Peter Jackson – Genius!

PJ & RA

I have been watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and am truly admiring the choices made by PJ for Thorin. He so clearly had a romantic hero image in his mind for Thorin. Choosing to feature Thorin right in the beginning of the film, with the attack by Smaug on Erebor. Focusing on the handsome young prince.

young prince thorin

Showing him saving Balin, then Thror. Calling to King Thranduil for help. Leading his people away from Erebor. And then the crowning glory – Thorin at the anvil!
thorin smith                    thorin picture anvil

That mighty left forearm! That hammer swinging to hit the anvil! The concentration on the dwarf’s face as he swings the hammer! <sigh> What a man dwarf! I can truly understand all the fan fiction dedicated to Blacksmith/Thorin!

Then PJ brings Thorin to Bilbo‘s home. Knock Knock! “Gandalf”, says Thorin, in his deep gravelly voice, with a sweet twinkle in his eye. “So this is the hobbit?”, he says. “He looks more like a grocer than a burgler!” But his eyes are saying something different.

Thorin and bilbo

To me his eyes are saying, I know you are scared, but trust me, it will be okay. I care about what happens to you.

Then there’s the bit where Balin tells the story of The Battle of Azanulzibar where Thorin cuts Azog‘s arm off and protects himself using an oak branch as a shield. Then back to the present, where Thorin turns to his Company, and everyone stands up in awe at his majesty.

thorin majestic

Our King!!

More to come. This is just part one of a longer posting I am working on about Thorin.

Thank you RichardArmitageNet.Com for the pictures.

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About NYCPAT

From New York City. Anglophile, theater-goer, love books, music and LIFE.
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22 Responses to Peter Jackson – Genius!

  1. Pingback: Richard Armitage Legenda 96: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage

  2. kelbel75 says:

    you think Thorin’s eyes are saying “trust me, it will be okay” to Bilbo? his eyes are rather soft and warm there, but I get the impression that he’s being a bit condescending & scoffing at Bilbo.

    I agree that the whole beginning sequence is really good! it’s important for us to see that backstory, to see Thorin when he was footloose and fancy-free (*laughs*) before the weight of the world was placed on his shoulders 😦 and then there’s the fact that he’s dressed in that delicious blue, which very much appeals to me 🙂

    • Marie Astra says:

      I guess he is a bit condescending to Bilbo, but he is to me reassuring as well. He certainly isn’t being hostile. I think in that first sequence at Bag End, Thorin is set up as being THE LEADER of the party and that he has a softer side (smiling at Kili when he gives him his cloak) and then his interactions with Bilbo and with Balin.

      • kelbel75 says:

        he is very warm and polite in that opening scene, isn’t he? I like it (a lot) but it always confused me, because he clearly doesn’t think Bilbo can hack it later on. maybe he was just being polite? (I don’t think he’s being hostile either, more like patting a cute dog on the head 🙂 )

      • Marie Astra says:

        Oh, Thorin just blusters about stuff, but he is clearly not committed to being a tough guy with Bilbo. He saves him on the mountain road and he is clearly concerned about him. I see that Thorin has a big heart, even though he has a rough outer shell.

      • kelbel75 says:

        Thorin does have a big heart 🙂 you can see it in his interactions with his nephews and with Balin. and no matter your sense of responsibility, you wouldn’t go to the lengths that he did in regards to his people, if you didn’t deeply care for them.

      • Hm…hope it’s okay to jump in. Please remember all of the follwing is just my interpretation of the opening scenes of TH. YMMV and probably does.
        I am still a bit confused by that first meeting of Thorin and Bilbo. Thorin really gets set up as the leader of the group by the simple fact that he is the last to arrive. There is this big ominous silence after his – rather loud and echoing – knocks on the door, which bring to mind the formal announcement knocks that preceded royal guests at official events. He is wearing the royal blue – and of course that first scene outside the door. Thorin doesn’t fall into the house, he doesn’t push his way in and he doesn’t give one of those ridiculously cute bows. He is of no one’s service. What we get instead is a profile shot, then a regal turn of his head and then the deep, sexy voice. He even admits to being lost – or rather he admonishes Gandalf for not giving better instructions to find the house. After slowly stepping inside, he briefly but carefully checks and acknowledges the dwarves, even smiles at his favourite nephew and – quite regally again – hands over his cloak.
        Next we have the introduction: Gandalf presents Bilbo and the way he does it, once again gives Thorin his status. Something RA confirmed in those same words when he described his first day working with Sir Ian. So far, so good. The next bit is the one that confuses me. Because when Thorin walks round Bilbo and inspects him, he seems not only very condescending, he almost acts like he wants to buy Bilbo (horse fair, anyone?). His remark about the “grocer” clearly puts Bilbo down, before dismissing him entirely when Thorin turns away and walks into the back of the house – as if he owned it (not that any of the other dwarves and even Gandalf didn’t do the same).
        But I am not sure if any of the above is a sign of Thorin showing disdain or whether he is cloaking his disappointment at seeing the person Gandalf says is an integral part of the dwarves’ quest – a small, insignificant, even rather timid hobbit. What I definitely don’t see is either hostility or gentleness, let alone reassurance. He makes fun of someone smaller and ostensibly weaker, which does not sit well with the regal, protective image the opening scenes hinted at.
        While Thorin’s entrance got me hooked, that following scene almost put me off him again. What a bastard, was my first reaction. It still is hard for me to conciliate those two. My only explanation is that PJ not only wanted to give the Tolkien purists some hint of the cantankerous Thorin of the books, but also show right from the start of the movies that there are many sides to Thorin’s character that don’t always harmonise.
        There is not only pride, but also arrogance in him, probably too much of both. I am not saying he isn’t entitled to both; after all he built a good home for his people, something he can be proud of (even though he isn’t). Arrogance can also very often be a sign of someone hiding a deep pain. In Thorin’s case it could be the loss of Erebor, the death/disappearance of grandfather, brother and father.
        So, yes, the beginning of TH gives me conflicting images of someone very much a leader, but also someone very much at odds with himself. For me both get confirmed later in the movie, but again, it is only my take.
        Eeek – my comment is longer than the post that caused it. Sorry. 😦

      • Marie Astra says:

        Thanks so much for your comment, Bryni! I know what you mean about the arrogance, but I went back and watched it. It’s such a short scene that any interpretation is probably making too much of it. Thorin is certainly puffed up when he comes in. He’s annoyed at Gandalf for not giving him better directions. When he sees Bilbo, Bilbo certainly doesn’t give him “status”. Bilbo doesn’t bow to him or offer him service. I don’t think Thorin’s performance is about Bilbo, I think he’s showing off for his dwarves. He looks back at them to see if they approve of his comments. But the way he looks at Bilbo, the look on Armitage’s face, doesn’t go along with the words he is saying. He is looking at Bilbo with a friendly look in his eyes. Bilbo challenges him right from the start. Thorin says there’s a mark on his door, and Bilbo right away gets defensive and argues that there is no mark on the door. I would think Thorin wouldn’t expect to be challenged like that. Bilbo is in his face right away, showing Thorin he doesn’t consider Thorin to be important, despite the obvious respect that Gandalf is giving him. That opening scene made quite an impression on me and got me into Armitageworld, so I guess I wasn’t put off by Thorin’s seeming arrogance. I saw something else on his face that drew me in.
        LOL what a lot to say about a scene that takes about 2 minutes!

      • *LOL* I agree that it is only a very small scene at the beginning of a very long story. But it is also fun to watch and try to imagine what both PJ and RA were aiming for. Because everything I have learned about PJ et al. leads me to believe that there is no scene – however small – that does not have meaning. The absolutely great part of it is that we all can glean something different from it and no one can say we’re wrong. 🙂

        It’s definitely fun to see where our different interpretations take us. I am curious to see what else you have noted about our sexy dwarf and would like to compare it to what I think, if you don’t mind that is, that I may have a completely different way of looking at things.

      • Marie Astra says:

        I love a good Tolkien/PJ discussion! 🙂

      • Oh dear, you don’t know what you are letting yourself in for. 😉 I love to talk.

  3. AgzyM says:

    Sir PJ clearly had a vision for Thorin and I think it took courage to somewhat move the character from the book. Although RA’s dwarf is still proud and noble, can I just say how happy I am that he’s not an old f*rt. I’m not being ageist, I just like the idea that the Durin prince could go on his quest without having to bring his walking frame with him 😉

    • Casting RA was already the first indication for me that PJ and PB had a very clearly defined image of what kind of a character “their” Thorin was going to be. Instead of going with the expected, older choice of actor, they went for a possibly somewhat more audience-friendly, younger man. Because, and I know this is again just how I feel about the issue, for all that they are young, cute and sexy, Kili and Fili just don’t have enough presence in the story to carry it along. There was never any doubt they’d get their large fanbase, but without RA, I firmly believe, TH wouldn’t have been the huge success it turned into. RA didn’t just bring his already established fanbase, he also convinced many who opposed his choice initially.

      A series of movies this large needs a large central character to support it. You may argue that the title claims Bilbo as that central character, but I’d like to hold against it that Bilbo is just too nice, too much “us” to give the audience just that little bit more of a kick of enjoyment. Tortured Thorin, however, just like Aragorn before him, is another matter. It isn’t just that RA is sexy and they wisely let that shine through the prosthetics, he is also one hell of an actor who tried to bring his vision of Thorin to life. Salute to PJ for realizing this and letting it happen/encouraging/building on it. Like you said: genius.

      • AgzyM says:

        I give Sir PJ A LOT of slack, especially over all those DVD’s he releases. You buy one and there’s another with more extra features right around the corner, but he really has done the Tolkien stories justice, despite what the T family thinks. I cant wait to see where Thorin goes next. We know where he’s going, I want to see where he’s “going” emotionally. It’s so exciting!

      • Exactly. 🙂 We already know the rest: Bilbo-Smaug-Bard = poooof! 😉 But how will Thorin react to what is going to happen/how will RA play what is going to happen?

        Btw, I believe it’s not PJ who is responsible for the various releases, but that money-grabbing monster of a production/release company, Warner Bros, who want to milk the viewers for all they are worth. 😦

      • AgzyM says:

        I know it’s not him, that’s probably I blame “Sir PJ” and not Jackson himself 😉 He took a chance on Richard, saw something special in him, and Aidan Turner, and Lee Pace and Dean O’Gorman, and all of the other wonderful cast. That proves what a genius he really is

      • Servetus says:

        Really? Of *course* Wingnut Films and or Jackson get a cut on all of those releases. They’d be silly not to have negotiated that and Peter Jackson has proven that one thing he’s not is naive.

      • Servetus says:

        For instance, just browsing around I learn that PJ got $20M for King Kong upfront plus 20% of box office and that was eight years ago now. Of course now, with TH he’d have different kinds of deals and cuts regarding merchandise relating to the production.

      • Oh, he’s certainly not stupid and I am sure he’ll get a more than fair share, but since the very same thing is happening with other movies – the bigger they are, the more versions you’ll find eventually – it would be odd if PJ were behind this. 😉 He can’t be everywhere, can he?

      • Servetus says:

        Absolutely he plays a role — he’s, for instance, the person who determines what kind of content will be available for it. (Making the vlogs, for instance, or capturing other materials that will be included as extras. He’s the reason that four different companies can release four different versions of the TH DVD with four different additional contents. Why would he create that material if he had no incentive?) Let’s not forget this is the man who brought the sovereign country of New Zealand to its knees by forcing it to suspend its labor laws with the force of his voice and his threats. Of course he acts in his own interest, and getting more stuff bought that he gets a cut of definitely lies in his interest.

  4. guylty says:

    I agree, PJ AND Philippa Boyens really gave a nice twist of romantic heroicism to Thorin. I am intrigued to know how much influence RA also had on this characterisation. He has said a few times that the process of characterising Thorin was collaborative, and we know that he suggested bits and pieces that were indeed taken on by PJ (the oak branch for instance). Did he exert any influence? Did he play the scenes with different intensities of warmth, valour, arrogance or worry for PJ to choose from? Intriguing, intriguing.

  5. Pingback: Second Viewing: DOS | Obsessive Behavior

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