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If I could have adapted The Hobbit . . .

Several years ago, when I learned that Peter Jackson was helming a screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I found myself scribbling out a plan (not quite an outline) how I would handle the challenging process of producing a prequel to a successful film trilogy, knowing that the book had been written long before the author had even imagined the story behind that trilogy.

That is, in Tolkien’s imagination, The Hobbit came first.

For many filmgoers, however, the Lord of the Rings would be their first taste of the Beowulf scholar’s fantastic realm.

Tolkien himself provides the key.  In the short narrative, “The Quest for Erebor” published by his son Christopher in  Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, he reports of an exchange that took place in Minas Tirith shortly after the coronation of King Elessar.  Some members of the fellowship had asked Gandalf how he had come to ask Bilbo to join the thirteen dwarfs in their quest to recover their treasure — and their long-lost mountain home — from the dragon Smaug (i.e. the quest that takes place in the movie released today).

That is where I would begin it, with the members of the fellowship sitting around in a house (or a pub?) in the restored capital of Gondor, asking Gandalf that very question.  We would fade from his telling not to the first scene in the book (i.e., The Hobbit), with the wizard approaching the hobbit at his home, but to the scene presented in that tale, with him encountering Thorin just outside the village of Bree.

Thorin would show some reluctance to including the hobbit, perhaps familiar with Bilbo’s very bourgeois and bland father.  Durin’s heir would eventually defer to the Maia whom Manwë himself had dispatched to Middle-earth.

Even as he accepts the wizard’s choice, the dwarf leader would often find himself at odds with Bilbo.  The film would present the two as almost opposites, with a tension between them similar to that we often see in cop movies with such pairings.

Now that I have outlined how I would have adopted the classic book, I am prepared to see the movie.  I’ve tried not to watch the previews, but have seen in at least one an image of Cate Blanchett reprising her role as Galadriel, so it seems Jackson has made some changes, given that this daughter of Finarfin does not appear in The Hobbit.  Nor in fact do any women.

I wish I could go into this without expectations, but having been a Tolkien geek for the better part of my life, I cannot alas.

Slow Blogging/Dan’s Epic Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 am - December 14, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Writing

I apologize for barely blogging this week and for not putting up anything yesterday.

On Wednesday night, I returned home from a social event (a local gay mixer) and had hoped to blog on two conversations I had there (not to mention a fetching young gay Republican I saw there), but when I returned home my mind was elsewhere.  And I devoted the better part of yesterday to working on my fantasy epic — and celebrating the completion of (a presentable draft of) the second chapter.

This project has so absorbed me in recent days that when I drove down to Disneyland for that celebration, I found myself turning off my CD player and listening to the thoughts in my head, occasionally recording a few in the digital recorder I keep in my car’s map pocket.

Just as soon as I had finished the second chapter, I found myself mapping out the third, with most of this one entirely new to my conception of the novel, entirely new in the sense that the images and events in this chapter have only emerged since i started writing, indeed, since I started editing the second chapter.  The story has been kicking around in my head for some years now many of the images and events in the first two chapters have long been familiar to me.

Last night when I returned from Disneyland, instead of reading and blogging as I had hoped, I found myself trying to fill in a possible hole created in the second chapter and needing to map out a certain sequence of events that took place in the days prior to the first scene . . .

I don’t yet when, if ever, I’ll return to my regular pace of blogging.  I expect to do a post tomorrow anticipating the Hobbit movie.  Hopefully, as I get used to writing this novel, I will be better able to balance that with blogging.

So, until then, please, bear with me until then.