ON BEING DISAPPOINTED WITH THE HOBBIT: INDICATIONS OF THE CHANGING SIGNIFICANCE OF FANTASY

Martin Barker

Aberystwyth University

The World Hobbit Project (2013-4) was designed to build on the ambitions and achievements of the (2003-4) International Lord of the Rings Project.  It certainly out-topped the earlier project in terms of its scale (46 countries and over 100 researchers involved, recruiting over 36,000 responses).  But in terms of what it added to our knowledge, the later Project could be judged something of a disappointment – because, by common consent, this trilogy of films simply didn’t live up to their billing.  So, what can we learn from the sheer fact of widespread disappointment?  How might this disappointment throw light on what is now expected of ‘fantasy’?  And in turn what light might that throw on the current status of the genre?