Join us on Facebook!
Join us in our forums!
Get your tickets to Tolkien today!
Join us on Instagram

Latest Tweets

  1. It’s serendipiditous that Amazon’s LOTR production has all this extra time whereas The Hobbit had no time to refine…

  2. Interesting fact: Betty White used to be Betty Grey until she fought the Balrog and was reborn.

  3. New Line green lit LOTR in 1998 and we watched Fellowship together 3 years later. 🕰

News Alerts

Get emailed with every new post!

Playing Sherlock: a few Hobbit plot deductions from the figurine character biographies

September 5, 2012 at 6:38 am by thomasmonteath  - 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5


“Balin is a noble dwarf and one of the oldest members in the dwarf company. By nature wise and gentle, he had to get used to a military life, as he hovered constantly between life and death. As a close cousin of Thorin Oakenshield he is one of his closest and most trusted advisers. But deep in his heart the wisest and most faithful of the dwarves asks whether it is wise to try to reclaim the Lonely Mountain.” 

Analysis and speculation:
It is important to remember that, in The Hobbit, Balin was the first dwarf to gain respect for Bilbo when the hobbit snuck past Balin, who was on lookout duty, following the Company’s escape for the Misty Mountains. Later, he was the only dwarf to accompany the hobbit halfway down the secret passage to Smaug’s lair. In short, he is Bilbo’s strongest ally among the dwarves.

According to the filmmakers interpretation, Balin is the most sceptical of the Quest to reclaim the mountain. Furthermore, remember that in FotR, the fellowship discover Balin’s tomb in Moria (in the books, he left the Lonely Mountain some 50 years after the events in the Hobbit to establish a new colony in Moria). Also bear in mind that the film-makers want The Hobbit to lead directly into the LotR trilogy.

Now assuming the second film will end with the death of Smaug, the third film will centre on Thorin’s growing paranoia and selfishness, and his refusal to parley with the men of Laketown, which leads to the mountain being besieged. Thorin’s narrow-mindedness and intransigence leads to Bilbo giving the Arkenstone to the Elven-King and Bard. This of course leads to Thorin banishing Bilbo from the mountain.

Yet it is undoubtedly the case that some of the dwarves will themselves have doubts about Thorin’s short-sighted approach. Chief among these would be Balin. This is because a) he is being written as a sceptic of the Quest, but comes along out of loyalty, and b) because he holds Bilbo in high regard. Thus the filmmakers might be planning on Bilbo’s banishment causing a schism in the Company, with Balin (with perhaps Oin in tow) choosing to depart the mountain. Refusing to take sides in the coming conflict, they make their way to Moria instead.

Doing this would accomplish two things.

First, it would link up with the fact that the fellowship discover Balin’s tomb in Moria in FotR (doing this would of course constitute a break from the source material, as Tolkien states that Balin sets out for Moria some forty years after the events of the Hobbit, but such a break would be a relatively minor one).

Second, Balin’s departure would heighten the drama and sense of a brewing tragedy around Thorin, who is described in the books as growing increasingly erratic and paranoid once he is de-facto King Under the Mountain following the death of the dragon. The loss of the confidence of his closest confidante would be a blow to Thorin, and play well dramatically.


Bifur is from the west, and carries the rusted remains of an orc ax in his forehead. Since this he cannot speak anymore, and sometimes he gets violent! He communicates only through grunts and hand signals. Unlike the other dwarves in the company he is not related to Thorin and also does not come from a noble lineage, but is a descendant of miners and blacksmiths — ordinary people with simple needs.

Analysis and speculation:
When I first saw the axe in Bifur’s head in the production shots, I assumed it was from a mining incident. But it is likely that it will be explained through a dark comedic flashback of his role in some battle of other, perhaps the Battle of Azanulbizar. Perhaps he will be seen, in flashback, fighting with Thorin at the battle of Azanulbizar, perhaps involved in the incident which gave Thorin his unusual last name.

Radagast the Brown

Radagast is forgetful, seems to be slightly absent-minded and very eccentric. He talks preferably with animals than with people. As a magician colleague and friend of Gandalf the Grey, Radagast is one of the guardians of the great forests of Middle-earth. Often you meet him on his walks through the woods near his strange little house called Rhosgobel. The little wizard senses impending doom, because not everything is as it should be in the dark corners of Mirkwood.”

Analysis and speculation:
Radagast looks to be a significant character in this trilogy. It would be odd if he did not have a role in all three films. It is clear he is in the first film, as Gandalf will have to visit Rhosgobel on his way to Dol Guldur after he has left the Company at the Eaves of Mirkwood following the stay at Beorn’s house. In the second, he will probably join Gandalf in the assault on Dol Guldur itself. At the beginning of the third film, Radagast is likely to be the means by which Gandalf discovers Smaug is dead. Much as the palantir came to Gandalf at the beginning of RotK through the parley with Saruman, news of the dragon’s death (which portends the Battle of the Five Armies) will arrive while he, Radagast and Beorn are still in the ruins of Dol Guldur, in the aftermath of that battle. I would wager that a flock of birds will fly overhead, and from them Radagast, ‘the bird tamer’, will learn that the dragon in dead. Learning this, Gandalf spurs his horse north to the Lonely Mountain, but not before dispatching Radagast to inform the eagles of the Misty Mountains of the death of the dragon. This would explain how and why it is that the eagles themselves arrive at the Battle of the Five Armies.

Whether Radagast himself is at the Battle of the Five Armies (perhaps riding an eagle) is a mystery. However, I would wager that whatever happens, he will die in the third film. This would explain his absence in the LotR trilogy. While this could happen at the Battle of the Five Armies, it could also occur that Saruman, who manipulates Radagast in the books, kills him, perhaps when Radagast discovers that Saruman has a secret agenda. This would set in motion the descent into outright evil for Saruman, as evident in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The death of Radagast, who is clearly portrayed as a warm, whimsically loveable character by Sylvester McCoy, would symbolise an end of innocence, a key theme of the Hobbit, and help transition to the darker, more urgent tone of the LotR trilogy.

Saruman the White 

“The venerable and mighty Saruman belongs with four other wizards to the Guardians of Middle Earth that care for order and balance in the world. Especially Saruman arranges the fate of the free nations at his own discretion. As head of the White Council, he fears with growing unease that Gandalf the Grey and Thorin Oakenshield’s companions could mess up his careful calculations. Saruman is indeed very old and wise but gives in to his subliminal weakness and is greedy for power — a greed that ultimately produces the most deadly of all unions.”

Analysis and speculation:
First, it is interesting that five wizards are mentioned. This suggests there may be some explanation of the origins of the wizards in middle-earth, as the five are Gandalf the Grey, Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown and the two Blue Wizards who disappeared into the East long ago.

Second, the word used is ‘deadly’ in reference to his union with Sauron. This suggests he does something deadly in the Hobbit, which aligns with the idea that Radagast will die in the films. If this occurs, it will likely be a portend of things to come (in LotR) that adds a twist to the end of an otherwise happy end to ‘There and Back Again’, the third film, when Bilbo returns to Hobbiton.

Third, there is no suggestion that Saruman takes part in the battle of Dol Guldur. Given that Radagast is loyal to him as head of the Order, and trusting of his intentions, it is possible that Saruman sends Radagast to ‘represent’ him at Dol Guldur, but possibly with instructions to report back to him. It is on this return mission near the end of the trilogy, perhaps if Radagast has seen too much, when Saruman decides that he represents a risk to his carefully laid plans.


Elrond is one of the oldest and wisest Elves who still live in Middle Earth. He is the Lord of Rivendell, the last homely house east of the Sea. Thorin & Co. stay only for a short time in Rivendell, but Elrond offers Bilbo and the dwarves lodging and food. The dwarves have a natural aversion to the Elves, but accept their help gladly. Elrond responded suspiciously to the dwarves’ project to reclaim their stolen treasure, but he gives those secret information that Gandalf and Thorin need to reach the Lonely Mountain.

Analysis and speculation:
Elrond would appear to play the equivalent of a cameo role in the film, the Company’s host at Rivendell, and the device for necessary background exposition. There is no indication that he takes part in the Battle of Dol Guldur.


Galadriel is the oldest of the remaining elves in Middle-earth and has the gift of foresight. As the signs are increasing that doom threatens Middle-earth, she secretly supports Gandalf in his mission to track down the cause of evil. Galadriel knows of course that the Fellowship must succeed if the evil power shall not win the upper hand and the darkness dominates everything.”

Analysis and speculation:
Galadriel is perhaps the most enigmatic significant character in the Hobbit trilogy. While it is known that she attends the White Council in Rivendell (from the Cinema-con footage), and speaks with Gandalf in private in Rivendell (in the trailer), it does not seem that she actively takes part in the Battle of Dol Guldur herself. Yet she does apparently ‘secretly support’ Gandalf in his mission to ‘track down the cause of evil’. However, Philippa Boyens, part of the script writing team, has noted that Galadriel’s character was, at this time, the most powerful in Middle-earth, and thus she may well have some active role. Either way, it is hard to even speculate.

Posted in Casting Rumors, Collectibles, Director Rumors, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, Locations Sets, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Community, Tolkien on September 5, 2012 by
Order the Gollum Enraged - Click Here

40 responses to “Playing Sherlock: a few Hobbit plot deductions from the figurine character biographies”

  1. Ben Conrad says:

    Fantastic article. I realize that all of this is theory, but it is exciting to hash some of this out.

  2. WOOWW!! outstanding article! I think Jackson should have used that article while writing the script!

  3. Faith says:

    Wonder if there will be a Thranduil action figure.

  4. olorin says:

    Nice article. For me, Bolg must have the same role as he has in a book. Azog was killed by YOUNG Dain!

  5. Kyle Pedley says:

    Surely the ‘haunted by an ancient evil’ is reference to him uncovering the Necromancer in Mirkwood/Dol Guldur to be you-know-who… and the darkest corners of Middle Earth referencing his journeys there.

  6. ReneeM2 says:

    Very entertaining to read, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  7. Drj says:

    A word about Elrond : recently he was seen in the calendar pictures with his full battle armour on ; but that wasn’t a shot from the old trilogy. My guess is he will be fighting in at least 1 battle. A small oversight perhaps ?

  8. Alberich says:

    Um, this is leaving the realm of inference and even plausible theory. It is speculation in its wildest and purest form. Not that that’s bad, or some of these ideas aren’t good, but this is more like, “If I were making the movies, this is what would happen . . .”

  9. MaraBackman says:

    Of the few images that have surfaced I find it interesting how they seem to blend the look of the LotR-trilogy, while there are many elements that evoke del Toro’s previous movies. Particularly the new design for some of the Goblins and Thranduil’s outfit remind me of both the second Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.

  10. Scott Johnson says:

    In The Two Towers, it was the trees themselves that fought back against the ravages and perversions of Saruman and Isengard.

    Tree? I am no tree….

  11. bod says:

    really interesting arcticle

  12. gollumscave says:

    Where could i find a thorin oakenshield tee shirt and one of bifurs axefigurine online

  13. Valentin Radushev says:

    What about Golin, he’s Gimli’s dad after all.

  14. gollumscave says:

    Best icle i’ve seen about describing the characters and speculating on what to except in the three new films. So it looks likes battle of dol goldur and battle of the five armies will be placed in first and third films. Smaug’s connection will be in the second part. The first part will be a iintro on the thirteen dwarves and bilbos younger years

  15. Fanamir says:

    I actually think that the entire White Council as portrayed in the films (and seen in that one image) will take part in the Battle of Dol Guldur. I also think that the 2 seperate Dol Guldur battles will be combined into one, as there was no mention of it in the LotR trilogy, therefore it could fall in this series. Galadriel will tear down the walls, and that flower will grow. I also wonder if some of Tom Bombadil’s stuff will be taken up by Radagast also, seeing as he’s a quirky old guy who lives alone in a little house in a haunted forest.

  16. gollumscave says:

    Its exciting to put this o ut a few months ahead of time before the release date of the movie

  17. Tuor son of Huor says:

    Very interesting speculation, although I’m not sure I entirely agree with all of it, and there are some slightly wild ideas that seem to have little basis in fact. Obviously, as it says at the start, there isn’t a huge amont of material to go on, so this is entirely forgivable, and it’s quite possible that these theories could turn out to be correct.
    A few of my own thoughts on these matters: Firstly, In my opinion we have indeed seen some evidence that Elrond and Galadriel will participate in the Battle of Dol Guldur – Firstly, during the Hall H panel at Comic Con Philippa Boyens let slip something about Cate Blanchett’s involvement in filming the battle, and secondly there is the image of Elrond from the recent Hobbit calendar, in which he is wearing full battle armour. I also feel slightly more confident than Mr. Monteath appears to about the filmmakers’ respect for the source material; the idea of the Wargs chasing them all the way to The Lonely Mountain for instance seems slightly preposterous, I really can’t see how they could make it work without it getting incredibly tedious and overshadowing all the other events, such as the spider attack. And my response to the idea of killing Radagast? NOOOOO!!! Please NO! Radagast was never killed in Tolkien’s work, and think his getting killed by Saruman would be not only far to brutal for a family film (it appears that he is going to be a very loveable and innocent character) but also taking Saruman’s character too far at too early a stage. Saruman’s treachery was supposed to be kept secret from the rest of the Council, and I since in the film version of FotR Gandalf seems at first to trust him completely it seems a little far fetched that he could already have done away with Radagast. I’m kind of hoping that a lot of the ideas in this article will turn out to be wrong, and especially that The Hobbit films won’t be focussed too heavily on providing a back-story to LotR, but it is certainly an interesting read. Thank you.

  18. Alf Noriega says:

    Wonderfull! I’m from Mexico and I can’t believe that fans around the world are missing this article. I have a Facebook page on spanish about Tolkien, I’m definitely going to translate this information and put it into the page. If you want some cool information about Tolkien (in spanish, of course) just give us a “like”, precious…

  19. Shabizzy says:

    I wonder if the “ancient evil” that Gandalf is said to be sensing in this description is the Necromancer, not The Witch King. It would work better as Gandalf defeats the Necromancer and therefor feels the ease he seems to feel at the beginning of FotR film.

  20. Tommy B. says:

    Good article- very interesting stuff. Isn’t Galadrial referenced in the books as being at the Battle of Dol Goldur? I always pictured at least Galadrial (and thus prob some elves) at the Battle at Dol Goldur, I was even hoping to see Elrond take part in the action (though I do not think he is ever referenced as actually being there). I know its all speculation, but the only theoretical changes that I would be a little disappointed to see would be:

    1) No Beorn at the Battle of the Five Armies
    2) No Thranduil at Dale, the Lonely Mountain or the Battle of the Five Armies
    3) ANY dwarves leave before the Battle of the Five Armies (I think/hope Balin could depart for Moria afterwards)
    4) No elves at the Battle of Dol Goldur

  21. Radagast dead by the third film? I honestly hope not. It would be major lore breaking, since he plays a part in the book trilogy, and just because he doesn’t appear in them isn’t enough reason in my opinion to just kill him in The Hobbit.

  22. There are also other major mistakes here. For example, here it says, about Galadriel, that “it does not seem that she actively takes part in the Battle of Dol Guldur herself”. However, in the books she actually did, and, according to the wiki, “the elves, led by Thranduil of Mirkwood and Galadriel of Lorien, and Dain of the dwarves led an assault on Dol Guldur and Galadriel herself threw down its walls, and laid its pits bare”.

  23. CaptainRickover says:

    The autor’s intention to play Sherlock Holmes is in it’s outcome very similiar to Dr. Watson’s own examples of deductions. Very impressive but nevertheless totally wrong. The autor miss nearly every so far known fact and concludes in the wrong direction (not only about Barrow downs but Elrond’s und and Galadriel’s participation in the batlle also). The morgul blade is likley to be found in Dol Guldur (in the Thror-scene I presume) and not in the Barrow Downs who’s tombs are not the nazgul but from descendants of Numenor, princes of Cardolan. And he misinterpred the Saruman-text. His dark doing is a hint to his turn to evil in Lord of the rings and certainly not Radagast’s murder (what would make no sense at all).

  24. Justin Buell says:

    A lot of good speculation. Some will probably turn out to be true.

    I especially hope Saruman kills Radagast (obviously in secret). This trilogy needs an epic, sad death scene that doesn’t appear at the very end.

    As well, it would give more depth to Saruman’s betrayal in FOTR. Gandalf’s realization that Saruman killed Radagast could lead to the expressions on his face at Isenguard. It seemed as though a latent suspicion had been proven true, and the anger that followed could be explained by an earlier betrayal coming to light.

  25. GreatWizard says:

    Some of the changes I wouldn’t mind, but I certainly hope that the Saruman and Radagast speculation is bogus. I think that the deadly union references what eventually happens in LoTR. I remember an interview with Christopher Lee who said that Saruman in this film is presented in his true and uncorrupted form. I most certainly hope that his corruption will only begin after the Dol-Guldur battle, and will be very lightly hinted.

  26. Jon Schulz says:

    A must read if at all interested in the Hobbit.

  27. raul says:

    this article would give a great hobbit script all by itself! congratulations.

  28. Eastside Rob says:

    Great article, especially Thorin’s dream about the desolation of Smaug. But if the barrow whites are to be included, please let the dwarves be rescued by Tom Bombadil played by Brian Blessed. He was, as they say, born to play the role.

  29. Elendil says:

    It would be nice if they made the effort differentiate what has been invented by the movie writers. For example anyone reading this would beleive that Galadriel was the oldest elf and most powerful being in Middle Earth at the time. Both fof these statements are made up by the movie writers and are only facts within the movies.

  30. SomeBoddy says:

    There’s already an “epic, sad death scene” with Thorin.

  31. Justin Buell says:

    You don’t think Thorin getting killed is too brutal for a family film?

  32. Justin Buell says:

    “that doesn’t appear at the very end.”

    I’m thinking something akin to Gandalf’s fall in Moria.

  33. Elentari says:

    Actually, the part about being the oldest elf in Middle Earth at the time is backed up by The Silmarillion. She is the only one left who remembers Valinor.

  34. chauvelin2000 says:

    Very intriguing stuff! But I don’t know about the possibility of Radaghast dying here, as he shows up later, in TA 3018, on the Greenway corridor to tell the Grey Wizard of Saruman’s bidding to Isengard while promising Gandalf the strength of his aid and that of his beloved creatures in the War of the Ring. That realization may have saved some time (in even bothering to compose both the Radaghast and Saruman entries, both of which focus predominantly upon this very interesting, but given the ‘facts’, wholly inaccurate theory for the films; however, given the filmmakers’ proclivities for, in fact, changing the ‘facts’, I may have to eat my words and not be wholly surprised if it plays out just as it’s described above).

    I trust it was an Old Man Willow ‘look-alike’ (one perhaps of the same tree-race) — that is, I think it was merely a nod by the filmmakers to that character, not the character himself — who appears in Jackson’s LOTR. And it may be a stretch with thoughts presented on Grinnah (but prove me a fool). Then again, the official images of the ‘wargs’ that we’ve seen so far (i.e., barking up the trunks of burning trees in the celebrated diorama of the first film) appear to be rather like ordinary wolves.

    But the rest of the author’s — albeit necessarily flawed — speculation is still rather fascinating, to say the least, and one can appreciate immediately the ‘Sherlock’ thought that went into it: one almost expects the author is somehow ‘in the know’ or a part of PJ’s inner circle! 🙂 His fascinating guesses DO raise the excitement level for the films by several notches or degrees — brilliant sleuthing, indeed! 🙂

  35. DKR says:

    Great job on this article. Many plausible theories.
    I too, though, home they don’t kill off Radagast. Even though he didn’t appppear in person in the LoTR films, I feel that he was doing things in those films: like un whitingly aiding Saruman by sending the crows to spy on the fellowship. I assumed he was the one who aided Gandalf by sending that moth & the eagle to pick him up from the top of Orthanc.

  36. threadnsong says:

    This is wonderful speculation, and I have enjoyed getting all psyched for December 14 and beyond.

    There are two major points I want to bring up as being probably more likely for the plot points:

    First, it is much more plausible for the story line for Gandalf to have found the Morgul-blade in the cave of the Trolls. Starting a whole other series of events in the Barrow-downs when not having referenced them in the first films does not make film sense. It is much more within the line of the story to have Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarves exploring the hidden cave of the trolls, finding Orcrist and Glamdring and Sting, and then “Ah-ha, what’s this?”

    Second, if Azog and all his evil-ness is to be mentioned in the films, it would make more sense for him to be a re-animated Azog, courtesy of the Necromancer. Dain killed him and can attest to his dead-ness, so to see Azog confronting the White Council when they throw down the Necromancer would certainly attest to the Necromancer’s evil. My speculation, based on the scenes in the trailer, of Gandalf walking down stone hallways, is that Gandalf suspects the Necromancer is someone nasty, and he’s hoping that it’s not Sauron, but then he finds out the truth for sure. And he finds Thrain and the map and the “strange and curious key.” Then he takes all this evidence (and perhaps a Morgul-blade?) to the White Council to lay the evidence before them that the Necromancer is, in fact, Sauron.

  37. Wendy Woo says:

    Some interesting ideas, but I don’t agree with everything he proposes. For one thing, there’s enough action from the Hobbit alone, not counting the Appendices (which they admit they are using), to flesh out their journey from the Shire to Erebor without them having to get stuck in the Barrows. However, if Gandalf were to pass through the Barrows on his own BEFORE approaching Thorin this would make some sense. Gandalf could believably be passing close to the Barrows, which are slightly southwest of Bree, when he sees something unusual there and finds a Morgul blade. Evidence found there might also lead him to investigate the dungeons of Dol Goldur. It is at Dol Goldur that he is attacked by a half-crazed Dwarf who “could not remember his own name”. This would be Thrain, who would, before he died, hand over Thror’s map and the key to Erebor to Gandalf. Gandalf, after some searching, would find Thorin at Bree and start the Hobbit plot on its way. This is the most logical way to meld the story points from The Hobbit and the Appendices. If you need something to back up this theory, look at the latest images of the White Council in Rivendell and Elrond’s image in the Hobbit scroll. You can see the blade on a brown cloth on the table. Also if you examine the trailer, at one point, Gandalf is being attacked by a creature that cannot be an Orc, because it has thick gray hair and a BEARD! You can tell Gandalf is in a dungeon, because you can see cell doors and torture instruments on the walls. By the way, you can bet Saruman has gone bad already because he’s been using the Palantir for years now after having moved into the tower at Isengard. The palantir was there before he was, look it up! He hides it really well, but he is slowly working his plans in Middle Earth even at this early point in the story.
    He will play down the “evidence” of the Morgul blade and will not be amused about the Dwarves wanting to reclaim the Mountain. He wants to keep things quiet and status quo as much as possible. He will not want to rid Mirkwood of the Necromancer’s evil UNTIL he discovers that Sauron has taken that position in order to gain access to Gladden Fields to search for his one ring. That ring is something Saruman wants for himself and will gladly help purge Dol Goldur then. Also, it’s easy to figure out what the problem will be between Thranduil and Legolas. Thranduil is turning a blind eye to the evil in the south of Mirkwood. He would rather party in the forest instead. He is also prejudiced against the Dwarves, which Legolas, to his credit, is not. Legolas will be ready and willing to aid both the Lorien elves as they attack Dol Goldur and the Dwarves to the West and he might ultimately convince his father to lead a contingency of Mirkwood elves to the south to help Celeborn while he leads the main Elf army to Erebor.

  38. Brady says:

    I, honestly, don’t think you’ll have to worry about any of these 🙂

  39. John says:

    I read this article previously, and I remember there being several pages. However, I currently can only access the first page. Does anyone know what the problem is?

  40. We did a site redesign and don’t use the multi-page format for too many things. You are the first to notice and point out that one of the older articles was missing pages. Thanks for letting us know and we will work on getting it fixed.

Leave a Reply