Thursday, 6 October 2016

Narrative - Archetypes - The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

Fig 1 - Theatrical Release Poster Segment

The first of a trilogy of films that follow the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey 2012, (Fig1) directed by Peter Jackson is a adaptation of the novel written by the legendary J.R.R.Tolkien.  It is followed by The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and together they act as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. Along the journey the group are continually tested by the surrounding environments and its denizens. 
Fig 2 - Carl Yung Profile

This Film can be categorised by implementing Joseph Campbell's theorem of 'The Hero's Journey', also the production is rich with archetypes that help strengthen the overall resolve and structure to the story. 'Archetypes' was introduced as a concept by Carl Yung (Fig2), who saw there was a sort of structuralist approach to telling a selection of stories onscreen. 

Fig 3 - Bilbo Baggins

The Hero of this journey can be multiple members of the adventurers, but we shall choose Bilbo Baggins (Fig3) as the sole hero of this production. Bilbo is quite reluctant about being recruited to become a part of something he deems is a foolish quest. Usually in stories it is the hero that is taken through numerous trials in a plot and this is what Bilbo undergoes, he overcomes his fears becomes courageous and saves his companions.

In contrast to the Hero we have our shadow who would attempt to distill the team and undo their actions. For this example it would be best to refer to the white pale orc that has been commissioned to capture the dwarves and stop them from reaching Erebor. 'Azog The Defiler' is his name, throughout the story he shadows the groups movements and attempts to cut them off from their objective numerous times. Even tests the Hero and his companions along the journey.

Fig 4 - Gandalf & Radagast

The Herald of the quest would indeed be the wizarding duo of Gandalf and Radagast (Fig4), the events leading up to the prologue of dining in Bilbos house in the shire, Gandalf and Radagast have sensed evil is awakening in Middle-Earth and they have come to the conclusion with the dwarves that too long has Smaug lingered close to the realm of Mordor. The herald puts haste to the task and is almost a boon to committing to the journey.

The threshold guardian in this story is a little varied, it comes in the form of forced aid from the Elves of Rivendale. They wish for the dwarves to leave the mountain as it be and not stir the beast within. The group only manage to leave the city when Gandalf distracts the council from their departure. Another example would be the Goblins that abduct the company before they are able to meet up with Gandalf, the Goblin King is about to slaughter them and send Thorins head to Azog when the company are saved by the Herald.

Deception and deformity fuel the next example of the trickster, beneath the Goblin mines near an underwater lake  is where the hero meets Gollum for the first time. The hero is tested with riddles and deceit, a challenge is presented and visually the scene is created as a pinch of humour to the audience.

Fig 5 - Thorin Oakenshield

For flexibility and diversity for archetypes in this production we can defer from using the Herald as the mentor also and instead use the secondary Hero as this role instead. Thorin Oakenshield (Fig5) is the leader of the company of dwarves who are travelling to the mountain of Erebor, alongside Bilbo he is another Hero but with a significant difference. Thorin is a brave and strong warrior who sees Bilbo as weak and someone who should return home, he does this not because he dislikes Bilbo, but for a push in the right direction as for him to 'Get with the task or go home'. He and his company teach Bilbo in the art of swordplay and throughout the film guide him.

Allies put quite simply are the commission of dwarves in the production, in all there are 12 of them and also the Elves and Wizards. They aid in the Hero's quest and strengthen their odds against the impending danger the shadow presents. 

Fig 6 - Galadriel & Elrond

The Mother of the piece would have to be Lady Galadriel (Fig6), she not only guides the heroes of the production but has a major role to play in balancing the peace in Middle-Earth. She helps the Heralds come to decisions, and later in the series aids even further by becoming the 'Rescue from without' role from Joseph Campbell's theory. The Father follows quite closely to the example of Galadriel and that is Elrond (Fig6), together they both depend on one another guidance and aid to influence the decisions of the Hero and the journey they undertake. As a milestone the Elven city of Rivendale is the marker where they can get a map to Arbor's secret passage deciphered and seek aid from the Elves as rescue from the shadow that Azog poses.

Strangely the child and the hero are the same in this production, Bilbo was someone from a very peaceful and laid back environment who is torn from his world and introduced to many new experiences. We could argue that the allies and all other characters have explored the areas beyond their realms, something Bilbo hasn't accomplished.


Fig 1-Theatrical Release Poster-
Accessed on 6/10/16

Fig 2 -Carl Yung Profile-
Accessed on 6/10/16

Fig 3 -Bilbo Baggins-
Accessed on 6/10/16

Fig 4 -Gandalf & Radagast-
Accessed on 6/10/16

Fig 5 -Thorin Oakenshield-
Accessed on 6/10/16

Fig 6 -Galadriel & Elrond-
Accessed on 6/10/16

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