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'The Hobbit': 6 Biggest Changes From J.R.R. Tolkien's Novel

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Dec 15, 2012 | 10:55am EST

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Hobbit

In the late '90s, Peter Jackson was given an unenviable task. The director needed to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth as realistically and lovingly as possible to appease the fantasy author's fervent fans while still delivering a blockbuster that would please studio heads more focused on profits as green as Hobbiton's lush fields. And, shockingly, with 2001's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Jackson did just that. With the exception of a few omissions (sorry, Tom Bombadil — we skipped over you while reading the book anyway), the director managed to deliver a remarkably faithful adaptation to the big screen, complete with Tolkien's voice, vision, and most beloved characters.

But, following two successful follow-ups, one of which — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — bagged the Academy Award for Best Picture, Jackson was faced with a more interesting dilemma. After taking on The Hobbit adaptation, the director was tasked with bringing a book to life that even Tolkien fans have trouble mustering up excitement for. After delivering the epic Lord of the Rings franchise, Jackson could hardly offer fans the floppy, juvenile treatment the book asked for. So, to no one's surprise and the benefit of adventure-seeking audiences, Jackson took several liberties with The Hobbit, bringing to screen a less faithful, but far more exciting, adaptation.

GALLERY: 13 Adaptations That Threw Out the Books

So where did The Hobbit depart from its original source material? See below for a few of the biggest changes!

Radagast Bunny Hops on Screen Strangely enough, the most kid-friendly scene from The Hobbit didn't actually appear in the book. Though Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) was mentioned in Tolkien's novel, the nature-loving wizard — and his ridiculous ridiculously cute bunny sled — didn't make an appearance. Radagast does, however, play a role in Tolkien's notes — sources being used for the third Hobbitfilm. Azog Comes Out of the Fog What's a Lord of the Rings movie without an Orc? While The Hobbit primarily focuses on goblins and trolls — nary even mentioning an Orc — Jackson's film adaptation centers on Thorin's battle with Azog (Manu Bennett). In Tolkien mythology, Azog did indeed kill King Thrór, Thorin's grandfather, but Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf companions merely stumble upon danger in The Hobbit— they largely move untracked. Of course, the best way to amp up Bilbo's unexpected journey was to add a few more unexpected villains. Seeing Saruman Radagast wasn't the only wizard who magically appeared out of nowhere. Saruman (Christopher Lee) also had no role in Tolkien's The Hobbit, but made an appearance in the film as part of a mini White Council. Credit nostalgia — who didn't smile their pearly whites seeing the soon-to-be-evil white wizard? GALLERY: 10 Celebrities With Gollum Eyes Glad to See Galadriel? Similarly, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) was never mentioned in The Hobbitnovel, despite her large role in Jackson's adaptation. But, let's face it, much like Galadriel's advice, you weren't able to get her out of your head anyway. Frodo's in the Frame! Proof that great things come in the shortest of scenes: The Hobbit's biggest geek-out moment happened at the beginning of the film, when Frodo (Elijah Wood) recreated a Fellowship of the Ring conversation with an elderly Bilbo (Ian Holm) awaiting his birthday party. Precious, indeed — but not in the book. Prancing Ponies Prance Away I couldn't have been the only child horrified at the prospect of goblins under the Misty Mountains eating the dwarves' poor ponies. So it's no surprise Jackson dismissed them from the script with one dwarf's claim that the small horses had simply run away in fear. Now, if only The Hobbit had managed to avoid real-life heartbreaking pony stories

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