The release of the latest trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" confirms that, just as expected, it is the must see film of this year and is almost certainly worth the decade long wait Tolkien fans have endured since "The Return of the King" swept the Oscars.
However it also appears that the film diverges significantly from the book. In the new trailer we hear Gandalf (Ian McKellen) declare that the dwarves are on a quest to "reclaim their homeland", something that the chief dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) confirms when he says in the trailer that they will "take back Erebor".
For those not in the know the kingdom of the dwarves was destroyed and occupied by a dragon named Smaug (mysteriously absent from the new trailer and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) who then spent the next century or so occupying the kingdom while lying on a bed of gold and jewels stolen from the Dwarves.
The real reason for the quest of the dwarves was not some kind of Charles de Gaulle mission to liberate their ancestral home. Those who remember "The Fellowship of the Ring" will know that the Mines of Moria might aptly be described as the ancestral home of the dwarves.
Alas the Dwarves of Tolkien's legendarium are known to get through ancestral homes faster than Italy gets through governments. After being driven out of Moria, the Dwarves found themselves in the Grey Mountains, before being driven to Erebor and finally to the Blue Mountains and the Iron Hills.
Rather than attempt to reclaim the latest in a long line of ancestral homes the Dwarves were actually seeking only to get their gold and jewels back from the dragon. "Bringing back our curses to Smaug..." as Thorin says in the book was only an optional extra, "...if we can".
Were this not the case there would be no need for Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who is specifically hired as a burglar. If the intention was to kill Smaug and reclaim the kingdom, there would be no need at all for a burglar to reclaim the treasure from beneath a still living dragon.
The Dwarves realistic assessment of their chances of reclaiming the kingdom (as opposed to just the treasure) are shown most obviously in the book when just before arriving at Rivendell they liberate some gold from a trio of trolls. Yet they do not take it with them but bury it for their return journey, obviously something they would not do if they had any intention of setting up shop in Erebor.
Does this matter for the film? Not at all. It still looks like it's going to be a magnificent start to the new trilogy and it is said that the third of the three films will serve to connect the Hobbit with the Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien wrote very little about what occurred between the two books and so it seems almost certain that a lot of what will appear in such a film will be (as a Trekkie might put it) non-canonical. While this may put off a few purists I for one am looking forward to every minute of it.