Thorin's map, which blends into Bilbo's entryway, and through the door the movie poster for The Desolation of Smaug can be seen

Lesson Three: An Unexpected Journey

The first movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, tells the story of the first six chapters of the book. (I am using the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for this lesson.)

A brief recap of the first six chapters of The Hobbit

A not-so-brief recap of the movie

Note: The text below is in two different colors. Black text (with a sans serif font, the page's default) indicates story material directly from the book. Blue text (with a serif font) indicates changes from the original book made by Jackson to provide greater character depth, background information, and entertainment.

Editor's note that I'll totally remove: If you're not too concerned about the differences between the book and movie and you're pressed for time, you may as well watch the movie. Sure, you might save about half an hour by reading the recap, but the movie gives you pretty scenery and music. *runs away very quickly and hides deep in the tunnels of the Sett where Tarma will never, ever find her*

Tarma's note upon reading Cosmo's note: *rotfl*! No, leave it! The movie is awesome, yes go watch it.

Old Bilbo is writing in Bag End, his home in the Shire. He writes (well, narrates during the movie dramatization) the story of Erebor, the beautiful Dwarvish fortress city ruled by Thror, King Under the Mountain. The city of Dale, a city of mixed peoples, prosperous and peaceful, lay before the doors of Erebor. We see Thorin, Thror's grandson, as a young man, and we experience the beauties of the mountain's interior as created by the Dwarves. Bilbo tells of the discovery of the Arkenstone, a beautiful gem, and mentions the discord between the Elven King, Thranduil, and Thror.

EreborThen Bilbo says, "Slowly the days turned sour." Thror developed a sickness of the mind and, as Bilbo says, "And where sickness thrives, bad things will follow." Smaug, a firedrake from the North, came to Erebor. He destroyed Dale, broke into Erebor — and Erebor was his! Thror lost the Arkenstone while fleeing the dragon. The elves refused to risk their own lives — they did not attempt to help the dwarves take Erebor back. The dwarves, now without a home, wandered the wilderness. They hired out as laborers in towns. The young prince, Thorin, worked to help his people wherever he could. "And he never forgave, and he never forgot." Scenes of the dragon's terrors and fire...

...Segue to the same colors but a change of scene, mood, and pace. Gandalf, hobbits, music, and gaiety fill the screen. Gandalf meets the very young Bilbo and deems him a lad of an adventurous spirit.

Again we see old Bilbo writing. "In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit." Frodo (a relative of Bilbo's) enters, and they talk. It is Bilbo's birthday today. Frodo goes off to meet Gandalf, the wizard who will be providing the fireworks for the party.

Cut back to Bilbo sitting on bench outside his home and blowing smoke rings. "In those days I was always on time. I was entirely respectable. And nothing unexpected ever happened."

Young Bilbo is sitting on the same bench as old Bilbo (but 60 years earlier) outside his Hobbit hole, blowing smoke rings. Same pose, same attitude as old Bilbo in the previous scene, and along comes Gandalf the Wizard. Bilbo remembers Gandalf (once Gandalf reminds Bilbo of who he is) for his fireworks. Gandalf decides it will be a good thing for Bilbo's staid life to be turned upside down and places a mark on Bilbo's door to let a group of dwarves know where the 'meeting' will be held. Gandalf leaves, while later Bilbo goes to market to get a fish for his dinner; he meets lots of hobbits, people he knows, and we see scenes of Shire life. The people there are peaceful, comfortable, and friendly.

Bifur, Dwalin, Bilbo, Bofur, and Oin in Bag EndBilbo has just contentedly cooked his evening dinner and sits down to enjoy it. He hears a knock at the door and goes to see who it is. Dwalin, a dwarf, has arrived. Bilbo is polite, though wondering what in the world is going on. Eventually, twelve dwarves and Gandalf arrive. They all feast upon the bounty of Bilbo's pantry except Bilbo himself, who is running around protesting their eating of his food, what they are doing to his dishes and furniture, and basically complaining that he has uninvited guests in his house. Bilbo's guests throw food around, sing ("Blunt the Knives"), and generally have a lot of fun, music, and merriment.

After all have eaten and the mess is cleaned up, Thorin arrives. Evidently Gandalf told Thorin that Bilbo would be an excellent burglar. Gandalf gives Thorin a map and a key, both of which are vital to the success of their venture. There is discussion of the burglar's duties, and when incineration by dragon fire is brought up, Bilbo faints. Bilbo is revived and tells Gandalf, "I'll be alright, just let me sit quietly for a while." Gandalf berates Bilbo because he's been sitting quietly for far too long. The Dwarves sing "Misty Mountains," led by Thorin.

Bilbo wakes in his beautiful bed, with the morning sunlight shining upon him. He gets up to find that his home is clean and the Dwarves are gone. He's happy... then sort of deflates... then he chooses to Go On An Adventure! He runs to join the Dwarves and Gandalf.

The Company travels on their ponies, camping out at night in the countrysides; we see beautiful vistas of Middle-Earth. When camping one night, Balin tells a background story of Thorin and Azog (which is dramatized for the movie). After being forced from Erebor, King Thror tried to reclaim the ancient dwarf kingdom of Moria, but it had been taken by legions of Orcs, led by Azog the Defiler. Azog beheaded Thror. Thorin faced down the huge Orc, wielding an oaken branch as a shield. Thorin hacked off Azog's left forearm — Azog was carried away into shelter by his Orcs, supposedly to die of his wounds. The dwarves defeated the Orcs, and Thorin had showed his quality to the dwarves, that he was worthy of being a king.

The Company travels more. Someone complains of the rain and asks Gandalf to do something about it. Gandalf says it's just rain and they would have to find another wizard to do it. Bilbo asks if there are other wizards, and Gandalf tells Bilbo of Saruman the White, "the greatest of our Order," of the two Blues, and of Radagast the Brown. Bilbo asks "Is he a great wizard? Or is he more like you?" Gandalf replies that Radagast is a very great wizard and that he keeps a watchful eye on the vast forestlands.

Radagast the BrownCut to Radagast. Dressed in mismatched clothing in mostly of shades of browns, Radagast is not the most distinguished-looking wizard ever seen. He is dismayed at the signs of evil that are permeating the forestlands and finds that his favored hedgehog, Sebastian, is ill unto dying. He tries the normal herbal remedies then realizes Sebastian is affected by witchcraft, a dark and powerful magic. Spiders show up, and Radagast shows himself to be, under the absent-minded affects, a very powerful wizard indeed. He heals Sebastian and drives the spiders off. Then he goes, in a sleigh pulled by giant rabbits, to the ancient fortress Dol Guldur and discovers the source of this evil.

The Dwarves are settling in a location to camp for the night. Gandalf and Thorin argue, and Gandalf leaves. Ponies go missing, and the Dwarves and Bilbo go to retrieve the ponies only to end up captured by trolls. Bilbo's cleverness keeps the Dwarves alive until Gandalf causes sunlight to turn the trolls to stone. The company goes to find where the trolls would hide during the day. They find the cave, and inside find swords that Gandalf recognizes as Elven-made. Gandalf takes one, and Thorin takes another one. Then Gandalf finds a short sword that he gives to Bilbo.

Radagast finds the group and tells Gandalf of Dol Guldur and of the Necromancer. Radagast carried with him the sword of the dead person who attacked him. Wargs find the company, and Radagast draws them off in his Rhosgobel rabbit-drawn sleigh. The group finds shelter in a cave while elves (apparently) kill the orcs and wargs.

The cave is actually the entrance to a very deep ravine. The Dwarves follow the ravine and end up in Rivendell, which displeases Thorin immensely; he wants nothing to do with elves! The company is welcomed by Elrond, the Master of Rivendell, and invited to sup.

The Dwarves eat Elven foods, with some complaints, as they would like to have meat and not greens (except for Bifur, who is vegetarian). They complain about the music, and Bofur leaps onto the podium and sings "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late." Food is thrown, and a good time is had by all of the Dwarves while the elves look on in varying shades of bemusement, amazement, and disgust. By this time, night has fallen. Although Thorin initially resists telling Elrond anything — "Our business is no concern of elves" — he relents and shows the map to Elrond. Fortunately for Thorin's quest, Elrond can read the moon runes on the map that Gandalf had given Thorin in Bag End.

Scene shift: Azog the Defiler is alive. A survivor of the orcs who attacked Thorin's company tells Azog of their failure to kill the Dwarves, and how the orcshad been attacked by elves. Azog kills the messenger. He sends orcs and wargs to find and kill Thorin.

Back to Rivendell! It's a beautiful morning, and Bilbo is exploring. He sees a painting of the Battle of the Ring, from a long time ago, and notices the Ring upon Sauron's hand. Later he talks with Elrond, and Elrond tells Bilbo that he is welcome to stay in Rivendell.

Night falls, and the Dwarves have broken up Elven furniture in order to make a fire and cook food over it. They party with much food-throwing and merriment. In another part of Rivendell, Gandalf and Elrond are talking; Elrond mentions the "madness" in Thorin's family and wonders if Thorin will also succumb to it. Thorin and Bilbo overhear this discussion.

Gandalf finds that the Lady Galadriel is present. Gandalf berates Elrond, that Elrond didn't have to send for her. A voice from the corner of the room speaks; it is Saruman, and he is the one who sent for her. They talk all night, past sunrise. Gandalf is worried. "There is something at work beyond the evil of Smaug. Something far more powerful." Saruman and Elrond push aside Gandalf's words and concerns, but Galadriel says, "Let him speak."

Saruman is talking... and talking. Galadriel knows the Dwarves are leaving and telepathically says to Gandalf, "They are leaving." Gandalf responds in kind: "Yes." Galadriel: "You knew." Gandalf looks sheepish and nods. She smiles.

The Dwarves and Bilbo leave Rivendell. They travel, again through magnificent sceneries. Eventually they end up in the mountains, where they experience a thunderbattle. They find refuge in a cave, which ends up being a goblin trap. They fall into Goblin Town, and the Dwarves are captured. The Dwarves meet the Great Goblin, who sings "Down in Goblin Town" and threatens them with all kinds of pain and torture.

GollumBilbo ends up fighting a goblin, and the two of them fall down — down, down, down — to the bottom, where there is a lake... and Gollum. Gollum catches and kills the goblin, but something falls out from his loincloth while he is busy with the goblin. Bilbo sees what fell; it is a gold ring. He picks it up and puts it in his pocket. Having killed the goblin, Gollum comes to see who and what Bilbo is. They play a riddle game and agree to the terms of the game: if Bilbo wins, Gollum will show Bilbo the way out, but if Gollum wins, Gollum gets to eat Bilbo. Bilbo wins, but Gollum refuses to show Bilbo the way out and plots to kill the Hobbit. He looks for his Precious, as he calls the ring which he lost, and cannot find it.

Gandalf shows up in Goblin Town and inspires the Dwarves to fight... and run. Bilbo escapes from Gollum, and, somehow, the Ring puts itself on his finger. He finds he becomes invisible when wearing the ring. The Dwarves are escaping from Goblin Town. Bilbo escapes from Gollum without killing him; he is stopped by pity.

The Dwarves get out of the mountain, as does Bilbo, who rejoins the Dwarves. When Thorin challenges Bilbo, asking why he returned, Bilbo explains: he has a home and they don't, so he will help them regain theirs.

Azog (orcs and wargs) show up. The Dwarves climb trees. There is lots of excitement, fire, and fighting. The eagles show up to take the group away from the fire and danger. They fly the Dwarves to the Carrock. Thorin acknowledges Bilbo is a useful member of their company. They see the Lonely Mountain.

A thrush flies off to the Lonely Mountain and knocks on the rock. We go into the dwarven halls and see huge piles of gold and treasure, and something moves; it's a dragon! An enormous eye opens, and the credits roll.

Changes from Book to Movie

The movie starts out quite differently than the book. Jackson wanted people to re-acquaint themselves with the Middle-Earth of the Lord of the Rings movies, give a back story for the dwarves so the audience could have some kind of understanding of the dwarves and their culture, and make this a continuation, or rather a prelude, to the story told in LotR.

I found a great little site where someone compared all the changes from book to movie: I like it because it is straightforward, not saying whether the changes are good or bad.