I saw the new Hobbit movie recently (what is the actual title of that multi-part film?) and something interesting struck me. I've known the opening words to The Hobbit well enough that I'd recognize them if someone spoke them, and the words in the film are (at least in part) some of those.  What I didn't expect was hearing them spoken differently than how I read them in my head.

Particularly, when Gandalf remind Bilbo who he is, he says the line, "I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!" When Ian McKellen says the words, there is a discernible pause between "means" and "me", such that the audience is led to a particular conclusion about the spoken words.  When I read the book, I hear Gandalf proclaiming that Gandalf is his name and everyone should know it, by golly!  When I watch the movie, I get the impression that Gandalf is perplexed that Bilbo should have any other impression of what Gandalf means.  The difference is subtle, surprising, and caused by a mere pause in the narration.

I suppose that this should not be surprising, and of course I'll be told that this is what acting really is.  It's also something I learned in my voiceover class, how you need to interpret the meaning of the words and convey their meaning with intonation, not just read them.  But of course, I read the Hobbit when I was younger and "didn't like to read", so I didn't read it with subtle intonations and meanings in my head.

Sometimes people read the same books I do and come away with different impressions of the characters.  I wonder if their inner intonation of the narration plays as large a role in the perception of the book as I now believe it to.

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