Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Hobbit

Title: The Hobbit

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel Tolkien)

Publisher: Ballantine/Fantasy

Copyright Date: 1937, 1938, 1966

Print Date: May 1978

ISBN: 0345272579

Pages: 287

Series: "The Enchanting Prelude to 'The Lord of the Rings'"

Book Description (from back cover):
In this delightful and enthralling tale, J. R. R. Tolkien first created the imperishable world of fantasy called Middle-earth, and those charming, indomitable creatures, the hobbits, whose adventures are continued in "The Lord of the Rings."

I was supposed to read this for The Lord of the Rings Readalong. I didn't finish it until early April and have yet to start LOTR.

Anyway, about the book itself. It took me awhile to get past the first couple chapters, not because they weren't interesting, but because I was only reading this in those little moments of the day when I'm waiting in a car, etc. Once I did really sit down to read it I found it quite interesting.

I guess I should first say, while I haven't read LOTR, I have watched the movies. As I read this, I tried to compare it to what I remembered from those movies. For instance, I was trying to think of what the dwarf in LOTR's connection was to the dwarves in The Hobbit.

One thing that rather impressed me was just how real Gandalf was in this book. I guess I always saw him (without much thinking about it) as a more two-dimensional character. But, despite his flaws (or, rather, because of them), he was a much fuller character in this book.

Jenny (@ Jenny's Books) mentioned in the Readalong discussion that the elves seemed more campy. I think I'd say giddy more than campy, but I definitely understood what she was talking about. I remember them as being much more solemn in the LOTR movies.

The other big thing that kept playing in my mind was the ring. I knew from the movies that Bilbo finds the ring during his adventures. I was eagerly awaiting when it would come into his possession. I wasn't disappointed as far as how it worked out, but for the entire rest of the book, I was waiting for that ring to play a part of evil. Isn't that what was supposed to have happened to Gollum? And isn't that what I saw throughout the movies? But in addition to being useful, the ring seemed harmless. Maybe that's part of its charm.

Regarding other events of the story... I was glad when Bilbo finally came into his own. I felt a bit grumbly when I realized Gandalf and the dwarves had played the same stunt on Bilbo that they did on Beorn. (And speaking of Beorn... I know that name is familiar, but I can't remember how it fits into LOTR either.) I don't even know what else to say without this becoming spoiler central.

I want to read LOTR, but the motivation (even with the prospect of flubbing the challenge) may not be enough to happen anytime soon, so...

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