Chapter Eleven: On The Doorstep
Chapter Eleven: On The Doorstep
Before we continue with Bilbo’s adventure, I want to take this opportunity to get back to Gandalf who left the party at the entrance of Mirkwood. This aspect of the plot is absent from the book and is recounted by Gandalf later. In fact, its inclusion in the film is very likely to be much expanded. Allow me to elaborate.
What we know of Gandalf’s activities from the text of both The Hobbit and “The Quest For Erebor”, which is presented in Unfinished Tales, is that he was involved with one final meeting of the White Council and an attack on Dol Guldur to drive out the Necromancer. But, going back to the unexpected party at Bag End, Gandalf presents a key and a map that was given to him by Thrain, Thorin’s father, who he had discovered as a prisoner in the pits of Dol Guldur previous to the quest. The account of Thrain’s imprisonment and death in that old fortress, however, was removed from film one and it appears that it may take place at some point in film two.
Radagast, who does not make any appearance in the book, was given the task of discovering an evil force at Dol Guldur. This threat was presented to the White Council by Gandalf at a meeting in Rivendell. It looks as through Gandalf’s side trip will turn out to be his investigation into the matter. We are not sure if he will encounter Thrain or not but it’s clear that he will have his own experience with the Necromancer. Whether or not Gandalf or the council determines in the film series that this is in fact Sauron taking form is not for certain. In Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Ring”, it doesn’t seem like Gandalf is aware of Sauron’s returning presence until he proves his theory that Bilbo’s ring is actually The One Ring. So, for continuity’s sake, the Necromancer’s true identity may not be revealed in either of the next two films though perhaps there will be speculation on Gandalf’s (and Galadriel’s) part.
But the fact is we already know we can expect a scene with Gandalf exploring Dol Guldur based on what we’ve seen in the trailers. We are also not sure exactly when in film two that this will happen but I’m guessing it will probably be edited against a part when the action with Bilbo and the Dwarves is moving slower. Here, prior to Thorin and company’s arrival at Erebor, would be a good time. In fact, we could very well get more than one scene. But regardless of the number of Gandalf’s appearances I would be surprised if we cut to the grey Wizard prior to this point in the film.
This chapter, like the preceding one, is very short and serves really one purpose – to fulfill the prophecy of the moon letters translated by Elrond back in Chapter Three. We read about the three day trip up the Long Lake and the River Running that leads to their disembarking along the river bank in view of the desolate and empty land at the base of the mountain. This is, in fact, the “desolation” of Smaug alluded to in the second film’s subtitle.
“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.”
Previously, Bilbo had experienced two character-building events – the encounter with Gollum and the attack of the spiders. He is about to embark upon the third. I will explain how each one is different for Bilbo in the next chapter, “Inside Information”.
Having seen the film, we can revisit Chapter Eleven here.