Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thorin Oakenshield

Here's our first look at Thorin from Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit.
So much for the theory that the King Under the Mountain would be an archetypal Nordic-style dwarf.

86 comments:

  1. nuqneH! Thorin son of Thráin, son of Thrór! We will drink the Klingon War Nog and boast of victories against the Humans of the Federation!

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  2. Clearly he got his wardrobe in Waterdeep circa 1997.

    Thumbsdown.

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  3. Okay, I'll admit this one gives me pause. He could be a little dorfier, her could be a little kinglier. That said, he could be a lot less so and it's nice that there's a little family resemblance between him and Fili and Kili.

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  4. I'm not particularly pleased with it. At the same time, I don't think it can be accuratly judged since it's the first of the dwarven pictures that isn't full body.

    I think until we get a group shot of all the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo.. we will then be able to accuratly see them as dwarves rather than as men with unique facial hair.

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  5. Still a surprising amount of prosthetics for an actor as pretty as Richard Armitage. Wasn't expecting that.

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  6. So far I haven't seen anything I hugely dislike. I don't have a problem with Dwarves using swords as well as axes.

    I am much more worried about how big a role Legolas will have!

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  7. I wonder if that sword is supposed to be Orcrist?

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  8. Yeah, that is NOT what I was expecting. My first instinct is to say "Klingon!" but I'll give it a fair shake. My heart isn't broken but...not what I expected.

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  9. Gimli in the LotR movie was a comic side kick--which is what happens when you make dwarves rotund long bearded short Santa-claus.

    These are Wagnerian dwarves--something for goblins to truly hate and fear.

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  10. These are Wagnerian dwarves--something for goblins to truly hate and fear.

    The most salient point I've seen in the discussions of the dwarves. Well said.

    D.

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  11. Shouldn't Thorin look at least a little older than the rest of the dwarves? Or has the old Rankin/Bass cartoon forever addled my perception?

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  12. All this says to me is they've taken the driven, vengeful Thorin and turned it up to 11. I don't know the actor very well, but I anticipate a fair bit of ACTING!!!

    Long, salt and pepper hair + beard + big V shoulders is just gonna be trip the Klingon switch now. Can't be helped. We're all nerds, it's been ingrained in our perceptions...

    I think this pretty much confirms that we're seeing the "Battle of Five Armies" stage of the characters, since he's got Orcrist there. (One thing the WETA folks have always done absolutely right is establishing a strong look for artifacts belonging to the different cultures. That's clearly an elven blade in his hands.)

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  13. Will the Trekkers (or whatever they're called these days) give it a break. This look is as much "Persian" or "Saracen" as it is Klingon!

    I think it's too easy to end up with Disney styled dwarves (ala Snow White) - these are a step away from that. It is a step in the right direction.

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  14. Actually, Thorin was cleary visible in the first pic you posted of Bilbo in Bag End.

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  15. @phf

    Just be grateful folks blurt out "klingon" whenever they see long hair and a big forehead over whatever the heck John Travolta was s'posed to be in "Battlefield Earth". If they're gonna grab for the easy reference, at least it's an entertaining one...

    It just shows to go ya that we're closer to that alien race in "The Next Generation" that spoke entirely in cultural references than we think.

    "Like Darmok on the Internet!"

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  16. But that look for Klingons didn't come along till the next generation. After the LOTR and the hobbit came out as a book. First time I saw Lt. Worf I thought...Oh shit a giant Dwarf!!!

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  17. I was expecting Thorin to be a little older. This is obviously not the typical depiction of a dwarven statesman/king. Maybe like bigbys said, those rankin/bass cartoons have altered my perception. That said, I am still confident that Jackson will do a great job with these films.

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  18. His track record says otherwise...

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  19. My issue with all of these "fantasy takes" is how damn fit all the characters look. These are damn refugees who've been working as blacksmiths and such for years, not honing their weapon skills and hitting the gym.

    The idea behind The Hobbit was the dwarves were fairly half-assed about the whole thing...Thorin and some of the other dwarves were getting old and "dottier" and they wanted to have one last go of getting some of their wealth back from the dragon. They didn't have a real plan, and had no intention of confronting the dragon. When Bilbo tells Smaug that they came seeking "revenge" it was mostly empty bravado on the hobbit's part (and a bit of reckless over-confidence for being imperceptible to the dragon).

    These dwarves with their sharpened blades and warrior attire are out of a different story altogether. I don't mind the "look" of their features and faces and beards (short or not)...what I mind is them being armed for war, when such was clearly not the case until the tail-end of the book (note how they run and run and continue to run from all hazardous encounters throughout the novel? Yeah, they back down A LOT).

    Thorin was never a "dwarfy Aragorn." We'll see how it plays out on the screen.

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  20. As someone mentioned, these may be them as kitted out after the fall of Smaug.

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  21. >My issue with all of these "fantasy takes" is how damn fit all the characters look<

    In the case of these dwarves at least, I believe they travelled on foot for hundreds of miles before they hit Bag End. upwards of 12 hours a day of hiking for weeks is no Sunday picnic (and even Gandalf was giving Shadowfax a season off). If I remember correctly, Bilbo came back from the adventure much slimmer and with a nice tan. Walking. Better exercise than it's given credit for.

    Though a life long Tolkien fan, I am no purist. I loved the LOTR movies and focused more on how so many things from the book were brought to brilliant life, not how Aragorn sometimes used two swords (ohmigawd, the cause du jour of gamers who read Grognardia - two weapon use. Heavens to Mergatroid, the end of the world!) or Legolas surfed on kite shields. I care not a rat's ass if they darken up The Hobbit and change up the mood and look a bit. As long as I get misty eyed here and there like I did a few times in the trilogy (yes, I have a dead heart and I teared up), I'll be a happy camper.

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  22. If there is one profession that is going to leave one looking rather fit, I'd think it would be blacksmith, really.

    Whatever, though, I liked FOTR well enough, but found the other two movies to be merely adequate, at best, and the endless Sam/Frodo/Smeagol scenes to be absolutely wretched, so I'm not holding out much hope for The Hobbit adaptations.

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  23. Nope, nope, nope. It's just not very appealing. I like the Waterdeep comment a lot.

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  24. endless Sam/Frodo/Smeagol scenes to be absolutely wretched<

    They were even much more so in the books. Only the Rivendell and council stuff rivaled the slogs through Mordor swamps as a sleep inducer.

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  25. It does look like the art department is having a good time, though I do agree they don’t look like they’re dressed for a party in the Shire. I’m not all that worried with how Jackson handles The Hobbit. With the way things go in Hollywood you'll only have to wait about 10 to 15 years before they remake it.

    Maybe by that time they’ll just beam a signal directly into our heads that'll allow one's subconscious to recreate it in the form of a lucid dream.

    wejpuH!

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  26. "endless Sam/Frodo/Smeagol scenes to be absolutely wretched"

    They are obviously the big downer in both the books and the movies.

    The Hobbit, however, is in my opinion, essentially perfect. The idea of the added in the movies content does nothing to excite

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  27. isn't Thorin meant to be arrogant and proud, a distinguished warrior but poor leader? He supposedly earned fame for his good conduct in the battle-of-the-unpronouncable-dwarven-place. He found orcrist in the troll stash and wielded it therefore for most of the story (I remember it flashed in the battle with the goblins when they all go underground, didn't it?)

    So really the only complaint you can have here is that his beard is short.

    Perhaps some of the people complaining here have the wrong image of Thorin? Many seem to be cleaving strongly to the image of the Dwarves as tinkers and non-adventurers. Thorin Oakenshield was a masterful fighter who earned his reputation for defending himself with a piece of wood in a famous battle. He hatched the plan to go to Lonely Mountain with Gandalf, with the specific intent of killing Smaug (that's why Gandalf got involved!) Do you think he was going to rock up on an adventure like this without his military kit?

    It's funny that Tolkien's biggest fanboys can't see past "fat and bearded" for a Dwarf. Who is doing more damage to Tolkien's legacy? Jackson with his attempt to create a diverse group of Dwarven adventurers, or the fanboys who can't conceive of a Dwarf that isn't an armoured version of santa claus?

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  28. Is Thorin older than the other dwarves in the book? I assumed he was.

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  29. Not what I pictured, but not actually that bad.

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  30. http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4055/4266311984_69540b8062.jpg

    Lucky us!

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  31. @kelvingreen: It's a Klingon!

    That's what I thought when I saw the picure. Replace sword with Batleth (sp?), and there you go.

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  32. My problem is that if he's Thorin Oakenshield ... where's the shield? I mean, I don't have a problem with dwarves using two-handed weapons ... EXCEPT FOR THE ONE WHOSE NAME INDICATES OTHERWISE!

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  33. Matt, the shield was the oak branch he used outside the gates of Moria--not an actual shield made of wood.

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  34. "an archetypal Nordic-style dwarf."

    Say what? Based on the Eddas and later German poetry, dwarves were black-skinned, greedy, cowardly, children of Loki and completely xenophobic. They'd only work for the Gods, and even that took some doing. If you wanted Nordic dwarves, they'd be hiding in caves waiting to trick Thor (who is an idiot) into stealing the gold for them.

    JB, I know a professional blacksmith. Does work for the ranches around Gilroy. He can easily bench 450lbs. I've seen him lift a VW off an obstruction after a mishap. Blacksmithing is very hard labor. You try swinging a six-pound hammer for six straight hours and tell us how feel.

    Finally, these are pre-release teaser sheets. They are intended to catch the eye and garner interest among movie-goers. Posters featuring several Disney dwarfs in color-coded hoods would confuse people. "Are they doing a live action Snow White?"

    These pictures connect to the LOTR trilogy by reminding people of the action and adventure. The get people talking, and that's good for first week box office.

    Done ranting. Carry on.

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  35. >what I mind is them being armed for war, when such was clearly not the case until the tail-end of the book <

    Well, some things in the Hobbit didn't make much sense. If you are going on quest half way across a continent, much of it through hostile terrain, to kill a legendary dragon and take his gold, don't you think you might bring along a weapon or two?

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  36. WTF? That looks more like the Klingon daddy of a certain Middle Earth Ranger than any Dwarf...Peter Jackson must die!

    Its as if they dont have a clue...please let him have a Jersy Accent...then the idiocy will be complete.

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  37. Worse! Its Guy of Gisbourne! AKA Richard Armitage of Robin Hood and Spooks.

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  38. Sorry, James. So much for my theory.

    I was hoping that out of thirteen dwarves described as having beards so long they could tuck them into their belts there would be at least one single dwarf out of the bunch in Peter Jackson's film adaptation that fit that description. I guess not.

    Okay, here's my new no-prize theory. They all start out with colorful hoods and beards so long they can tuck them into their belts, but by the time of the Battle of the Five Armies, they have trimmed their beards and changed their gear for war so they look like this. Any takers?

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  39. As Gridlore says, the 'archetypal dwarf' is a pretty recent development.

    Arthur Rackham drew them as having big beards, but normal to skinny bodies.

    Robert E. Howard used 'dwarfs' and 'elves' as if they meant basically the same thing (in 'The Lost Race').

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  40. He really doesn't look old enough -- he should be around 200 at this point, which if I recall correctly is early old age for a dwarf.

    On the other hand, I don't think Tolkien ever said WHAT Thorin looked liked -- just described him as an important dwarf with a blue and silver hood. So who knows?

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  41. Perhaps this should have been the inspiration:

    http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/05/mikhail-belomlinskiy-jrr-tolkiens.html

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  42. Tolkien describes dwarves as near-cowards when he compares their daring with what Bilbo accomplishes. I wouldn't say "coward" to this guy in his face!

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  43. @sabode
    Not really; the idea was to sneak into the lair (hence Bilbo's presence,) not to kill the dragon (which they didn't accomplish anyway, and even if they were armed to the teeth the outcome would have likely been the same.)

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  44. Here are all the dwarves except Thorin seen together:

    http://www.geektown.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/12-dwarves-hobbit.jpg

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  45. Rick, in the original story only ONE Dwarf is described as having a beard tucked into his belt, and this is Dwalin:

    It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, and very bright eyes under his dark-green hood.

    For the remainder of the dwarves, their beards are so unimportant that when we first meet them they aren't mentioned. Some of the dwarves are described as having their hands tucked into their belts, but their beards aren't mentioned.

    Note also that Tolkien's description of the dwarves includes NO facial features, NO physical descriptors at all (except Bombur is very fat) and not even a mention of voice, gait or any other distinguishing features except their hoods.

    This thread really proves that the complainers know very little about the source material and are privileging their memory of it over the book itself. There is no focus on beards in the story; no information about weaponry; the Dwarves aren't intended to be "nordic" (this is only in the silmarillion); Thorin Oakenshield isn't supposed to have a shield; Kili and Fili are minors, and may not even have beards; and in any case the book doesn't provide sufficient description to enable even a basic casting decision.

    Really, before you complain that Jackson isn't being "true to the text" you should check just how much text there is to be true to, and try to clarify how much of what you think is in the text is actually just your own post-D&D imagination.

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  46. Kili and Fili are minors, and may not even have beards

    This is untrue. On their first appearance, Tolkien states that they have "blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards, and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade."

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. I said "may not", not "don't," James. Tolkien doesn't see fit to mention that two of his characters are children, and reduces their whole description to hood, belt and beard colour (but not size, which we can assume by their age might be smaller than everyone else's). In your thread on Kili and Fili a lot of complainers didn't know this small fact (that they're children). Kind of relevant, wouldn't you say, as to how they wear the markers of adulthood? Similarly people here seem to be unfamiliar with the fact that Thorin Oakenshield is a seasoned warrior, and might possibly be expected to turn up to an adventure in his adventuring kit - another fact Tolkien doesn't see fit to mention. FFS, this is the leader of the dwarves on an adventure to kill a dragon ("we aim to take our curses to Smaug" or somesuch, is what he says) and until he meets the trolls we don't even know what weapon he carries. But here people are asserting this means he doesn't have one?

    I see a lot of complaining for the sake of it, and a real lack of understanding of the text.

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  49. @Faustusnotes, I will take your criticism, thank you. It would not be the first time my memory is out of sync with reality, and I'm sure there's plenty more to come where that one came from. I am now going to go reread The Hobbit to get my understanding straight. Thank you for stimulating me to return to one of my favorite books.

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  50. Faustus, the actual specific details are unimportant. Knowing whether Fili and Kili have yellow beards or not does not constitute "understanding of the text". The real reason they're complaining is that the mood of the teaser images doesn't match the mood of the book.
    Do you really think that if Thorin up there had a sky-blue hood and a gold chain that people wouldn't be complaining? Of course not, because those details are unimportant. As you say, many people are even getting those details wrong (including yourself). People just like to fixate on details so they have something concrete to complain about.
    I don't think these pictures necessarily reflect the feel of the movie as a whole - they're intended to be eyecatching. But the way Thorin and some of the other dwarves are dressed does evoke a certain mood, at odds with that of The Hobbit, and if the whole movie was in that mood then I would be disappointed. Other people are just more pessimistic than I am.

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  51. My problem is that if he's Thorin Oakenshield ... where's the shield? I mean, I don't have a problem with dwarves using two-handed weapons ... EXCEPT FOR THE ONE WHOSE NAME INDICATES OTHERWISE!

    Does that mean everyone whose name is Smith should wield a hammer and carry an anvil?

    This thread really proves that the complainers know very little about the source material and are privileging their memory of it over the book itself. There is no focus on beards in the story; no information about weaponry; the Dwarves aren't intended to be "nordic" (this is only in the silmarillion); Thorin Oakenshield isn't supposed to have a shield; Kili and Fili are minors, and may not even have beards; and in any case the book doesn't provide sufficient description to enable even a basic casting decision.

    Really, before you complain that Jackson isn't being "true to the text" you should check just how much text there is to be true to, and try to clarify how much of what you think is in the text is actually just your own post-D&D imagination.


    Thank you!

    I suspected that the notion of dwarves looking like Santa Claus or Burl Ives is a fantasy
    brain bug,
    which is to say, an erroneous cliche.

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  52. These are Wagnerian dwarves--something for goblins to truly hate and fear.

    This still stands out as a wonderful comment. I'm increasingly happy that I'm not being served a platter of Gimli clones (at least visually) for the new Hobbit.

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  53. I mean, it would be so much better if the dwarves looked like this:

    LINK

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  54. @Elfdart - "Does that mean everyone whose name is Smith should wield a hammer and carry an anvil?"

    Thank you! Also, for anyone who thinks that names like 'Oakenshield' are meant to be literal, I recommend doing a little research into the use of Kennings in Germanic (including Anglo-Saxon) poetry (the Anthony Faulkes translation of "The Prose Edda" by Snorri Sturlusson, is the most available one which includes Skaldskarpamal - where kennings are greatly covered - and Hattatal as well as the Gylfaginning).

    'Oakenshield' as a Kenning would reference that, as a King, he is as much a defense of his people as a shield made from the Holiest of trees... not that he actually carries a shield.

    Actually... a bit of looking into many of the primary sources that informed Tolkein's work would probably benefit lots of people on both sides of the 'Peter Jackson got it right/wrong' argument.

    The cultic practices revolving around the Alfar (Old Norse 'shining ones' cognate with 'elf'), the lack of Dvergar ('dwarf') cults - but the active rituals to invoke both as spiritual beings with a physical ontology (textual and archeological evidence of this practice continuing into the current century in Scandinavia) can help show the 'real world' relationship between them that informed Tolkein's fictional use of them as 'races' in his fantasy world.

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  55. The dwarves should all look like this:
    http://media.photobucket.com/image/monster%20manual%20dwarf/Black_Majik/ADD/Monster%20Manual/ADD003MonsterManual050Dwarf.jpg
    with a few minor modifications.

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  56. @Osskorrei, nice point about the kennings. Tolkien knew his Anglo-Saxon linguistic practices.

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  57. From the initial encounter in the Hobbit:

    Dwalin:
    It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, and very bright eyes under his dark-green hood. As soon a the door was opened, he pushed inside, just as if he had been expected. He hung his hooded cloak on the nearest peg, and “Dwalin at your service!” he said with a low bow.

    Balin
    Instead there was a very old-looking dwarf on the step with a white beard and a scarlet hood; and he too hopped inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited. “I see they have begun to arrive already,” he said when he caught sight of Dwalin’s green hood hanging up. He hung his red one next to it, and “Balin at your service!” he said with his hand on his breast.

    Kili and Fili
    It was two more dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards; and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade. In they hopped, as soon as the door began to open-Bilbo was hardly surprised at all.
    “What can I do for you, my dwarves?” he said. “Kili at your service!” said the one. “And Fili!” added the other; and they both swept off their blue hoods and bowed.

    Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin
    Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others.

    Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin
    Let me introduce Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and especially Thorin!” “At your service!” said Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur standing in a row. Then they hung up two yellow hoods and a pale green one; and also a sky-blue one with a long silver tassel. This last belonged to Thorin, an enormously important dwarf, in fact no other than the great Thorin Oakenshield himself, who was not at all pleased at falling flat on Bilbo’s mat with Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur on top of him. For one thing Bombur was immensely fat and heavy.

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  58. There are very specific things about the Thorin photo that scream "Klingon". The hair, eye brows and expression really resemble Robert o Reilly as Gowron. The shoulder sash, black fur upper arms and especially the shape and material of the black leather embossed vambraces closely resemble the Klingon warrior costumes created for ST:TMP and reused constantly thru the TNG era.
    Yes it utterly trivial but it is not an inaccurate observation.

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  59. I think in this picture, Thorin shouldn't be holding a sword, but rather a flute, stood on one leg and be accompanied by the guitar riff from "Aqualung"

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  60. >"These are Wagnerian dwarves--something for goblins to truly hate and fear."<

    I agree with this 100%. Gimli was so comical because of script AND depiction.

    I have no idea what a Nordic-style dwarf is? Do you mean 19th century depictions from the Poetic Edda? Did you mean this in any sort of scholarly way, because even the 19th century depictions are disputed? Some dwarves are described as essentially being dark-skinned ugly elves.

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  61. I wonder if that sword is supposed to be Orcrist?

    It is: look closely and you can see the runes on the sword. They spell out Orcrist. As with the trilogy, the people making the props on the film do a stellar job of the little things (even if I might disagree with some of their designs).

    Gimli in the LotR movie was a comic side kick--which is what happens when you make dwarves rotund long bearded short Santa-claus.

    No, a comic side kick is what you get when you have the mighty warrior doing pratfalls, engaging in lowbrow humour, acting like an imbecil, spouting off cringe-worthy one-liners, and utilizing lowest common denominator "he's short, so it's HILARIOUS" humour.

    This thread really proves that the complainers know very little about the source material and are privileging their memory of it over the book itself. There is no focus on beards in the story... Kili and Fili are minors, and may not even have beards; and in any case the book doesn't provide sufficient description to enable even a basic casting decision

    It was two more dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards; and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade.

    Dude, if you're going to call out people on not knowing the details of the source material, then you could at the very least have the foresight to do so yourself. Be the bigger man and all that.

    In any case, let's forget all about fidelity to the source material. Let's just look at the dwarves on their own terms, as if they're original creations for an original movie. Can anyone seriously, with a straight face, tell me that the dwarf with the preposterous triangular bouffant, the one with a big hunk of metal in his forehead, and Bombur's garlic-clove beard is truly superior to the little Tolkien described? Really?

    Because to me, Ori, Bombur and Bifur look laughable. The rest apart from Kili look pretty good to me. Oin, Gloin, Dori, Balin and Dwalin are all great, minor issues aside. Fili, Nori and Bofur could do with longer beards, but they look alright. Even Thorin, though I miss a longer beard (he's part of the Longbeard family, after all). But those three are just ridiculous.

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  62. These Dwarves look fine. You guys can go back to Snow White.

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  63. Retired gigolo?


    "Hey ladies . . . you know, there's a reason why they call me the King . . . under the mountain."

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  64. Is there anyone here who will state with a straight face that an adaptation of The Hobbit (a book I read all by myself when I was five) should feature PG-13 scary-looking man-dwarves instead of child-friendly dwarven and hobbit characters? Is there anybody here who would be happy taking kindergarten kids to see these movies, the way they're shaping up, and would you really be confident that even the good guys wouldn't give them nightmares?

    I'm sure we were all reading military history when we were five, too, but The Story of the Civil War didn't feature Matthew Brady post-battle photographs of bloated cadavers. You could talk about the horror of war without that.

    The achievement of Tolkien was to write a realistic fantasy of war and adventure (with a soupcon of philology fun) that was approachable for kids without talking down to them. Jackson apparently doesn't give any thought to that at all.

    And of course any two-hour movie is too long for five year olds, so the very structure of his (two!) movies proclaims his hatred and despite of his kid-audience.

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  65. "Can anyone seriously, with a straight face, tell me that the dwarf with the preposterous triangular bouffant, the one with a big hunk of metal in his forehead, and Bombur's garlic-clove beard is truly superior to the little Tolkien described? Really?"

    Given that Tolkien described little more than the color of their hoods, yes I can tell you that with a straight face.

    "And of course any two-hour movie is too long for five year olds, so the very structure of his (two!) movies proclaims his hatred and despite of his kid-audience."

    Who said it was intended for five-year-olds? The book certainly isn't meant for five-year-olds. Further, since you haven't seen the movie, and indeed it hasn't even been filmed, let alone rated, you obviously have no idea what ages it will be appropriate for.

    It's as if you guys are so determined to hate on this film sight unseen that you're inventing reasons to gripe out of whole-cloth.

    For what it's worth, Tolkien toyed with the idea of re-writing The Hobbit with the more mature tone of the LotR, since he recognized that the two books appear to take place in entirely different worlds. The producers of the film seem to be following through on Tolkien's idea, which they pretty much have to since they need the final product to fit with the LotR films.

    You guys might prefer to see a live action Snow White, but that's really not in the cards with this project.

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  66. The level of wilful misunderstanding and misattribution of motive on both sides of this argument is really quite bad. Think I'll just leave well enough alone from now on.

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  67. I don't understand why some people now claim that faustus didn't get the details right himself - his reply to James's correction makes clear that James misunderstood his words.

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  68. galip - because when fanboys misunderstand the book they love in a way that conveniently supports their childhood image of it, they just had an oversight; but when anyone else suggests a nuanced interpretation of the whole corpus, they're deliberately wrecking the canon.

    suburbanbanshee, The Hobbit is not for five year olds and you shouldn't take your 5 year old to see it.

    formerlawyer, quoting the source material (how very lawyerly of you!) gives us this insightful moment from Tolkien:

    off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others

    So Tolkien sees fit to mention that 4 of the Dwarves put their hands into their belts (at least not their pants!) but doesn't consider it important to tell us whether or not the beards were there too.

    Yet the complainers are whingeing that not enough Dwarves have beards tucked into their belts.

    So why should we think "long-bearded Dwarves" are relevant to Tolkien's view of what a Dwarf looks like?

    In fact, why should we think Tolkien considers eye colour, physique, voice, gait, manner, facial features, clothing style - in fact, anything that makes an individual unique - is relevant to understanding 12/13 of the characters of his story?

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  69. Thank you! Also, for anyone who thinks that names like 'Oakenshield' are meant to be literal...

    Oakenshield is a personal nickname Thorin earned at the battle of Anazulbizar. JRRT considered this information worthy of a footnote.

    Source: LOTR:ROTK, Appendix A (p438 in my edition).

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  70. Cool info regarding the 'Oakenshield' nickname. But, it still has a kenning-like aspect that precludes the continued literal meaning (i.e., I don't think anyone expects him to carry and use the oak branch he defended himself with at Anazulbizar for the rest of his life)

    Or, specifically in regards to the comments in this thread: His nickname shouldn't be a rationalization for more "Jackson gets it wrong" hatred because Thorin *needs* a shield (instead of a two-handed sword) in his character design.

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  71. I've given up on getting worked up about movie adaptations. It all started when I watched the Super Mario Brothers movie when I was a kid. It wasn't that the movie was nothing like the games that bothered me. It was that it was just a horrible movie, despite having Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper, all actors that I love(d).

    Whether it's good or bad, because it is presented in a different medium, I don't sweat the details and enjoy (or hate) the final product based on what it is, not what it's based on. Don't get me wrong, if something follows the beloved story/video game/etc it was based on, it does make me appreciate it more.

    In the end, I don't care what color the hero's eyes are, how long (and what color) the beards are, or that the webshooters are organic instead of being a nifty gadget. In the end, if it's an enjoyable film I'm happy.

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  72. So one thing that does all of this pictures an injustice is both the camera and lack of scale.

    Frankly, I've seen the characters on set, sets that are "oversized" and quite awkward to be on. The actors out of costume in Bagsend look quite stereotypical of dwarfs, as we all expect them to be.

    The studio should have put the chairs from Bilbo's dining room in the photos. You would have a different idea of all of them... save the last. Thorin's "portrait" cannot be properly framed.

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  73. A little late with the comment here, but this is my criticism:

    These dwarves are all suffering from the Star Trek/Doctor Who alien problem - they are just human beings barely tweaked. Sure, they'll be shorter and may be wearing fat suits, but their arms and legs and proportions and etc are all going to be human.

    Rankin and Bass has that on the live action stuff - their nonhumans actually looked non-human. The dwarves were fundamentally different in their bodily shapes than an average human. Their wood elves were terrifying!

    There is nothing about that photograph that makes the person portrayed not look like a generic fantasy bad-ass.

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  74. To follow up a post that nobody will read: I went back and looked at some of the other dwarf photos again, some of the dwarves DO have oddly proportioned bodies. Bravo for them.

    I'll need to find another argument to justify my dislike of the bad-ass fantasy hero dwarves dressed as Black Metal poseurs.

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  75. tim h, that's a good point but I wouldn't be singing the praises of Rankin/Bass re: the dwarves in that aspect, because to me their Dwarves all look the same and, furthermore, like something out of a Nazi pamphlet about the eternal jew. There's no variation in their faces at all, which is an interesting way to represent non-humans ("they all look the same to me").

    But I agree, I would like the non-humans to look slightly more ... non-human. Although I really liked the Orcs in LoTR, they were ultimately just humans in very cool costume. Note though that Jackson did a very good job of making gollum non-human but this required a huge amount of digital effort (and gollum is roundly hated by the LoTR complainers).

    But I bet if Jackson did that, people here would break out the old "I ate cgi" arguments so popular amongst grognards, and start whining on about "too much cgi."

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  76. A photo of all 13 dwarves has been released -- it looks like a composite image of the existing photos, except for a look at Thorin's full body. He looks less Klingonish when he's not posing with the sword.

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  77. Peter Jackson's video diaries show little bits of the shooting, including some snippets of the dwarves dining at Bag End, Gollum's cave, a smidgen of Rivendell, and the battle with the trolls (clearly these dwarves are not going without a fight). Costumes are the same, and we get a much clearer feel for some of the characterizations. Glad to see the dwarves still have their musical instruments! (A detail Tolkien chided himself for leaving quite unexplained.)

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  78. At some point trying to read through this thread just made my eyes glaze over, so I don't know if this point was made elsewhere, but...

    Guillermo Del Toro was originally set to direct this film, then pulled out, after at least some pre-production had begun. Jackson has been credited as producer since day one, but only became director after they couldn't find anyone else for the job.

    The point is this, if you've seen anything else by Del Toro, you would recognize his signature all over these dwarves. Blame him, if you don't like it.

    oh, and btw, they are indeed making a live-action 'Snow White', so perhaps knowing that, they WANT 'edgy'. Just saying.

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  79. I took Faustusnotes's suggestion and reread The Hobbit to get my understanding straight. Now that it's straight, I'll share what I learned with the rest of the thread.

    The dwarves in the book look like little old men with long beards. It says so when they climb the trees to escape the wargs.

    "You would have laughed (from a safe distance), if you had seen the dwarves sitting up in the trees with their beards dangling down, like old gentlemen gone cracked and playing at being boys."

    He does not make an exception for Fili or Kili. All of the dwarves look like old gentlemen with long beards.

    Peter Jackson is not obliged to adapt this novel with complete fidelity, but that's very different from claiming that the early released photos of the dwarves do represent fidelity, as some have claimed, because Tolkien did not describe them well enough. He did, he just didn't do all the describing in the opening chapter when they first show up.

    Although characters like Beorn who appear "onscreen" mainly in a single chapter are described all at once in detail, it seems Tolkien chose to spread out the descriptions of his protagonists, a little here, a little there.

    Thank you again to Faustusnotes for stimulating me to return to one of my favorite books.

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  80. Since someone brought up Bass, here's hoping Jackson took a leaf from that to re-envision elves for the new film as they were always meant to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWk37qVIk9I&#t=1m32s

    Lovely accent.

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