Hobbit Reread

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

I don't know how many times i've read The Hobbit. maybe a dozen times? a few years ago i read a big illustrated version when i went home to my parents for a week, just because it was there. i know i have listened to the audiobook at least twice too. B and i were discussing childhood books and we both followed the same pattern: read The Hobbit and loved it, tried LOTR and couldn't understand it, then came back to LOTR a couple years later and loved it. The Hobbit is so accessible, especially to youngsters. Bilbo is small, not physically strong, who wants comfort and peace. Kids can relate to being underestimated and scared in a big bad world and seeing another small, scared person overcome makes you think maybe you can too. I love the ending. Most stories would end with the Battle of Five Armies ending, Bilbo being a hero and getting lots of treasure. Not this one though. Bilbo goes home. He returns to his journey's beginning, older and wiser, with treasures bigger than the gold in his sacks. Of course this is a 7.

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations.

Comments

  1. Is it wrong that my first encounter with the Hobbit came not in its book form, but the animated version? I recall it aired on TV and I also had the book and record set of it. I really liked it and it's interesting to see how they compressed the story down to the animated version and then the book on record set. (It was a small 33 and it ran probably 14 minutes tops).

    I tried to read the book when I first saw the animated movie (I must have been six or seven) but didn't finish. Not sure why.

    I eventually came back to it, loved it and then tried LOTR. I have to admit I'm not a huge LOTR fan. They're OK and I can see their influence on the genre, but honestly they work better as movies for me than books.

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  2. So true! I definitely identified a lot with Bilbo when I first read The Hobbit (my dad read an illustrated version to me on the couch before bedtime when I was about eight). LotR also centers on the rejection of the heroic by the main protagonists, and change in general by pretty much everyone, though, which is why it has gotten criticized as being "safe," conservative fantasy. Michael Moorcock wrote a notorious essay about it called "Epic Pooh."

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