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Riddles in the Dark: Digest 5

Dave and Trish talk about the beginning and Bilbo in Riddles in the Dark Digest #5

In this episode of Riddles in the Dark Digest, co-hosts Dave Kale and Trish Lambert share analyst and listener comments about how the movie will begin, as discussed in Riddles in the Dark episode 9, then move on to how Bilbo will be presented á la Riddles in the Dark episode 10. True to RITD tradition, our verbose co-hosts wander among other topics as well, including the possibility of Bilbo hallucinating during the Unexpected Party.

Conundrum #6: Will the opening line of the book (“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”) appear in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?

Conundrum #7:  Will Bilbo “hallucinate” on-screen during the dwarves’ song at Bag End?

Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)


  1. Tony Meade August 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Hey guys,

    I have a theory regarding the opening and the use of the frame narrative…

    1. The footage that we’ve seen of Elijah Wood in “The Hobbit” so far only ever shows him wearing the outfit that we see him wearing at the very beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring”. This seems to be the only costume that he gets for his appearance in “The Hobbit”.

    2. One of Frodo’s shots in the trailer is of him leaving Bag End and running off into the countryside after speaking with Bilbo.

    3. Bilbo is wearing the same clothes that he he wears at the beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring” also, for when he is shown writing the Red Book and doing the “Concerning Hobbits” voiceover.

    4. The very first shot of Frodo in “The Fellowship of the Ring” is of him leaning up against a tree, reading a book.

    5. The very first thing we get of Gandalf is him singing “The Road Goes Ever On And On”, which bilbo composes and sings for the first time at the end of “The Hobbit”.

    So, here’s my theory…. What if the frame story kicks off the movie by having that book that Frodo is reading at the beginning of “Fellowship” be Bilbo’s revised version of the story of “The Hobbit”. Then we would hear either Bilbo or Frodo’s voice in narration begin to tell us the “true tale” of “The Hobbit”, and we pick up the story proper from there. Then, at the end of the movies, after Bilbo has returned to the Shire, and we get the first iteration of “The Road Goes Ever On And On”, that song segues back into those first shots of “Fellowship” and we hear Gandalf singing the song. Then, Frodo hears Gandalf singing, pops up, and goes to meet him just like in “Fellowship”.

  2. Robert August 24, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    It’s ‘Smaug’, with the same vowel sound as ‘now’, not ‘smog’. Sorry, it’s just been bugging me a bit.

  3. R. Scot Johns August 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    I’m going to go with “Yes” to both conundrum questions here, and my reasoning is this:

    Q #1) The opening line to “The Hobbit” is one of the most iconic first lines in all of modern children’s literature, and it’s just one line. To cut it would be utter folly. Why even bother making a film if you’re not going to use it’s best known bits? And with a large portion of the audience having been raised on this book, it’s a perfect point of recognition to ease the viewer into (Jackson’s version of) Tolkien’s world.

    Q #2) There is virtually no other way to visualize Bilbo’s internal desire to “go and see the great mountains” and “wear a sword instead of a walking stick” than to show him dreaming of doing of it. The only other option is an internal monologue voice-over, and Jackson is always hesitant to fall back on that. Plus, if it is to occur, as you say, “during the dwarves’ song,” while they’re singing, there really can be no voice-over. That said, if the LOTR films are any indication, it might well be done in similar fashion to Sam’s “hallucination” during his holding of the ring, where we don’t actually see the visions Sam “sees,” or even get any of the lines, but rather it’s all conveyed through facial expressions and body language (which would technically make the answer to your question “no” if we don’t see it on screen). However, I’m holding out for a full Took takeover of Bilbo for a moment here, as his adventurous side “wakes up” – and then is ultimately squashed as we reach “the pines were roaring on the height” with its almost certain on-screen visualization of the dwarves fleeing the Lonely Mountain.

  4. Brent Sprinkle September 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Hey guys! Just listened to the podcast. It was nice to hear my post being reviewed and appreciated! I’m going with yes for both. Tony Meade has a great theory that seems to make sense. It would almost seem like Jackson knew when he was making the FOTR he would do the Hobbit if this theory proves true. That couldn’t be though….right?

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