Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hobbit and the Importance of Characters

Last night I went to see The Hobbit.

Woot woot!  I'm super proud of myself because it's the first full LOTR movie (it counts as LOTR, right?) I've seen.  I saw most of The Two Towers, but never finished (I know…I should be ashamed of myself.  Trust me, I am.)

I read The Hobbit for the first time recently.  I mean, very recently.  As in I finished it today.

But when I went to see the movie, I was only 2/3 finished--and I had been reading the book for months.  That's a really long time.  Granted, I read dozens of books simultaneously, but normally it doesn't take me that long to get through a book.  But no matter how I tried, I couldn't get into it.  And I totally understood why:  the characters fell flat.  For the most part, they were just names.  No personalities, no backstories.  I didn't care about them, so even when they were in mortal danger (which was most of the time), I was bored.

But then I saw the movie.  And loved it.  Because the movie had characters, and I grew to care about them.  And not just the standard three (Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin), but the others, too, my favorites  being Fili, Kili, and Bofur (who, until I saw the movie, I hadn't been able to tell apart).  They weren't just names anymore; they had unique personalities.

Today I sped through the rest of The Hobbit (the book, I mean), tackling the same number of pages it had taken me months to read in a couple of hours.  Why the difference?  Because I took the characters from the movie and transferred them to the page.  Now I cared.  I actually got teary when *SPOILER ALERT* Bilbo learns that Fili and Kili died.

Long story short, character development is critical.  You can have the best plot in the world, but if the characters are boring, then it'll be a struggle to read.

What were your thoughts on The Hobbit?  Book and movie?

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