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Gandalf: You'll have a tale or two to tell of your own, when you come back. Bilbo: Can you promise that I will come back? Gandalf: ...No. And if you do, you will not be the same.
— An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit is a three-part cinematic adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's classic fantasy novel of the same name, directed by Peter Jackson and adapted for the screen by Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. It is a prequel to Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, telling the story of eponymous hobbit Bilbo Baggins' adventure with the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves.The film trilogy primarily covers the events from The Hobbit, but also features various elements derived from or inspired by Unfinished Tales and the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings. Such examples respectively include Gandalf's true motivations for helping the Dwarves retake Erebor from Smaug, and a sub-plot involving the White Council taking action against the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, which is hinted at in the book, but expanded upon in the aforementioned Appendices.The first part, An Unexpected Journey, was released on December 14th 2012, whilst the second part, The Desolation of Smaug was released December 13th 2013. A third movie, The Battle of the Five Armies debuted in Britain and Ireland on 12/12, 2014, and on December 17 in the US. All three were filmed in stereoscopic 3D, and in a cinematic first, at 48 frames-per-second.The Character Sheet can be found here.See also: The 1977 animated film adaptation of The Hobbit
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Absurdly Sharp Blade: Gandalf's Glamdring beheads a goblin so cleanly that the head doesn't budge from the now stalled goblin — complete with eyes still moving — until Gandalf nudges it, causing it to fall. Since Thorin's Orcrist and Bilbo's small Sting come from the same source, so they can be assumed to share the same quality. This is true in the book as well; Bilbo demonstrates Sting to Frodo by thrusting it deep into a wooden beam with little effort.
Bombur may be grossly overweight, but he uses it to good effect when fighting and when it comes to running like hell, he can move faster than all the other dwarves.
The Great Goblin's hideous bulk doesn't seem to impede his ability to walk, run and fight.
Actor Swap: Martin Freeman as Bilbo, replacing The Lord of the Rings' Ian Holm, who was simply getting too old to play the part of a young (well, fiftyishnote But then, that's the equivalent of around 30 for a human since hobbits age more slowly) Bilbo — though Sir Ian appears as his older, pre-Ring self from the Rings films as well.
Some of the dwarves, a race described in the books as stocky and heavy-set with long beards have been given a haircut and slimmed down significantly for the films - notably Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli. These are the three that die. There's no way that's a coincidence.
Possibly a subversion of the Beard of Sorrow, and confirmed per Word of God in Thorin's case. Richard Armitage says that the short beard is a sign of mourning and that Thorin will grow it out again should he succeed in claiming back Erebor.
Adaptational Badass: Aside from characters themselves made more badass than in the book, there's also the Black Arrow(s). In the book, Bard gives some weight to it, but it at least looks like an ordinary arrow. Here, a Black Arrow is made of metal and over three feet long, making them closer to ballista bolts than arrows.
Adaptation Dye-Job: In the book, Kíli had a yellow beard while Dwalin had a blue beard. Both are dark in the film.
Adaptation Expansion: The original book The Hobbit is shorter than any of the three parts of The Lord of the Rings, but was made into another trilogy of films. Many of the additions are taken from the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, which was not strictly in The Hobbit but alluded to. In particular, it explains what Gandalf is up to while not with Thorin's company, the entire history of the loss of Erebor and Battle of Moria are detailed and more characterization is given to Bard. Others were original additions created explicitly for the films, such as the entirety of the subplot of Azog's pursuit of Thorin's company (Azog having been slain by Dáin Ironfoot at Azanulbizar in the backstory of the books), separating the company at Esgaroth, and the addition of the female Elf, Tauriel, and her Love Triangle with Legolas and Kili. While the additions of content from Tolkien's legendarium has generally been accepted favorably, the other changes to the plot have proven a Base Breaker.
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Inverted. While the book was made up of somewhat random, unexplained events, some of those elements are given explanations, both from Tolkien's other books and others invented for the film. Played straight with the eagles arriving as a Deus ex Machina, their debt to Gandalf yet unexplained.
Bilbo's polite manners, nerdy habits, and clumsiness are merely enhanced more by the gruff, tough company of dwarves.
Also, Ori. Virtually everything he wears is knitted.
Age Lift: Thorin and Ori are aged down in the film, changing from eldest to middle-aged (Thorin) and middle-aged to youngest (Ori).
All There in the Manual: Not for the film itself, but the reason why the film has been split between 3 films is in order to show the events mentioned in the 120 pages of appendices for The Lord of the Rings, which give more information on the gap between this trilogy and the next one. However, many of the subplots derived from the appendices were extrapolated instead of transposed, unlike much of the Arwen subplot in the previous movies.
Behind the scenes, Peter Jackson promoted Andy Serkis to Second Unit Director to give him a larger role. On a small film, this is basically doing all the cinematography grunt work the dramatic Director can't be bothered with (establishing scenery, crowd shots), but on an epic trilogy like The Hobbit (vast sweeping vistas, complex sets, large-scale CG), it's basically like going from amateur straight to pro director, with a huge influence on the final product. As for the "extra" thing, well it's still ar little known fact that Gollum doesn't show up quite so much in The Hobbit compared to The Lord of the Rings.
Bret Mckenzie's role, which had already ascended from an extra to unnamed minor character in The Return of the King, ascended further to become Lindir.
Regarding characters: Azog, from Posthumous Character in the book to main villain of the first film.
Radagast the Brown gets an expanded role in the films despite not showing up in the book.
Most of the dwarves in the book had very few defining characteristics, but they all have their own quirks in the film. Bofur in particular has a much larger role compared to the novel.
Badass Beard: Thirteen dwarves, all bar two have beards and they're awesome — braided, beaded, looped, pointed, wrapped around one's neck, shaped as shouldn't be possible without large amounts of hairspray, and so on. These, along with badass eyebrows in Nori's case, help make the dwarves visually distinct. One that doesn't have a beard compensates with Badass Muttonchops, and the other has Perma Stubble. In one of the production videos, Jackson predicts these movies will bring them back into fashion.
Gandalf: These are Gundabad wargs. They will outrun you!
Radagast: These are Rhosgobel rabbits. I'd like to see them try.
Badass Longcoat: Thorin seems to have taken over this role from Aragorn for The Hobbit trilogy, complete with fur trim around the collar.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with: the elves are all impossibly beautiful, and most are kind and friendly people like Elrond, Galadriel, and their kin. However, Thranduil is shown to be callous and uncaring when he abandons his dwarf allies to Smaug. Likewise, the orcs/goblins are all disgusting in appearance and thoroughly evil, yet the dwarves are genuinely good-natured despite being (for the most part) rather ugly looking compared to elves, men, and even hobbits.
The special case of Thranduil gets an explanation in the extended edition: during one of their meetings, Thrór taunts Thranduil with a chest full of precious gems before denying the Elvenking this very chest, offending him to a great degree. From the off, Bilbo explains this as being one possible origin of the distrust between elves and dwarves.
For book fans, this is round n+1 of an ongoing series of conflicts between dwarves and Elves over jewels. It started several thousand years earlier when Thingol was murdered by some dwarven jewellers over a Silmaril, his body-guard killed the dwarves, their avenging kinfolk sacked Menegroth, and Dior's army caught them on the road and massacred the lot. Thranduil is a relative of Thingol (although Thror is from another tribe than the dwarves of Nogrod), and once you've had two genocides it doesn't take a lot to set up mistrust.
A further subversion is that Thranduil is actually horribly burned and his good looks seems to be an illusion.
With the exception of Thorin, who's simply an all-around badass, all of the dwarves in the company range from mildly goofy to downright madcap, but they're all a force to be reckoned with in a fight (even Ori, who manages to land a few good hits with his slingshot).
Smaug is the final obstacle for the dwarves in their retaking of Erebor, while Azog serves as a more direct villainous pursuer who has unfinished business with Thorin. Lurking in Dol Guldur is the Bigger Bad himself, the Necromancer, better known as Sauron. the others are aware of his existence and coming power, and Azog serves him directly.
Big Eater: Pretty much the only trait hobbits share with dwarves, as shown when they raided Bilbo's pantry. But averted with Thorin, who was seen eating only from a small bowl and plate, and possibly Bilbo himself, as the dinner he was planning to have the night the dwarves showed up was rather modest.
Though hobbits tend to eat more numerous, smaller meals.
Big, Thin, Short Trio: The sibling/cousin trio of Bifur (short), Bofur (thin), and Bombur (big) fit this.
Bigger Bad: The Necromancer (AKA Sauron). Gandalf's investment in the dwarves' quest comes from a desire to make sure Sauron can't recruit Smaug as an ally. He's right to worry, as dragons once served under Morgoth, Sauron's Big Daddy.
For those that know Khuzdul (which is possible to learn, courtesy of Tolkien being a linguist), the Khuzdul that the dwarves speak at various parts, and any time Bifur talks. And the Elvish that isn't subtitled.
Also, since they're using the same map as in the book, the text on it is in English, provided you read Futhorc runes.
Black Speech: The Gundabad orcs speak their own language in this movie. The denizens of Goblin-town seem to be speakers of the Common Tongue, however.
The goblins of the Misty Mountains were specifically designed to embody this, since they've lived underground so long.
Azog's prosthetic hand. The end of it sticks out of his elbow, meaning a metal spike was forced all the way through his arm lengthwise. Ouch.
Some of the trolls in The Battle of the Five Armies have been "modified" by the goblins/orcs/Sauron, with varying levels of horror. Legolas comes across one that is pale, fat, has chains hanging from its eye sockets and has had its feet replaced with maces and its hands replaced with flails.
Book Ends: An Unexpected Journey begins in Bag End with Bilbo writing his memoirs on his 111th birthday (the same day the main action of The Fellowship of the Ring begins), and then flashes back to the events he's writing about. The Battle of the Five Armies ends with Bilbo returning from his adventure and flashes foward to the older Bilbo hearing a knock on the door that turns out to be Gandalf, thereby neatly bookending not only The Hobbit but all six of Jackson's Middle-earth movies.
British Accents: A multitude of British accents from all over the Isles are on display amongst the cast, which are used with great effect to enhance the personalities of their various characters.
The typically gruff, doughty dwarves tend to have either Scottish (Balin, Dwalin, etc.) or Northern English (Yorkshire) accents (Thorin, Fíli, etc.). This suits their earthy, plain-speaking personalities.
Cheeky, congenial Bofur is voiced with James Nesbitt's own Northern Irish accent.
The higher status characters (Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, etc.) all speak with RP (the Queen's English) accents to enhance the gravitas of their station and relative sophistication — and even the Goblin King uses an RP-esque accent, compared to his Cockney-accented Goblin brood, to highlight him as the leader. Bilbo and Frodo (arguably hobbit gentry) also speak in RP, but veering more towards a less clipped, Estuary accent.
The three trolls speak with Ray Winstone-esque, theatrical Cockney accents (which they also had in the book) similar to the goblins, showing how they're all thuggish creatures.
Camera Abuse: At one point during his song (in the extended edition?), the Goblin King stabs one of the crowding goblins with his spear, twirls him around and hurls him away. The goblin jostles the camera as it flies past.
Camp Straight: Dori and Ori have rather "effeminate" mannerisms, such as knitting, drawing, and drinking tea/wine, although this may be due to the fact they're not soldiers. See also Real Men Wear Pink.
The shadow fell over Greenwood recently, not two thousand years ago according to the Tale of Years. Dol Guldur had also been occupied by the Necromancer for nearly as long.
Related to the above, in the book, Gandalf did indeed obtain the map and key of Erebor from Thorin's father Thráin, but it was when Thráin was a raving mad prisoner of the Necromancer decades before the Quest of Erebor. Here, Thráin is only now being discovered by Gandalf in such a state.
The Witch-King of Angmar's backstory is changed so that he and the other Nazgûl were locked away in an enchanted tomb following the fall of Angmar, rather than going to Gondor and taking over Minas Ithil like they did in the books. Although that does fit in with movie canon: Minas Ithil is briefly shown being redecorated in The Fellowship. Meaning the ringwraiths must have been preoccupied in the time leading up to conquering that city.
The Battle of Nanduhirion distilled down to 60 years prior to the film, from the original 142 years prior (2799-2941). This is likely due to Thorin's age being lowered.
Canon Foreigner: The woodland elf Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lily, has no counterpart in the book or any of Tolkien's notes. The rational behind her creation was that the movies needed at least one dominant female character (whereas the book had none named) and that she represents a lower class of elves than the royalty that had been prevalent in the rest of the saga.
Cerebus Syndrome: The first film is relatively lighthearted, focusing on Bilbo's Fish out of Water scenario with the action scenes being fairly slapstick and a couple of songs, including one from the goblins in the special edition. The second film focuses more on the dwarves' situation and is much less whimsical. Since the third features a major battle that will kill off a significant portion of the cast, it is likely to be darker still.
Gandalf may or may not be one, but he sure plays one like nobody's business.
Same with Radagast, though in his case it's certainly not played.
Color-Coded Characters: Averted for the film in lieu of very distinguishable beard- and hairstyles and different weapons of choice for the dwarves. One costume designer mentioned that their change in dress from brightly-colored cloaks was because "no one dresses like that" and that they would look like "garden gnomes". However, close attention to the color of the dwarves' outfits will reveal that the dwarves' hood colors from the book (see the entry here) may have influenced the costume design for the film. Viewing the Lego minifigures of each dwarf will also help you see this.
Dwalin - Book: Dark green hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Green coat and cloak.
Balin - Book: Scarlet red hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Scarlet red coat and cloak.
Fíli and Kíli - Probably the two who averted colour coding the most, the blue hooded cloaks of Fíli and Kíli from the book have mostly been traded out for brown and black leather outfits.
Dori - Book: Purple hooded cloak. Film: Purple/red coat and cloak. Lego: Red coat and cloak.
Nori - Book: Purple hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Brown and grey clothes and cloak. His colors may have been switched in part with Ori's.
Ori - Book: Grey hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Purple clothes, grey cloak. Ori seems to combine both of his older brothers colors.
Óin - Book: Brown hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Grey and brown clothes and grey cloak. His colors may have been switched with Glóin's.
Glóin - Book: White hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Reddish brown clothes and cloak. His colors might have been switched with Óin's to better match Gimli's outfit from Lord of the Rings.
Bofur - Book: Yellow hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Yellowish-brown clothes and brown cloak.
Bombur - Book: Pale green hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Pale green shirt.
Thorin - Book: Sky-blue hooded cloak. Film/Lego: Dark blue and silver coat with furs and scale mail.
Convection Schmonvection: Apparently, standing behind a pillar is all it takes to avoid getting burned to a crisp by flames that are theoretically hot enough to destroy a Ring of Power; Thorin and Balin both survive Smaug's initial assault on Erebor this way. The Company does it again in the second film, when they're baiting Smaug while he's on the rampage.
And apparently it's perfectly safe to go body surfing in a metal wheelbarrow on a river of molten gold.
Cool Sword: Sting, Orcrist, Glamdring. Particularly Orcrist; based on Tolkien's Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion, Orcrist may have been used to kill Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, who was even more powerful than Durin's Bane, the Balrog Gandalf kills in LOTR.
Director's Cut: Like the LOTR films, each movie is given an extended cut release offering even more than what was in the theatrical version. Notably a subplot is restored regarding Thrain, Thorin's father, being found by Gandalf in Dol Goldur and reveals his ring (one of the seven given to the Dwarf Lords by Sauron) was taken from him.
Balin will be killed by orcs between scripts, as he's the one buried in the Moria crypt from Fellowship. The same goes for Ori and Óin.
Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli die in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Smaug is slain by Bard the Bowman.
The fate of the three trolls is also assured, as Bilbo recounted that story to the young hobbits at his birthday party in Fellowship. We even see their petrified statues when Frodo's party make camp (in the director's cut of Fellowship).
Doomed Hometown: Erebor for the dwarves, as seen in the prologue narrated by Bilbo.
Smaug, "chiefest and greatest calamity of our age".
While not characters, both Orcrist and Glamdring are weapons of legend for the goblins.
The mere possibility of the return of the Witch-King of Angmar scares Elrond.
Dragon Hoard: Smaug's only reason to destroy the kingdom of Erebor was his inborn greed for treasure. Since then, he has done little else than lying on or in his fantastical hoard (like a blanket) deep under the Lonely Mountain.
Drool Hello: An interesting variation in the second film...what gives away the dragon moving overhead isn't drool but gold coins dropping from his body.
Dual Wielding: Several characters do this, most notably Dwalin, who swings a pair of axes when not wielding a hammer. Legolas and his twin daggers make an appearance as well.
Eldritch Location: Mirkwood Forest. It has a confusing and disorienting effect on the dwarves, it's home to terrifying giant spiders, and even Bilbo immediately notes that the forest "feels sick" when they arrive there.
It's hinted that there's some going on against dwarves, mirroring real-life Antisemitism and Antiziganism. Even Bilbo snaps a very insensitive comment about dwarves "not belonging anywhere", at one point, though he has the sense to feel very ashamed afterwards.
Thorin really doesn't like elves or anything made by elvish hands, to the point where he passes up a chance to make a deal with Thranduil in favor of bringing up past grievances and insulting him. He can warm up to elf-crafted things if they're proficient killing implements, though, as with Orcrist.
The Elves even have this towards each other: Thranduil tells Tauriel not to get her hopes up as regards to Legolas, since she's just a lowly Silvan Elf. (The film's not exaggerating with this; a lot of Tolkien's Elves are notoriously bigoted and snobbish. However, concerning this particular case of disdain towards Silvan elves, according to Tolkien lore, Thranduil's (Sindarin) royal house is actually one of the few who "went native", adopting Silvan custom and culture - possibly intermarrying.)
Given Thranduil's attitude in general, it's not out of the question that, given that his house is still royal (and technically at least has Sindarin blood), he might be frowning on it because Tauriel is born pure Silvan and a commoner, without so much as a trace of royal or Sindarin blood.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Laketown's status is a merchant city is based on the historical north German Hansa, their culture and politics are seemingly High Rennaisance, their fashion is inspired by late Middle Ages Poland (with soldiers wearing Spanish Cabbasset-like helmets), and the architecture is distinctly late Viking/early Christian Scandinavian woodwork.
Thorin's biggest flaw is his pride, as mentioned by Gandalf.
Thrór's greed led to the fall of Erebor. This is strongly linked to his ownership of one of the Seven Rings; his Ring was passed on to Thráin before the Battle of Azanulbizar and recovered by Sauron before Gandalf got the key from him. Greed is mentioned as the only effect the Rings seemed to have on the Dwarves.
A Father to His Men: Thorin cares very much for his twelve companions and eventually comes to count Bilbo as one of them. He believes this group of dwarves - many of whom are not warriors - are worth more than an army, as they all answered the call to reclaim their homeland, proving that they had loyalty, honour and willing hearts, something that Thorin admires. Likewise, the respect goes both ways and the dwarves are fiercely loyal to Thorin and would follow him anywhere.
Balin: "..and I thought to myself; there is one I could follow. There is one I could call King."
The Great Goblin, while thoroughly unpleasant and sadistic, seems to be rather jolly and articulate.
Sméagol qualifies, as no matter how cheerful and enthusiastic he is, he still intends to eat Bilbo.
Also Smaug, as he matches wits with Bilbo almost pleasantly (if creepily), but is still a completely sadistic son of a bitch who later leaves to burn Laketown and revels in the idea that doing so willhurtBilbo.
Fighting for a Homeland: Thorin's quest, naturally. He doesn't care about the riches of Erebor (not yet anyway), he merely wants it back because it is his rightful kingdom.
For the Evulz: Smaug heads off to burn Laketown, not because the denizens are any threat to him, but because Bilbo will be hurt by it. Those who've read the book know this doesn't work out so well for him.
Foregone Conclusion: Since Bilbo is narrating this story, we know that he'll survive the journey. Same with Gandalf and Legolas, who both appear in Lord of the Rings and Glóin, who shows up in the book. Given Radagast's high profile in the Hobbit trilogy, something will have to eventually explain his total non-appearance in the LOTR film adaptations.
If you look at Saruman the White's pompous, unfriendly attitude, you won't have to watch the LOTR films to know that he eventually betrays the heroes to Sauron.
Foreshadowing: Radagast's staff is the same staff (or the exact same design) as the first one carried by Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring. Since Radagast isn't anywhere to be seen in the LOTR films, make of that what you will.
It doesn't help when the Necromancer/Sauron destroys Gandalf's original staff in The Desolation of Smaug.
When Legolas searches Glóin, he finds a portrait he mocks as being of "some goblin mutant." Glóin tells him it's his son, Gimli.
Foreign Cuss Word: According to the cast, most of the Khuzdul they learned consisted of curses to throw at their enemies. None of which are subtitled.
Gold Fever: Thrór, the king of Erebor and Thorin's grandfather, is shown in flashbacks to be so obsessed with gold that it's described as a "sickness," and his obsession with filling his treasure rooms with enough gold to build a decent sized castle out of it is implied to have attracted Smaug to Erebor in the first place. Those who are familiar with Tolkien's expanded writings will understand that this is due to his possession of one of the Dwarven Rings of Power - Tolkien's text notes that the greatest effect of these Rings on the dwarves was to inflame their lust for wealth.
This happens to Thorin once he recaptures the Lonely Mountain, becoming obsessed with finding the Arkenstone and going back on his word to Bard that he'd give him a share of the treasure.
Good Is Not Nice: Thorin, while unmistakably one of the protagonists, can be incredibly stubborn, proud, and quick to criticize, as well as discriminating against all things elvish.
Good Is Not Soft: Against their mortal enemies, the Orcs, both dwarves and elves are unforgiving killers.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Azog has several symmetrical scars that run all over his body, almost like tattoos. The idea was that he carved them himself.
Gandalf. In fact, his whole order of wizards are meant to be this, due to being restricted from using their full magical powers as Maiar spirits on the same level as Sauronnote The last time this happened, in the First Age, the lands that would become The Kingdom of Arnor in The Third Age (inc. The Shire) were more or less in the centre of middle-earth as we know it. Afterward, they were in the west.. They instead were meant to resort to diplomacy, guidance and manipulation to aid the elves, men and dwarves in keeping Middle-Earth free from evil. Gandalf's displays of magical power are always few and far between, and they are always employed as a last resort. When actually fighting, Gandalf uses his staff and sword as conventional weapons.
Bilbo spends the first film slowly turning into one:
He distracts the trolls long enough to let Gandalf and daylight come in.
He relies on his wits alone in his "game of riddles" with Gollum. Plus, he is sharp enough to see the difference between Gollum's split personalities; and when he says, "Why don't we have a game of riddles? Yes, just you and me," he shrewdly attempts to address the less threatening Sméagol side directly.
In Desolation, he manages to keep Smaug from incinerating him by playing to the dragon's weakness for flattery. It buys him enough time to locate and steal the Arkenstone.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Gandalf believes that the best way to keep the forces of darkness away is to embrace kindness in all its forms, no matter how small, and this is the primary reason why he believes in Bilbo so strongly.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: In all of the flashbacks, neither Thorin, nor Balin or Dwalin wear helmets when fighting Smaug or the orcs at the gates of Moria, while the common soldiers are helmeted.
Smaug is kept mostly offscreen in the first film, much like Gollum was in the first Lord of the Rings movie. His tail is the most ever properly seen in the flashback about his invasion of the Lonely Mountain, giving the close-up and detailed shot of his eye at the end of the film more impact.
The same can be said about the giant spiders. Some silhouettes are shown as they swarm Radagast's home, along with the occassional foot poking through the ramshackle ceiling, but there isn't a full shot of one until it is moving away, still through thick underbush.
The dwarves' motif is an orchestral rendition of "Misty Mountains Cold", and strikes up whenever they journey through the landscapes of Middle-Earth or start kicking ass. There are also multiple motifs from The Lord of the Rings, including the Shire theme, the choral music heard when Rivendell is first seen, and Gollum's theme.
Early on, choirs from the "journey in the dark" segment of the Moria are heard illustrating Thrór's money sickness. This can count as a Foreshadowing Call Back: the downfall of Erebor was because the dwarves became too greedy, exactly the reason why Moria fell by awakening the Balrog. The musical cue when the Fellowship enters Moria is therefore retroactively referencing the Erebor incident. Both of these occur in or near a dwarvish mine intended for digging up valuable metals.
The One Ring's leitmotif is heard when Bilbo first finds the ring and when he fingers it in his pocket later.
Very briefly, the Lothlórien theme from The Two Towers plays when Elrond and the other elves appear to fend off a warg attack.
The theme played for Thorin's Unflinching Walk down the burning tree to fight Azog at the end is close to the "Power of the Ring" theme (as Howard Shore called it on the FOTR EE) heard during the opening prologue of Fellowship of the Ring. That theme, as well as the Black Riders theme (called "The Revelation of the Ringwraiths") share some of the same leitmotifs.
The six-note leitmotif in Saruman's theme is reprised, but at a slower tempo and with a slightly higher key, to downplay the menacing role he shall play later.
Unlike in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf now has his own motif that usually plays when he makes his presence known in a scene.
The Arkenstone will serve as this throughout the trilogy, much like in the original story.
While not as important as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and normally not this trope), the One Ring will still play its role the same way it did in the original story.
Made of Iron: Tolkien Dwarves in general, but especially Thorin. In the first film alone, Thorin is trampled underfoot by Smaug and has an encounter with a Warg that should have punctured any number of vital organs; but he comes away from both incidents seemingly with no permanent damage.
Magic Knight: Although Gandalf is a wizard, he is most certainly not of the squishy variety. Especially when escaping the goblin town, he combines his sword and staff into a veritable whirlwind of death.
Gandalf finds getting into the High Fells a very dangerous task, involving negotiating ridiculously narrow, crumbling steps on both the sides of sheer cliffs and the inside walls of deep, dark shafts, as well as steep, slippery ramps leading straight into said shafts.
Dol Guldur is also a pretty easy place to fall off edges, and as a bonus, was built with sharp spikes and large sword-like blades protruding from many corners. The Necromancer seems to obey an evil variety of the Rule of Cool.
Moby Schtick: Thorin vs. Smaug has shades of this. Unlike most examples, however, the dwarves have something to gain from Smaug's death besides vengeance and personal gratification: their former home, Erebor.
Azog, a giant albino orc who nurtures an obsessive grudge against the dwarf who maimed him, effectively embodies both Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.
Money Fetish: Thrór had one, bringing about his ruin from Smaug, who has his own case. Smaug has been content to simply lie buried in the vast mountain of riches for 60 years.
Monster Is a Mommy: According to Word of God, the albino Warg that Azog rides on in the films is the Warg Matriarch, and (as her title should suggest) happens to be the mother of most of the Wargs used as mounts by Azog's hunting party.
Mordor: Not the Trope Namer; we catch a glimpse of the wasteland that is the Desolation of Smaug at the end of AUJ.
My God, What Have I Done?: Though he never outright says it, you can tell from his facial expressions that Bilbo immediately regrets it when he tells Bofur that the dwarves should be used to living on the road and having "nowhere to belong", briefly forgetting that they lost their home to Smaug.
Again when Bilbo kills the giant sow bug thing in Mirkwood in a frenzy over losing the Ring. He's obviously disturbed, since killing a creature over jewellery is quite different to killing one that's trying to eat your friends.
And again when Bilbo watches Smaug fly away from Erebor towards Laketown. Since it was Bilbo calling himself Barrel-rider that brought Laketown to Smaug's mind and he says outright he's going to attack the town to spite Bilbo. Bilbo Regrets Things: The Trilogy.
Named Weapons: Orcrist and Glamdring. Also discussed by Bilbo and Balin when Elrond is describing their history: Bilbo looks down at his own elven blade, but Balin tells him not to bother asking about it, as only swords are typically given names, and Bilbo's weapon is "more of a letter-opener." Instead, Bilbo's blade Sting is named over the course of the second film, by its victims.
We're pretty sure Azog The Defiler didn't get his name by throwing tea parties.
For the goblins, the two elvish blades of Gondolin count as this. They even added their own terms of fear onto the names of the swords: Glamdring, the Foe Hammer-Beater, and Orcrist, the Goblin Cleaver-Biter.
Smaug is also known by the nickname "Smaug the Terrible".
A guy called the Necromancer is probably not a barrel of laughs, and that's before they find out it's Sauron.
Gollum makes his most terrifying expression in all his appearances when he figures out the obvious connection between his lost Precious and Bilbo's question.
Gollum: What has it got in its nasty little pocketsesss?!
We only see the Necromancer's face for a short moment, but what we do see isn't pleasant.
No Name Given: Gandalf can't remember the names of the two Blue Wizards.
Also when exploring the tombs of The Nine Nazgûl, who were once kings of men, but became corrupted servants Sauron, Radagast asks Gandalf, who the tomb is for. Gandalf says "If he had a name, it has long since been forgotten, he is now just known as a servant of evil"
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When he encounters Gollum in the cave, Bilbo says he's Bilbo Baggins of the Shire. 60 years later, this information will be tortured out of Gollum by Sauron's soldiers, alerting Mordor to the One Ring's location and forcing Frodo to flee the Shire.
No, You: Kíli shows the emotional range of a seven-year-old when Bilbo claims the dwarves all have parasites:
Kíli:We don't have parasites! You have parasites!
Nose Nuggets: The troll scene, in which poor Bilbo gets used as an impromptu handkerchief.
No Social Skills: Set up, but then subverted at Bilbo's expense. The dwarves do seem fairly rude when invading his home from Bilbo's point of view (though they are under the impression that they are welcome), lack his air of politeness, are messily rough and cavalier, and clash with his fragile sense of comfort. When they start tossing about his heirloom dishes, he finally starts shouting... and in response they simply launch into a song making fun of his indignation. But then the song ends, and it's revealed that the whole time they were actually cleaning up after themselves in their own unique way—to Bilbo's surprise and Gandalf's amusement. It serves as an early lesson that there's more to the world than what Bilbo wants to see.
Not the Fall That Kills You: Played straight in the goblin caves when Bilbo and another goblin fell a long distance. Bilbo survived with only a few cuts and bruises thanks to a cluster of giant mushrooms that absorbed his fall when he should have been in a much worse condition. The goblin was barely alive since he landed onto the hard ground, leaving him easy prey for Gollum.
Not So Stoic: Thorin has lost his cool a few times. During the stone giants' battle, he started frantically calling Fíli's name when he thought he was dead. And after Bilbo saved his life from Azog and he regained consciousness, he furiously yells at the latter for putting himself in danger before pulling Bilbo into a hug.
You barely catch a glimpse of Smaug for the entirety of the first movie. During the scene of him attacking Erebor, we only see his feet, tail, and teeth. In the final scene, we see only a nostril and one eye. But it's plenty enough to judge his enormous size and strength.
In An Unexpected Journey, the Necromancer is shown as merely a vaguely-humanoid shadow behind a curtain of fog.
Older Than They Look: Dwarves age much slower than humans and hobbits age slightly slower than humans, so everyone in the company is older than he looks. Thorin doesn't look a great deal older from the flashback sequences, which take place over a hundred years prior. Bilbo is in his 50s at the time of the story.
Then there is the elves, who are all older than they look, due to their immortality.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: While Tolkien's works provided the foundation for many standard dwarf characteristics, the film partially bucks many of the trends. The dwarves have a variety of accents in addition to Scottish, two of them do not have beards, and they use a variety of weapons in addition to axes. Female dwarves also have more feminine characteristics than usual.
Parental Substitute: Thorin towards Fíli and Kíli since, as his nephews, they're his closest heirs.
Perilous Old Fool: Thrór in his attempt to retake Moria from Azog's horde after the loss of Erebor. He paid for it dearly.
Pinned to the Wall: Or the tree, or the cliff, or the big rock... This happens to the orcs and goblins enough to make them the new Trope Codifiers.
Plot Armor: The sheer amount of mortal danger every single dwarf of the group keeps surviving, without as much as a scratch, is astonishing, especially since there are 15 members in the group (13 dwarves, Gandalf, and Bilbo).
Plot Irrelevant Villain: Azog and his vendetta against Thorin are almost completely disconnected to the rest of the plot.
Although he may be the plot device that brings the orcs and wargs to the Battle of the Five Armies, which goes somewhat unexplained in the book.
Power Crystal: The Arkenstone of Erebor glows and pulsates with its own inner light, although the flashbacks don't show it powering anything in particular.
Prequel: Although the source material was just a previous installment to Lord of the Rings, this trilogy was made after the Lord of the Rings films, and features elements that lead up to those films.
Pride Before a Fall: The dwarves of Erebor before Smaug's arrival, especially Thrór, who never doubted the supremacy and longevity of his kingdom until it was too late. Foreshadowed about Thorin by Gandalf.
Pyrrhic Victory: The War of the Dwarves and Orcs is considered one. The number of dwarf dead outnumbered the survivors, and the reason they didn't retake Moria from the orcs, instead of Dáin realising that the Balrog is still inside in The Lord of the Rings appendices.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Only a few of the dwarves are actually warriors; the others range from miners to toymakers. In combat, they range in ability from cutting a bloody swath through tough foes to ineffectually plunking at them with a slingshot. This is fully lampshaded by Balin as to why the quest is a bad idea. Thorin, however, prizes their loyalty over their ability (or lack thereof); these dwarves answered the call when it came to them. The actual army he tried for did not.
Redemption Equals Death: Thorin. The dragon sickness turns him into a Jerk Ass after retaking Erebor. It gets so bad that he attempts to kill Bilbo after finding out he took the Arkenstone, and refuses to assist in battle, (even leaving his cousin Dain to die, trying to justify it by saying that all life is cheap). Thorin eventually shakes off the dragon sickness and leads his company of dwarves into battle, but he dies shortly after killing Azog. Before he died, he and Bilbo make peace with each other.
Red Herring: The Dwarven windlance in Lake-town. The Desolation of Smaug makes dedicated focus to this lone weapon on the tower, with Balin stating that it's the only thing that can make the Black Arrows pierce Smaug's hide. Bard, when he heard the rumblings from the mountain, decides to take the last remaining Black Arrow to the windlance, but he is stopped by the Lake-town authorities and thrown in a jail cell before he can do so. Ultimately, Bard never makes it to the windlance when Smaug lays waste on the town, and Bard has to fire the Black Arrow with a makeshift long-bow on top of the bell tower.
Red Is Heroic: Bilbo wears a red jacket. Balin, one of the most outwardly virtuous and heroic of the dwarves, also wears red robes.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bilbo and Thorin respectively, who even wear these distinct colors. Bilbo is excitable and somewhat silly whereas Thorin remains dignified. Also, Dwalin (red) and Balin (blue).
Even for an orc, Azog has a distinctive appearance. He is unusually tall and pale, and has a series of barbed hooks for a hand. His skin is unusually smooth for an orc and covered in bizarrely symmetrical scars.
Azog's son, Bolg, has a massive facial scar, one blind eye, and most of his upper lip is torn.
The Master of Lake-Town is generally greasy with a distinctively twisted face, based on Stephen Fry's own bent nose.
Thranduil briefly shows a horrific burn on one side of his face, which he apparently keeps hidden under a glamour (or, alternatively, is a non-physical scar which only manifests in moments of great stress), though he's not so much evil as petty and obstructive.
The Goblin King has a giant goitre, and he's a giant goblin already.
Riches to Rags: What happens to Thorin who was once a prince of a very powerful dwarven kingdom but after Smaug took over Erebor, he and his people were driven out and he was forced to work menial, dead-end jobs to survive.
Master Elrond personally leads the sortie that drives off the orcs harrying Thorin and Company.
Thrór, Thráin, and Thorin himself, of course.
Thranduil, too. He probably would've helped the Erebor dwarves if it wasn't, you know, a gigantic dragon that had attacked them.
Thranduil's son, Legolas, a prince who does a lot of Orc-slaying in the second film.
Girion, Lord of Dale and Bard's grandfather, took on Smaug by himself with a single Dwarven-made siege weapon and a very small number of Black Arrows and succeeded in making repeated hits against Smaug in a section of his chest to allow his descendant a clear shot with the last Black Arrow.
Series Continuity Error: Smaug is quite clearly a quadruped in An Unexpected Journey and then transforms into a wyvern in The Desolation of Smaug. They attempted to correct this for the Extended Edition of An Unexpected Journey
In An Unexpected Journey, Thráin is clearly missing his right eye. However, in the Extended Edition of The Desolation of Smaug, he is not only played by a different actor but has both of his eyes.
Gollum (performed once again by the Trope Namer himself) and Smaug as well by Benedict Cumberbatch. Jackson must be really impressed by Serkis, because he also appointed him Second Unit Director.
The trolls William, Bert, and Tom are performed and voiced by the same actors as Glóin, Dori, and Bifur, respectively.
Azog and the Great Goblin are also entirely computer generated characters. Many of the orcs and goblins of the movie are portrayed by human actors, but parts of their faces have been enhanced with what Peter Jackson calls "CG makeup" to allow them inhuman facial features, like too wide jaws or eyes that are extremely far from each other.
Azog appears to understand the warg language. While tracking Thorin and Company, Azog's albino warg sniffs the ground and utters a series of grunts and growls. Azog then announces to his orcs that the scent is still fresh.
Stout Strength: The dwarves are short and stocky, but all quite strong. During the escape from the goblins Bombur can be seen barely slowing down as several goblins climb on him. He may not be very fast, but clearly it takes a lot to stop him once he gets moving.
You can see the very similar facial features between Legolas and his father, Thranduil.
Not to mention Gimli and his father, Glóin.
Supporting Protagonist: Bilbo is the protagonist, but so far in the series it's Thorin who's The Hero of the story; in terms of traditional character dynamics, Bilbo seems to fit the role of The Heart best.
Talking Animal: Almost completely averted. Unlike in the novel, animals like the eagles do not speak the common tongue, though they may understand it. Instead, Radagast Speaks Fluent Animal and Gandalf possibly does too, since he can give commands to a moth and considers the eagles to be his friends. Smaug speaks the common tongue just fine.
Played with when it comes to the spiders infesting Mirkwood - as unnatural evil creatures, they can speak, but Bilbo can only understand what they say when he puts the Ring on.
Tall, Dark and Snarky: Elrond is definitely tall and dark, and in this film he also does seem rather cheeky/snarky at times. As is Thorin.
Elrond: You have your grandfather's bearing. I knew Thrór, when he ruled under the mountain.
Thorin: Indeed, he made no mention of you.
Tattoo as Character Type: Dwalin has tattoos on his knuckles (fitting given his status as The Big Guy) and on the top of his head; his actor has stated that the head tattoos are a pictoral history of the dwarves.
Team Mom: Balin is a male example, being very kindly and supportive. As the eldest and wisest dwarf, he is also the de facto leader when Thorin isn't around. Dori too, especially towards his younger brother Ori.
Those Two Guys: Fíli and Kíli are shaping up that way, especially in the scene where Bilbo finds them guarding the ponies before the encounter with the trolls.
Timeshifted Actor: Ian Holm plays the older Bilbo in the prologue, Martin Freeman in the main story.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Thranduil, compared to his book counterpart. In the book, he's relatively isolationist, but he doesn't restrict his people's movements, he keeps ties to the nearby men, and he willingly comes to their aid. In the movie, he's first seen abandoning Erebor at Smaug's initial attack, and in Desolation of Smaug he orders his people not to leave the keep once the forest gets dangerous.
As with The Lord of the Rings films referring to Weathertop by its Elvish name Amon Sûl, this film only uses the name "The Lonely Mountain" once and otherwise uses the Elvish name Erebor (which was never mentioned in the book and only cropped up in later supplementary material). Fridge Logic can set in here about why Thorin's dwarves would use the Elvish name for their lost kingdom when they have a grudge against Elves...
The same applies to the dwarves only using the name Moria, as they did in LOTR, instead of Khazad-dûm. "Moria" is a derogatory Elvish term meaning "black pit".
This has a fairly simple explanation in background sources: Sindarin used to be the lingua franca of Middle-Earth until the Third Age when the elves started to fade away, and most of the trade that dwarves did with other races was with elves. Dwarves don't use their own language in mixed company if they can help it, so the elvish names for the dwarven kingdoms stuck even in their own speech, regardless of their current feelings about the elves, themselves. As for Moria, dwarves are likely to use that name because the place has become a "black pit" in their minds, as well.
Treasure Room: Erebor's treasure room, which was going well enough until it got Smaug's attention, is more like treasure city.
True Companions: The Company, since it is composed mostly of relatives and former comrades, was this prior to hiring Bilbo as their burglar. Most of the film is Bilbo becoming part of the Company.
Undying Loyalty: Most of the Dwarves towards Thorin, but especially Dwalin; he saves Thorin's life twice in An Unexpected Journey (once during the first Warg attack, once during the thunder battle), gets highly offended when the Master of Laketown fails to show Thorin the proper respect, and they are seen fighting or planning together multiple times throughout both movies.
The Unintelligible: The few times Bifur speaks, it's in Khuzdul (Dwarvish). Probably something to do with the axe jammed in his head.
The Voiceless: Of all the dwarves, only Bombur doesn't speak (constantly having food in his mouth may have something to do with it).
The main characters' task is to kill Smaug. On the way to his lair, they deal with trolls, warg-riding orcs, stone giants and goblins, none of which are in cahoots with Smaug (that we know of). In fact, the first film ends with the party not yet reaching the Lonely Mountain or seeing Smaug even once.
And there are still Beorn, the spiders of Mirkwood, wood-elves and Laketown yet to come.
Watsonian Versus Doylist: Some of the dwarves, a race described in the books as stocky and heavy-set with long beards have been given a haircut and slimmed down significantly for the films - notably Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli. These are also some of the dwarf characters who do the most acting, which would be impeded by a lot of prosthetics and facial hair.
We Have Become Complacent: The dwarves of Erebor felt very secure in their position as rulers of the mightiest kingdom in Middle-Earth before Smaug arrived.
Gandalf regarding Dol Guldur (in the second film).
Gandalf: We've been blind, and in our blindness, our enemy has returned.
Applied by any orc towards every other orc. While they do show a modicum of self-preservation (retreating from a hopeless battle or aiding a competent leader) they don't bat an eyelid if a comrade is shot/stabbed/devoured, and are perfectly happy to do the honors themselves.
The goblins (subterranean orcs) apply this with even greater zeal. Dozens of them die in droves, and the (temporary) survivors are still totally willing to leap into the fray. You have to give the little buggers credit for their sheer enthusiasm.