How to Divide a Hobbit?

I don’t have the wisdom of Solomon, but I want to consider something briefly. It is now confirmed many times over that The Hobbit is going to be filmed and released by New Line Cinema. Peter Jackson will be writing and producing for the film, along with Phillipa Boyens once more, and Guillermo Del Toro will be taking the reins as director. Sir Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis will be reprising their roles as Gandalf and Gollum respectively.

Word has it that The Hobbit will be two films, which I find surprising. I think that the Hobbit will be easier to turn into a film than The Lord of the Rings was, and it is a good deal shorter and simpler as a story. It is very direct, the main characters don’t split up into three or four different groups, and there are fewer names and characters to keep track of. So the choice to make it two films is odd to me.

I wonder how they will split it up?

If it was me, if I had to divide the move into two parts, I would end the first movie at the point when Bilbo is alone in Mirkwood, separated from the Dwarves, when he confronts one of the giant spiders trying to wind him up to carry him off and eat him. He kills the spider, there alone in the dark, and it is at that moment that he turns a corner as a character. Tolkien identifies the same moment in his letters when he talks about Bilbo as a character. This moment of courage, all alone, is for me the dramatic turning point of the story.

Bilbo has previously shown him self to be far more useful and clever than he was when he nearly got all of the Dwarves eaten by Trolls much earlier in the story, but it is at this moment that he becomes heroic. So the first film would be about Bilbo’s transformation into a hero, his ennoblement, to use a term that Tolkien loved to use, and the second film would be about Bilbo-the-hero saving the Dwarves from giant spiders, from the prison of the Elvenking, and ultimately, from themselves just before the Battle of Five Armies.

I wonder where they will split the story up, however. Given that Peter Jackson is involved, bless his heart, but there’s no knowing which scenes will be elongated while he and Del Toro enjoy themselves lavishing us with brute-force drama and gorgeous eye-candy. It remains to be seen.

Where would you divide the story of The Hobbit, if it was up to you?

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