Home is behind
The world, ahead
And there are many paths to tread
To the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight …
Someone was a genius for suggesting the inclusion of Pippin’s song from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (which releases in the U.S. Dec. 17).1
The song could also fits with “headcanon.” In The Return of the King, Denethor sends his son Faramir on a tragically impossible quest, then blithely asks his new servant, the hobbit Pippin, to sing for his amusement. Pippin, aware of the heartbreaking contrast, sung this song — which could have been a song that Bilbo wrote in view of the similar tragedy that ends The Hobbit.
To be faithful to the book, The Hobbit film trilogy must conclude with the same heartbreaking tragedy that this teaser evokes, instead of offering a nice fairy-tale or comedic ending … just like the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that so many people wrongly perceive as a simple children’s story.
Thus if The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is a fitting trilogy-ender, it should actually get many negative reviews. People need to be annoyed at the darkness of the story and the surprising subversion Tolkien employs of the “good king returns and saves the world” trope. Perhaps evangelicals in particular need to be tweaked further into complaining, “Whatever happened to the nice little children’s story about a happy hobbit on an adventure?”, after which they should go read the ending of the actual book — which reads as if Tolkien was beating film director Peter Jackson to Jackson’s game.