The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review, Part 2

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review, Part 2

Good morning Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

So the Hobbit was an enjoyable movie for sure, with great action and a lot of fun. But how does it compare to the books?

By the way, pretty big movie spoilers ahead.

Now of course, no book to film adaptation can be a straight adaptation, and some changes always have to be made.

These changes can be major, such as including Azog in the films when in the book The Hobbit he was already dead and his son Bolg was the primary antagonist.

Or the changes can be minor, such as giving some of the other dwarves’ lines to Balin because there’s thirteen of them after all, and even three films isn’t quite enough time to make major characters out of all of them.

However often the minor changes can have a big impact on the overall film experience and can create some of the biggest problems, and that’s the case in the Battle of the Five Armies.

One of the most notable minor changes from the book, one that they spent a great deal of time on and which stuck out to me the most, was the dragon sickness.

Now, dragon-sickness appears in the book. It certainly has some influence on Thorin’s actions after he and the other dwarves fortify the mountain.

But in the movie I feel like they way overplayed it, and that created problems not only within the movie, but in the imaginary time afterward.

The dragon hoard and the Arkenstone became far too like the ring from Lord of the Rings for my liking, bending all his thought and actions, making him seem completely illogical and dishonorable.

Whereas in the book his actions seemed at least somewhat justified, and only amplified by the power that gold has over all dwarves, with the contribution of the dragon-sickness.

See in Tolkien lore, dwarves are famously hard to corrupt. Sauron’s rings had very little power to influence their minds, so they didn’t end up becoming ring-wraiths like men did.

However all dwarves can be swayed by gold and treasure, but this doesn’t have some kind of all-consuming sway over them. It’s more of a minor influence that can make their already considerable stubbornness turn into something more serious.

And the change in the film to consume Thorin with lust and greed to the point of madness raises a few problems.

First of all, there’s no real action on his part that leads to him overcoming the dragon-sickness. Basically he goes into a room and thinks about it for a while and then feels better.

Hardly masterful character work.

The second big question is, what happens after the movie’s done? Dain is now the King Under the Mountain. Won’t the gold corrupt him, too?

In the book the gold does corrupt the Master of Lake-Town afterward, and specifically mentions that he’s already kind of susceptible to that sort of thing.

But if Smaug’s dragon-gold can corrupt dwarves, rather than just make them act a like more rashly than normal, who’s to say the Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t end in Dain’s dwarves massacring the elves and the men of Lake-Town?

Now granted the movie version does give Thorin a low point to recover from, some sin he has to atone for by the film’s end.

But the book already had that, without making him seem like some weak-willed old man like Denethor from the Return of the King.

In the book he threatened to kill Bilbo when Bilbo gave the Arkenstone to the Men and the Elves, because it was a lost heirloom of his family.

But this comes across as a character flaw, rather than something he couldn’t have helped because it was a lesser version of the Ring and had been corrupted by a dragon.

If the Arkenstone is enchanted and corrupting his mind, then it isn’t really his fault anyway, so he’s not flawed.

And anyway why did he think that giving it away would make you calm down or react rationally?

See, by playing up the dragon-sickness in conversations with Balin, it becomes clear what’s the right thing to do: hide the damn Arkenstone so Thorin can’t find it ever, or at least until the situation is resolved.

But to go from those conversations to Bilbo’s decision to GIVE the Arkenstone to Thorin’s enemies requires a huge leap of logic that I just can’t participate in.

Now we’ve got to talk about the role of the Elves in the film…in the next video.

SORRY! I’M SORRY! But there’s still too much stuff.

My one-video Hobbit film review has become a trilogy. There’s an analogy in there somewhere.

Thanks for watching, Rebels, don’t forget to subscribe to catch part three.

Check out my Patreon for the best way to get my books, and here’s where you can get autographed paperbacks.

And I’ll see you tomorrow. Maybe. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at

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