Based on the 1937 fantasy novel by English author JRR Tolkien, the epic story of The Hobbit is a trilogy of adventure films about the inhabitants of Middle Earth.

The book remains a classic of children’s literature today, with the plot revolving around the hobbits – a diminutive, fictional, human-like race who live peacefully on Middle Earth. The films were An Unexpected Journey, released in 2012, The Desolation of Smaug in 2013 and The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014.

The main character is Bilbo Baggins, who is a middle-aged, brave hobbit hired by the wizard, Gandalf, to embark on a daring quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain and its treasures from a powerful and fearsome dragon called Smaug. Baggins is accompanied by a party of 13 dwarfs, a diminutive but warrior-like race, on the dangerous mission.

Cast and plot

Directed by Peter Jackson, the films featured an all-star cast, including Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the dwarfs. Benedict Cumberbatch provided the voice of Smaug.

On their epic journey, the unlikely heroes encounter a variety of other characters, including the elf leaders, Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond, played by Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. Orlando Bloom plays Legolas Greenleaf, an elf of the Woodland Realm and Elijah Wood features as Frodo Baggins, a hobbit of the Shire and Bilbo Baggins’ cousin.

Many of the actors reprised their roles from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which began in 2001 with The Fellowship of the Ring. The premier of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was held at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand.

It was considered such a momentous occasion that thousands of people lined the red carpet to welcome the stars and the event was broadcast live on TV.

Battle scenes

Some historians have claimed Tolkien’s own experiences as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers during World War I influenced his writing and led to some of the epic battles depicted in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

He participated in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, taking part in the assaults on the Leipzig salient and the Schwaben Redoubt. Some of his dearest school friends were killed in the Battle of the Somme, including Rob Gilson (who was killed on the first day of the fighting) and Geoffrey Smith, who died when a German artillery shell struck a first aid post.

In October 1916, Tolkien was struck down with trench fever – a disease carried by lice. He fell gravely ill and was shipped home to England on 8th November. After he returned home to recuperate, his battalion was almost completely wiped out – so falling ill probably saved his life.

Thunder battle

One of the most striking and memorable scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the scene in which Bilbo Baggins and his brave companions are caught up in what appears to be a lethal thunderstorm.

Walking in darkness down a narrow path along the side of a mountain, they soon realise conditions are becoming treacherous. Bilbo slips and is saved from certain death only by his quick-thinking dwarf companions. Thorin shouts above the noise of the storm that they must find shelter.

Suddenly, a giant boulder goes flying through the air, smashing into the mountain above the dwarfs’ heads. As one of the group, Balin shouts, “This is no thunderstorm! It’s a thunder battle!”

They realise the storm isn’t being caused by the natural elements, but rather two stone giants fighting with each other. One of the giants hurls another rock and this time, it hits its target, the other giant. Bilbo and his party are simply caught up in the crossfire.

Then, to their dismay, the whole cliff starts to move, and they realise they are climbing up the third giant, rather than a cliff face! As the giants fight, Bilbo and his party are separated and he and Thorin fear the other dwarfs are dead. However, miraculously, they have all survived.

Bilbo then falls over the cliff edge during the thunder battle and is hauled back up by the dwarfs. The company retreats into a cave to recover from their ordeal after the rock giants’ battle ends.

In the book, Tolkien had referred to the battle as occurring when one thunder storm collided with another, calling it a “thunder battle” – hence Balin’s description of the phenomenon in the film.

Lightning protection

Balin’s description of the thunderstorm is apt – as in reality, when thunder and lightning grip the skies it can sound like a battle, as the thunder rumbles and the lightning cracks across the sky.

Lightning poses a major threat to buildings – hence Lightning Strike Ltd. is dedicated to installing our specialist lightning defence and electrical earthing systems across the UK. We can protect commercial and domestic properties and public buildings, such as schools and hospitals.

Please contact us for further information.