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“The Hobbit” 101: A quick guide to the major characters in Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation

“The Hobbit” 101: A quick guide to the major characters in Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation (photo)

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Peter Jackson made an unexpected appearance at Comic-Con last weekend to discuss how things are progressing on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first chapter in his two-part film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 story.

A prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit” follows a group of dwarves and a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, as they set off on an adventure to slay the dragon Smaug. The group is accompanied at points by the wizard Gandalf, and interacts with a long list of Middle-earth inhabitants — good and evil — as they travel across the land toward Erebor, the mountain the dwarves once called their home.

Over the weekend, “Hobbit” fans were treated to the first full image of all 13 dwarves — a reveal that occurred after being teased with a series of photos depicting small groups of dwarves or close-up shots of the characters.

While the big debut of Thorin Oakenshield’s traveling party was big news for Tolkien fans, not everyone is savvy to the people and places that make Middle-earth so popular. No need to worry, though, as I’ve put together a quick guide to who’s who among the dwarves, as well as some of the other major players in the story of “The Hobbit.”


THORIN OAKENSHIELD

When the dragon Smaug invaded the mountain kingdom of Erebor, he forced the surviving dwarves into exile. Among them was Thorin, heir to the throne. He earned his surname when his shield was broken during a battle and he was forced to use a piece of a tree to protect himself. Years later, Thorin and twelve of his most trusted warriors accompanied the wizard Gandalf to the Shire, with the intent of recruiting a Hobbit to be their group’s scout and thief.


THORIN’S PARTY

Joining Thorin on his quest are twelve other dwarves: Nori, Ori, Dori, Oin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, and Dwalin. Among them are several members of the dwarf nobility, including hardened veterans Balin and Dwalin, as well as Oin and Gloin. They’re also joined by Fili and Kili, a pair of young dwarves raised by their uncle, Thorin. It’s worth noting that Gloin also has a son, Gimli, who will join Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring on another, even more important quest years later.


BILBO BAGGINS

A resident of the Shire, Bilbo Baggins always had more of an appetite for adventure and news from the outside world than his fellow Hobbits. Gandalf eventually convinces Bilbo to join Thorin and the dwarves on their adventure, and he sets off on a quest that will later become the subject of his book, There and Back Again. Bilbo later adopts his nephew, Frodo, who inherits the One Ring and sets off on an adventure of his own with it.


GANDALF

An ancient wizard, Gandalf helps to orchestrate Bilbo’s involvement with Thorin and the dwarves, and accompanies them during certain portions of their trip to Erebor. Much like his role in “Lord of the Rings,” Gandalf is a friend to the Hobbits — and Bilbo in particular — and watches over the party during their travels even when he’s not present.


GOLLUM

A major player in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the creature known as Gollum first appeared in “The Hobbit.” His encounter with Bilbo in a dank cave will forever change the course of Middle-earth’s history, and play a significant part in the events of “Lord of the Rings.”


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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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