An Unexpected Trilogy: Peter Jackson's Adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

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Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into a trilogy of films, has made drastic changes to the source text. This thesis examines the changes made to the structure, tone and character of Tolkien’s novel, and makes use of adaptation theory, genetic criticism and Genette’s concept of the paratext to examine the main reasons behind the decisions to change these elements. The sudden structural change into a trilogy, led to added prologues and climaxes, but also to anticipation of character arcs. The adaptation of Tolkien’s Appendices to create cohesion in an episodic source text, caused the tone to be darker. The filmmakers saw their intended audience as being acquainted and nostalgic for Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and built on that by repeating certain visual, plot and character tropes, by adding more connections to the earlier trilogy, and by changing the heroic characters, Bilbo, Thorin and Bard to adhere more to the American Superhero monomyth. All of these changes ultimately led to a darker, more serious and more mature tone. Keywords: Adaptation, Audience, Genetic Criticism, Hobbit, Jackson, Lord of the Rings, Paratexts, Tolkien.
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