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As far as I can tell that the hobbit movies don't seem to be necessarily true to the book.

For instance I have heard that duel between Sauron and Gandalf didn't happen, and that the dwarves didn't even face the dragon.

Could the deviations be that extreme? and what are they?

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16  
It might be easier to list the similarities... –  dmckee Feb 5 at 2:25
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@dmckee 13 Dwarves, a Hobbit and a Wizard? –  Terry Chia Feb 5 at 2:45
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@TerryChia and a dragon –  James Khoury Feb 5 at 3:08
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@Yoda Do or do not there is no "Give up" –  James Khoury Feb 5 at 3:41
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Well, I for one am quite certain there were no product placements for Sony computers or Old Navy clothes. Also the bikini-wrestling elves is rather crude and counter to the spirit of the novel. –  John O Feb 5 at 4:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Here are the main deviations of the second movie from the original source material:

  • Tauriel - a female elf was created for the film to act as a love interest and a source of tension
  • Legolas - is not present in the book, but since his father is Thranduil (the elf-king of Mirkwood) it isn't surprising that he would at least appear in the movie. However, the extent to which he follows the dwarves has no reference to the book
  • The barrels - while Bilbo does engineer the dwarves' escape using discard wine barrels, they are sealed in and there is no epic chase by orcs at this point in the book
  • The mountain tombs and the duel with the necromancer - while Gandalf does disappear frequently throughout the book, it is only vaguely hinted at what he is up to
  • In the book, the dwarves are being pursued by goblins from their encounter in the Misty Mountains - not by orcs that have been dispatched by the necromancer.
  • All of the dwarves leave Laketown
  • Bilbo doesn't discover the door, and he is the only one who encounters the dragon - meaning the whole epic chase/fight at the end of the second movie is also a creation of Jackson
  • The introduction of Beorn in the book reflected the introduction of the dwarves at Bag End - and Beorn's shapeshifting form is not as prominent in the story.

Exactly how extreme you feel these deviations are, is entirely up to you. Personally, I don't think anything added to the movie was to the detriment of the original source or Tolkien's vision.

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Gandalf does indeed inflitrate Dol Guldur, but I think it was many years before the events of the Hobbit and he was undiscovered (presumably) –  SSumner Feb 5 at 3:40
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@Yoda - there is no description of Gandalf directly encountering the necromancer in the book of The Hobbit - it is merely inferred, mostly from The Lord of the Rings books. –  HorusKol Feb 5 at 3:45
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Bilbo does name his sword "Sting"; you're thinking of Glamdring and Orcrist, which are the only swords Elrond looks at in both book and movie. Bilbo doesn't even know his blade is elvish until it starts glowing in the goblin tunnels! –  jwodder Feb 5 at 5:36
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Re: Gandalf, in the book he leaves at the entrance to Mirkwood for "some pressing business away south", and at the end we learn that he "had been to a great council of the white wizards ... and that they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold". It's not vaguely hinted at, it's definitely in there, but it happens behind-the-scenes. –  Darth Satan Feb 5 at 7:56
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I'm such an idiot! I must have read The Hobbit a dozen times, and never realised that Gandalf uses the same trick of introducing the Dwarves slowly on Bilbo as he did on Beorn. My only defence is that when I first read it I was quite young, and just assumed they were all coming from different places, and so I've read it the same way ever since. Thank you! –  BoBTFish Feb 5 at 11:29

Great list by HorusKol. More items to add:

  • I don't think there was a struggle in Laketown between Bard and the "Master of Laketown", or his evil henchmen.
  • There was no Radagast, other than a mention of him.
  • There was no scene in Dol Guldur, nor did Gandalf fight the ghostly manifestation of Sauron.
  • Most of the scenes with the Orcs never occurred.
  • I don't recall any scene or mention of Gandalf going to the tombs of the 9 human ring-wraiths and discovering that the necromancer (Sauron) had raised them from the dead and turned them into what we know from LOTR as Nazgul.
  • Bilbo never took off his ring in Smaug's presence.
  • The dwarves did not start up gold furnaces to fight Smaug.
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I'm just reading it now, but I haven't finished, so this won't exactly be a complete list.

  • Bilbo found the ring in the Goblin caves in the Misty Mountains, and it was in complete darkness, so he had not even known what he had picked up or what magical qualities it had.
  • Beorn isn't in his bear form when the Dwarves show up, nor is he chasing them. Gandalf led the group to his house, and then made them arrive every five minutes in groups of two as he told their story of how they ended up on that side of the Misty Mountains - with Bombur coming last as he would suffice for two.
  • Legolas and Tauriel never show up; in the book, it's Bilbo who fights and manipulates all the giant spiders. He also names his dagger/sword "Sting" when the spiders think that it is a stinger on the side of his body, not because it stings when they get stabbed by it.
  • When the Dwarves escaped their encapturement by the Elves, there were no orcs/goblins chasing after them
  • Fili and Kili are supposed to have large beards, and are also supposed to have lighter hair, as described in the very beginning of the book. Fili only loses his beard after he was captured by the spiders and had to cut it off because of the spider web tangled in it.

As I said before, I have not quite finished the book, so I don't know of any other possible differences, but these are some that came to mind right away.

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Now that you mention it, the absence of beards is actually quite remarkable. In the book, beards have a big status significance to the Dwarves ("may your beard grow ever longer", "may his beard wither"). –  leftaroundabout Feb 5 at 18:10

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