ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Everyone knows Peter Jackson doesn't exactly make short movies, especially when it comes to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However, thanks to their titanic length, Jackson is able to cram all kinds of visual metaphors into the franchise.

A fan by the name of DwellerInDale recently posted 9 such visual metaphors to and now they're here for your enjoyment. Check them out below:

The black cat

We see a black cat in The Prancing Pony, a symbol of evil / bad luck. This is where the assassins plan to kill Thorin, before Gandalf interferes at the last moment.

Blind mice and lesser lives

From the cat to the mouse. We have something of a double metaphor here: Beorn uses the word “blind” just as we see the mouse (as in “Blind Mice”); then picks up the mouse when he says that Dwarves are blind to those whose lives they deem “lesser than their own”.

Thranduil’s petrified realm

His halls are filled with structures of petrified wood, and lamps carved from amber. This symbolizes Thranduil and his realm: trapped by his great age and isolationism. The descriptions of petrified wood and amber are not my own suppositions; the descriptions come from page 75 of the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Art & Design book.

Tauriel: the light of hope, and behind his back

Another double metaphor here. When Thranduil says “Do not give him (Legolas) hope”, we see the lights in Tauriel’s eyes (the Light of Hope). In this scene we also have the very unusual circumstance of two characters conversing while one has his back turned. This symbolizes Tauriel’s coming actions — she will go behind Thanduil’s back, disobeying his orders and following the orcs.

Cold light, remote & far away

Pretty obvious metaphor here: when Kili speaks of starlight as “cold… remote and far away”, he is actually using a metaphor for Elf women such as Tauriel, who are beautiful but who seem remote and unattainable.

Someone’s been stirring the pot

The funniest of the visual metaphors: when Alfrid says that someone’s been “stirring the pot”, he is in the middle of emptying a chamber pot.

Tauriel lithe as a deer

Fairly obvious metaphor here: as Tauriel glides lithely over the rocks in pursuit of the orcs, she comes past a slaughtered deer.

And the lake will shine and burn

As Bard speaks this line from the prophecy, we see the sunlight shining on the lake, making it look on fire.

I am not my grandfather

OK, confess: how many of you missed this one on first viewing?

NOTE: Just in case you didn't notice, Thorin's profile matches that of his grandfather's which has been hewn into the mountain side.

I rather enjoy these little additional nuggets of information. it just goes to show that even big budget CGI-laden blockbusters can have an interesting and well-crafted subtext.


Which is your favorite Hobbit visual metaphor?



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