Despite my grumbles about the Hobbit being made into three films instead of one, we did go to see the first of the new trilogy today and enjoyed most of it. I'm assuming that readers of this blog will have read the book so can go on to say that the way they handled the troll scene really irritated me. The whole point of the scene in the book (about the use of wit instead of weapons) was sacrificed in favour of an all-out action sequence, seemingly created by nervous film executives for the attention-span-of-a-gnat generation.
My favourite scene? When Bilbo's hobbit hole was being slowly taken over by strangers and he was trying to make his fury known by repeatedly saying "I'm sorry". That clip should be shown as an instructional video to people emigrating to the United Kingdom.
In other news, Lucy Mangan's columns in the Guardian Weekend magazine are always good but today she really excelled herself with a well observed, poignant column about the luck of the draw:
I consider myself lucky. But, despite all their wealth and security, I suspect our political and business leaders never think that of themselves.Do they never have moments when the weight of their astonishing luck makes them buckle at the knees and fall to the ground in gratitude? I suppose not. It can only be by thinking yourself entirely responsible for your own fortune that you can think of all those who are poorer, less successful or less independent of the state as personally responsible for theirs. Thus they deserve punitive policies and sanctions designed to remedy their immorality and sloth. A moment's honest thought, that's all it takes. I wager that you'll agree, because I wager you have them yourself. It would take an inhuman, almost sociopathic degree of arrogance and lack of imagination not to.
I have often wondered whether most people born into exceptionally lucky circumstances or those who have had the fortune of an unusually lucky break ever stop to think about the ratio of luck versus their own efforts; whether they have narrated their situation internally so that they deserved it, were entitled to it and therefore feel arrogant and protective about it. Many people in positions of power, especially in politics and leadership roles tend to hold "lesser beings" in thinly veiled contempt. Things like the workfare scheme in the UK have, quite frankly, been a disgrace.