A full-on press blitz by the cast and crew of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been happening for a few days now. There’s no way I could post all the interviews and videos so I wouldn’t begin to try. One did catch my eye, though, and it’s one from The New Zealand Herald titled The Hobbit’s clash of the kings by Des Sampson.
Richard Armitage, who is the dwarf would-be King Under The Mountain, and Lee Pace, who is Elvenking Thranduil, are interviewed. Pace hasn’t been able to take part in a lot of the press for this one, I believe due to working on his 10-episode AMC series Halt & Catch Fire. Or maybe he’s just taking a break after finishing up Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the article Armitage talks about the physical difficulties of playing the part, his love of New Zealand, and being so immersed in his character that he even began to have dreams as Thorin. He also says he worried about what’s coming up in the third film:
The thing that was always looming for me – and I don’t think this is giving too much away, maybe it is – was the Battle of the Five Armies, because it contains so much for my character. In terms of physical effort we were always working towards that battle [scene] because the battle had to be bigger and better, physically, than anything before.
So if you think the third film will be just a hobbit and the dwarves trudging back home, you’d be wrong. The Battle of the Five Armies promises to be huge.
But first the dwarves are going to encounter quite a bit in the second film, including lots of Orcs, giant spiders, and a very pissed-off dragon, not to mention an elf king that holds a big grudge against dwarves in general and Thorin’s family in particular.
Thranduil is 3,000 years old and has lived through a lot of heartache, having lost his father in battle and apparently also his queen at some point. Although elves are said to be immortal, they can die in battle, or of grief. It’s generally assumed that the king raised Legolas by himself after the death of his wife, but one of the frustrations I have with Tolkien is that he made no reference to what happened to her.
Tolkien described Thranduil as the greatest of the elvenkings, and the best warrior of his race. He’s the ruler of a realm where danger is constantly lurking, and as we saw briefly in the first film, there’s bad blood between him and Thorin’s family. Pace also mentions The Battle of the Five Armies in the interview:
…the fighting was a huge challenge because you’re on set with 200 stunt guys swinging these huge pieces of metal around and trying not to hurt anyone, or get hurt yourself. It was pretty intense, at times. The fighting was one of my favourite things that i did in the movie, yeah, because he’s tough. He’s like a game-changer when he enters battle.
Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to with the next film. Personally, I think DOS will be my favorite, though, because Smaug. What can I say – I’m partial to dragons and elves.