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The Tolkien Professor Weighs In On The Hobbit Trailer

Joyous Yule, Tolkien fans!

I too was refreshing my browser like a mad thing at 10:00 EST on 12/20…

I know that many of you would like to talk over the new trailer for The Hobbit movie.  I too was refreshing my browser like a mad thing at 10:00 EST on 12/20 to get the film clip to load, and I am as excited as most of you are to see some of what Peter Jackson is planning for the first film.

All images copyright Miramax Films

The first thing I noticed is that it looks like the trailer bears out the main thing I’ve been concluding from the casting news and revealed snippets we’ve gotten so far: the film is obviously heavily dependent on the Tolkien’s later re-writings of a lot of the Hobbit material, especially the “Quest of Erebor” which was published in the Unfinished Tales.  I have to admit that I was excited to see what looked like a lot of solo Gandalf shots — I’ve been hoping for some good coverage of Gandalf in the dungeons of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and my hopes are higher after the trailer.

And, as many of you guessed, I was pretty pumped to hear Thorin singing “Far over the misty mountains cold”!  Of all the melodies I have ever heard that song put to in film, dramatization, or audiobook, that was my favorite, I have to say.

I’ve a lot more to say to about the trailer, of course.  I hope to go through it pretty carefully in January, and I will release a few special podcast episodes on it.  In the meantime, however, I am very heavily engaged in (that is to say, completely snowed under by) another major project: finishing my Hobbit book!  The completed manuscript of Exploring the Hobbit is due to Houghton Mifflin by New Year’s Eve, and I am in the midst of polishing up the final draft now.  I will have more updates soon, but I am really excited about the book!  In the last few days, I have twice had one of my favorite reading experiences — re-reading one of Tolkien’s poems and realizing something huge about it that I’d never thought of before.  The two poems in question are the Wood-elves’ second barrel song and the King beneath the Mountain song in Lake-town.  The second one, in particular, I realized I had been misreading my whole life!

Once I get the manuscript safely sent away, I will get to the special film-trailer episodes and also talk a little bit more about what you can expect to see in this book I’m finishing.  In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, and Godspeed!

President Corey “The Tolkien Professor” Olsen

Be sure to visit the Exclusives section for Dr. Olsen’s The Hobbit lecture series, updates on his new book Exploring The Hobbit and much more!

  1. Robert Dammers December 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Indeed, Professor, this is exciting. Martin Freeman looks well cast – an excellent contrast in Hobbitry with the LOTR’s Frodo. And “Far Over the Misty Mountains” has exactly the haunting magical quality Bilbo discerns in the book. Encouraging Stuff!

    All the blessings of the season to you and yours!

  2. hal woodman December 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Very excited about them showing Gandalf getting the key from Thorin’s family. I wonder what other side stories they will show. I suppose they will end part one with his escape from the goblin king and being reunited with the dwarves.

  3. Juneith December 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Merry Yule to you too, Professor!
    Have fun completing your long awaited book!!

  4. Ed Powell December 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    So, I have two comments:

    1) How can they base anything on “The Quest of Erebor” from Unfinished Tales when they don’t have the rights to that text? My guess is that anything they do film from the time before Gandalf’s appearance at Bilbo’s door will be invented, or only very loosely based on that story, or they would risk the wrath of Christopher Tolkien’s lawyers. There’s material in the LoTR Appendices they can use, since they do have the rights to that.

    2) We, your loyal fans, would really, really like some sort of sneak peak at your book. Sure, we’ve listened to the Hobbit Lecture Series, but still we’re salivating over a “trailer” for your book. Pretty please? It is Christmas, after all.


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