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Fans Think This Character Ruined The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

A well-documented tragedy in cinematic history is how J. R. R. Tolkien's novel "The Hobbit" was adapted into three films instead of one. While never officially confirmed, it was evident to anyone with a heartbeat that the decision to stretch a single book that followed a single plotline into an entire trilogy was made by those in power so that "The Hobbit" could potentially better mirror the trilogy of films based on the "Lord of the Rings" publications. Entire video essays (like the one from Lindsay Ellis, which is — hilariously — in two parts) have exposed how disastrous this process was.

Now, technically the original trilogy of movies were based on a singular novel, too, but "Lord of the Rings" was so long that it was printed across three publications, each of which held two books. That's right, for those that didn't know, "Lord of the Rings" is literally a novel in six parts. In this way, building three entire feature films around "Lord of the Rings" was more a task of trimming, rather than justifying, extra material. "The Hobbit," on the other hand, had quite the opposite problem. To fill enough screen time to pretend that a trilogy was logical, Tolkien's story was padded out like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The worst offender of this was the third film, "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies," which prominently features a battle that, in the book, is only described in passing by a narrator who actually slept through it (yes, that's Bilbo).

Now, despite numerous years having passed since this theatrical crime occurred, fans are still vocalizing their disdain for the choices made in "The Hobbit," including (but by no means limited to) the character they believed singlehandedly sapped the entire production of any potential entertainment value.

Fans loathe Alfrid Lickspittle, which is entirely fair

In a subreddit dedicated to movies, u/peter095837 asked, "has a single character in a movie ever ruined a movie for you or made you extremely annoyed? If so, which movie character was it?" A highly upvoted response came from u/Wakattack00, who said, "Alfrid Lickspittle in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Why did they have to keep cutting to him every 5 minutes? So unnecessary."

If the name Alfrid Lickspittle (Ryan Gage) is unfamiliar, that's totally understandable ... because he doesn't exist. At least, not in the books. Granted, a nameless counselor — who fills the same expositional void that charming ol' Lickspittle initially does — is briefly mentioned at the end of the 10th chapter, but that's it. In "Battle of the Five Armies," Lickspittle is shameless and slimy, a traitor whose actions are played for laughs. Tonally, visually, and structurally, he's Peter Jackson's attempt to insert a figure much like Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) from "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," except one is a real three-dimensional character, while the other is a Flanderization of that character. Seriously, Wormtongue ... Lickspittle ... was Jackson even trying, at this point?

No hate to Gage, who portrayed the space filler and joy killer being denounced here, but fans seem to universally despise his role. The Nerd Stash shredded his character in their criticism of the film. So did What Culture. The writers over at Junkee wanted a piece of that sweet, monobrow action, but it was probably a joke? Who's to say anymore. Nonetheless, despite tarnishing a cool story, at least "Battle of the Five Armies" had some touching moments during the final days on set, so that's something.