The Hobbit . . .
It’s in the news amongst friends and aquaintances and for every good reason. Richard Armitage has been cast as the ‘haughty’ (Tolkein’s words, not mine) Thorin Oakenshield, dwarf leader. Thorin is a key character in The Hobbit, partnering Bilbo Baggins through the story to the bitter, most bitter, end.
It would be surprising if Mr.Armitage appeared as his smooth self. We can expect hair, but we’ve seen that in Robin Hood.
And no doubt we can expect noses and robust body-shape. But what will be odd is the height. Because for sure he will assume the height of Gimli from LOTR. Six foot plus reduced to three foot something or other. The magic of Special FX.
What must surely be wonderful for Mr.Armitage is that he is being cast way out of type in physical appearance. Hopefully way out of type in other ways as well. In addition, he has always admitted to a deep-seated love of Tolkein, so that surely must add dimension to the role.
My own relationship with Tolkein developed in my twenties on a trip around Asia. I read LOTR and The Hobbit on long plane-trips and they were my traveling companions, sitting opposite me in restaurants, and next to me on buses, planes and in tuk-tuks.
When I returned home, I noticed people were calling their homes Rivendell and Hobbiton and that our favourite bakery was offering a pastie-like construction called a Baggins Roll. But those heady days are gone, bakeries are national franchises and homes are rapidly bought and sold. But on my bookshelf is my battered, much traveled copy of The Hobbit and it is calling once again.