Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson 
 
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Poster
I am a Tolkien fan. I'm a complete Lord of the Rings nut! I read the complete Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy almost every year during the holidays -- Christmas through New Year's -- or sometimes during the New Year's weekend if I'm not on vacation. In recent years watching the Peter Jackson movie trilogy (the director's cut of course) has also become a tradition.


My favorite poster
The Dwarves
But people! THIS year, Peter Jackson's movie of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is releasing today, 12-14-12. Actually, although The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien is one book, in the movies the adventures of Bilbo Baggins will become a trilogy. I do understand that information included in the Appendices from the Lord of the Rings trilogy books that pertain to The Hobbit will be incorporated into the movie trilogy. I can't wait to see how Jackson and his crew consolidate the information.

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The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit
or
There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien
As far as the book The Hobbit or There and Back Again goes, I read it a long time ago in school and remember enjoying it, but frankly this is not a book that I re-read. While discussing this with my husband, who is also a Tolkien fan, we both wondered why neither of us really re-read The Hobbit. We both came to the conclusion that it is because we think of it as a children's or young adults' story. A bit light in content compared to Lord of the Rings. Regardless, I decided to re-read it last week before the movie release.

What I found while reading The Hobbit is a lighter and less detailed version of Tolkien's world than that found in Lord of the Rings. The story has its dark moments, don't get me wrong, but for me there is something missing from the overall adventure. I definitely appreciated this book more when I was a younger reader.

On the positive side, The Hobbit is a tighter story than The Lord of the Rings, after all it is one book with a beginning and an end. It serves as a magnificent introduction to Tolkien's world of hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, and great heroes. The war of good against evil is there, but so is the pull of men's greed, nature in all its glory and the darkness in men (or the representation of men) that taints nature, and of course there are Tolkien's heroes -- the small, insignificant characters who battle and conquer fear, insecurities and incredible odds to beat immense evil.

Bilbo Baggins makes a great Tolkien hero. He is reluctant of course, and thinks he is too small, insignificant and cowardly to play the role of burglar needed by the dwarves. Bilbo is a proud hobbit though, and part Took, not just Baggins. Tooks take to adventures, so he accepts the challenge and goes off with thirteen dwarves to reclaim treasure stolen by Smaug the Dragon and to restore the King of the Mountain. The dwarves are led by Thorin, the her to the mountain's kingdom and they are all led by Galdalf the Grey, wizard extraordinaire.

Gandalf the Grey and Bilbo are both central in this adventure. The thirteen dwarves are named and described in the book, but only a few of them are really well characterized. The rest are pretty much interchangeable and don't get many lines throughout the whole adventure. Tolkien says that "Dwarves are no heroes," and for much of the story they are not, and neither is Bilbo! The adventure is all about the journey as they all find their hearts and courage.

Some of the adventures are more exciting than others. One of the most detailed chapters in the book where the reader actually feels the danger is "Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark," where Bilbo finds "the Ring" and meets Gollum. The two engage in a series of creepy and wonderful riddles that provide the reader with a dark, eerie and a true life or death moment for Bilbo. The other adventure that really pops takes place in "Chapter VIII: Flies and Spiders." This is where Bilbo begins to find his courage, an ability to lead and gains the respect of the dwarves.Of course there are the scenes with Smaug the Dragon... but I won't go into those, you'll have to read the book.

Overall this is a great adventure and I still believe that it is geared toward young adults. However, I can't think of anyone who loves Tolkien's works who won't read The Hobbit as an introduction to the amazing, incredible world he created. Worldbuilding? Tolkien was the master! !

Going back to the movie(s) by Peter Jackson, I can't wait to see how he depicts Bilbo's adventures and all the great characters he meets on his way. For example: the Necromancer was a bit of a mystery in the book, but I understand that he makes an appearance in the movie, so I'll wait and see how that turns out. And, Smaug the Dragon? I can't wait to see that sly old beauty...

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This post is for my daughter who is a Tolkien fan-a-tic and whose birthday just happens to be today! 

Happy Birthday, Vanessa!!!

6 comments:

  1. I really hope you like the movie too1 I'm going to see it tomorrow! :D

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    1. Alex, did you get to see the movie? How did you like it? I was hoping to see it this last weekend and didn't get the chance!But am hoping to see it during the Holidays. :)

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  2. Happy Birthday Vanessa! xoxo

    The Hobbit just opened downtown--I want to go see it, too! I cheated and read the graphic novel earlier this year. It was written with original text, but still. I know I should read the novel, but at least it's better than not reading it at all. IMHO anyway. lol! :)

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    1. Christine, I will relay your wishes to Vanessa! Thank you. :D

      I'm going to have to see the movie during the Holidays (I will be on vacation), because I'm way to darn busy at the moment!! As far as reading The Hobbit? Well, at least you read the graphic novel... that's good! I'm surprised you didn't read it in school? I think everyone in my family was introduced to Tolkien through The Hobbit at school. *g*

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  3. Happy belated birthday to Nessa! Hope she had a grand time!!

    You know what, I actually read The Hobbit in high school for school... but I absolutely can't remember a thing. Not a thing. Okay, I read it in French which probably wasn't the greatest ^_^; But hey, I`m planning to go see the movie! Did you see the special they did on The Hobbit? It was interesting :)

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    1. Thanks Nath, I will tell Vanessa! She celebrated for over a week!!

      Yeah... The Hobbit is one of those "school" reads. I remember it because I'm a re-reader of Lord of the Rings and you know I keep notes (I'm a real geek) on some of the books I read? Well, I have notes on The Hobbit and LOTR!!! LOLOL!

      I hope you enjoy the movie. I haven't seen any of the specials. I don't want to spoil the movie experience. *g*

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