In "The Hobbit," Tolkien describes the journey of Bilbo, Gandalf and 13 dwarves who travel to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the dwarvish homeland and treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug. Using "The Hobbit" and other writings by J.R.R. Tolkien, director Peter Jackson stretched the story into three films; in film one, "An Unexpected Journey," the Company's quest takes them as far as the eastern side of the Misty Mountains.
GandalfIan McKellenThe irascible wizard is back with his reassuring gravitas, a little less world-weary and god-like this time than in "The Lord of the Rings" since, in "The Hobbit," he's not yet learned of the world-dooming Ring of Power.
Bilbo BagginsIan Holm | Martin FreemanThe reluctant and eponymous hobbit-cum-burglar is handpicked by Gandalf as the "lucky" 14th member of the Company. Bilbo is played by two different actors: Ian Holm makes an appearance as the "old" Bilbo at the film's beginning; Martin Freeman plays a Bilbo 60 years younger than Holm's and is our central plucky hero.
Thorin OakenshieldRichar ArmitageThe dwarves' proud and stalwart leader, and heir to the dwarvish throne, Thorin drives the quest for homeland and fortune. He also has a score to settle with the orcs and despises elves. Burdened by the past, Thorin is to "The Hobbit" as Aragorn/Strider (Viggo Mortensen) was to "Rings."
The 12 DwarvesVarious actorsWhite-bearded Balin is the group's elder statesman. Fierce fighter Dwalin, Balin's younger brother, sports head tattoos and is Thorin's greatest supporter. Brothers Kili and Fili are the Company's spirited youngsters. Dori is the group's sophisticate; he's the brother of crafty Nori. Wide-eyed and meek Ori is the most junior dwarf. Half-deaf Oin is the brother to money-grubber Gloin, the father of Gimli from "Rings." The final three are cousins: the mumbling Bifur, with an orc-axe lodged in his skull; the jovial Bofur; and bumbling, obese gourmand Bombur.SarumanChristopher LeeIn "The Hobbit," this head of the White Council and wizard-in-chief is noble and decent, not yet turned into the dangerous character he becomes later, in "Rings," when he allies himself with Sauron. Still, we don't trust him.RadagastSylvester McCoyAnother wizard, Radagast the Brown prefers the company of birds and beasts to men, elves or hobbits. Jackson interprets him as a woodsy, batty Dr. Doolittle, who talks to the animals.FrodoElijah WoodThe hero of "The Lord of the Rings," Bilbo's nephew has a cameo in the "flash-forward" scene that frames the adventures of Bilbo.GaladrielCate BlanchettGaladriel doesn't actually appear in Tolkien's "Hobbit." Nonetheless, in Jackson's version, she's back as the ethereal and somewhat creepy elf queen. We find her in Rivendell to discuss what to do about the rise of the Necromancer.ElrondHugo WeavingWielding a dangerously arched eyebrow, Elrond is lord of the elves and guardian of Middle-earth, residing in Rivendell, an oasis of elves and high culture amidst a wild world of orcs, trolls and other nasties.GollumAndy SerkisPart phlegmy actor, part CGI magic, Gollum appears for the first time deep in his cave in the Misty Mountains, having lost his birthday present: the ring. Expect his trademark split-personality weirdness.
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What would Jesus do (about climate change)?
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A rare ride, the bamboo bicycle
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‘If it is Your Life’ by James Kelman
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My fertility problems are hurting the marriage
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Entitled Brewing Launches in Hingham
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Critic’s Corner: What’s on TV this weekend
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This day in history
Today is Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.