Episode 50
May 1, 2023

LaCroix Wormtongue

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned appear live in Portland at Passages Bookshop to celebrate fifty episodes of By-the-Bywater and to talk about Oriana’s choice of topic: Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit. To say that there was almost immediate speculation about whether or when Jackson would also adapt The Hobbit following the smash critical and commercial success of his Lord of the Rings films is to understate; over the following years there were further lawsuits, broken agreements, studio questions, planned directorial choices that mysteriously fell through and more besides that seemed to indicate it would be the biggest case of developmental hell ever. But eventually the films did start coming out in a similar yearly pace starting in December 2012, and certainly earned a fair amount of cash. Yet to say that the films have had anywhere near the level of widespread love and cultural staying power than The Lord of the Rings films is to deny the fundamental truth of how poorly these films have aged on several levels, and the various resultant impacts since, up to and including a literal rewriting of a country’s laws to accommodate the production. What were the core differences between the two sets of adaptations on a structural level, and how did that play out in comparative terms? What technical achievements were made much of in the run up to the films’ release, and what impact did they actually have? How did what should be a core relationship between the characters of Thorin and Bilbo get set up as a near love story, and how was that all ultimately undercut in the final edits? And really…Alfrid Lickspittle. REALLY?

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Show Notes.

Jared couldn’t make a doodle for obvious reasons. But look here! Friend of the show and network Gabriel did sketch us!

Big ups to Passages Bookshop! Owner David is a fine fellow and you should all check it out next time you’re in Portland.

Not only was there our live episode but there was an associated live bingo game for audience members. (Some people got close but nobody got it exactly – pity, that would have been amazing if that had happened!)

Oriana’s old podcast American Grift. It may yet return!

Whitechapel! Steampunky, yes, but the drinks are great.

Our first episode! Different days…

The Hollywood Reporter story on Amazon Studio’s somewhat flailing ways, especially in terms of The Rings of Power.

That suit filed by the fanfic guy. Where to begin. And if you want the back cover of his totally original book The Fellowship of the King, here ya go. (Debutante ball. Really.)

Don’t forget Jared’s upcoming novel!

Our Silver Call duology episode – and our Rings of Power Season 1 episode.

RIP Barry Humphries , Jackson’s Goblin King.

The Hobbit movies. Yup. That’s them.

We’ve linked them before but the three parts of Lindsay Ellis’s analysis of The Hobbit films are really something special, a masterpiece of both analysis and reporting.

Nathan Rabin’s old Forgotbusters column for the Dissolve.

Ah the Denny’s menu. Testimony from one who survived

The whole framerate thing was hyped almost as much as the 3D. And it was countered at the time, not just retrospectively…

The opening sequence in Erebor is indeed a technical and artistic success. The escaping Goblin-town sequence…is not. The barrel escape definitely isn’t.

Dune and Goodnight Moon? Julia Yu has you covered.

Thorin and Bilbo fan-art on Tumblr? Wouldn’t know about that…

Thorin’s death scene with Bilbo? Very strong, very close in dialogue to the book too. The death scene after it? Well…

The Tauriel issue. There’s a lot.

Martin Freeman and James Nesbitt can indeed do something together with a sense of dramatic heft and charisma, as seen in this scene from the first movie. Nothing like it happens again.

Lee Pace really just needed to do this.

The Thorin charge to Azog down the flaming tree, yeah…and the music with it? Why did they do that?

Alfrid Lickspittle. Just, no. (We’re sure Ryan Gage is lovely in his own right.)

Yeah, Smaug the Golden was a nice touch.

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