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Nightmare Fuel / The Hobbit

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The Book:
What has its got in its pocketses?
  • The effects of Smaug's initial rampage: the area for hundreds of miles all around the Lonely Mountain was reduced to a barren wasteland of ash, the city of Dale was wrecked, with everything that didn't burn being scorched and smashed, with even a few skeletons lying in the streets, and of course the kingdom of Erebor: all the halls broken open wider to accommodate the dragon, with the stench of sulfur and decay emanating from every nook and cranny, all light except for that of Smaug himself snuffed out, and of course, the monster himself generates such heat that steam comes from the main entrance of Erebor at all times, even for days after he leaves.
  • The thought of Bilbo going through the dark Goblin tunnels on his own, afraid of any openings in case something comes out. And (for all his assurances that as Hobbits dwell in caves and holes underground by nature Bilbo is not as terrified or as lost as the reader might be in the same situation) Tolkien describes that not even the Goblins know what lives in the mountains. Some of the holes have their original owners still living there and other creatures have crept in.
  • At night in Beorn's house. Beorn tells them not to go outside. Bilbo hears him in bear form and is scared he is going to come in and kill them all. When they go out the next morning they find many bear tracks.
  • The description of Mirkwood, particularly at night. Surrounded by eyes just watching them, particularly the insect eyes. And if fires were lit, more eyes came (instead of the fire keeping the wild animals away) and moths flapped everywhere.
  • Smaug. His massive size, strong armor that includes pieces of the treasure that melted to his body, his cunning and intelligence, the ease with which he dissects Bilbo's riddles, his thoughts and dreams of greed and violence.
  • The massive Mood Whiplash that accompanies Smaug's fury-the complete destruction of Laketown and the deaths of hundreds of people, Thorin going off the deep end, a rising Mexican Standoff and eventually, a battle that leaves thousands of men, orcs, wolves, dwarves and elves dead against the gates of Erebor or in the burnt-out shell that was Dale. Tolkien fought in World War I, and although he despised allegories, the Battle of the Five Armies seems to represent the moment when the nations of Europe threw themselves into a horrific meat grinder of blood-soaked trenches, machine guns and burned villages.
  • Thorin et al. are trapped in trees in a forest fire. Had the Eagles of Manwë not shown up when they did... (not to mention the Fridge Horror of orcs finding the One Ring and one of the Three)
  • Gollum, even in the context of this book alone, is a terrifying creature. A slinking, deformed, monstrous creature — like a goblin, but foul in its own unique way, that prowls through the dark places of the earth, eating whatever victims it can catch, including residents of Goblin-town which it strangles and drags them off for its meals. It's one of the many terrors of the underworld to the goblins, and when Bilbo meets it, it only gets worse, revealing it to be a clearly demented, yet eerily childlike figure. When Bilbo meets it, he can't really make out much of it more than eerily glowing eyes in a twisted figure that skulks around in the dark, openly talking to itself about how much it wants to eat him.

The Peter Jackson Films:

The Animated Film:
Haha, revenge? You? HA!

  • The way Gandalf announces himself to Bilbo at the beginning of the film, with a big close-up on his glaring eyes as lightning suddenly strikes, before he declares, "I am Gandalf! And Gandalf means me!".
  • Far from being bumbling and slow witted like in the Peter Jackson film, the trio of trolls are actually cunning and intelligent, as they instantly pick up on the fact that if Bilbo was there, then he'd have company. Heavily implied with their last conversation, they had a pretty good idea of what they were cooking and just arguing about the method, the worst being eaten "raw". Only by Gandalf's intervention was the company was spared.
  • The reptile eyed goblins' first appearance when they appear to be getting closer and closer in the dark while laughing evilly.
  • Some people can find the scene where the Great Goblin almost bites off Thorin's head scary. It probably doesn't help that he's voiced by Fred Flintstone's boss, Mr. Slate.
  • Gollum, both in appearance and Brother Theodore's voice work. Until Andy Serkis came along and made the character his own, Teddy was the definitive Gollum, and some fans say still the creepiest, especially when he discovers someone had stolen his Precious. The fact that his eyes have minor shifts in coloration depending on how agitated he is doesn't help.
    • Watching the only being who can guide you out of a deep, labyrinthine cave arguing with himself is pretty damn creepy.
    • The "Riddles in the Dark" music.
      It cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt, it lies behind stars and under hills, and empty holes it fills, it comes first and follows after, ends life, kills laughter. The answer is dark. The dark. Dark...
  • The 15 birds scene. Bilbo is unable to climb into the trees and turns to see the Goblins riding towards him on wolves. Dori only just helps him up as a wolf snaps at him. Then watching the Dwarves calling for help while the trees are burning beneath him.
  • The spiders of Mirkwood are bat faced Ax-Crazy fiends that cocoon and then eat their victims alive, especially creepy with their big blue, pupil-less eyes and coming just after the beautiful scene with the tree tops.
  • Smaug himself, especially when he goes berserk. His Badass Boast, punctuated by him demonstrating his various terrifying features with a very deep and loud roaring voice — courtesy of Richard Boone — is also very fear-inducing. You can really see in Bilbo's face just how far in over his head he is trying to negotiate with the dragon; especially when Smaug, incensed by his words, then promptly sets off to lay waste to Lake Town.
    Smaug: Be done with your riddles! What else brought you, Lake-man?
    Bilbo: Revenge!
    Smaug: Revenge...?
    Bilbo: Surely, you realize that your success has made you some bitter enemies.
    Smaug: (laughs sadistically) Revenge? You?! HAH! I AM SMAUG! I kill where I wish. I am strong. Strong! STROOONG! My armor is like tenfold shields. My teeth are like swords. My claws, spears! The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath... death. (breathes a jet of flame into a nearby pile of gold, melting it to slag) Well? WELL?! Where are your riddles NOW?!
  • The Battle of the Five Armies stays true to the book as a very grim depiction of war.