Below you will find the prologue to an idea I had to rewrite the story of the first Hobbit movie. I’m posting it here because I keep on losing it (the writing, not my mind). Maybe I shouldn’t. Perhaps it might be used in evidence against me one day or maybe I’ll be Targeted by Tolkien purists (though I sort of lean that way myself!)? Oh, well, so be it. I must warn you: it is really rather silly!
The Hoppit: An Interrupted Journey
You asked me once if I had told you everything there was to know about my misadventures. And while I can say I have told you the truth, I may not have told you all of it. Then again, maybe I have. To be honest, I really can’t remember; I am old now, Dodo. Forgetful. Perhaps slightly demented. In any case, I’m not the same hoppit I once was. I think it is time for you to know what really happened…
It began long ago, in a galaxy – er – I mean a land far away to the East, the like of which you’ll not find in the world today. There was the city of Dave. Its markets known far and wide, full of the bounties of chocolates and toys, peaceful and prosperous; for this city lay before the doors of the greatest kingdom in Middle-earth: Haribo, stronghold of Fraught, King under the Mountain, mightiest of the Gnome-lords. Fraught ruled in utter surety, never doubting his House would endure – it was, after all, made of rock candy and a significant improvement over the gingerbread House built by his father. His line, and the future of his confectionery empire, lay secure in the lives of his son and grandson.
Ah, Dodo. Haribo: built deep within the mountain itself, the beauty of this fortress-city was legendary. Its wealth lay in its confectionery; in precious midget gems, its sticks of rock, and in great golden honeycombs, and chocolate running like rivers through the stone.
The skill of the Gnomes was unequalled, fashioning delights of great beauty out of marzipan, chocolate, fudge, cinnamon, honey and toffee. Ever they created better and yet better products. And that is how they made it: The Heart of the Mountain. The Arkenegg. A great solid egg formed from the very finest quality chocolate. Fraught took it as a sign, a sign that his right to rule was divine (for the chocolate certainly tasted so). All would pay homage to him, even the great Alpen king, Fentanyl.
But the years of peace and sugary snacks were not to last. Slowly the days turned sour (much like the milk lollipops), and the watchful nights closed in. Fraught’s love of sweets had grown too fierce and he had no teeth left to broker a deal with the tooth fairies. A sickness had begun to grow within him. It was a sickness of the mind (and, to be honest, also the belly); and where sickness thrives, bad things will follow.
The first they heard was a noise like a hurricane coming down from the North. The pines on the mountain creaked and cracked in the hot, dry wind, and the candy canes swung and melted…
“Bailing, sound the alarm. Call out the guard. Do it now!” cried Foreign.
“What is it?” asked Bailing as he stared out from the lofty battlements of Haribo.
“A thieving dragon with a sweet tooth,” replied Foreign, pulling him within the safety of the inner wall just as a huge belch smelling of rotting teeth and gums enveloped the battlements. Foreign turned to overlook the great hall and shouted in warning, “Dragon!”
It was a Smoke-drake from the North. Smog had come.
Such wanton death was dealt that day, for this city of Men was nothing to Smog. His eye was set on another prize, for dragons covet chocolate and all sweet things with a dark and fierce desire.
Haribo was lost, for a dragon will guard his confectionery long past the expiry date.
Even Fentanyl would not risk the lives of his kin against the wrath of the dragon. No help came from the Alpans that day, nor any day since. Robbed of their homeland, the Gnomes of Haribo wandered the gardens of Men (especially those with ponds and rockeries); a once mighty people brought low. The young Gnome prince took work where he could find it, making confectionery and selling it in the villages of Men, but always he remembered the smell of the dragon’s belch beneath the moon, and the myriad scattered aniseed balls, for he had seen dragon smog and a city broken to pieces as if it were honeycomb (though, to be fair, part of it was). And he never forgave, and he never forgot. But most of all he never lost his taste for a good gobstopper.
That, my dear Dodo, is where I come in. For quite by chance and the will of a sherbet wizard, fate decided I would become part of this tale. It began… Well, it began as you might expect.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hoppit. Not a comfortable, dry hole full of the latest furnishings and thick plush carpets. This was a hoppit hole, and that means slime, smell and a good deal of dry rot…did I ever tell you about the time I got trench foot…?