Trivia / The Hobbit

See here for trivia tropes related to the Peter Jackson film.

The Hobbit (book)

  • Ashcan Copy: The 1966 short film directed by Gene Deitch, was made for this purpose (more info here). According to Deitch it was screened only once in June 1966 to an audience of about six people to fulfill the part of the contract saying the film had to be shown in public. Despite being the only screen adaptation of Tolkien's work produced when he was still alive, he never saw it (leading Deitch to say "Thank God!"). The story included a Princess for Bilbo to romance, and discarded many basic elements of the story, such as the dwarves. Gandalf ceased to play a part after they depart for the Lonely Mountain. Characters were renamed (Trolls became Groans, Goblins = Grablins, Gollum = Guloom) and the dragon Slag (not Smaug) is dispatched by Bilbo, the Princess and her retainers.
  • Breakthrough Hit: The success of The Hobbit encouraged J. R. R. Tolkien to write a much larger novel about Middle-Earth, which turned out to be The Lord of the Rings.
  • Recycled Script: In The History of the Hobbit it's pointed out that Thranduil the Elvenking and his hold in Mirkwood is closely derived from the original conception of Thingol of Doriath (Tinwelint of Aranor) — which also explains his distrust of dwarves. This isn't obvious to people who are only familiar with the published Silmarillion, because the final version made Thingol and Doriath much richer and less earthy and sylvan. However, Tolkien added a Discontinuity Nod to this when The Silmarillion does mention that Thranduil lived in Doriath in his youth and modelled his own kingdom in Mirkwood on it.
  • Referenced by...: The source code for Perl 5, which does quote The Lord of the Rings many times, also quotes The Hobbit once, at the top of numeric.c.
  • What Could Have Been: The History of the Hobbit is full of these.
    • The first draft sets the story in the time of The Silmarillion, while in another, Bilbo mentions China and the Gobi Desert at some point, implying the story takes place in our own world instead of the Middle Earth.
    • Beorn was originally called "Medwed" (Russian for "bear"), Gandalf's name was originally to be "Bladorthin", Thorin's name was originally to be Gandalf, Smaug was to be "Pryftan", and Bilbo's working first name was "Bingo".
    • Originally, Gollum bet his ring on the riddle game and freaked out after finding it was missing precisely because he couldn't keep his promise. He showed Bilbo the way out vountarily and they parted away in good terms. This idea actually became canon and were printed on the original 1937 to 1951 editions of the book. It was only changed after Tolkien decided to weld The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings.
    • Plot-wise, the most drastic change was about Smaug, specifically that Bilbo killed him instead of Bard. In the earliest draft, Bilbo killed Smaug with a spear while the dragon was sleeping, while in the second and most developed one, the first time Bilbo infiltrated Smaug's lair he would stab him through the bare spot in his chest with Sting (which went so deep it vanished completely), and then ride a golden bowl on the stream of blood pouring out of Smaug's wound before triumphantly exiting the mountain. Tolkien decided to change it and invented the character of Bard to kill Smaug in a slighty more credible way.


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