5

After the goblin ordeal, when the dwarves and Gandalf are waiting and wondering where Bilbo is, in the movie, he shows up after taking off the Ring and gives a great speech something along the lines of:

I know you've always doubted me. And you're right! I miss my books! And my arm-chair. And my garden. You see, that's where I belong. That's home. And that's... why I came back (looking somewhat embarrassed)... Because you don't have a home. It was taken from you. But I'm going to help you take it back, if I can. (cue the dwarves looking at him with new-found respect and Gandalf making approving noises)

When I watched the movies last, I had not read the book for many years, so I assumed that this was in the original, since the rest of the movies are just pure torture of nonsensical garbage (with the exception of the opening part when the dwarfs show up in his Hobbit-hole, which I remember liking almost as much as in the book).

Quite surprised and shocked I was indeed when this never happened as I re-read this great book recently. This seems like it should have been in the book, and for years, I was looking forward to read his movie lines verbatim in print. But... nope. Unless I completely missed it somehow. I don't think so, however.

Is it known why this was added to the movies? Did they get this from somewhere, or just invent it for some reason? Maybe it moved me way more than it was supposed to, but I find it to be basically the most important and characteristic thing that Bilbo ever said. Except he apparently never did...?

3
  • 11
    Because they needed an ending for the first film
    – OrangeDog
    Mar 25, 2022 at 16:29
  • 12
    And beyond that, they needed lots of extra material to make one book with a relatively simple story (compared to the LOTR) into three movies.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Mar 25, 2022 at 16:44
  • Been a few months since I watched it, but I'm pretty sure he said, "I miss my books"
    – zedmelon
    Mar 26, 2022 at 13:39

1 Answer 1

16

The whole concept of the dwarves nobly reclaiming their home is basically an invention (or at least an elaboration) for the movies, so the motivation for this speech isn't there.

Although they have lost their home in the book, there is only passing mention of re-settling it, or of direct action against Smaug. It's never really clear what their plan is, but it involves hiring Bilbo as a burglar, so the emphasis is strongly on stealing back some of the treasure while the dragon is still there. (The plan in the movies is even less clear, since they still hire him as a burglar, but talk frequently about moving back in.)

The movie attempted something which Tolkien himself once started and abandoned - changing the tone of a light-hearted children's adventure story to better match the adult tone of the epic Lord of the Rings. One of the ways they did this was to place greater emphasis on the dwarves' status as refugees from the Lonely Mountain.

The other thing the movies did, of course, was stretch out the action across several hours, and three parts. That led to several Dramatic Moments of Character Development to keep the momentum going and provide shape to each movie. This speech, well-written as it is, exists to serve that stretched run-time.

4
  • 1
    they do want the treasure but Thorin also tells Bilbo: " we still mean to get it [the treasure] back, and to bring our curses home to Smaug - if we can." - so they definitely want to get rid of Smaug as well
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 25, 2022 at 18:17
  • 4
    @NKCampbell True, it is perhaps better to call it an "elaboration" than an "invention" - the dwarves in the book would certainly like revenge on Smaug, it's just not painted as their primary motivation for going there.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 25, 2022 at 18:31
  • The second movie's opening scene provides more context (based on a scene from the appendices to LotR) for the purpose of the expedition. In short, Gandalf wants Thorin to unite the Dwarves to oust Smaug, but Thorin says he needs to reclaim the Arkenstone to do so. Phase 1: Get the Arkenstone Phase 2: Unite the Dwarves Phase 3: Kill Smaug. (Note this deviates somewhat from the book, but in a way that I find, surprisingly, not ridiculous.) Smaug being killed before needing to execute Phase 2 was an unexpected outcome.
    – chepner
    Mar 26, 2022 at 15:23
  • @chepner Indeed, I actually think giving the dwarves motivation beyond naked greed, and for Bilbo beyond curiosity about the world, is one of the better changes made by these movies.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 26, 2022 at 19:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.