More thoughts on The Hobbit! Yes, I know how valuable you all think they are! 🙂

Yesterday I was watching tv with my family and the trailer for Desolation of Smaug came on (the one I don’t like).

I watched it and something I forgot I disliked about the first movie came back to me. Another strike against seeing Desolation of Smaug. I hate the dwarves.

It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a gold belt, very bright eyes under his dark green hood Description of Dwalin from The Hobbit

Dwalin, from the movie

Now, I’m a bit confused. I’m aware that Peter Jackson and company are trying to make each dwarf a bit more of a personality, trying to move away from each being a variation of “short guy in hood,” but….I don’t want this look to be canon.

I certainly don’t want THIS look to be canon.

Yet canon these world of warcraft rejects are.

As I am (as you can probably tell) quite against the film canon, I at first tried to imagine the movie with the dwarves as I pictured them.

Ah, yes. Better.

My attempts at producing a head-canon, or an oppositional reading has been quite interesting. This poaching is described by Henry Jenkins as a resistant reading by a fan to the dominant text. While I do not go to the lengths offered as examples by Jenkins-producing fan fiction, filking (fan folk music) or anything along those lines, I still feel my oppositonal reading qualifies as poaching.

As mentioned above, poaching is a subversive act. While the revision I do may only be interesting to me, because it really translates into swapping this crew

with these

I am still, to quote Television Fans as Power Brokers deriving satisifaction from my actions. “Pleasure for the subordinate is produced by the assertion of one’s social identity in resistance to, in indepence of, or in negotation with, the structure of domination.”

Ok, so all I’m really doing is swapping the dwarves from the mid-70s Rankin-Bass production with the new ones.

Still, this is enough to make the movie more agreeable to me. Swapping bits of canon with bits of other canon is still an oppositional reading. I feel like I’m more in control of the text. Henry Jenkins notes that fan created texts allows them (the fans) to stick as close to the text as they wish.

As for myself, I’m not trying to create a version of The Hobbit in which everyone is actually made of Spackle. (I could if I wanted to though. Power to the fans.) I am simply trying to create a version of the text in which my expectations of the story are met, and that I am happy with.

While not a huge, huge leap away from the established canon, Jenkins notes that such departures are not a requirement in fan poaching. The escapism from the canon that comes from my assertion of ownership against the producers.

In my revision to the movie, I am also strengthening my fan identification with the book.

Written with StackEdit.


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. this may be the problem with fans editing a text – it’s personal. What you see as the dwarf and what suits your interpretation of the story might not match up with someone else. Whose interpretation becomes canon then? Maybe the one broadcast to the most people in a specific area in a given time. I am thinking about the new Amazing Spiderman movie poster that as just leaked and the uproar at the depiction of the Green Goblin who looks like a green club kid from the 80s – not exactly alining with popular current canon and many fans are not happy.


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About tomwink

Graduate student at Rowan University currently researching public spaces and their impact


fan activity, fandom, long post, movies, participatory culture, social media, Uncategorized