I love the Hobbit films. I love all the Lord of the Rings films, too. They’re high in escapism, adventure, humour and effects. As the final part of the Hobbit came out in December I watched the first two again at home so that I was happily submerged in Middle Earth before I turned up at my local Odeon.
I wasn’t disappointed. I loved The Battle of the Five Armies just as much as I’d loved An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. Casting Billy Connolly as Dain II Ironfoot was inspired, riding on a pig and sticking the nut on his enemies while roaring, ‘Oh c’mON!’ (I have to say that a lot exists in the films that Tolkien somehow left out of the books.)
Reflecting on what the films were telling me, I came to some conclusions.
The Hobbit according to Sue:
Good will triumph over evil. Small, ordinary folk, given sufficient motivation, will become heroes, especially when accompanied by stirring music and super slo mo.
Evil apparently exists for its own sake but good is always explored and justified.
Good lives are more important than bad lives. Every lost good life will be mourned as of massive importance. Lost bad lives will be tossed away by the dozen marked only with roars of pain or, for some reason, endearing squeaks.
Good folk can beat enormous odds if the motivation is sufficient.
Loyalty, friendship and love are strong motivators.
Good folk will constantly risk or sacrifice their own lives if for the common good.
Few can overcome the many but it helps if the few are elves.
Sadly, in real life, much of the above is not true. In real life murderers sometimes walk free and thieves prosper, good people suffer at the hands of bad people and good and bad are not black and white. Huge Eagles don’t often swoop in to save us and wizards don’t guide our quests. Our swords don’t even glow blue to warn us of approaching enemies.
Real life, unlike fiction, doesn’t need to make sense.
Maybe that’s why fantastical adventures grip us and transport us? We want to be reassured that good can triumph. We can escape.
And another thought came to me as I watched. All this came from the imagination of one man, J R R Tolkien. His books have been transformed, expanded, extrapolated, developed and interpreted by the imaginations of many into multi-million-dollar success.
It all begins with the writer.