing is genetic.

Because being the 1% is terrible, Thror has to be taken down a peg, both by a “sickness” (mentalwise, due to his enormous amounts of gold) and a motherfuckin’ fire drake from the North, Smaug. Smaug flies in and fucks some shit up but good, which is surprising for a city that is literally inside a mountain. Should it have been easier to defend? But I like the idea of dragons as these super elemental unstoppable forces. Smaug destroys the city outside Erebor, Dale, and lights a bunch of dwarves on fire. While they’re dealing with that, he essentially flies into Erebor, sits on Thror’s gold, and is like “mine now LOL go away dwarfs.” We don’t actually see Smaug during any of this, which is a pain.

Thror loses the Arkenstone in the fray (it falls into a rushing pile of gold and disappears. YOUR DIVINE RIGHT WAS TRUMPED BY YOUR GREED I think is the message they were trying to get across with that totally subtle metaphor), and Thorin drags him out of Erebor before he can look for it. The dwarves look up on a hill and see a whole contingent of elves, led by Thranduil, who is on a moose of some kind.

Thorin’s like OMG DUDE A DRAGON CAME AND SAT ON OUR GOLD AND BURNED US COME HELP but Thranduil’s like [slowly reverses moose back into forest, not making eye contact].

Thorin feels betrayed. Bilbo says that Thranduil didn’t want to risk his elves by helping, but why show up in the first place? It’s like when someone asks you to go see an improv competition or an amateur steampunk-themed burlesque performance or to help them move into their fifth-floor walkup. JUST PRETEND YOU NEVER GOT THE TEXT AND LOOK APPROPRIATELY APOLOGETIC AFTERWARD.

Anyway, elves are dicks. Also, have you seen the size of mooses? Three of them could take Smaug out with no problem. Fuck you, Thranduil. This appears to have been the start of the rift between the dwarves and the Mirkwood elves. The dwarves are now homeless and goldless and have become wanderers, essentially. (An interesting piece of background context is that Tolkien explicitly coded the dwarves as Jewish.) (Another interesting piece of background context is that Tolkien was like great-grandpa levels of racist, so this could be either good or bad.)

We learn that Thorin escaped and took work where he could find it while dealing with probably some terrible PTSD. This is also the first of our “Long Line of People Walking Across Beautiful Landscapes” shots. There are about six hours of these, which is impressive for a three-hour movie.

Back in the Shire, Bilbo finishes up the prologue and introduces himself into the narrative, smiling fondly as he describes his home. The camera pans through Bag End as he continues, and we see Elijah Wood has taken some time out of his busy schedule of being an ageless immortal DJ to return in a Frodo cameo. He eats an apple. He gets the mail. He slaughters a virgin and bathes in the blood to keep his skin glowing and his eyes luminous.

It’s Bilbo’s birthday. The film is tied in with the Lord of the Rings, as the narration takes place on the day of the party in The Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo heads off to greet Gandalf in the woods, and Bilbo sits down for a smoke. His smoke ring brings us back to when he was Martin Freeman, 60 years earlier. Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen has also not aged) blocks out the sun until Bilbo looks up and is like “Good morning?”

Gandalf: “What do you mean? Do you mean to wish me a good morning, or do you mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not? Or perhaps you mean to say that you feel good on this particular morning? Or are you simply stating that this is a morning to be good on?”

Bilbo: I AM WAY TOO HIGH FOR THIS WIZARD SHIT.

Gandalf says he’s looking for someone to share in an adventure. Bilbo grabs the mail out of the mailbox (when Frodo got the mail, he went through the gate. Bilbo just reaches over the gate. Subtlety!!!), saying that adventures are “nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner.” Which is fair. But they’re also dangerous! Bilbo heads back inside with another “Good morning,” and Gandalf says “To think I should have lived to be good morninged by Belladonna Took’s son!” I want to know more about Belladonna Took. Bilbo is kind of a weenie.

Bilbo remembers that Gandalf makes awesome fireworks, which makes Gandalf go like :/. Bilbo says he should look elsewhere for an adventuring companion and goes back inside his house. Gandalf draws a glowing dick on his front door and peaces. Okay, it doesn’t actually look like a dick. But it’s the dwarf rune for penis. Don’t argue with me.

Bilbo’s sitting down to a totally gross looking dinner of fish and two lumps of stuff when there’s a knock on his dick door. Bilbo answers it to see a big bald dwarf standing there.. He introduces himself politely as “Dwalin, at your service,” before barging inside and eating Bilbo’s dinner until Bilbo goes to answer the door again. It’s a white-haired dwarf, less gruff than Dwalin, who introduces himself as Balin. Dwalin and Balin are brothers. They headbutt.

The two pretty dwarves, Fili (Dean O’Gorman) and Kili (Aidan Turner), arrive next. Bilbo is about to have an aneurysm, only worsened when 8 more dwarves and Gandalf arrive. Bilbo’s like “Gandalf, you scamp!” except angrily. The dwarves eat all of the food–that’s a significant pantry for just one hobbit, Bilbo–and fuck with Bilbo the whole time. OH! I LIED! I do remember one thing from the book. At the beginning, Gandalf asked Bilbo for cold chicken and pickles, and I remember being all “Whaaaat, Gandalf, that’s ridiculous!” But then I had a cold chicken and pickle sandwich and it was delicious. Do with this information what you will.

Gandalf weaves around the dwarves, hitting his head on the chandelier and trying to remember their names: Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili, Nori, Ori, Gloin, Oin, Dori, Bombur, Bofur, and Bifur. I’ve been renaming all the dwarves because they start to look alike, so we have met: Baldy, Geezer, Feely, Kissy, Starhair, Scooter, Gimli‘s Dad, Loins, Other Geezer, Fattycakes, Hat, and Axeface. I’m confident that Tolkien got a quarter of the way through writing the book and was like “Mistakes have been made.”

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Gandalf inquires as to the location of Thorin, and is informed that he’ll be running late. Rude. There’s a lot of foodporn shots of the havoc being wreaked on Bilbo’s weird Doomsday Preppers pantry. I’ll admit, it all looks pretty tasty. However, that part in Charlotte’s Web where Templeton is swimming in garbage makes me hungry, too, so I’m easily impressed. The dwarves have a grand time, yelling and throwing food and pouring beer into those brass horn things that go in your ear. All of them drink and fill their mighty beards with ale drippings, because they are gross.

Gandalf finds Bilbo sobbing and rocking in a corner. Bilbo takes him on a horror tour of all the terrible things the dwarves have done, namely tracking mud, eating all the food, and pooping so hard they destroyed his plumbing. CALL THE DAMN HOBBIT POLICE, BILBO!

The youngest/politest dwarf, Ori, asks Bilbo what he should do with his plate. Fili grabs it and throws it to Kili, who wings it into the kitchen to be washed. Bilbo has a series of tiny strokes while the dwarves engage in a highly choreographed singing and cleaning routine that ends with all of the dishes spotless and Bilbo flabbergasted.

There’s another knock at the door, and Gandalf says, very gravely “He’s here.” Thorin Oakenshield probably wouldn’t be such an enormous drama queen if people didn’t indulge him like that. Seriously. Consider your part in this, Gandalf. Anyway, it totally is Thorin, and he comes in bitching about how hard it was to find the place and how he never would have if there wasn’t a dong on the door.

Everybody sits down to discuss the journey they have to make. The gist of it is: they’re not getting any help, and they have to go to the The Lonely Mountain alone, and kill Smaug if they want their gold/mountain back. Ori stands up and gets super pumped, but his dreams are crushed when Balin is like “This would be hard enough if we had an army behind us, but we only have 13 dwarves. And y’all are incompetent dumbshits. We’re faaaaaacked.” Nobody argues, surprisingly.

Fili’s all “We’re fighters! We can do it!” Kili chimes in to remind them that they have a wizard, who must have “killed dozens of dragons in his time!” Gandalf is like “Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhh nope. What is a dragon even.” Everyone starts yelling until Thorin interrupts. He appeals to their pride by saying that nobody has seen Smaug in six decades, so unless they want some dirty traitor elf hobags stealing all their potentially unprotected gold, they need to move on it ASAP. Everyone is in agreement.

As a side note, while discussing this movie with my friend Julia, she pointed out that Thorin is essentially every person who had a shitty youth and tries to fix it with money when they get older, and she’s exactly right. I mean, this may be a contextual thing, where you bring and project whatever baggage you have onto the characters, but it’s a way both she and I, and I imagine a lot of people with similar backgrounds, can identify with Thorin. I thought he was a dick the first time I watched this, without realizing why, but now I know it’s because we have several of the same ugly motivations. As an even side-er note, I advise you all to make friends with smart, observant people if you’re not a smart, observant person yourself.

Balin points out that the entrance to Erebor is sealed, but Gandalf produces a key, given to him for safekeeping until Thorin could use it. The dwarves and Gandalf go over the map for like an hour, and apparently Gandalf has talked up Bilbo’s burglary skills. ONE PROBLEM: he is not a burglar. He’s given a long contract filled with ways he could potentially die and how he’ll be paid no more than 1/14 of whatever (if anything) is recovered, then asked to sign it. Wow, it‘s like getting car insurance.

Bilbo passes out, because he’s just as drama-queeny as Thorin.

When he wakes up again, Gandalf continues trying to convince him that his life is boring and worthless with no adventures. Thorin seems to have come to terms with not having an unqualified hobbit on his elite team of strike-dwarves, and the night naturally progresses into mournful songs (“The Misty Mountains,” actually very beautiful and beautifully sung).

The next morning, Bilbo wakes up to a totally empty house. He does a terrible job of pretending to be not disappointed, and notices that his contract is still on the table. He runs somehow in the exact correct direction until he catches up with Thorin’s party in the woods, where they give him a pony that hates him. (Thorin also hates him.) Bilbo has an allergic reaction to his horse, and Bofur tosses him a gross soggy scrap of fabric to use as a handkerchief. THESE DWARVES…ARE ACTUALLY TROLLS.

403 hour montage of pony rides through beautiful scenery. The group stops to make camp for the night, in what looks like the same place as the Fellowship camped when the Crebain from Dunland flew in, looking for Frodo. Bilbo decides to make nice with his pony, Myrtle, by giving her an apple. She accepts it, but my experience with ponies lets me know that only treachery will come of this.

Bilbo hears a lot of animalistic screaming, and asks Fili and Kili WTF is up with that. Kili votes orcs. Bilbo is startled, and Kili tells him that there might be a raid, where the orcs come up and slit their throats while they‘re sleeping–”Quick and quiet. No screams, just lots of blood.” Thorin is a sourpuss about it, all “YOU THINK A NIGHT RAID BY ORCS IS FUNNY?!!?” and Kili’s like “Chill the balls out, I was just fucking with him.” Thorin goes to pout on a rock, smoldering dramatically into the distance while Balin delivers unto us The Tragic Tale Of Thorin Oakenshield And Why His Shield Is So Oaken. (I would be embarrassed, honestly. If I walk into the room at a family gathering and hear someone talking about me, good or bad, I will start a fire to make them stop. Thorin has no such shame.)

We flash back to when Thror, Thrain, and Thorin made an attempt to take back Moria. But the orcs had arrived first, led by the Pale Orc, Azog the Defiler. What’s he defiling? Who knows! He’s beautiful (and voiced by Manu Bennett, who plays Crixus in Spartacus–yay, tiny Kiwi acting pool!), for an orc, and actually reminds me more of the Engineers from Prometheus and something Guillermo del Toro would have come up with than any of the gross lumpy drippy smelly orcs we’re used to. If the orcs are descended from corrupted elves, Azog ended up bigger and stronger than both.

Azog is kicking the shit out of the dwarves, his stated objective being “Kill the whole line of Durin.” He decapitates Thror and bowls the head over to Thorin, who NOOOOOOOOOOOOOs. Thrain goes crazy and is either taken prisoner or killed, leaving Thorin to handle everything. And handle he does! Azog knocks his shield and sword away and prepares to deliver the deathblow, but Thorin finds a handy log and uses it to deflect Azog‘s weapon, then cuts Azog’s arm off. Azog shrieks at his non-arm and is dragged away by his bros, who are probably just like “LET IT GO, MAN.”

Thorin steps up and the dwarves defeat the orcs, but nobody’s really in a partying mood afterward. Thorin climbs up (onto a pile of bodies?) to observe the aftermath, looking like a goddamn romance novel cover. The lady on the cover would be his emergency rescue log.

rnc

Anyway, that’s when Balin knew he had a king on his hands. In the present, Thorin turns around and is like “Aaw, you were talking about me?” Bilbo asks what happened to Azog. Thorin says he died of his wounds long ago. Which means he is alive and well.

The next day, the company is traveling through a beautiful rainy forest. One of the dwarves asks if Gandalf can make the rain stop, but he snootily says they’d have to ask some other wizard for that. Bilbo asks if there are other wizards, and Gandalf lists the ones he knows–two blue wizards, Saruman the White, himself, and Radagast the Brown, who protects the forest. Bilbo asks if Radagast is a great wizard or one like Gandalf, and Gandalf’s like “Well, Dildo Douchebaggins, he’s good in his own way.”

We see what’s up in Radagast’s world. I’ve seen a lot of people upset that he read as comic relief, but I honestly don’t see that. I mean, there wasn’t anything particularly funny about him, except for how a bird pooped on his face and he decided to just go with the flow RE: bird poop on his face, but he’s empathetic as a character and a woodland spirit/forest guardian archetype. Radagast wanders around the woods, where several animals are dead and a weird blight is growing on the plants. He’s upset, especially when he finds a hedgehog in the process of dying. He calls it Sebastian and brings it back to his home, trying to save it. He realizes that it’s evil magic when a bunch of giant spiders start crawling on his house, blacking out the windows. That’s usually when I figure it out, too.

He figures out how to save Sebastian, muttering a spell to him. The spiders also leave, and a bird flutters by to tell him where the spiders came from. AFTER WHICH HE RIDES OFF ON HIS BUNNY-DRAWN SLED. Awesome.

Back with the dwarves, they have come across a dilapidated shack. Gandalf ominously says that there used to be a farm family there, and asks Thorin if they could head up to Rivendell for food, shelter, safety, and advice instead of staying in the creepy abandoned husk of a home. Thorin’s like NO THIS IS MY COMPANY WE ARE STAYING WHERE I WANNA AND FUCK ELVES FOREVER. And that is the end of that. Gandalf storms away, and when Bilbo asks him where he’s going, he says “To seek the company of the only one around here who has any sense!” Bilbo asks who that is. “Myself, Mr. Baggins. I’ve had enough of dwarves for one day.” And he disappears over the ridge. Everyone here is a little diaper baby.

Predictably, something goes wrong that night: two ponies are missing. Fili and Kili nominate Bilbo to go search for them when he brings them their soup, assuring him that his tininess and speed will keep him safe from the mountain trolls who have pony napped them. Bilbo’s like “uh???????” but goes ahead anyway. The trolls are big and icky and kvetching about having to eat “mutton” so much. One of them straight-up sneezes into the boiling pot. Bilbo sneaks around, trying to free the ponies, but the troll with the sniffles grabs him instead of his handkerchief and mistakes him for an unusually articulated booger when he pulls the hankie away. Hey, man, it happens.

The trolls immediately decide to eat him, and when they’re trying to sweat out whether he has any companions, Fili and Kili leap out of the trees and attack them with swords, followed closely by the rest of the dwarves. Bilbo rescues the ponies, but somehow, all 13 dwarves can’t take down the three trolls before Bilbo is captured, and they all are divided between a spit over the fire and a bunch of burlap sacks. COMPETENCE.

The trolls argue about how best to cook the dwarves, and Bilbo steps in with some helpful advice: dwarves are stinky, so they must be skinned. That goes over about as well as you’d expect, so he frantically says that all the dwarves are infected! With worms! In their tubes! The dwarves defend their uninfested tubes loudly, but Thorin has kenned Bilbo’s plan and kicks Kili until he figures it out, too. This is enough time for Gandalf to reappear on a rock, which he smashes in half with his staff, allowing the sun’s rays to hit the trolls and turn them to stone.

Everyone celebrates, and Thorin approaches Gandalf to be a dick about Bilbo’s stalling tactics. They realize that the trolls came down from the mountain, and would have needed a nearby cave to protect them from the daylight. They find one, flyblown and full of rotting stuff, but also full of elf swords. Bilbo acquires one small enough for him to use (it’s Sting, which becomes Frodo’s sword), and it will glow when orcs/goblins are nearby. Gandalf feeds Bilbo some line about how it’s better to know when to spare a life rather than when to take one, but the learning opportunity is interrupted by the arrival of Radagast and his Rabbits Fast. Gandalf greets him semi-warmly, like you greet your weird uncle during the holidays. Radagast struggles to tell Gandalf what he needs to, but a stickbug has stowed away in his mouth. Stickbug removed, Radagast informs him that the forest is just all fucked up, and he’s sure that the spiders came from Dol Guldur. There’s a necromancer hanging out there, and he’s bringing witch kings to life and trying to fuck all the shit up. Radagast steals the witch king’s suddenly corporeal sword and gets the fuck out of there, which drags him back into the present. Gandalf offers him a puff of wizard weed to calm him down, and asks for proof. Radagast gives him the sword as proof.

Suddenly, a warg howls in the distance, and then a warg jumps out of the trees at Bilbo &co. It’s followed closely by a second. Both are killed, but more are coming, and they have to run because a pack of orcs is close behind. Radagast volunteers to draw them off, and Gandalf’s like “They’ll eat you, crazy.” But Radagast has the fastest bunnies ever, and successfully takes off, leading most of the orcs and wargs on a chase while Thorin’s company runs away. They’re doing fine until one orc sees them and breaks off from the rest, only to be killed. Noisily. The rest of the orcs hear and come after them, chasing them into a hole in the ground that Gandalf finds. They all assume the end is near before they hear the sound of massive orc slaughter. On the surface, a tiny contingent of elves has appeared to save the day! Gandalf has them leave the hole through the back way, which deposits them into Rivendell.

Thorin’s like >:[

Gandalf’s like LOL.

Rivendell is still as wonderful as ever, and the same goes for Hugo Weaving as Elrond (really, everyone in this movie? Nine years turned me from a fresh-faced fourteen year old into a haggard swamp creature in her fifties. IT DID NOTHING TO ANY OF THESE PEOPLE), who is rocking some sweet elf armor. Bret Mackenzie from Flight of the Conchords also cameos as an elf, for the people who are into that.

There’s a bit of a dick-measuring contest (participants: one, Thorin, and he loses) before Elrond offers the dwarves food and shelter. The dwarves are unimpressed with all the vegetables. Elrond fills them in on the swords they got from the troll cave–Thorin’s is Orcrist, and Gandalf’s is Glamdring. Bilbo doesn’t get his checked out because Balin says swords are only named after they do great deeds.

Later, Thorin is still trying to dick-measure against himself, when he refuses to show the Erebor map to Elrond. Gandalf points out that there aren’t a lot of people who can read it, so it would be really stupid to waste the opportunity by being stubborn. Thorin eventually hands it over, and when Elrond asks why they’re interested in Erebor, Gandalf cuts in and says the interest is mainly academic.

Luckily, they just happen to have arrived on the exact night they need to for the secret moon runes to be visible. Elrond informs them that they need to “Stand by the gray stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s day will shine upon the keyhole.” I can only hope the knocking thrush is not a portent of some pretty narsty fungal infections.

Elrond deduces that the dwarves are trying to take back Erebor, and warns them against it. Gandalf asks why, and Elrond tells him that he’s not the only guardian of Middle-Earth.

Back in Dol Goldur, Azog and the orcs he sent after Thorin have convened. Azog has a giant beautiful white warg. The orc leader says that the dwarves escaped because the elves intervened, but Azog wants no excuses. He turns around, and we see that he has jammed a fork of some kind into his arm, so that the tines serve as a hand and the top part is sticking out of his elbow. Hardcore. As he walks down the steps, admonishing the cringing orc underling, he gently pets his warg, who I have named Snowball, behind the ears. He also pets the underling a little bit, right before he throws him to the other wargs as a snack. A second orc takes his place, and another scout party is sent out.

Back in Rivendell, Saruman and Galadriel have arrived, and there is a come-to-Jesus meeting planned for Gandalf. I like that the wizards are seated while the elves orbit them–I looked some stuff up, and apparently wizards were, like, sent by the Middle-Earth gods to be badass protectors. That makes Saruman’s nonchalance here more interesting in light of what we know happens in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Saruman is all “Listen, bro, you have been living la vida loca and you need to calm down. Everybody knows you want to take Smaug out because you think shit‘s about to get real, but it‘s not. So stop it.” Gandalf protests, presenting his evidence (the blight in Radagast’s forest, orcs attacking them on the road, trolls down from the mountain, Radagast‘s claim of seeing a necromancer). Saruman gives no shits, saying Radagast is foolish because he eats too many mushrooms, then goes full Mean Girls on him by also saying they’ve yellowed his teeth.

Galadriel realizes Gandalf has the witch king’s sword, and mentally demands that he show it to her. Gandalf produces it, silencing Saruman. Saruman gets his bearings back and still shoots Gandalf down, saying he doesn’t think the dwarves should be going on their journey. Galadriel mentally says “You knew,” and Gandalf affirms this. Galadriel smiles beautifully just as an elf appears to say the dwarves have peaced. Later, Galadriel warns Gandalf to be careful. She asks him why he chose “the Halfling,” and he says that, while Saruman believes power can hold evil in check, Gandalf thinks it’s actually small deeds. Galadriel tells him he isn’t alone and that whenever he needs her, she’ll be there. I love Galadriel so much.

298 hours of dwarves walking across beautiful countryside, before we get to the dark rainy snowy mountains with treacherous cliffs. Surely there was a way around these? Maybe not. Anyway, they’re walking up the narrow pathways and almost falling off about a thousand times before the mountains split apart and become MOUNTAIN GIANTS. The giants fight each other by throwing pieces of rock at each other’s faces until they fall down into a chasm. The dwarves are separated on two different rock faces, and there’s a moment where one of the giants falls and nearly squishes one half of the group. Bilbo falls a little bit, and Thorin physically crawls off of the ledge to save him, giving him some serious guilt-tripping when they’re back up on solid ground. WAY TO LOSE YOUR FOOTING IN THIS TERRIBLE SITUATION, DILDO DOUCHEBAGGINS! They decide to camp for the night in a cave. Because that always ends so well.

Bilbo, emotionally traumatized by Thorin, tries to leave in the middle of the night. He’s stopped by Bofur and his hat, and guilt-tripped yet again. He slips up and says that he has a home to go to, not like the dwarves. Bofur wishes him luck, sadly. As Bilbo turns to go, Bofur notices that his sword is glowing. They’re dropped through the floor and down into a goblin lair, where they are all, save Bilbo, dragged off to see the goblin king. Bilbo kneels down until they’re gone, but is attacked by a stray goblin when he goes after them with his sword. He and the goblin fall off the bridge and down further into the caves.

The goblins present the dwarves to the king, who is super gross and horrible but is voiced by Barry Humphries (Dame Edna!), and has a very nice and posh voice. I like the dissonance. He orders the dwarves searched and then tortured since they won’t say who they are, but realizes who Thorin is pretty quickly, on account of being friends with Azog.

Just imagine those two braiding each other’s hair and talking boys. It’s beautiful.

We go back to Bilbo at the bottom of the cave. He wakes up to see Gollum creeping around the goblin that fell with him, then watches him beat it to death and drag it away for eating. He picks up the One Ring from where Gollum dropped it and pockets it, following Gollum with his sword out. Gollum is super crazy still, yelling at himself and singing in that weirdly adorable/homicidal way he always does.

Gollum finds Bilbo and tries to eat him like 100 times before Bilbo manages to accidentally distract him into starting a riddle game. Smeagol overcomes Gollum enough to agree that if Bilbo wins, he’ll show him the way out, and if Gollum wins, Gollum will eat Bilbo.

Bilbo: “Fair enough.”

Gollum is seriously the cutest thing here, I’m sorry. HE JUST WANTS SOMEONE TO PLAY WITH HIM. The answers to the riddles are, in order: teeth, wind, eggs, and time. Bilbo’s last question, “What do I have in my pocket,” is one that Gollum can’t answer, so he falls down dramatically. Gollum then decides that he will end the game with murder, but notices he’s lost his ring before he gets the chance. He freaks out, then realizes that Bilbo has it and goes after him.

The dwarves manage to piss off the goblin king enough that he orders them all killed, but before Thorin can be stabbed, Gandalf blasts the caves with a huge wave of light, allowing the dwarves to get up and run. An amusing chase scene that shows off how cool the goblin city is follows, all across dangerous rope bridges and ending with the goblin king’s body falling on the dwarves and gently squashing them. Bilbo puts on the ring to escape Gollum, and sees the dwarves escape. Unfortunately, Gollum is hiding directly in the pathway, so he has to either kill him or lose the dwarves. He decides to kill him, but Gollum looks back at the wrong moment, and Bilbo realizes that he’s super adorable and pathetic and decides to just jump over him instead (not without kicking him in the face with his giant hobbit foot).

He makes it out to the dwarves just as Thorin is being an asshole about him again. He reveals himself, and tells Thorin that even though he has a home he loves, he’s there to help the dwarves get their home back, and he‘s staying with them. Thorin is almost sheepish. “Almost sheepish” is just “slightly less smoldery” on him.

The scout wargs pop up again, and chase them to the edge of a cliff. Gandalf orders everyone into the trees, and we discover that dwarves are astonishingly athletic, even Fattycakes Bombur, even covered in 600 pounds of armor and clothing. A butterfly lands on Gandalf’s staff, and he whispers to it and sends it on its way.

Azog and Snowball show up. Thorin’s all IT CANNOT BE and Azog’s like BUT IT SO IS, LAMBCHOP! Azog sets the other wargs on the trees, knocking them all into each other until there’s just one left at the edge of the cliff. Gandalf lights some pinecones on fire, and our heroes throw them at the wargs until they’re forced to retreat slightly. Unfortunately, the tree is overloaded, and tips over the edge. Thorin gets up in slow motion to kick some ass…but he gets the shit beat out of him instead, including Snowball shaking him around. Azog, perhaps slightly saddened at Thorin’s lack of asskickery, orders another orc to take his head. Before the other orc can, Bilbo leaps to Thorin’s defense, tackling the orc and putting himself between Thorin and Azog. The other dwarves jump in and help. The dwarves who were stuck hanging off the tree fall and are caught by giant rescue eagles, and Gandalf is like THANK FUCK. The eagles start plucking wargs off the cliff and dropping them, and pick up the dwarves and Bilbo and Gandalf and fly them to safety at the edge of Mirkwood. More beautiful scenery! I love the eagles.

Thorin is unconscious/dead when his eagle drops him off, but Gandalf uses wizard powers to make him better. He gets up and is immediately on Bilbo’s nuts, and Bilbo’s like SERIOUSLY??? Thorin continues, “Did I not say you would be a burden? That you wouldn’t survive in the wild? That you had no place amongst us?” Bilbo totally almost flings himself off the cliff they’re on, but Thorin finishes with “I have never been so wrong,” and gives Bilbo a giant hug. D’aaaaaaaw.

They see the peak of Erebor in the distance. A bird flies by, misidentified as a raven when Gandalf says it’s actually a thrush. Bilbo says “I believe the worst is behind us.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHA

HA

The thrush lands on the mountain and taps on the wall. Inside, buried under the pile of gold in what must be the world‘s greatest and most uncomfortable nap, Smaug wakes up and grumbles.

Please like & share:
  • Liz

    OH MY GOD THAT WAS MANU BENNETT

    WELCOME TO BONERTOWN POPULATION: ME

    • Sam

      FOR REAL I WAS SO HAPPY WHEN I FOUND OUT.

  • pickles

    So i just finished a joint and read this, sweet laughs where had.

    • Sam H.

      That is…honestly the optimal way to read this. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Nikki

    This was beautiful.

    • Sam H.

      Haha, thank you!

  • idA

    The funniest thing I’ve read in a while!!

    • Sam H.

      I appreciate that, thanks so much for reading!

  • I know this might be hard to believe, but the rift between the Dwarves and Elves happened long before Smaug invaded Erebor. When Elwe Thingol was King of Doriath, the Dwarves killed him for a Silmaril. Oropher, Thranduil’s father, was a follower of Thingol Greycloak’s. From that time onward, the Sindarin elves had no love for Dwarves. Thranduil was not a dick, according to Tolkien, he was beloved by his wood-elves and a friend to mortal men.

    • Sam

      This is good to know, honestly (I didn’t even try to get into the appendices/contextual information when I read the books, because oh my god, so dense). Thank you for commenting! I just question Thranduil’s motives of showing up to watch some dwarf carnage and then head back home. Seems like a dick move, even if he had a reason for it! Also I have changed my name on all legal documents to Thingol Greycloak.

  • Jessica H

    Good recap! Just one comment on something that REALLY stood out to me: you say towards the beginning that ‘Tolkien was like great-grandpa levels of racist’. Where is your source for that information? Tolkien was in fact asked by a German publisher in the ’30s whether he was Aryan, obvs to find out if they wanted to publish his stuff, and he sent this scathing reply:
    ‘…I am not of Aryan extraction…but if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.’
    —Tolkien, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, #30
    So yeah. Tolkien a racist? I see no evidence for that, sorry. *headtilt*

    • [Editor here] You read these thousands of words and the only thing you wanted to comment on was that you don’t believe Sam was right to call Tolkien a racist given that in one interview he said Jews were gifted? *head tilt* There are literally books written about the racism inherent in Tolkien’s worlds. Overt or not, it exists and it exists because racism transcends a person’s intent, especially given the time period.

      This may not be the site for you if your intent is to simply argue with and “educate” my writers. By the way, those hyperlinks in my response are your evidence and sources for her POV. Also, I’m going to assume you’re not a POC, which means that if that’s correct, you should maybe not try and educate a POC about race. Just usually not a good plan.

      Thanks for your interest in our website, but there are probably better places on the internet for you.