A series of reaction videos
set off by "Happy Hobbit's" reaction to "The Desolation of Smaug" trailer
The information in this section deals specifically with information presented on or about TORn.
It is not meant to be a comprehensive look at any topic.


In June 2013, two TORn Staff members, Kellie & Alex (aka 'Kili' & 'Fili', the producers and hosts of the TORn "Happy Hobbit" feature series) made and uploaded a video of their first reactions to "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" trailer. After the video was promoted by Peter Jackson and "The Hobbit" movie's official blog, Jackson made a video response of three "Hobbit" cast members watching the "Happy Hobbit" duo. In turn, the "Happy Hobbit" duo again recorded themselves watching the cast reaction.

Coverage of this collection of videos went viral and much was made of the recursive and meta nature of the set. The similarity of the increasingly layered videos to the dream-within-dream film "Inception" prompted the term "Hobbitception" (alternately spelled with a dash: Hobbit-ception).

General reaction to the videos seemed positive and at least one site noted Jackson's involvement as good marketing strategy on behalf of "The Hobbit" movies.

The videos

There were five videos that comprised the set of recursive "Hobbitception" videos.

Video Two: TORn's "Happy Hobbit" duo's video reaction to the trailer video posted in a TORn News Article and on the TORnHappyHobbit YouTube Channel
Video Three: "Hobbit" cast members' video reaction to the TORn's "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the trailer video
Video Four: "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the cast member's video reaction to the "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the trailer video
Video Five: The "Inception" edition - all five videos synced into one video

Full account of all videos:

Mathom-house wiki article: Hobbitception - The Videos

The viral nature of the videos

As each video in the series got released, more and more sites starting covering them. An article run on the New Zealand Herald site about "Happy Hobbit's" first video got picked up by over 700 other sites, some declaring the video "viral." Ten days after the initial video was posted, conducting a Google search for >> kellie alex hobbit react trailer cast << provided about 57,000,000 results.

Mathom-house wiki article: Hobbitception - Viral Nature

The meta and recursive aspect, dubbed "Hobbitception," of the videos

Much was made of the recursive, meta aspect of these videos. The similarity of the increasingly layered videos to the dream-within-dream film "Inception" prompted the term "Hobbitception" (alternately spelled with a dash: Hobbit-ception). Eleven days after the first videos were uploaded, a Google search for the term "Hobbit-ception" (which also brought up results for "Hobbitception" without a dash) produced about 36,500 results.

Mathom-house wiki article: Hobbitception - Meta Aspect

The marketing aspect of the videos

Chris Atkinson on ReelSEO: The Online Video Marketing Guide noted that filming "The Hobbit" cast's reaction to "Happy Hobbit's" first video was good marketing strategy for upcoming movie, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" writing...

"One thing that I've enjoyed about the marketing for The Hobbit is how savvy Jackson & company are when it comes to online video.† For instance, last year's Hobbit marketing also had a really great tie-in to Air New Zealand, helping build excitement and overall sense of fun for the movie.† And while we haven't seen the fullest extent of what New Line Cinema/MGM/Warner/Jackson is going to do with the second movie, they've already done something great in creating an inclusive atmosphere with online video, by uploading "elves" reacting to a fan reaction of the new trailer. [...] it shows an awesome awareness of what YouTube is to create social interaction with the movie and acknowledge the fans."

It may be worth noting that the three cast members in the reaction video were Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), and Lee Pace (Thranduil). These are the same three cast members that were featured just weeks later on the cover of the print version and with HD images in the e-version of the August 2013 Empire magazine issue devoted to "The Desolation of Smaug."

Reception of the videos

Most articles covering the videos celebrated the geekiness and enthusiasm exhibited by the "Happy Hobbit" team and the cast members of "The Hobbit" movies and even Peter Jackson by creating the cast reaction video. Comments from fans in general, like all comments on the web, range between cynicism and dismissal to enjoyment and sympathetic excitement. But some of the positive comments tapped into feeling something beyond merely enjoying the videos for just that moment.

Mary Beth Martini-Lyons on her blog, Signal:Noise, wrote...

"This post (at MetaFilter) reminded me of mashups, and fanfic and the distributed nature of new media.† I think itís great that the amateur video made it to the eyes of Peter Jackson and the actors, so quickly and easily, and the way Jackson responded was so positive.† In a world where the title of celebrity is so easily bestowed, regardless of whether it is deserved, and where those in the spotlight seem somehow so ďother” and so separate and unreachable, itís refreshing to see actors respond to appreciation of their work with such joy and enthusiasm.† Many commenters to the (MetaFilter) post mention how happy and uplifted they are after viewing the videos, and a few more happy people in the world canít be bad.† So thanks a lot Peter Jackson, and Kili and Fili, for bringing some sunshine into our lives today." 1
Some Comments
I saw this and thought "Oh, that's dumb; I'm not going to watch that."
And then somehow it was fifteen minutes later and my face hurt from grinning at all the adorable happy people, and now I sort of want to feed everyone a cookie. Good job, internet.
This made me grin so hard.
It's almost impossible to match that kind of lovely, manic joy that exists in a moment like this because you're two of a kind and there's a THING and it is AWESOME.
I'm really glad Peter Jackson shared it, and went all recursive in inviting the people who create the THING that these two girls find awesome in the experience, and then let all of us share it. This is the best of fanning - passion and fun and everyone is included. (Even poor mom, at 3 AM!)
THIS! I can't be jaded watching this. Hobbitception is adorable.
It's pretty dark days on the Internet right now, buy this is why it exists. #Hobbitception

Reactions by cast and crew

The mention in non-TORn media that probably sparked interest in "Happy Hobbit's" first video was that made by Peter Jackson on his Facebook page. The video was also featured, about the same time, on the "Hobbit" movie's official blog. After Jackson posted the "Hobbit" Cast's reaction to "Happy Hobbit's" first video, the story attracted even more attention.

Find a comprehensive list at:

Mathom-house Wiki Article: Hobbitception -Reactions by Cast and Crew

Coverage by other media

The successively recursive videos were covered by a number of major sites, such as NBC Today Entertainment, Huffington Post Entertainment, EW.com PopWatch, Yahoo UK Movies, The Onion A.V. Club, New Zealand Herald, and New Zealand SKY TV Prime News. In September, a short excerpt of Video Two was played on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon during an interview with Orlando Bloom.

The "Happy Hobbit" duo was also interviewed by phone for a news segment on KCBA-TV/FOX 35 Central Coast News and by Skype for a video interview segment on the syndicated weekday television Right This Minute. There were also featured on the June 18, 2013 video segment for "TORn Tuesday."

Find a more comprehensive list at:

Mathom-house Wiki Article: Hobbitception - Coverage by Other Media

1 June 13, 2013 ~ Signal:Noise (Mary Beth Martini-Lyons): Hobbit Trailer Recursion


Hobbitception - The Videos
Hobbitception - Viral Nature
Hobbitception - Meta Aspect
Hobbitception - Reactions by Cast and Crew
Hobbitception - Coverage by Other Media


"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" trailer
"Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the trailer
"Hobbit" cast members' video reaction to "Happy Hobbit's reaction
"Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the cast's reaction
The "Inception" edition - all five videos synced into one video