I took the kids to see The Hobbit last night (which, together with Lincoln, probably doubled my personal movie total for the year). Even though it’s not a particularly faithful adaptation, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to.  The reason why, after the cut (which will include spoilers for both the film and various Tolkien books, none of it rot-13’d.  To avoid them, don’t click through.)

For almost all of his life, Tolkien wanted to write the stories of the First Age, which comprise the hopeless war of the Elves against Morgoth: the fall of Gondolin,  the tale of Beren and Luthien, the tragedy of Turin Turambar, and so on.  These are very much in the mood of the Norse myths, where the Gods are barely a match for the Frost Giants, and their uneasy truce is destined to end in the mutual destruction of Ragnarok.  (In fact, the end of the First Age, where the Valar finally defeat Morgoth and expel him from the world, results in the destruction of the part of Middle-Earth where the earlier stories take place.)  He never did figure out quite how to tell those stories; he made several false starts, and was still revising and reworking them until his death.   Tolkien had a sort of unfettered creativity; when he went to try to reconcile two conflicting passages, he’d get an even better idea that was inconsistent with both of them.  The Silmarillion, as published posthumously, was his son Christoper’s attempt to make a coherent story by cementing together fragments that more or less agreed, and in some cases inventing material to cover gaps that none of the fragments covered.

The Hobbit was a children’s story that used some bits of his First Age stories, e.g. dwarves as stubborn, greedy creatures that dug treasures from the earth, while ignoring the main mythology.   Oh, and inventing hobbits, as sympathetic, everyman-ish characters children (and their parents) can identify with.  It was a huge success, so Tolkien’s publishers asked for a sequel, another book about hobbits, and he began work on what would become The Lord of the Rings.  Here, he did use the First-Age stories as world-building material, which gives Middle-Earth its majestic sense of being a real place with a long and complex history.  This led to the problem of how to fit in The Hobbit, which had no connection and a fair number of inconsistencies.

The major revision was the ring, which went from being a magic ring to being The One Ring.  In fact, The Hobbit’s entire sequence with Gollum was rewritten to accommodate this.  You can find the original one here; in it Gollum agrees both to let Bilbo keep the ring and to show him the way out as rewards for winning the riddle game, which, in the revised version, is more or less the lie Bilbo tells Gandalf and the dwarves to conceal the existence of the Ring.  The Necromancer, who had no equivalent in the earlier stores, became an alias of Sauron.   Other discrepancies, like the provenance of wizards (in The Hobbit, they seem unremarkable; in LOTR, there were ever only five and two disappeared  an age ago) and the character of elves (in The Hobbit they seem like Midsummer Night’s Dream fairies; in LOTR they are both grave and deadly) are simply left in place.

What Jackson has done in the film, then, is to make a version of The Hobbit that fits together with The Lord of the Rings.  The quest isn’t just about some dwarves wanting their stuff back; like everything Gandalf does, it’s part of his plan to keep Middle Earth free from the shadow.  He aims to find out whether Smaug is still active, re-establish Erebor as a military power, and begin the process of reconciling the dwarves and elves, all because he’s unconvinced that Sauron is gone for good.  (It’s an interesting question: at this point, is Saruman insisting that there is no Necromancer because he’s merely over-confident, or already corrupt?)

That’s not to say that the film is without flaws.  The chase in the orc-caverns with the levels collapsing onto levels looks for all the world like a video game, and then the same motif is repeated in the escape from the wargs, with the trees collapsing onto more trees, and the eagles passing dwarves around as if they were the Harlem Globetrotters.  And I can’t imagine why the script changed Gollum’s curse

“Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!”

But overall, Jackson does have an idea, and it’s a good one.

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.


  1. is Saruman insisting that there is no Necromancer because he’s merely over-confident, or already corrupt?

    My take on this question is that Saruman was just being Saruman. He was a middle-manager type, he was put in charge of a number of things, to have Gandalf show up and start showing initiative all over and in such a way that implied that Saruman was slacking in his duties resulted in middle-managers doing what middle-managers do: you re-explain the processes, the checklists, and the standard operating proceedures to the cowboys who are out there running around all willy-nilly.

    (Personally, I think that Saruman doing some of his own personal investigation after everyone else had left the meeting room is when Saruman made contact… and *THAT* is when the corruption started.)

    • That was one of the best parts of the movie since it left the answer ambiguous. I hope Jackson doesn’t explain it anymore.

    • If I remember my chronology correctly, Saruman wouldn’t have been ensnared by Sauron through his Palantir yet, so this was just him being dickish.

      • Ah, and perhaps it’s this “dickishness” (arrogance and an over-estimation of his own power and importance) which leads to Saruman attempting to use the Palantir, despite having known what Gandalf later tells us about them, resulting in his entrapment.

        I was in the “Saruman was already corrupted” camp, but I like this angle better.

        • Me too. Saruman’s a much more interesting character if we realize that he was neither evil all along nor magically flipped by the Palantir’s influence: he was a good guy with personality flaws that proved fatal, thanks to Sauron’s meddling. The same could be said of Denethor.

          • And even Ar-Pharazôn. Evil as he was, he wouldn’t have dreamed about attacking Valinor without Sauron advising him to.

    • From what I remember from Unfinished Tales and other material, Saruman became interested in the Ring before it was clear that Sauron had disappeared. He preferred to delay action, because he believed that as Sauron grew stronger the Ring might reveal itself. So to a degree, he was already corrupted, but he wasn’t a full-on villain, and almost certainly he still believed his intentions were good and geared at the most effective way of defeating Sauron.

    • Saruman’s line “I feel like I’m talking to myself here” was worth the price of admission for me.

    • Wow, thanks Glyph I will never be able to get that image out of my head

      • You’re welcome!

        Also, I must agree with commenter “bbqplatypus318”:

        If they had played this song over the end credits of the Hobbit movie, it would instantly make it the greatest movie of all time.


      • Still, that wasn’t the greatest thing related to music and movies I have seen on YouTube recently.

        That would be this.

        (Make sure to read the description and some comments for full effect).

        • Eh, it was the 60’s. EVERYTHING was a Sid & Marty Croft show.

  2. Great review, and very informative for those of us that have read the books and seen the movies, but don’t know much else about Tolkien or his works overall.

    A few questions come to mind:

    1. Maybe you can explain this to me, Mike, because it niggled my brain a little bit when I saw the LOTR movies, and a LOT when I saw The Hobbit this weekend: All the dwarves seem to be aware that Moria has fallen – and why should they not, if they are all a’ wanderin’ after having been displaced and looking to be let out of the West Bank and all. So why is it that no one ever bothered telling Gimli this in LOTR? He looks forward to seeing everyone there, and is shocked that to see it is no more. This makes no sense to me, and frankly bothers me. Is there a bit of dialogue or plot device from the book I am not remembering that squares this circle?

    2. FWIW, when I read the Tolkien books as a teenager, all of the “and then he slay 1,000 fully armed Orc soldiers with nothing but nail clippers, a #2 pencil and a very old and hardened Hot Pocket” always felt a bit eye-rolling; seeing it happen over and over in all of these movies is one of their weak points. (See previous MD comment about the goblin battle that lasted about 15 minutes too long.)

    3. The Norse Myth reference makes a ton of sense now that I see it written down. In The Hobbit, I kept calling the stone giants “ice giants” in my mind. It makes me wonder what, if anything, John Gardner – who falls back on Norse mythology a lot – ever had to say about Tolkien. And that makes me think:

    4. We should really do a Grendel Book Club – or maybe even a Beowulf AND Grendel Book Club.

    • I dunno why, but Ragnarok has always been one of my favorite eschatons.

      We’ll get some Norse myth coming up soon in Sandman book club – and where have you been on those, Tod-man?

    • Moria fell about a thousand years before the events of The Hobbit, which led to the scattering of the dwarves across Middle-Earth. (Erebor was first settles by refugees from Moria). After the events of The Hobbit, Balin, together with Ori, Oin, and other dwarves from Erebor, tried to reoccupy it, but before long were killed by orcs. Gimli knew of the effort, but hadn’t known the colony was destroyed until he entered Moria and found Oin’s journal.

      Tolkien doesn’t seem to like battle scenes; most battles are recounted rather than experienced directly by a viewpoint character. Jackson, on the other hand, loves them. The escape of the dwarves from the goblins, for instance, is described in the book by one of the dwarves as Gandalf and Thorin covering their retreat with magic and blows from their elven-swords, not as a pitched battle, let along the drawn-out carnival of carnage we see in the film. Agreed that in the films there are far too many bloody battles in which our heroes are somehow untouched. The only similar example from the books that comes to mind is the battle of Helm’s Deep, where Gimli and Legalos both kill dozes of orcs without being hurt themselves. But they’re both fearsome and well-trained warriors (with ax and bow respectively), the idea that they can outfight the average orc isn’t completely ridiculous.

    • Grendel is one of, if not my, favorite novels, so the Club sounds like a great idea to me.

    • 4. We should really do a Grendel Book Club – or maybe even a Beowulf AND Grendel Book Club.

      I think you just nominated yourself to be another coblogger here at MD.

      I really love this idea, by the way.

    • Also…

      How does #2 and #4 mix? Beowulf is stupendously awesome, like Heracles and Hector and Gilgamesh all rolled into one. He’s Sampson on steroids.

      The Big Three in LOTR (Legolas, Gimli, and Strider/Aragorn) aren’t even as stupendous as Beowulf. Beowulf kills a dragon by hisself. He makes Pecos Bill look credible.



      There was a time when Pecos Bill was a credible hero. Not as in “people believed this guy existed”, but as “he’s a plausible character for our Fiction”. Same with Beowulf, and King Arthur, and Paul Bunyan, and numerous others.

      When did the outrageously stupendous archetype go out of style? The only one I can think of since 1930 is Superman. Is he the end of an era or a throwback to an earlier age that ended before the Industrial Revolution? ‘Cause I can’t think of… wait… John Henry.

      Now I’m probably going to be thinking about this for a week.

      • Miles Vorkosigan. Not in physical prowess of course, but he can, accompanied only a retired grunt, a teen aged girl, and a drunken ex-pilot, get mixed up in a conflict between two fleets of space mercenaries and, armed only with hyperactive flim-flam, wind up in command of both of them. All of this at the age of 16.

        • The flim-flammer is a different breed of cat. There’s lots of flim-flammers as well. Not too much crossover between the flim-flammer and the stupendous hero. Odysseus. Hm. Who else?

          Goddamn it, Mike this is not helping.

          • After the rise of irony as the pre-eminent mode, you might find certain versions of it played for comedy. Like, Buckaroo Banzai isn’t physically strong, but he’s certainly stupendous.

            And someone like John McClane, or most any Schwarzenegger character (CONAN! WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?) might count.

          • Technology too. How stupendous can anyone be when a random shrimpy little coward can blow you away? (Thus the need for the action movie convention that bad guys die in reverse order of importance.)

          • RE: technology and what it does to “stupendous”.

            SO when I saw Hobbit yesterday, amongst the many apocalyptic previews (seriously: aside from “Star Trek” and some sort of “Twilight” ripoff with Jeremy Irons slumming it, every single preview was about the end of the world) was one for the Del Toro movie “Pacific Rim”.

            Now, I understand the “giant mecha” genre is still popular in Japan, and I don’t have a problem per se with giant monster movies; but if giant Lovecraftian horrors come through a dimensional portal, I have a hard time believing that giant human-piloted robots are the quickest, most efficient way to fight back, no matter how cool it may look.

            Wouldn’t using the ICBMs we already have (and building more, if needed) be a much faster, cheaper, and more effective fighting tactic?

          • No matter what, it’ll be better than “Independence Day”

            Sheesh. Mac viruses to defeat the invaders?! Can we get a giant mecha to kick the filmmakers’ asses?

          • The more I think about it, the more I think that the only plausible backstory is going to involve the dimensional opening’s somehow affecting all human cognition in much the same way as a 24-case of beer affects a college student’s.


          • Of the previews we saw at The Hobbit, the only one that looked at all interesting was an “aged gangster” film with Al Pacino and Alan Arkin, and even that seemed to have the tired “I’m been ordered to kill my old friend” plot. The rest were all completely idiotic action flicks (including, I think, the one Glyph mentions, but they did all run together.)

            Perhaps that’s how the economics of film work these days, though. The only reason that people would go to a theater is for spectacles that require a big screen, so what used to be adult fare at movies is now done as cable shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

          • The summer blockbuster, a spectacle you want to see on the big screen, has been around since as long as I can remember (really, post-“Jaws”, it’s the studios’ Holy Grail, innit?).

            The difference is, they didn’t all used to be the exact SAME movie. Also, they didn’t all suck.

            Check out 1982’s popcorn flicks:


            Or 1984:


            There’s no excuse for this nonsense. Could you get Ghostbusters made today? Imagine trying to pitch that concept. You’d sound like an idiot.

            Luckily, in 1984, Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec was there to take that meeting. Where is he now?

          • Pacific Rim guaranteed my viewing eyeball when they cast Glados as their AI voice. I don’t care if it’s idiotic (I’m sure it will be) I’m still gonna watch so I can enjoy the dulcet tones of their hopefully snarky AI interface.

            And perhaps there’ll be cake.

          • Glyph,
            I’m certain Evangelion has a plausible answer for “why we don’t just use ICBMs”… because, um, they do try.

          • 1982 was definitely a good year. Alas that Blade Runner was not such a hit when it came out — its popularity has grown over the years. But there were just a ton of iconic movies out there. We’re still making references to almost all of those movies thirty years later.

            The creativity of the 1970’s wasn’t gone yet. And movies weren’t so fishing expensive to make, market, and distribute that a good but new idea couldn’t get greenlit.

            But as for Ghostbusters, that could get greenlit today, easy. Just call it Men In Black 4.

      • I think the abandonment of the stupendous hero is a sign of our entry into the present age of thought about art and myth and the world. Whether you want to call what we’re living through right now “contemporary,” “modern,” or “post-modern,” in our current age we have a fascination with moral ambiguity. Holden Caulfield, Tony Soprano, etc. — heroes of present-day fiction are not stupendous, they earn our admiration either when they overcome their own flaws or for allowing a better side of their nature to shine through their overtly dark natures.

        When did it go out of style? I think in, or immediately after, World War II. Before that, Batman and Superman fought street criminals who in retrospect look like trivial thugs well within the ability of ordinary police to handle — why do we need a superhero to fight gangsters? But Americans became aware that there were bigger problems than street crime in the first half of the 1940’s. They also became aware that to fight those problems, they had to get their hands dirty. So our heroes started getting their hands dirty then, too.

        • Trigun pairs moral ambiguity with “stupendous hero”…

          How about Sagara Sousuke? I think he’s walking the bare edge of being a stupendous hero… (while being “plausible”).

          • Sorry, Kim, I don’t know manga at all. I had to Google “Trigun” to even know you were making a manga reference.

      • Brienne fits.
        There’s a few in Hambly’s fiction that are stupendous heros, but mostly “wizards” which may not count.
        Trigun. Totally Trigun.

  3. Your analysis pretty much exactly matches my thoughts on the film.

    This is The Hobbit, really. This is The Quest for Erebor – an updated version of The Hobbit that integrates it more with LotR and places it more on an epic scale and tone which Tolkien considered writing before his publishers told him there was no demand for it. There’s a lot of information from the LotR appendices and from Unfinished Tales that appears in the movie. I knew the White Council would be there. I never for a moment guessed that the Battle of Azanulbizar would make an appearance. This movie is geek candy.

    It works really well. The Hobbit is, as a story, a little disconnected – a series of adventures that aren’t really connected to each other, and a final battle (The Battle of Five Armies) that isn’t particularly built up by the text, and that involves an antagonist we’ve never heard of before. The reasons for dwarves and elves disliking each other are only lightly touched on in the book, as well. The inclusion of Azog in the film (simpler than using Bolg) along with the Necromancer ties together all the adventures during the journey, and Thranduil’s unwillingness to help fight Smaug gives an understandable basis for dwarf-elf hostility without having to refer back to a vague reference to the Nauglamir and the fall of Doriath. (By the way, Thranduil made the right decision – leading an army against a dragon in underground caverns is asking to be slaughtered.)

    I think a little too much time was spent on the battle scenes, and wish they’d just done the final bit with the trees the way it was in the books, without needing a big dramatic fake-death-scare. It adds something, to a degree, to have the dwarves only really start respecting Bilbo after Gandalf leaves. The movie has him prove himself earlier (and start being useful much earlier on – it’s him rather than Gandalf who keeps the trolls arguing). On the other hand, some of the changes to Bilbo work, like him leaving Bag End himself rather than Gandalf basically having to push him out the door – it makes it feel more like a choice rather than like he’s being shanghaied.

    One of the small things that felt weird to me was Gandalf’s deference to Galadriel. The movie acted like she was his superior, which is not the case. If anything, he would have a higher ‘rank’ than her; he’s a Maia, while she’s an elf and one of the original Exiles at that.

    • It’s also interesting to note that while Saruman definitely outranks Gandalf, he’s the only one of the four that doesn’t wield one of the elven rings.

      • Well yes, but he doesn’t even know that. As I understand it the Shipwright (my far away favorite elf) handed his ring over to Gandalf in secret.

    • “One of the small things that felt weird to me was Gandalf’s deference to Galadriel. The movie acted like she was his superior, which is not the case.”

      It’s funny, but my take on that scene was quite different. Because of the subtleties on each of their faces, and the very last bit where she touches his hand (and McKellen’s eyes after she disappears) the feeling I was left with was that they had once been lovers – or at least that he had loved her for quite some time.

      • Yeah, this was my take as well; not necessarily that they had really ever *been* lovers, but that he loved her (I mean, just look at her; who wouldn’t?), and there was certainly a mutual respect and a history between them (he states that she has changed not at all, and Galadriel requests that he be allowed to speak further – then the two of them basically ignore Saruman & converse psychically).

        I read the scene as, Galadriel had to pretend to treat Saruman as an equal, since he is the head of the wizards’ order; but she really has little respect for (and possibly even already has misgivings about) Saruman, while she obviously trusts Gandalf and lets him know that she approves of his actions, and further investigation.

  4. I’ve always thought the explanation of the Red Book as Bilbo’s sorta fudged version of events remains one of the best retcons of all time.

    I’m torn on seeing this. I’m still ticked at Jackson over the Scouring of the Shire and am baffled by this push to cram so much into The Hobbit. On the other hand, it’s not like someone else is going to make a better one anytime soon . . .

    • I disagree. I think Jackson was right to cut out the Scouring of the Shire (and Tom Bombadil and a host of other interludes I only half-remember). LOTR was super long as it was and its half hour of seven separate fade-to-black epilogues was a little bit annoying.

      Part of what’s involved in turning a good book into a good movie is not slavish devotion to every detail of the story, but understanding what really makes the story work and presenting that. When The Hobbit works, it works by showing Bilbo’s astonishment at just how diverse, big, and dangerous the world is outside of the Shire — and that confronting danger is better than ignoring it.

      • I agree. About 1/3 of Return of the King (the book) occurs after the destruction of the Ring. You can’t have 1/3 of a movie be dénouement. I think the movie could have done a better job of linking together the parts of the ending that it did include, and reduced ‘ending fatigue’ that way (most of the problem was the number of fade-outs that made people think the film was over), but the Scouring was never going to work.

        • The argument that there wasn’t time is kind of undermined by the hourlong denouement, no?

          I recognize the implicit fanboyism that comes from picking this kind of nit, but the Scouring of the Shire is the actual climax of the story, not the dénouement!
          As an ommission it’s a dramatic revision to the plot, akin to The Simpon’s episode where Mel Gibsons remakes of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as a revenge fantast because it revises the fundamental narrative entirely.

          I can understand that the constraints of time and budget in changing or leaving out asides, diversions and consolidation of plot elements. The Tom Bombadil interlude from FotR is a bit of world building that isn’t necessary to follow the story. None of those really bothered me, except the killing of Saruman in TTT, mostly because it eliminates the ending.

          • I think the Scouring could work in a film, if clues are planted that the deposed Saruman is still capable of doing something dastardly, and the heroes returning home found what it was and that they had one more job left to do. (After which, Frodo is hurt badly enough that he needs to go over the Sea to be healed. Quick dénouement and we’re done.) But it doesn’t work in Jackson’s films, because their climaxes are the big battle scenes, and the Scouring isn’t one.

          • The main climax is Mount Doom. The Scouring is a kind of secondary climax, which is something it’s challenging to make effective.

          • It’s doable, though. Two classic examples:

            In The Caine Mutiny, the main climax is the court-martial, but the following secondary climax, where Jose Ferrer tells off Fred MacMurray, is even more important. (And the book goes on for a few more chapters after that, until Willie Keith gets the girl and lives happily ever after.)

            In To Kill a Mockingbird, the main climax is Tom Robinson’s trial, but after that comes the secondary climax, where Boo Radley kills Tom Ewell to save the children’s lives.

    • “I’m still ticked at Jackson over the Scouring of the Shire”

      I was thinking about that over Christmas break when the fam was re-watching LOTR. Or more specifically, I was thinking about people’s reactions at the League to that scene being left out. (I hadn’t read the books since I was a teenager – I have only read them once – and even having been reminded of it I have no actual memory of that part of the story.) In particular, I remember Erik saying (maybe several times?) that he would never “forgive” Jackson for leaving that part out of the movie.

      I found (and still find) that degree of disapproval odd.

      Peter Gabriel’s reworking of Paul Simon’s delightful Boy In The Bubble is *terrible.* It loses every ounce of playfulness, syncopation and contrast between peppy beats and sad lyrics that make’s Simon’s version a delight, and replaces it with a maudlin sparseness and whining voice that makes the whole feel painfully pretentious. And yet, I find the notion odd that I need to choose to “forgive” Gabriel anything. He’s an artist, and he took his shot at approaching a subject in his own unique way. In this instance, he falls flat; in others he soars quite gracefully. What’s to forgive?

      It might well speak to the degree with which LOTR made an early and deep impact with Erik. I do not believe he’s a devoutly religious person; I wonder to what extent books and stories like LOTR can, if they hit us at just the right time with just the right amount of force, actually become (in some way) our own mythologies that we cling to?

      There’s a great essay/post in here somewhere, if I can just figure out exactly where it lies.

      • I wonder to what extent books and stories like LOTR can, if they hit us at just the right time with just the right amount of force, actually become (in some way) our own mythologies that we cling to?
        I think they absolutely do, Tod. I think where Mike touched up above on Tolkien’s desire to write his stories of the First Age are an attempt to create more of those kind of mythologies and, while he did fail to write the stories he wanted, the passion a lot of fans show for what he did produce implies he was pretty successful at creating texts that had the same impact for a large number of people.

  5. A few other notes:

    1. If I recall correctly, there’s nothing in the book about Bilbo being an adventurous sort when he was a young man. But given that it’s true in the film, the look on Bilbo’s face when he realizes he’s in Rivendell (like yours or mine, if we realized we were in ancient Athens and that guy talking to the crowd is Socrates) is awesome.

    2. The scene where Bilbo saves Thorin’s life is laughably ridiculous. In any fight with edged weapons, he’d be dead before he had a chance to take his out of its hilt. (Perhaps if we’d seen him practicing with it, even once… No, still idiotic.) But the speech he makes about wanting to help the dwarves regain their home makes up for it. That’s exactly how a hobbit would feel, and it perfectly justifies his actions later in the story, when Thorin has been so blinded by greed for the treasure that he loses the real point of the quest.

    3. Ian Holm looks nothing like Martin Freeman. Using Holm as old Bilbo at the start of the film is really jarring. It wouldn’t have been that hard to put a gray wig and a bit of old-age makeup on Freeman.

  6. My own criticism of The Hobbit is its disjointed tone.

    But now that I’m thinking about not only the ability but the need for a screenplay to deviate from a text (particularly a very old text like The Hobbit, couldn’t the escape from the Goblin mines have been made better if, instead of being Jabba the Hutt, Jackson had taken a bit of a liberty with the text and made the Goblin-King a badass, like the Uruk-hai were in LOTR? Then a badass, athletic-looking Goblin-King could have gone mano a mano* with Thorin for a cool swordfight, instead of fifteen minutes of running across dozens of catwalks that the goblins didn’t need anyway since they can crawl on the cliffs?

    * I think that would be enano a monstruo, actually.

    • He could’ve left the Goblin King as is AND made him a bad-ass. That would’ve fit the text better.

      I think they were trying to hit some “no more scary than THIS” mark… “we already terrified the kiddos with scene x and scene y, don’t terrify them with the goblins too, or they will be having nightmares for the next decade”.

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