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Riddles in the Dark 2.07: Half-Baked Bolg Weirdness

Talking Dol(Guldur)itics on Riddles in the Dark!

Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen, Dave Kale and Trish Lambert meander around Sauron’s precincts, considering topics they had agreed not to discuss in this episode (like the Battle of Dol Guldur). They finally make it to Azog and how he and his “little” boy will appear in Jackson’s second Hobbit movie.

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


Riddle: What will Bolg’s role be in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug?

A. He is commander in chief of the orc armies (book answer).

B. His activity is limited only to Dol Guldur.

C. He leads away missions.

D. He has no defined role.

Many thanks to the Lonely Mountain Band for allowing our use of their wonderful music to accompany the episodes. Season 2 sees excerpts from their new album “Songs of the Dwarves.” Intro: Battle of Azanulbizar; Outro: The Sevenfold Meeting.

  1. Denis April 30, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    The whole Bolg / Azog thing is weird. We have Bolg action figures. He features on posters and merchandise, then at the last minute he disappears. Makes one wonder why – its all quite mysterious. I suspect in fact that many of the Azog scenes were shot with Bolg and then they did mocap and pasted a CGI character over the top. This may explain how they were able to affect such a change in such a short period of time. It may also explain why he is so big – he needed to be big enough to cover up the original character.

    Whatever the reason, I am sure they had one. And assuming they had a reason, I can not see them reversing it and adding Bolg in a serious way at all. Lets face it, the next two films are going to be so full, why devote time to characterising YABD (Yet Another Bad Dude) that is going to get killed off anyway. They’ve invested in Azog, his backstory and his character. The trilogy simply does not need YABD.

    So my prediction is:
    Bolg may be seen in the film. He may even be mentioned by name. The camera may pan to him several times. He may speak or he may not. He may push a few random orcs around. But this is probably only so they can use existing footage. I think they will edit in such a way as to minimise his ‘presence’. He will be like Rice Bubble face at the battle of Pelenor or Lurtz. They are chief orcs. They get more screen time than random orcs. We (the audience) know they are chief orcs but we will not learn of them in any serious way.

    Bolg may be in the film but I think PJ has made his position clear – he will not be a ‘character’.

    My 2c

  2. Denis April 30, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Oh I forgot. Really thought the Smaug Sauron tangent was interesting. I’ve taken the liberty of creating a riddle for you.

    A. An Alliance between Smaug and Sauron is not mentioned, inferred or discussed. (the book answer)
    B. Concerns of a possible alliance are hinted at, perhaps by White council members (the Quest of Erebor answer)
    C. Communication, or attempts to communicate are mentioned or seen – perhaps an emissary is sent.
    D. Sauron and Smaug are in cahoots.

    And please remind Dave of the pronunciation of Smaug and Sauron. After the discussion around the pronunciation of Thrain we had last year…. I mean the correct pronunciation of Sauron and Smaug isnt even in contention – is it?

    My answer to this riddle is B….. Love the game and the podcast, keep it up!

  3. Murray April 30, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    I have to say I completely agree with Dave’s complaint about PJ building up Azog’s role, then having to reduce Bolg’s. Why?

    Re the Riddle, I agree with B; he’ll be at DG, as Thrain’s jailer. He’ll be slain by Gandalf, tho I’m not sure whether that will be when Gandalf encounters Thrain or later at the (non-)’Battle of DG’.

    I suspect the battle itself will be minor at most. The White Council approaches DG accompanied by a small force of elves and encounters minimal resistance by a rear-guard of orcs before the Council brings sunlight etc into the gloom. The Necromancer will have already slipped away.

  4. Teranel May 10, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Re the potential of a Smaug/Sauron alliance, I would love to see a physical conversation (or maybe via palantir) between Smaug and Sauron, just because then Benedict Cumberbatch would be talking to himself. 😉

  5. Jonne May 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Although i still like the Thrush using morse code to communicate with sauron option (and that’s why he’s there knocking already) i do think that we won’t see much direct communication or coordination i do think we might hear a suggestion that they might start to work together. i also want to mention the aparently numerous number of torturers that are going to be in this movie, now beorn is ofcourse a torturer in the book and has been suggested that he will do some in the movies. however both bolg and Tauriel have been given the same job title, is this peter jackson trying to make a statement? i think it’s weird because we only really got one torture scene in the lord of the rings movies and that was pretty limited to seeing hands and hearing a cry.

    now at to what Bolg’s role is i still like him to be at the battle of five armies and my personal believe is that he will. here is my theory after Azog left to hunt down thorin a power vacuum was created, bog being the obvious candidate has filled his dad’s place as senior military commander there might actually be a conflict when Azog returns to reclaim his position. no as for the riddle i think he’ll be confined to dolgoldur for this movie where he serves as a torturer and he might be the head of the orcs in a possible battle of dol goldur.

  6. Phillip June 4, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    I have a very radical proposition for the whole plot of DOS. I have listened very carefully to the soundtrack of AUJ and the theme for Smaug is a variation of the Mordor theme. If you put this together with the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing both Smaug and the Necromancer I am proposing that there is a deeper alignment between the two possibly like the Saruman/Theoden possession. If this is the case when Bilbo has his conversation with Smaug he is really having a conversation with Sauron. He is invisible and then drops in the words “Ring-winner” what more prompting does the Necromancer need than to dispatch an army to the Lonely Mountain not to challenge the dwarves but to reclaim the ring. Hence when the White Council attack, Dol Guldor has been emptied and the only things defending it are spiders, bats and Nazgul. When Bilbo returns home Sauron does not know his name, what sort of creature he is or where he comes from which makes it even more important for Sauron to track down Gollum because he has the missing information, the name (Baggins) and the home (Shire) of the “Ring-winner”. If Azog is going to continue to dog the dwarves then Bolg quite neatly fits into the role of commander in chief of the orc army dispatched to Erebor, but that is more likely to happen after the death of Smaug. It’s completely off canon but fits with the substitution of Azog and his band in place of the Misty Mountains goblins at the end of AUJ, so the orc army in BOFA will not be Misty Mountain goblins but be an army sent from Dol Guldor. Is that radical or what?

  7. Halstein October 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    A, Bolg will be the commander of the orc armies. He will have the same role as Mr. Tumor on RotK, as Denis writes above. However I don’t think he will show up before film three.



  1. Riddle in the Dark Digest 2.07 | Mythgard Institute - June 27, 2013

    […] Lambert and Laura Berkholtz discuss analyst and listener responses to Riddles in the Dark 2.07. What will Bolg’s role be in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug?. Will he even show up? Will he […]

  2. Riddles in the Dark Digest 2.07 | Mythgard Institute - June 27, 2013

    […] Lambert and Laura Berkholtz discuss analyst and listener responses to Riddles in the Dark 2.07. What will Bolg’s role be in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug?. Will he even show up? Will he […]

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