I think that Dale in this film is one of the best visual details of the film; its not greatly written about by Tolkien himself, but they Weta team's ingenuity and reference to historical architecture and culture has made it more than I could have imagined, all to show the grandeur and wealth of the Northmen.
I like how they portrayed it as a cultural meeting point between East and West, looking something out of Medieval Italy or Spain with a few eastern inflections, such as the Dalish militia. I'm eager to see how they will portray the Lake-Men of Esgaroth and if they will follow the traditional Northmen outlook.
Aah, it’s good to be back on the old forums, my passion for Middle-earth re-ignited, as well as my keenness for BFME. Prepare for a looonng read!
Where to begin? Firstly I utterly loved ‘The Hobbit’, being able to relive Middle-earth as I had not done since I was a lad, from the performances of Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and the Dwarves to the stunning scenery, I was enchanted. The Riddles in the Dark sequence was the one I anticipated the most, but my favourite scene has to be the Eagle rescue from the wargs, even with the presence of a supposedly-dead orc leader. I’m not overly resentful of Radagast, I actually rather enjoyed him, creating the contrast between the Wizards, with Radagast as all heart and little head, Saruman as all head and little heart, and Gandalf as the perfect balance between them. He may not have been in the book in proper, but I saw why he was included.
Which brings me onto Azog, I understand the need for a villain that isn’t Smaug or the Necromancer, but it’s a little insulting to Thorin’s capacity to kill if he could not slay Azog...
As for the story element of the Witch-King returning, that’s what actually niggled me most, so in my own usual impulsive way, I took this as an opportunity for a theory. I proposed that the Witch-King was not buried in Rhudaur as the White Council stated and simply escaped, but arranged one of his Angmar mannish generals to serve as a decoy, while the real Witch-King rode south to Mordor to silently rebuilt his forces, overrun Minas Ithil, slay King Earnur of Gondor whilst evading the eyes of the Wise and occasionally convening with the Dark Lord in Dol Guldur (as seen in the film, as he would not always stay in Minas Morgul), all part of the illusion created by Sauron to mislay and deceive his enemies. Sauron has been known as the Deceiver, so it doesn’t seem unlikely that he could fool the leaders of the west while he could remain hidden and unannounced. The dark power exhumed by the Necromancer causes the Witch-King to appear in his true wraith form. None of the White Council save Glorfindel was there for Angmar’s fall, and misinformation is not impossible in Middle-earth. I wish they had not explicitly left out Glorfindel and the Witch-King’s prophecy, but perhaps the extended editions will rectify it somehow
I was sceptical for a while at first, but I was shocked by the modest gradings given by the nob-head critics, I think people expected too much of it, even when it’s just a (more or less) light-hearted adventure tale for the young by the fireplace, fundamentally different to ‘Lord of the Rings’ which is meant for, as Pippin said, ‘great halls and evil times’. I’ve seen it twice already and I’m sorely tempted to see it a third time now.