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Thread: Azog - Zombie or Survivor?

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After reading many posts on PT and other sites regarding a Zombie Orc called Azog, who was brought to life by the Necromancer of Dolguldur, I was pleasantly surprised upon seeing the film that there was no such character. Yes Azog is indeed in the Hobbit and yes in all of JRRT's written stories he was killed by Thorin in retribution for his Fathers Death, but obviously PJ decided to state that Azog indeed survived the onslaught of Thorin, and lived on in increasing hatred of the Dwarven Empire. Interesting change by PJ as he obviously has set Azog up as the major protagonist, albeit possibly under Sauron, of the Dark/Evil side bent on stopping the company of Thorin So what are your thoughts on this major narrative alteration?

Personally I thought it was ridiculous people thought he was some sort of zombie orc. Sounds like an internet joke that got out of hand.

I think Azog will die later and Bolg will become the character. Also, I think you meant antagonist. :p

That's probably true. Haha protagonist of terror maybe.

"Yes Azog is indeed in the Hobbit and yes in all of JRRT's written stories he was killed by Thorin in retribution for his Fathers Death, but obviously PJ decided to state that Azog indeed survived the onslaught of Thorin, and lived on in increasing hatred of the Dwarven Empire."

 

No. Azog was killed by Dain Ironfoot at the battle of Azanulbizar. The battle of Azanulbizar was the culmination of the War of the Dwarves and orcs, which was started by Thrain (thorin's father) after Azog killed Thror (Thorin's grandfather) when Thror traveled to Moria.

 

Thror goes to Moria

Azog kills thror

Thrain starts the war of the dwarves and orcs

Battle of Azanulbizar (some years later)

Azog kill Nain (Dain's father) by breaking his neck

Azog and co. begin to retreat back into Moria but Dain leaps out and kills Azog

 

Tolkien never wrote anything about Thorin battling Azog, nor killing him, and Thorin's father (Thrain) survived the battle of Azanulbizar and returned to the blue mountains in the west, only to be captured some years later by the forces of the necromancer and imprisoned in Dol Guldur where years following, Gandalf found him, didn't know who he was, and inherited the map and key to Erebor which he then gave to Thorin and thus the quest of Erebor.

 

Jackson took A LOT of liberties with the history and story here, changes which were unnecessary.

 

It is actually Azog's son, Bolg who leads the orcs in the battle of the five armies, but even then, Thorin does not kill Bolg, Beorn does after Bolg mortally wounds Thorin in battle.

 

Ayup All...

TBH, I thought it was Ludicrous. TH is a great story on its own, and doesn't need the embellishment, IMO. the way the Dwarf/Goblin war was depicted outside the Gates of Moria was pure Amazing Visual Warhammer, and Quite awesome, but it would have had some real Impact if it had been shot as in the Book. It's just as exciting, if not more so, if you have Azogs Head spiked, with a Bg of Gold in his Mouth, LOL ! What's happened is, is PJ has shifted the emphasis in the film from Bilbo to Thorin, because in the book, all Thorin basically does is roll around Moaning and dissing Bilbo, even when Bilbo saves the dwarves time after time. Obviously the changes here are more for Cinematic effect, rather than anything else. How I feel about THAT, is, of course, a whole different Ball-Game, LOL. 

The only two parts of this film I found enjoyable or worth seeing were:

1) Erebor before the sacking. Absolutely beautiful, and as a big Dwarf enthusiast it was amazing to see it in its glory.

2) Riddles in the Dark scene up to and including the moment where Bilbo spares Gollum's life.  - despite it being watered down.

Did you find TH too 'Cartoony' as I did ?

 

Yes it was Thror of course who killed Azog in the books. Thanks Feanor.

I have a feeling there may be legal reasons leading to the change of character names. And correct the change seems silly. PJ and co have a lot of Tolkien historians working on the films so it couldn't just be an oversight. The original story is much more awesome and would be far better on film. It's does seem strange.

Re cartoony - it is a little, however so is the book, actually more so than the film. I reckon that as the story goes on it will get darker and deeper. Well I hope so anyway.

I think if you look at the history of epic action, you'll see that more likely than not Azog will die and Bolg, fueled by vengeance and power, will become the main bad guy for the final battle. Like the orc at the end of FOTR. I HIGHLY doubt Azog will be around till the third movie.

What's funny is I've asked around, and most people don't even know the name of the orc anyways, they just know him as the main bad guy of the movie. Only us Tolkien folk even thought twice about it. Which, of course, is awesome.

True Balrogs. Funny also that a lot of my friends who have never read Tolkien picked up the the white council scene was related to the events in TLOTR and that the Necro was indeed Sauron.

It's interesting to get the perspective of non Tolkien viewers. Also the link between the Firwork version of Smaug and the real thing at the end. Some even remembered the Sackville Bagins's!

Did you find TH too 'Cartoony' as I did ?

I've not seen the film yet but I saw one fairly long (and probably illegal) clip of an action scene in the goblin mines, and yes, I found that cartoony at least. Or do you mean the look of the film due to the new technology employed?

Tolkien's story has whimsy (in a good sense), like Beorn's animals for instance, but some of Jackson's action scenes for example, are 'cartoony' in my opinion, and I think they can hurt the storytelling at times, not just by being too long and way too over the top, but by draining real peril from a given scene. 

He did this in Kong. One is prepared to accept the fantastic in both films, but for example the Dino-stampede sequence in King Kong almost becomes a farce in my opinion, it's almost as if the director is poking fun with his unbelievable near misses and near fallings, and fallings that don't seem to injure, and so on.

This treatment of some action scenes seems to be part of Jackson's style, at least from what I've seen anyway.

All I can say is if you compare The Hobbit to King Kong then you will undoubtedly like The Hobbit. Mostly because just about anything is better than King Kong...

On the zombie matter: I don't think it's that odd for fans to have wondered this, after all it could be based on the idea that Jackson is following the book, but with a 'twist'...

... in other words Azog does die but the filmmakers have a Necromancer and want to have him Necromancing. Granted it's mere speculation without any real evidence, but not having seen the film yet, I'm just wondering, has the story from part I necessarily squelched all possibility of Azog being a once dead orc?

I mean, is there anything said so far that would make a revelation in part II (or III) inconsistent with that idea? I'm just wondering if it's even a possibility at this point.

Well Galin if you saw the movie I think you would definitely understand how ridiculous, and odd, it is.

Basically it shows the fight between Thror and Azog, of course Azog kills Thror. Then Thorin jumps in out of nowhere, fights Azog, and cuts his arm off. Then two orcs grab Azog and, like a little crybaby, drag him back into Khazad Dum. First off it was incredibly un-orc like. That's the first thing I thought when I saw it. Any orc, particularly one with a reputation like Azog, would go down fighting, especially if their side was winning the battle.

So I guess, yes, there is some realm of possibility he died from an infected wound or something and without no explanation the producers expected us to assume he's a "zombie." HOWEVER, it seems incredibly more likely he was dragged back in, given the metal pitchfork arm he had to clot the wound and prevent infection, something I doubt orcs cared about, and spent years waiting to get his revenge on Thorin. The film leaves open endless possibilities for him to actually die in Part 2 or 3 and be replaced by a some successor, who I assume will be Bolg.

Talking to non-Tolkien fanatics, they also think the idea is ridiculous. It's pretty obvious in my opinion. I can't even believe this has become that big of a debate. It seems the only people who think he might be a "zombie" are those who already know he died in the real story in, what I believe, is an attempt by purists to redeem PJs film and try to make it more accurate.

Agrees Balrogs. Cut off arms does not mean death in ME.

I have a sneaking suspicion that PJ and co perhaps cannot use the name Bolg. I'm sure someone will know, however there must be a reason that Azog was used. Legals= nightmare for movie making perhaps.

So regarding the zombie idea being within the realm of possibility, the answer seems to be yes however unlikely, and not really supported by anything within the film itself. And I agree, so far, from what you've told me anyway, Balrogs.

Anyway, I can't think of a reason why the filmmakers can't use the name Bolg, as it appears in The Hobbit of course.

 

I found this description on the web:

Bolg is the offspring of Azog the Desecarator – like his father, he is huge pale orc. He is the overseer in the dungeons of Dol Guldur – torturing is his hobby. He garnishes his armor with the bones and the blood of his victims. This husky Orc fears nothing and nobody – until he suddenly meets an unexpected opponent.

I'm not saying this makes anything official, but it's been posted under the descriptions of the figurines associated with the film at least.

Rumors that Conan Stevens will play Bolg, or was supposed to play him, have also appeared on the web -- but again I realize these things need not be official, or could be things that were changed later perhaps.

Zombification within the realm of possibility in ME.....  Im doubtful Galin.  Im, actually saying that Azog simply didnt die as per the books, he simply survived and lived on to fight another day.

Perhaps Balrogs is correct and he will end in the next film and be revenged by his Son.

I guess well have to wait and see.

I just meant in the context of the films, not the books... regarding any zombies.

In other words the mere possibility of Peter Jackson doing this in his films, although I already agreed with Balrogs regarding the evidence he described. 

I do agree with Brego that there must be SOME reason he used Azog. This can't just be a careless mistake or an intent to ruin the real story.

And since Galin pointing out there's a Bolg action figure, that pretty much confirms what I said. He'll show up eventually and Azog will die somehow.

Perhaps it's just that employing Azog in this way gives history to the current confrontation in Jackson's version.

It's Thorin that fights Azog in the flashbacks (assuming they are flashbacks) correct? So for any confrontations in the current adventure, the viewer will understand that these are old foes with history. And if Bolg is wanted for another role, possibly after Azog is slain, he connects in some measure to this as well, being Azog's son.

While it's not the tale as Tolkien framed it of course, at least Azog is from 'the past' from the perspective of Bilbo's adventure.

^^^ Mhmm that's exactly what I'm thinking. The more I think about it the more I understand it. I definitely understand PJ throwing in Azog just to inform audiences there WAS a powerful orc named Azog who helped defeat the dwarves and his son tried to defeat Bilbo.

Makes sense to me at least...

I may stand alone in this, but I am very angry to learn that Legolas will be appearing in the movie series. I like him, make no mistake, but he is never mentioned in the Hobbit book and I personally believe he has no place in the movie. Peter Jackson is a very talented director, but my respect for him has slipped due to the many changes from the book. Certainly some small ones are needed, but its ridiculous that he changed so many things. I wish i had seen the movie before i read the book, as i did with Lord of the Rings. If i had i would respect the movie more for its own sake.

Durin, obviously Legolas was around at the time of the Hobbit, after all it is partially set in his homeland.  If we strictly went by the book with screenplay there would only be a handfull of Hobbits living in The Shire, Elrond would live by himself in Imladris, Thranduil would have only a handfull of servants and no female Elves.  Is that really how you would like to see the movie pan out?  It would be a very strange idea dont you think?

I'm guessing Durin is not referring to extras that lend reality to locations such as Rivendell or the Shire, but to the filmmakers possibly giving Legolas a role to play in the story, as he had none in The Hobbit of course, not having been imagined yet as the son of the Elven King.

That said, is it known Legolas will have something notable enough to do (subjective as 'notable enough' is)? I don't keep up on film stuff, or all of it anyway.

Durin keep in mind this is LOTR/Appendices/AND The Hobbit. Just like how Elijah Wood was at the beginning of The Hobbit. It's been awhile but I'm fairly sure that scene (more or less) was in the appendices. And even if not, I really enjoyed it. It set up the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring while setting up The Hobbit at the same time. So it might not even be till the end of the third film where Legolas is shown for 5 minutes. Or a scene with Thranduil and you see Legolas in the background.

Basically we have no idea what he'll be doing so I, personally, don't think it's fair to judge it just yet. Now if Legolas ends up storming Beorn's cabin with the head of an orc on a stick in one hand and a silmaril in the other....then yeah, I'll be pretty pissed off too.

Since Azog is still alive in the 1st movie, I assume there will be some changes in the next two movies as well. I guess Dain would just be named Dain, and not Dain Ironfoot.

Also just for clarification, PJ and co has right to LOTR and the Hobbit, but not the silmirilian. That was the reason why in the movie during the part about the wizards Gandalf didn't name the blue wizards.

That's true Glorfindal. Apparently even mentioning them was frowned upon. Silly really as we fans of Tolkien would prefer a true rendering of history. Oh well I'm sure that PJ may find a way.

Welcome Glorfindel! Technically the Blue Wizards are never named in The Silmarillion, and since Jackson referenced the 'Blue Wizards' from Unfinished Tales, a source he also has no legal right to employ, he could have lifted the names from UT as well I guess, if he wanted to that is... although it would have been a greater measure of dipping into protected sources of course.

That said, Tolkien appears to have changed his mind about these Wizards being 'blue' in any case, unless I have forgotten a reference post-dating the letter where he states he doubts these wizards had distinctive colours.

I don't find simply not mentioning the names problematic. Tolkien himself never mentioned them in any work he published.

Ugh... Azog...

I tell you it was almost enough to walk out the theater. And I might've done it except I didn't want to bother the people sitting behind me since they seemed to enjoy it.

On the bright side the first 20 minutes were good.

Yes agree on the first 20 mins being the best part Arath. However wasn't Azog introduce here as well? Joking did you see it on 3d? What else didnt you like?

I think Arath was refering to Azog still being alive after the War of Dwarves and Orcs.

I think that "bringing Azog back from the dead" was a good idea, though flabbergasting. I think it added more...ommmff to the THILBO world (Bilbo and Thorin, loveydovey) Anyways, I also liked how even though all Thorin did was bash Bilbo, he still went to save him.

He had that look on his face like: "YOU TOUCH HIM AND I'LL BE SO FREAKI MAD, BRO." Adoribleness. And when Thorin gets back up and we think for a moment he is mad and still hates Bilbo, but then we have that twist in situation and he hugs him. More inspiration for Thilbo fans, like myself.

Yes I love the scene where Bilbo jumps the Orc who's about to kill Thorin and stabs him repeatedly on the ground just before the Eagles save the day. I think this scene won him the best hero award at MTV!

   What I really didn't like is that PJ made Bilbo so 'cartoony' in the way that he was a " I'm a big brave hobbit who dosen't care if he falls into a never ending pit of black or dies with a orc blade in my back just so my best friend Thoirn here can get a home and some dragon gold." No PJ no, half of the book Bilbo was wishing he was back in his nice warm hobbit hole with a kettle just beginning to whistle.  Still when the Tookish side won he did do some frikin brave stuff, he didn't have any real leadership or plans until after Gandalf left. 

   Well guys Azog may be weird and maybe even stupid but I can see why PJ put him in. Even though the orcs were a problem in the book, the way that PJ divided the movies there was no real advisary in The Unexpected Journy therefor PJ had to go and find some Tolkien villin that he could portray as the "big problem" and well Azog was his choice, not a very good one, but its what he chose.  If I were the movie maker I would just make the Goblin King a bigger problem.

Hm interesting, I didn't really feel like Bilbo was especially brave or warrior like or anything in AUJ. I think it's much tougher to portray the "afraid but brave" feeling on screen since in literature you can just write it out; however, in a film, you can't just have a narrator or the character announce "boy I sure am scared right now, but it's time to be brave!" It has to be done through body language, tone of voice, choice of words etc.

So all things considered, I thought Martin Freeman played a perfect Bilbo and he was easily the best acted character in the movie IMO. Yes, even better than Gandalf (who was also fantastic, as expected).

Agreed Balrogs. The scene I mentioned marked a turning point in Bilbo. Perhaps his anger over took him, or perhaps fear. Up until then really he was hardly a warrior, he simply was protecting himself in the few battles he actually had.

Jackson took A LOT of liberties with the history and story here, changes which were unnecessary.

Oh, they were necessary and I can prove it.

Cossack, explain, don't understand.

OK.

The point is that the narrative prose and drama live by the same laws, but these laws in drama are way harsher. Being a prose writer and a screenwriter, I know this difference by my own skin. When I write prose, I can talk from the first person, I can take a position of omniscient god of my universe or I can take one of my heroes' point of view. Those are just a few of tricks I can use to keep readers' attention.

But when I write a screenplay, there is only one point of view I can possess: it's viewer's POV. And I have always to question myself: will this performance keep viewers awake and alert or not.

And there is but one device to keep my viewers awake: a conflict. Which means: I need a proper antagonist, a Bad Guy, who will come and spoil the day. The one to be defeated at the crucial point.

You may say: OK, we have the dragon here. As a prose writer, I agree: we have the dragon here. Besides he is not seen until the third part of a book, he is still present like a threatening shadow.

But as a screenwriter, I say: no way. In drama "to be here" means "to be visible and audible". And there is no way to make Smaug visible and audible in the first part of the story unless you decide to violate Tolkien's plot way heavier than PJ did.

You may say: OK, but there are lesser  villains in the  first part: trolls, Gollum and Goblin king. And as a prose writer I agree once again. Considering the book, it is all about Bilbo and those villains are his equal counterpart: trolls are big but way too dumb, Gollum is cunning but rather weak and Goblins are easily cheated by the Ring. We see the story by Bilbo's eyes.

But as a screenwriter, I must part with Bilbo's POV. I look at him with viewer's eye and see that he is rather a bystander. The only strong stand he is personally involved in is the riddle-game with Gollum. But I cannot lean all the film against this only pillar.  And I have 13 dwarves to evolve their characters on the screen.

So, I can figure out the most important features for my villain-to-be. He has to be an enemy of the dwarves, first of all. He has to pursue them from beginning to the end (unlike dragon that passively awaits for them). "The Hobbit" itself cannot provide me with such an antagonist. Invention of a new character would be a bad decision too. I only can evolve some minor character. That would be my choice if I wrote a screenplay to "The Hobbit". I may have chosen Bolg. Jackson have chosen Azog. Why him? Because he is more developed character than Bolg, I presume. Bolg shows up only to die under the Erebor, Azog have even some lines. And the most important thing is that by the logic of drama it is Thorin, not Dain, who must avenge his grandfather's death. We cannot put footnotes and appendices onscreen. So when Bolg shows up, some character has to say: 'Oh, it is son of Azog killed by Dain in Azanulbizar'. And then what? Why Bolg pursues Thorin, not Dain?  Where to put an explaination? By gosh, it is way better to put onscreen Azog himself and set a personal grudge between him and Thorin. It takes to resurrect Azog from the dead? No problem! The biggest part of audience doesn't even know he was dead!

 Necessary changes,as I said.

Mmm I think your over thinking it. The Hobbit is a children's book, written way before a lot of tolkien's grand designs in later years and mixed with ideas he had already had. I believe if Tolkien had written a fully fledged adult version if The Hobbit, it would read quite differently, would have been much longer and would probably contain a lot of the info contained in the Appendices of TLOTR. In order to bring the story up to a state which matched the depth of TLOTR, PJ has simply enlarged the story, in most cases ok in my book. Of course there are choices PJ has made which differ to direction that I would, but that is totally understandable as this is only PJ's version and he is restrained by legal decisions that prevent some cannon.

Tolkien did set out to do a major revision of The Hobbit, but what he did was excise or alter some examples of tone that he didn't like, and try to work out inconsistencies. This aborted major revision of The Hobbit, to bring it more into line with The Lord of the Rings, has been published in The History of The Hobbit.

And in any case JRRT seemingly gave up this revision due to someone's [this person is still unknown] advice that the new version was nice, but not The Hobbit.

Crazy Cossack, you quoted Faefillind Wanderer but for all we know, Faefillind meant that these changes were unnecessary in that it wasn't necessary that three films be made in the first place.

And there is but one device to keep my viewers awake: a conflict. Which means: I need a proper antagonist, a Bad Guy, who will come and spoil the day. The one to be defeated at the crucial point.

Conflict can come in many forms, and The Hobbit as JRRT wrote it has plenty of encounters to keep a viewer engaged in my opinion. You noted them above, but I don't agree that these are not sufficient enough to keep viewers awake and interested. And Jackson's first film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings employed plenty of different baddies to try to create conflict and excitement.

"The Hobbit" itself cannot provide me with such an antagonist. Invention of a new character would be a bad decision too. I only can evolve some minor character. That would be my choice if I wrote a screenplay to "The Hobbit". I may have chosen Bolg. Jackson have chosen Azog. Why him? Because he is more developed character than Bolg, I presume. Bolg shows up only to die under the Erebor, Azog have even some lines.

Here you are comparing the arguably slight difference in the developed 'character' of Azog versus Bolg, and why put that before better fidelity to Tolkien's history, when using Bolg himself -- a character who actually appears in The Hobbit and is not simply mentioned as part of history -- could have fulfilled the role you seemingly are claiming is necessary to make this film a success.

And the most important thing is that by the logic of drama it is Thorin, not Dain, who must avenge his grandfather's death.

Putting Bolg on screen and giving him a reason to hate Thorin and want revenge [Bolg can be defeated in the earlier scene and get his arm chopped off] allows for the scenario you describe above -- and that Bolg's father Azog killed Thror can be extra fuel for Thorin to help create enmity between them.

Above you noted that you may have chosen Bolg rather, and at least this choice, while not canon does not notably disrupt the history Faefillind described above -- again, if this Bolg scenario is even necessary for a successful version of The Hobbit on film.

And if three films were necessary in the first place.

The Azog the goblin plot device was probably the single worst element in a movie full of bad decisions e.g . a  Frodo who looks considerably older than he does in TLOTR, the stone giants, the unbelievable survival of the dwarves and Gandalf when tumbling down a cliff face after escaping from the goblins, and the warg fight. Any fan of Tolkiens book as soon as the Azog vs Thorin thread becomes apparent immediately recognises it for what it is - a fake attempt at providing an alternative to the Aragorn thread in TLOTR just as the warg fight was simply put in there to make up for the fact that PJ didn't get it right in the TT. But its not just that it screams 'add on' it also doesn't work! Azog doesn't even look convincing which is no doubt why people think he looks  like a zombie. TLOTR movies were masterpieces but PJ allowed his worst instincts and immature mindset to come to the fore in the hobbit 1 and no one had the guts to rein him in.

OK His Gardner. PJ should have just released a replication of the book The Hobbit, a Children's Fairy Tale with no connection to TLOTRs other than a few familiar names, Childish Magical Elves, Magic Troll bags who talk, talking animals, Dwarves who all look the same and Goblins who hide and have no connection to the growing evil of Dol Guldur. What a master piece that would be.....Its already been done. Its a Cartoon. Get it out on Video.

Whilst I accept that he couldn't be 100% true to the book, I feel these added plot lines are just a way of stretching out the book into three films in a (successful) attempt to grab more money.  

I totally agree with Gwindor. They are added for the sole purpose or at least the main purpose of making three movies rather than just two - thereby making more money. I am not against PJ adding or subtracting material to or from the books e.g. the Aragorn/Boromir scene at the end of the Fellowship worked and I understood the need to remove Tom Bombadil. I also think that elements of the Hobbit are very good esp the Bilbo/Gollum scene and the Dwarf city. But Azog vs Thorin is a disaster. Furthermore, these added scenes only serve to distract from the main plot they don't add to it. Furthermore they destroy one of the essential positives of Tolkiens work which is it's realism. When you've got a drug smoking hippie being pulled about by some giant bunny rabbits how does that serve to link the Hobbit with the world of TLOTR? How can PJ's Radagast exist within the same subcreation? And how does he render Middle Earth believable?

I know this is very negative but I do believe PJ and New Line have seriously let Tolkien, his fans, and 'Art' down with Hobbit 1 and I won't be going to the cinema to see H2. If most of the critics concur that H2 is brilliant then I will most likely buy it on DVD but the public has to make a stand and refuse to shell out good money for mediocre films. Otherwise the industry will carry on in the same vein. Besides its not like we haven't got other films to look forward to e.g. Noah starring Russell Crowe

I think the scene with Frodo was the better added scenes choice in tying the hobbit with lotr. If looks is the issue perhaps a digital Bilbo should've been used instead. They should've used a digital younger version of Ian, because the Bilbo in the hobbit doesn't look like the Bilbo in lotr.

"Its's not ready yet."                                                                                                                                                                     "Ready for what ?"                                                                                                                                                                "For Reading!" Angry Old Bilbo

Ha! I always loved that part. And I will agree that Ian no longer looks like he did 12 years ago. And another thing, that I have noticed many changes in Bilbo's overall appearance. In LotR his hair was sticking up, for example, not against his forehead. (Sighs) Oh well. 

 

Am I the only one that noticed "forshadowing to later that day" kinda thing that Bilbo did when he said "when I'm when I'm......"?