The third and final part of the fantasy trilogy is in theaters now. Here’s some random trivia facts about the source novels and the movies, too.
- The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien made up the word “hobbit,” which proved difficult for foreign-language publishers to translate. The Swedish edition of the book was called Hompen. In Portuguese, it was titled O Gnomo, or “The Gnome.” In the manufactured “universal” language of Esperanto, the novel is titled La Hobito.
- Tolkein was a revisionist of his own Hobbit histories. The author rewrote parts of The Hobbit for reprints when he needed things to make more sense when he was writing the follow-up, The Lord of the Rings. One of the biggest changes is that in The Hobbit, Gollum gladly agrees to give up The Ring if Bilbo solves his riddles. In later versions, Gollum is the vindictive little monster audiences are more familiar with.
- Tolkein reluctantly sold the movie rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in 1969 for 100,000 pounds so that when he died, his family could pay the requisite estate taxes without having to sell off the rights to the books themselves.
- The first onscreen version of The Hobbit was a 1977 stop-motion-animated TV special.
- British actor Benedict Cumberbatch provides the voice of the evil CGI dragon Smaug in the new trilogy of Hobbit films. Martin Freeman portrays Bilbo Baggins—the two star as Sherlock and Watson, respectively, on the BBC’s Sherlock. (Director Peter Jackson even had to stop shooting for eight weeks because Freeman was needed on the set of Sherlock.)
- As Smaug the dragon apparently stole most of the gold from Middle Earth, The Hobbit production crew reportedly bought up all the paint in its shooting locale of New Zealand to properly paint all the gold in Smaug’s mountain lair.
Want more Hobbit trivia? Here are a few more blog posts from our vault.