Now because I put spoilers in the title I'm going to assume that you're reading this well aware of that fact so won't warn you again! Okay, now that's out of the way lets discuss what the Annual tells us is going to happen in 'Desolation of Smaug' that we didn't already know.
Well first of all, we can confirm that this picture of a bear is in fact Beorn, and we can also learn a little bit of the storyline surrounding his entrance and the character himself. For example we also learn that Beorn does in fact chase the group of dwarves because he doesn't like them, all the way to his own house, like a Middle Earth Goldilocks. However he later realises that they share a common enemy. That common enemy turns out to be 'An Unexpected Journey' primary antagonist Azog the Defiler who has apparently killed every shapeshifter other than Beorn, which thus gives Beorn his motivation to help the group, and to also get involved as well. Lastly we know that it is Beorn that confirms to, and convinces Gandalf that Dol Guldur is the home of 'a great evil'. All of this is promising stuff as it looks like Beorn will have quite a significant part in the film.
Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel
We also learn a lot about the elves. Firstly we get the antagonist nature of Thranduil right away by learning that he has ordered the elves to not leave the forest, and not have anything to do with any other race, especially dwarves. Thranduil offers to let the dwarves go for a cut of their profits, but on their refusal imprisons them. Legolas looks set to continue on his good guy path by not being as 'set in his ways' as his father. Tauriel is, as can be expected really, the foil to Thranduil, she disagrees with him about the segregation being 'headstrong' and 'not following orders' and also 'quite unlike other elves', even going so far as to like the dwarves. A possible romantic link is also hinted by the revelation that Legolas follows Tauriel as she defies Thranduil's orders because he is 'very protective of her'. Here the elven dynamic is created; we get the almost tyrannical ruler, the reluctant son and the rebellious warrior all combining to presumably lead to the escape of the dwarves.
Bard the Bowman
New character Bard is the one that discovers the dwarves as they wash up in their barrels because 'he's a great hunter and often spends his time in the hills around the river leading from Mirkwood into Long Lake'. He eventually decides to trust them due to their assistance with an injured girl. The injured girl is rumoured to be one of Bard's children Tilda, to go with the other two we learn about, Bain and Sigrid. That's all on Bard, and Laketown in general.
Gandalf at Dol Guldur
This is the most worrying spoiler of them all, detailing Gandalf's time in Dol Guldur, remember in the trailer when he says 'It's definitely a trap'. Well it turns out Gandalf also has a varied range of rather clichéd magic to get himself out of it - with some of the following things being hinted - unlock a gate; see things that aren't really there/things appear other than they are; cast a spell making it look like there's more than one of him; cast a protection spell; have to work out where to walk as there are trick stones that lead to traps. So it looks like we're going to have Indiana Gandalf in 'Desolation of Smaug'. Seriously though, more than one of himself?
With this news, and the trailer we can now begin to piece together roughly how the film 'Desolation of Smaug' is going to go down, and work out a thin storyline for the whole thing, which is what the kind guys over at theonering.net have attempted to do, you can see their plot deciphering thoughts here. Are you happy about these spoilers? If not you can content yourself with these excellent photos from the Annual.
Daniel Wood is a long-time 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' fan after his dad read him both books as bedtime stories as a child. Of course back then he didn't understand a word he was hearing, so he's grateful they made films. Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter .
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