Ryan Baron North
It has been a while. I focused on other things for a bit—day jobs and what have you. And, I can say, that was a mistake. I am less happy than I have been in a long time, and the thing that I had been focusing on did not return the favor. Careers are careless, terrible things. In my experience, they have no love to give, they don’t give anything back to your heart for the pain your heart gives to it, and you’re simply left with nothing but less time to spend. I won’t make that mistake again.
Don’t get me wrong, I am too old to pursue dreams and wishes entirely, and I am not able to abandon the “day job” entirely. I understand the need, especially in our boring dystopia to maintain security and resources. I know what it’s like facing a new day without healthcare, without the bills being paid.
Anyway. I came on because I wanted to say a few things about The Hobbit, that film from 2012. First, I want to say that nerds are such assholes. There is this common stereotype that nerds are the pure-hearted ones, silently suffering at the hands of bullies, wanting only to escape into their favorite IPs. That’s just not the case. Oftentimes, they are just as asshole-ish as the bullies who victimize them. Go to a game night at your local comic shop one of these days and tell me you didn’t witness a little hierarchy of people being rude to each other.
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I am here getting ready to talk about The Hobbit, I’ve stepped through nerd culture a couple of times; I play D&D on the weekends. And don’t even get me started on the sexism and objectification in the nerd world.
As I was saying, I have been rewatching The Hobbit a decade later, and it is a good movie. Pure and simple. It is exciting, it is fun, and when Bilbo learns a lesson or shows us why Gandalf chooses to put a hobbit into all of his adventuring companies, you feel it. Loyalty, courage, and honor are all on display, and the story passes these traits on to the viewer. If a person is not at all inspired when Bilbo chooses to rush to Thorin Oakenshield’s aid despite knowing this will probably be his last act of anything, then their heart is missing something, and I suggest that person take some time to find it.
Sadly, I have seen this happen so many times in nerd culture when a new film comes out, or a sequel makes its way to the theaters. There is this toxic eagerness to chop it down. Every little, perceived flaw is grounds to tear the entire project to pieces. An actor is not as tall as the character they are portraying, in the books, this person said this, not that, or any number of little bitches and gripes. It absolutely drives me crazy to hear all the complaints that a remake is not a shot-for-shot remake of the original when I know if it had been a shot-for-shot remake, the viewers would be arguing the necessity for remakes to go their own way with the source material.
The point I am trying to make about The Hobbit is this: yes, it was three movies that stretched a small novel to make the most money; yes, Legolas was never in the book. I understand you didn’t feel exactly the same way watching The Hobbit as you did 12-something years before sitting in the theater watching Lord of the Rings. I get it. However, at the end of the day, the industry gave us the chance to reenter Middle Earth. We all got to see Sir Ian McKellen put on the wizard robes one last time. Who gives a shit if he wasn’t in the books, we saw Orlando Bloom bouncing around shooting a bow again. But the orcs are CGI, now, they aren’t in make—shut the fuck up.
Look, The Hobbit was a good film. All I’m saying is: if the topic of the Lord of the Rings comes up, and you are one of those people who says, “We don’t talk about The Hobbit,” or something snider and more worthless to the conversation, you need to examine yourself. Are you just a gatekeeper trying to protect the Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth from a newer, more generalized fan base? Are you one of those still holding on to contrarianism as a personality trait? We’ve all been there, but that shit’s gotta’ go after you’re twenty-five—earlier if you can manage it.
When you get home tonight, or whenever, hop onto a streamer, and put on The Hobbit. I’m willing to bet that you will find something you like in it. At least admit that it is awesome having Gandalf on screen again. And if you still can’t find anything nice to say, keep it to yourself. Because, at the end of the day, at least it isn’t the Rings of Power.