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The Hobbit trilogy as a whole:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • When Thranduil chose not to come to the aid of Erebor after Smaug attacked, was he regretful of what he had to do? Or was he secretly rather smugly pleased that the dwarves had been brought down a peg or three? Or did he know that he simply couldn't defeat Smaug, and was not prepared to throw away the lives of his own for the treasure of others? Did he even intend to fight? Or perhaps he had his other reasons?
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    • According to Word of God, it is due to the intense racism between dwarves and elves after dwarves murdered King Thingol in The Silmarillion and Thranduil more than likely saw it as Laser-Guided Karma. Doesn't help that Thror refused to return his wife's necklace.
  • Arc Fatigue: One of the biggest complaints about these movies is that they're a trilogy instead of a duology as Jackson originally intended, as a collaboration with Guillermo del Toro (or even just a single film like the cartoon), and that eight whole hours are dedicated to adapting Tolkien's shortest story. The big issues are the claims that several scenes go on for too long, that several subplots could be cut without causing the film itself to suffer from a narrative standpoint, and that Peter Jackson needed a better editor for the films. Unfortunately, this can be traced back to Executive Meddling, as evidenced in the trivia section. However, many fans have also embraced the trilogy format, enjoying the expansions to the original tale and feeling it allows the rather fast-paced story in the book to breathe a lot more.
  • Award Snub:
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    • It's nearly a unanimous agreement that if anyone got snubbed by the Oscars, it was Andy Serkis. Again.
    • Howard Shore's truly amazing scores for all three films weren't nominated, despite them being eligible for Best Score.
    • All of the songs, particularly "I See Fire" and "The Last Goodbye" which are regarded as the best songs in the trilogy. They weren't even nominated.
    • Likewise Andrew Lesnie's beautiful cinematography.
  • Awesome Ego: Smaug. He has a penchant for boasting about how much of a badass he is, and fans love him for it. The fact that he can back his claims, coupled with Benedict Cumberbatch's performance, probably helps.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Neil Finn's "Song of the Lonely Mountain"; it's a fantastic (non-orthodox) Expository Theme Tune! It yearns for a kickass cover done in Rhapsody of Fire 's or Blind Guardian 's style. See a good example here, but there are many others around.
      Thorin: Far over the misty mountains cold... To dungeons deep, and caverns old...
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    • The Main Theme falls firmly into Awesome Music territory.
    • Blunt the knives, bend the forks, smash the bottles and burn the corks...
    • Bones will be shattered, necks will be wrung! You'll be beaten and battered, from racks you'll be hung! You will die down here and never be found! Down in the deep of Goblin-Town!
    • "Over Hill", it gets even better when it reaches 2:15.
    • "I See Fire". The second movie's ending theme by Ed Sheeran about going down in flames.
    • "A Spell of Concealment As the song progresses, it becomes more dark and sinister until it hammers straight into a remixed version of Mordor's Theme when Sauron is finally revealed.
    • "My Armor is Iron" from the second film's climax.
    • "The Last Goodbye" which is cited as people's favorite song from the trilogy and apparently was a few votes away from an Oscar nomination.
    • "Ironfoot", which is Dain's theme.
    • "Sons of Durin'' Especially the first minute. Doesn't get any heroic than this.
      Dain: TO THE KING! TO THE KIIING!!!
    • "Girion, Lord of Dale" Starting 2:40 is the somber music played at Thorin, Fili and Kili's funeral in the extended edition. Softer notes can be heard in "In the Shadow of the Mountain".
    • Say what you will about the love story, but their love theme is nothing short of beautiful.
    • Apart from being an absolutely breathtaking score, a lot of thought went behind the composition of "Feast of Starlight" in wholly illustrating the fragile and doomed nature of Kili and Tauriel's connection. The concept of duality is a recurring motif first portrayed by the duet of flute and oboe representing two voices conversing. Lyrically followed by the chorus in two different languages Elvish Sindarin (italic) Dwarvish Khuzdul (bold):
      Hae ephadron / theri thaur
      îmri zaizi
      am na dhû / ias fir i ambar
      A trehil i ‘alad ‘lân uir tri ‘wilith

      Kûr yamsi / tân yamarsi biyê
      Ankakizi ni adâlimê / Ak tathyariya


      Translation:
      I go walking / Beyond the forest
      Take me with you
      Up into the night / Where the world falls away
      And the white light of forever fills the air

      Where do you go / When you leave me?
      I see you, in my dreams / But you are far away
  • Author's Saving Throw: The extended cuts of the films, like with The Lord of the Rings, are this as they include more scenes from the book (the Goblin Town song, the first proper meeting of Beorn) and explain certain things (the fate of Thrain which according to the second film's extended commentary was filmed when it was meant to be two movies and Kili's crush on Tauriel is foreshadowed in the extended cut for the first film). The third film's extended cut has received acclaim from both fans and critics for fixing a lot of the film's problems, including the effects, and giving the dwarves a chance to shine.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Azog. Depending on who you ask, he's either admired as a badass villain, or despised for being Spared by the Adaptation and becoming a generic "tough guy", exchanging the book lore's memorable murder-vendetta backstory with the dwarves for just more generic battle scenes fought over territory Age of Empires or Total War style.
    • Martin Freeman's casting and performance. Some feel he's perfect for Bilbo and personifies the put-upon Everyman character Tolkien wrote. Others feel like he's just playing John Watson again.
    • Radagast, both for being added to the story and his Character Exaggeration.
    • Tauriel, though not as severe. Rarely does anyone consider her The Scrappy, but viewers are divided on whether she's an interesting addition to the story with a heartwarming relationship with Kili, or if she's just a Satellite Love Interest without much personality. Some warmed up to her after BOTFA.
  • Better on DVD: Just like The Lord of the Rings and even Harry Potter, the films make more sense and flow better when viewed in marathon form, especially with the extended cuts, which have been acclaimed by fans and critics and are considered a great improvement over the theatrical cuts.
  • Broken Base: The trilogy is considered to be the Star Wars prequels of the new decade (that was, at least, until the Star Wars sequel came along). Much like those films, there is a split fanbase:
    • There's the whole adaptation approach as prequels to the LOTR movies. See Pandering to the Base below. And that they made three movies, not just two. Some people say the stuff added for the Adaptation Expansion enhances the experience, but others say it feels like bad fan fiction.
    • The expanded roles of the elves. Some felt it was Pandering to the Base and didn't like how Legolas and Tauriel stole scenes from Bilbo and especially the love triangle. Others love it because of their show stealing scenes, and feel Legolas is getting much needed depth he did not have in the main trilogy.
    • Opinions vary on whether Tauriel and Kili were Strangled by the Red String and thrown in just for the sake of adding drama, while others find their chemistry and the similarities they bonded over heartwarming and believable. A third group has people who like them, or at the very least don't mind, but dislikes the implication of a Love Triangle with Legolas which many think their relationship could have been done without. After the third film's release, more people are leaning towards the third option stating that while they don't mind the two together, they greatly dislike the idea of a love triangle. Bonus points that the cast and crew seem to agree with the third party that they just wanted to tell a simple love story with Kili and Tauriel and the triangle was a result of Executive Meddling. Hell, when Tauriel's character was first announced in 2012, Peter Jackson made it a point to assure both the public and Tauriel's actress, Evangeline Lilly, that there absolutely wouldn't be a romance between Tauriel and Legolas. They knew it would be so poorly received that they reassured everyone it wasn't going to happen... and then the studio overruled Jackson and mandated that such a subplot was to be included, to the displeasure of all.
    • The expansion of Azog's arc. Some argue he's irrelevant and should stay dead as in the books. Others see him as an antagonist that Thorin needed (with Smaug focusing more on Bilbo and Bard) and that their Mutual Kill adds more drama to the story than Dain killing Azog. Azog's vendetta also gives a better reason to have him preparing his armies at least since the moment he caught wind of the quest for Erebor, rather than them arriving completely by surprise in what looked like a Diabolus ex Machina in the book (even if the long wars between the dwarves and the orcs were mentioned in LOTR's appendices).
  • Cant Un Hear It: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown to name a few.
  • Complete Monster: Azog the Defiler is the Orc leader and the chief antagonist for much of the trilogy. A sadist even by the standards of the Orcs, Azog pledged to wipe out the line of Durin even though they had done nothing to him. In the battle, Azog murdered King Thror and beheaded him, and then severed Thrain's finger and took him to Dol Guldur to torture him. When Thorin Oakenshield cut off his arm, Azog vowed to gain revenge on the Dwarf by any means necessary, putting a bounty on his head. When one of his lieutenants fails to kill the Dwarves, Azog angrily murders him in a rage. After cornering Thorin, he gloats to Thorin that he killed his father, which Azog knew was false, to goad him into attacking him. Upon taking command of the Necromancer's armies, Azog decides to use a sadistic version of divide and conquer and sends his soldiers into the ruined city of Dale, knowing that the Allies will split their forces to protect the women and children, choosing to order the deaths of helpless civilians to gain the advantage. When Thorin rides to his command center to kill him, Azog has Thorin's nephew Fili brought to him and then kills him in front of Thorin, taking sadistic glee in the moment. Upon mortally wounding Thorin, Azog took immense glee in his rival's immediate death. A sadistic Blood Knight who will happily kill anyone for his own amusement, and very willing to resort to Revenge by Proxy, Azog is an Orc who acts mostly independently and therefore shows that an Orc can be evil on their own decision with no goading from a superior.
  • Contested Sequel: The consensus seems to be that these movies aren't quite as good as the Lord Of The Rings trilogy that preceded them (which was admittedly a Tough Act to Follow). Now, whether or not they're good movies is the real point of contention among fans.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Bilbo/Smaug, possibly thanks to their actors being the popular Ho Yay ship from Sherlock. May double as Hilarious in Hindsight.
    • Fíli/Sigrid (Bard's elder daughter) has gained a small fanbase on Archive of Our Own, despite Sigrid having all of five lines, none of which were directed at the former.
    • Thranduil/Tauriel are also gaining a small fanbase, mostly based on their final interaction.
    • Another example is Gandalf/Galadriel. Galadriel has been married to Celeborn for thousands of years (since before the fall of Doriath which happened in the First Age) and Tolkien's Elves canonically pair and marry for life, adultery is absolutely unthinkable to them. Gandalf is a Maia, an angelic being who has existed since the creation of the universe and is merely clothed in the body of an elderly man, yet a subset of fans are still convinced that they're secretly in love with each other purely because of the chemistry they share in The Hobbit trilogy, which seems to be more a result of the real life friendship between actors Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett than anything else. (Actually the romantic tension between them is thanks to Guillermo del Toro who, before he quit, intended to make Galadriel and Gandalf fall in love).
    • Bilbo/Thorin, which would normally be par for the course, except for the large subset that Gender Flips Bilbo first.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Radagast, a moss-encrusted Cloud Cuckoolander with bird poop in his hair who manages to fend a curse from his doorstep, ventures alone into a haunted castle and bring out a valuable piece of evidence after fighting the Witch-King's spectre, and outruns an orc raiding party on a sled pulled by rabbits.
      Radagast: These are Rhosgobel rabbits! I'd like to see them try!
    • Dain rides a war pig, speaks in a thick Scottish accent, tells the elves where to stick it, and headbutts orcs to death.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • The first film received mixed to positive reviews, even without considering the debate over the High Frame Rate version (it helps that it's often considered to be overlong and was a Tough Act to Follow to a really acclaimed trilogy). Nonetheless, by the end of only its third weekend in release, it earned over half a billion dollars globally (and finished its BO run with over a billion, the second Tolkien adaptation to do so). While barely registering as "Fresh" at 65% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics, audiences give it a much higher 83% Fresh.
    • Averted with the second film, which got a very good reception from critics and audiences alike. On the other hand, fans of the book tend to be a lot colder to it, owing to its significantly greater liberties taken with the book's storyline.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Smaug, courtesy of Benedict Cumberbatch. Also, the fact that he's a dragon with leather-like skin.
    • Some people also go pretty far into justifying Thranduil's jerkassery, courtesy of Lee Pace's performance and a few other things (such as riding a goddamn giant deer to battle).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Radagast, mostly thanks to his Crazy Awesome badassery, dealing with the giant spiders, the Nazgûl and the orcs with ease. (And among older fans, for being the Seventh Doctor in addition to the above.)
    • Bofur as well, in part because of his greater character development, and his Heartwarming Moment with Bilbo. It may also have something to do with him being played by the always charming James Nesbitt. He also has some of the best facial hair in the film, which is saying something in a film full of bearded men. And he's the one wearing a Cool Hat.
    • Ori, for those that don't consider him The Scrappy. He's just adorable.
    • Bifur, despite having a smaller role than any of the above characters, is quite popular on Tumblr (mainly because of his head injury).
    • Thranduil. Good grief, Thranduil. He even has a Fan Nickname: "Dwarf Racist Party Dad".
    • Gollum when he appears in An Unexpected Journey, being creepy and hilarious.
    • Bard's children are generally well-liked as well for being adorable, helping expand Bard's character and mostly because they surprisingly avert being The Load.
    • Dáin Ironfoot from the third film for saving The Company's (and pretty much everyone else's) asses in the nick of time, his Crazy Awesome tendencies (such as riding a boar to battle and headbutting everyone to death), and his magnificent Screw You, Elves! speech. His great theme song doesn't hurt either.
    • Meta example, fabulous hobbit set decorator
    • The orc torturer from the third film, for being an actor in make-up, being able to kick Gandalf's ass and being played by The Mountain.
    • Thranduil's wife never even appears on screen but the amount of fanart and gifsets she has received is amazing. Bonus points for her being Small Role, Big Impact.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Despite the controversy of being Spared by the Adaptation, many people definitely enjoyed Azog's badass portrayal in these movies. It certainly helps that he's played by Manu Bennett.
    • Smaug. He's huge, terrifying, and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
    • Bolg, Azog's son and second-in-command. He's just as much of a badass as his father. In The Desolation of Smaug he fights Legolas to a draw, and in The Battle of Five Armies he kills Kili, knocks Tauriel out of the fight, and nearly kills Legolas more than once.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Whenever someone mispronounces Smaug's name, usually gets this reaction. The correct way is "sm-ow-g," not "smog".
  • Fanon: Many people wonder if Film-Thranduil is at least partially blind thanks to the massive burn scars that suddenly appeared on his face while he was ranting to Thorin, particularly the milky white of his eye. There are many subtle hints to support it due to Lee Pace's acting choices—he doesn't look anyone in the eye, rarely blinks if at all, and other partly-sighted people have noted that he constantly forces his eyes wide open, like he's straining to look at everything. Coupled with Film-Legolas' tendencies to state the obvious in LOTR, it would make sense if he's used to doing that because his father no longer has full range of vision.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The theatrical releases were heavily criticized for their inconsistent pacing, but many fans are quick to point out the original trilogy's theatrical releases had the same pacing problems that also weren't fixed until the extended editions.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
  • He Really Can Act: Luke Evans as Bard impressed both critics and audiences, especially in in the third film.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Azog's entire role could be this after Manu Bennett was arrested for assault after an incident at a con.
    • The entire trilogy could be this when you remember how difficult it was to make The Lord of the Rings a trilogy and then read about Warner Bros. Executive Meddling for this trilogy.
    • Reading about how thanks to Warner Bros. meddling the production went off the rails becomes even harder to stomach thanks to Justice League (2017) which had an even worse production under the same company. And unlike The Hobbit, that film’s director and writer didn’t get to see the final product all the way to the end.
    • Fans, including Lindsay Ellis, accusing Peter Jackson and his team of not caring about the film or the source material is harsh when you realize (and John Callen, the actor for Oin, confirmed the following in an interview with Lindsay) that it was the other way around: Jackson did care, but Warner Bros. told him to his face to cut out entire character arcs and sideline everyone to focus on Gandalf, Bilbo, Thorin and more action sequences because they didn’t, despite Jackson’s protests.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The trilogy originally being planned as just a duology mirrors the making of the earlier Rings trilogy.
    • During Tolkien's lifetime he started a rewrite of the book consistent with the tone of The Lord of the Rings, much like the intent behind the Hobbit movies. However, a friend advised him to stop since it wasn't The Hobbit anymore, much like some Hobbit movie reactions.
    • Tauriel in general, considering how infamous the LOTR movie trilogy once was for its fanfiction involving Legolas, and just how much Tauriel resembles such characters, at least on a superficial level. (Though if not for studio interference, that could have been averted.)
    • The following Lord of the Rings quote is eerily prophetic about how some view the Adaptation Expansion of the relatively short Hobbit.
      Bilbo: Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right.
    • Back when Sylvester McCoy was playing the Seventh Doctor, the episode Battlefield had him find out he would become Merlin. Cue this film trilogy, where McCoy would play a wizard. There's also this golden exchange from a modern episode of Doctor Who:
      River Song: I hate good wizards in stories. They all turn out to be [the Doctor].
    • Right after the last film's release, Richard Armitage took the role of Francis Dolarhyde in Hannibal, an insane serial killer who believes he's possessed by a dragon.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Thorin and Bilbo. Shows up most obviously when Thorin saves Bilbo from falling during the Stone Giant storm while waxing continuously about how he's useless, and Bilbo protecting Thorin from Azog, alone, despite having next to no idea how to use a sword, culminating in an epic Man Hug, and one of the only smiles from Thorin.
    • Not at all discouraged by Armitage jokingly calling the dwarves' recital of Misty Mountains their way of "seducing" Bilbo to come questing with them, and Freeman humorously giving his reason for joining the Company as Bilbo maybe falling in love with Thorin.
    • The actors seem well aware of it. In the blu-ray extras there's a point in script reading where Peter Jackson reads: "Thorin leads Bilbo to the canopy", and Richard Armitage cracks: "is this post-coital or pre?"
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Three guesses which pairingnote .
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Just look at Thorin when Balin tells the younger dwarves about the death of Thrór.
    • Meta example with the cast and crew, who had to deal with Executive Meddling and a Troubled Production. Yikes.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Gollum literally lives for that Ring. Seeing it being stolen from him is heartbreaking.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: General critical consensus for The Desolation of Smaug is that the film greatly improves on An Unexpected Journey and that it's quite a good film on its own merits. However, many fans admitted to seeing the movie just for Smaug himself. Still others for Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, despite the fact that he's visually unrecognizable, being a dragon and all.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Bilbo can't just go running off into the blue. He is a Baggins... of Bag End!
    • Majestic Thorin is majestic. Wannabe majestic Kili is less majestic.
    • Pretty much everything about Thranduil's ten second appearance in the first film. Randy Thrandy is the culmination of this.
    • Bofur's Nice Hat. Yes, it did get defictionalised.
    • "I thought [X]... I have never been so wrong in all my life."
    • "He never forgave. And he never forgot."
    • I'm going on an adventure!
    • "If this is to end in fire, then we shall all burn together." Even cited verbatim in Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire".
    • Jokes about Benedict and motion capture.
    • "I am fire. I am... a high-functioning sociopath."
    • "Thorin no"
    • "I lost my way. Twice."
    • "BOOOOOLG!" is starting to get up there.
  • Mis-blamed: A lot of people, especially on YouTube, think all the changes or problems with the movie were all Jackson's fault. While the decision to shoot it on 48 frames per second and the over-reliance on CGI were Jackson, as noted in the Executive Meddling section, most of the problems were the studios.
  • Older Than They Think: Tauriel is not the first entirely made up female Canon Foreigner woven into an adaption of The Hobbit. Gene Deitch already did that with Princess Mika Milovana in his (rather loose) 1966 adaption.
  • Pandering to the Base: One way to interpret the Adaptation Expansion approach. Unlike the book (obviously, being written first) these movies are designed as prequels to The Lord of the Rings, putting Frodo, Galadriel and other LOTR elements into the story, and stretching and padding the book's story for three movies (the book is much shorter than The Fellowship of the Ring alone). Kíli's expanded role in the second film also counts. Legolas too; the marketing for the second film can be summed up as "Legolas is back!"
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: The Ho Yay pairing of Thorin and Bilbo has been immediately dubbed by fangirls "Thilbo" and "Bagginshield" or altogether, "Thilbo Bagginshield".
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The love triangle between Kili, Tauriel, and Legolas is very much despised (including by Peter Jackson and Evangeline Lilly. Orlando Bloom seems to pretend it doesn't exist.) Like many things, its existence is the result of Executive Meddling, and Lilly in particular hasn't been shy about voicing her displeasure over it. In the commentaries, neither Lilly, Bloom, nor Aidan Turner even mention it.
  • Squick: Radagast has two long streaks in his hair, made up of bird droppings.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The reaction of many Tolkien fans to the many deviations from the book.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Bifur, at least in the theatrical editions. He has only one line, which isn't even in English, and is almost never even mentioned or focused on. Somewhat remedied in the extended edition of Battle of the Five Armies, where the axe comes out of his head, enabling him to speak English.
    • With the exceptions of Thorin, Kili, and to a certain extent Balin, Dwalin, Fili, and Bofur, the rest of the Dwarves in the company are given little to no focus throughout the series and are more or less extras. Doubly disappointing in that they all have unique personalities while sharing the goal of reclaiming their long-lost home.
    • The Master of Laketown. Not only does he suffer an unnecessary Death by Adaptation, his role was taken by widely-hated Canon Foreigner Alfrid Lickspittle. Many fans felt that veteran comedy actor Stephen Fry could have pulled off the storyline without becoming The Scrappy.
  • Ugly Cute: Radagast applies; he's filthy and crazy, but cute at the same time.
  • Unfortunate Implications: During the making of An Unexpected Journey, a casting director was fired over rejecting a British woman of Pakistani descent for not being fair-skinned enough to play a hobbit. While hobbits were based on old-fashioned English country people per Word of God, some are described as browner as well as fairer than others in the books... in any case, the proviso was apparently only added for casting female hobbit extras, which is another can of worms. The Desolation of Smaug, perhaps having the incident in mind, includes a few non-white people in Lake-town.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The original book was a kid-friendly story. Even the films, early on, seem to be aimed at a younger audience. However, it isn't long before we start seeing all manner of Family-Unfriendly Violence (not to mention deaths), some VERY extreme Nightmare Fuel, including lots of Body Horror, some innuendos, and even a few swear words. The extended edition of the third film even got the R-rating, which none of the previous Middle-Earth movies had.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?:
  • Woobie Species: The majority of the Dwarvish race who are displaced, nomadic and downtrodden, yet choose to remain strong and proud.


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