Much like the books they are based on, Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies are rather dense films. There’s not only an impressive number of characters to follow and plots to keep up with, but J.R.R. Tolkein also established a world with a full and rich history – and Jackson has worked to try and stay true to as much of it as possible. As a result, the 12-month span between sequels can lead to some details being forgotten – but that’s why we’re here to help.

Having seen The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, we’ve singled out five key things that you will need to remember from An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug in order to follow along with all of the events in the film. This is a totally spoiler-free piece that only covers the events seen in the last two films, so don’t worry about that. Read on!

 The Hobbit Gandalf
Gandalf’s In Trouble
One of the key ways that the Hobbit films has expanded on the narrative from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels is by continuing to follow Gandalf as he separates from Bilbo and the dwarfs to investigate the events at Dol Guldur and the activities of a dark sorcerer known only as the Necromancer. As we saw in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, however, the events of the wizard’s mission do not go exactly as planned, and he winds up being in a good spot of danger as a result.

After following Galadriel’s advice, investigating the tombs of the Nazgul (better known as the Ringwraiths from the Lord of the Rings movies), and finding them empty, Gandalf returns to the dark land of Dol Guldur, but unfortunately gets the surprise of a lifetime. As it turns out, this is where Azog and the rest of the orcs are currently stationed – not to mention the Necromancer, who is revealed to be none other than the evil Sauron. The grey wizard is defeated, imprisoned, and forced to watch as the orcs move on towards the Lonely Mountain.

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