The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The 2019 Rookie Reader Review



Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 1, 6:09am


Views: 1355
The 2019 Rookie Reader Review

After watching all 6 movies probably 12 times I thought it would be fun to read the books. With this thread, I hope to present a different perspective since most folks here have done the opposite. I will never know the experience of reading the books while visualizing the characters.....then later seeing the big screen version. I'm sure there was good and bad to that, just like I expect to experience good and bad by doing it this way.
This will be a thread that will likely unfold over several months, possibly even all of 2019. I would love to hear your input and comments to my posts. I will try to keep mentions of the movies to a minimum since this is the Reading Room but it will be tough to avoid at times. I look forward to you posting your experiences with the books as a rookie reader. I realize that might be a lot to ask since it was literally decades ago for some of you.
I will likely have questions along the way on my big adventure. If you are the type who likes to help a rookie along his path I would greatly appreciated it. If not, feel free to ignore them. I do understand there is only so much time in the day.
So here I go...over 40 years after all my high school classmates were raving over this Tolkien guy, I'm getting ready to finally read the first word of the greatest fiction ever written. *deep breath before the epic plunge*

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 1, 6:42am


Views: 1163
Surprised already!

That sure didn't take long. I wasn't expecting to be surprised in paragraphs 3 and 4. Tolkien writes ".....you will see whether he gained anything in the end." AND "As I was saying, the mother of this hobbit...."
I wasn't expecting Tolkien to refer to himself and the reader in this manner. Now I'm wondering if he does it the entire book. (Go ahead and respond if you'd like. Throughout this thread I'm not concerned about spoilers).
Now, please don't ask me why this surprised me so much. I don't really know. It was just something I didn't expect. Already I've learned what a rookie I truly am.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 1, 9:26am


Views: 1141
Hobbit is very much a children’s book...

... in the tradition of children’s authors of the time (Wind In The Willows, say, or Just So Stories, or Five Children and It). You’ll find a lot of writing designed to appeal to children, as their needs were understood then. Jackson’s movies, by contrast, were made for a different audience.

Good luck with your project: I’ll be interested to read how it goes.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 1, 10:06am


Views: 1138
It certainly starts like one

What's unusual about it for a children's book is the final few chapters. In them you can really see the line of thought from which The Lord of the Rings would eventually take shape.

Essentially, if each chapter leading up to the end is an episodic vignette of an adventure, in the tradition of commercial adventure literature, the final few chapters kind of deconstruct that mould.

A formulaic children adventure story would end with the slaying of the dragon, but Tolkien takes it a step further by weaving what is in effect a political thriller centered around the wealth of Erebor and Bard's claim for remunerations.

That, and the outcome of the battle, aren't the sort of thing you'd normally put in a children's story.


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 1, 11:16am


Views: 1157
Wow.

You didn't know that? You really are a rookie. Wink


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 1, 9:37pm


Views: 1100
So excited for you!

Expect the unexpected for sure. Smile

My 2 cents would be to think of it as if these were historical events, being told by 2 completely different observers/participants. Say, an English soldier and an American soldier both writing their memoirs of the battle of the Bulge. Much of their source material would be essentially the same, but the point of view and the language used would be very different.

Tolkien's language is so beautiful and evocative (and in my opinion, utterly gripping, in the more "intense" sections), that 1) to me the language itself is a feast and 2) Tolkien's wording, to me, conveys the adventure with a richness and detail, along with insight into the inner life of many of the individuals, that simply couldn't be brought out in even 3 movies (and probably not if Jackson had made 5 or 6 or more for each story). This is more pertinent in LOTR, but it still stands in the Hobbit.

And the Hobbit is just a very different story in the book. The LOTR movies digressed a lot, but not so much in "tone" as did the Hobbit movies.



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jan 1, 9:40pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 2, 12:33am


Views: 1082
You will reach some familiar parts, and soon

I felt like the movie version of the dwarves' party at Bilbo's house was true in spirit to the book, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Maybe one warning of sorts is that "The Hobbit" book is very centered on Bilbo as the title suggests, and book-Thorin doesn't get as much attention as movie-Thorin does. So you might be surprised that Tolkien just won't shut up about Bilbo, but hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise. Please keep us posted!


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 2, 1:47am


Views: 1078
Dragon

"and out of it comes the dragon too---far too often, unless he has changed his habits." This sure has me wondering how often Smaug took flight.
I was surprised to see "the Necromancer" mentioned so soon. The word "the" is used and not "a". I'm struggling to remember how many there are. When Radagast got the sword didn't he say "a"?
I just finished the first chapter "An Unexpected Party". This is every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Thanks for the last two posts.....sould I single out a quote from them to comment on or start using threaded instead of flat? It seems like most folks use threaded. (I'm so bad with technology)

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 2, 2:00am


Views: 1078
You don't need to use threaded unless you want to.

 Just hit the "reply to this post" on the particular post you want to respond to and write your reply to that one. That way it will show correctly for those who use threaded and flat. If you want to start a new sub-discussion under the same header or just make a general reply to all, reply to your root post.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 2, 2:20am


Views: 1069
How exciting!

Thank you for sharing your experience. So many of us have read the books so many times, it's refreshing to hear from folks like you, who are experiencing them for the first time.
It is true that Tolkien inserts the narrator's voice often in The Hobbit. I read The Hobbit first, then LOTR, more than 40 (gulp!) years ago, so The Hobbit is especially dear to me.
There will be some foreshadowing, but I didn't catch it until I had read LOTR, then gone back to The Hobbit.
One logistical note - don't feel the need to keep all your posts in this one thread. If you find your post has fallen off the page, feel free to start a new one, and reply to it until it falls off the page. On this board, new posts don't cause a thread to "bump".
Happy reading!


squire
Half-elven


Jan 2, 4:31am


Views: 1064
It's more like back-shadowing than fore-shadowing

Especially now that the film versions have embedded themselves in the collective mind, it's important for readers at least, including new readers like Cygnus, to remember that The Hobbit was written with no thought of The Lord of the Rings at all.

The only part of the first book that actually displays 'foreshadowing' is the one chapter Tolkien liberally re-wrote after he finishing LotR: the 'Riddles' chapter with Gollum and the Ring. For instruction in how the gag worked, seek out the text of the original chapter, in which Gollum having lost the game quite amenably agrees to show Bilbo the way out, and then pads back down to his pool! The thing to remember is that was the original Gollum - Gollum as he was meant to be in The Hobbit. The Ring, thus, has no evil implications at all and no connection whatever with the Necromancer - it's just a great device that acts as an equalizer for a timid and small Hobbit.

For all the rest of the book, it's substantially the same as when it was written. However, throughout the early chapters of Lord of the Rings, and in the Appendices, are liberal examples of explanations, expansions, and correlations that give The Hobbit, strictly from the point of view of the LotR reader, a feeling of being a prequel.



squire online:
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 2, 5:22am


Views: 1059
The Dragon and the Necromancer


In Reply To
"and out of it comes the dragon too---far too often, unless he has changed his habits." This sure has me wondering how often Smaug took flight.
I was surprised to see "the Necromancer" mentioned so soon. The word "the" is used and not "a". I'm struggling to remember how many there are. When Radagast got the sword didn't he say "a"?


In the book it seems to be implied that Old Smaug napped for years, maybe decades at a time; then he would leave his lair to feed and return to the Mountain.

Remember that in the book the Necromancer has been long established in southern Mirkwood; he his not recent addition. Only Gandalf and a few others seem to know the truth about his identity (and that isn't made clear until we reach The Lord of the Rings). In Jackson's movies Sauron has only dwelt in Dol Guldur for a relatively short time, though just how long we do not find out.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 2, 6:00am


Views: 1050
Have fun!

Here's something we perhaps can return to when you get to the relevant point in the book. I've just been reading "King Alfred's Last War" by M. E. Griffiths, one of the essays (pp. 41-50) in the 1962 collection, English and Medieval Studies Presented to J. R. R. Tolkien on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, edited by Norman Davis and C. L. Wrenn. Griffiths was a former student of Tolkien's who in the mid-1930s lent the manuscript of The Hobbit to Susan Dagnall, who worked at the publisher Allen & Unwin. Griffith's 1962 essay argues that Alfred gets short shrift from historians for his defense against Viking attacks in the 890s. Griffiths quotes regularly not only from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle but from the 1947 edition of Frank Stenton's Anglo-Saxon England, whose first edition of 1943 Tolkien mentions reading in a 1945 letter to his son Christopher. This passage (p. 48) from Griffiths's article caught my attention:


Quote
In the annal for 896 the last Danish expedition of this war is related. They had rowed up the Thames and now they built a fortress on the Lea about twenty miles above London. An attack made in the summer by the citizens of London and other people was repulsed, but by this time Alfred was no longer engaged in the west and in the autumn he encamped in the neighborhood of the town so that the Danes could not stop the gathering in of the harvest. Not content with a merely defensive action, he took the initiative, rode up along the river, and saw where it could be blocked against the enemy ships. When the Danes realized their predicament, they abandoned the ships and 'in one of the astonishing marches of which they were capable in an emergency' they struck across country to Bridgnorth. The dash of this action availed them not at all, for in the following summer they dispersed, some to East Anglia, some to Northumbria, and those who had no property departed south over the sea to the Seine.


The quoted line is from Stenton's book, which, as noted, was first published six years after The Hobbit saw print and more than a decade after most of Tolkien's story was written (although the part of The Hobbit which that line suggests to me wasn't written until after Dagnall had read the manuscript). Still, I wonder: was Stenton's description of Viking marching abilities (Google Maps suggests they would have covered about 110 miles) a commonplace among Old English historians and thus something Tolkien might have had in mind?


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Half-elven


Jan 2, 6:05am


Views: 1046
The Necromancer's 'true identity'?

I don't think in The Hobbit there is anything suggesting the Necromancer has a 'truer' identity than his own. He is a deeply evil being, in his own right, and good riddance when the White Council evicts him from Mirkwood.

The idea that he is Sauron from the Silmarillion is only made clear in The Lord of the Rings, even if (as I understand it) Rateliff has shown that Tolkien did have Sauron in mind when writing the vaguely delineated character for his children's story. He was wise enough not to say more than he did, given that his readership would have had no idea what he was talking about!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 2, 6:20am


Views: 1042
Don't read too much into my post.

What I meant is that Gandalf, Elrond and the "great council of the white wizards" (to jump ahead of the narrative a bit) seemed to know much more about the Necromancer than anyone else did. In Tolkien's greater legendarium, though, we learn the details and how Gandalf and the Wise came by their knowledge.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 2, 8:32am


Views: 1033
Separate posts for separate chapters would also be an option

So, for example, you would have a series of posts called:

Rookie Readthrough: [chapter name]
(Inserting the right chapter name each time)

That helps make it easy to navigate if you get a lot of replies. If you go back a few pages in this board’s list of posts, you’ll see how that worked out for the last read-through we did.

But this is just an option- unless you get to the point where admins ask you to start a new post, then please do as you like!

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 2, 9:25am


Views: 1033
“How to enjoy The Hobbit”

Our last read-through of the book as a group included good discussions about the book’s status within Tolkien’s work. I’ll try to summarise...

One way of enjoying The Hobbit is to imagine that it takes place in Middle-earth at its fullest development by Tolkien*. So for example, places such as Lorien, Gondor and Mordor exist in LOTR, and so must logically exist in TH, it’s just that they aren’t relevant to this story, and so aren’t mentioned. Similarly, one can imagine that characters such as Gandalf, Elrond or the Ring are what they will be revealed to be in the later work, and it’s just that readers of The Hobbit are not told everything yet.
It mostly works: a reader sometimes has to find explanations for the odd contradiction or change. And the more playful, sometimes quite silly tone of the early parts of TH doesn’t fit too well with the more solemn LOTR.
This is, of course, pretty much what Peter Jackson and his team did - treating The Hobbit as an LOTR prequel in which they could include material derived from other Tolkien works, as well as new ideas of their own.

An alternative is to try and read Hobbit as its early readers did, as a stand-alone work, not supported by the as-yet-unstarted LOTR. A further development of that approach is to think about what Tolkien might have been thinking, given the state of his worldbuilding at that time. So, for example, nobody- not Gandalf nor even Tolkien himself knows that Bilbo has found the One Ring, because the idea of the Rings Of Power hasn’t yet been invented.

I don’t myself see a right or wrong choice here- as usual there is no one rule to ring us all. Personally, I like to try one approach sometimes, and sometimes prefer the other.


* At a certain level of detail there’s a further problem of what the “fullest development” might be. Tolkien’s unpublished papers have been much studied, showing several changes of mind, and so there is room for disagreement about what his “final word” was, if he’d reached one at all.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 2, 9:40am


Views: 1033
Yes.

I was only talking about replying and discussing various sub-topics that arise within a thread. Separate posts for separate chapters or sections of the book are fine if desired. Smile

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




(This post was edited by Silverlode on Jan 2, 9:40am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 2, 10:43am


Views: 1028
It’s our convention on this board to keep things positive and to welcome ‘rookies’’

Our slogan is “all you need is a book and an opinion.”

While the board does attract contributors who could write textbooks about Tolkien’s works (and at least one who has done so) “rookies” are welcome, and it’s considered rude to gloat about what someone else doesn’t happen to know. It’s a refreshing change from some discussion boards and their aggressive, competitive tone, and an atmosphere I for one would be sorry to see eroded.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 2, 6:54pm


Views: 1014
You weren't born with that knowledge in your DNA?

Me neither!Wink

Looking forward to more of your posts!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”

(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jan 2, 7:05pm)


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 2, 11:03pm


Views: 967
Or as part of the Silmarillion


In Reply To
An alternative is to try and read Hobbit as its early readers did, as a stand-alone work, not supported by the as-yet-unstarted LOTR.


Reading The Hobbit it always seemed quite clear to me that Tolkien put into the yet-to-fully-form Silmarillion: The Woodland Realm IS Doriath and the Elvenking IS Thingol. The Arkenstone is Nimphelos and, Mirkwood is Taur-nu-Fuin.

Even Erebor can be seen as based on Amon Ereb, and Beorn is kind of a variation on Huan.

In that sense, the mysterious Necromancer in Dol Guldur was always going to be Sauron, being that both The Necromancer from The Hobbit and Sauron from The Lord of the Rings Are Thu, and Dol Guldur is a hybrid of The Wizard’s Isle and Thu’s undisclosed abode in Taur-nu-Fuin.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 12:24am


Views: 959
Speaking of dragons.

R.I.P. Captain.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 3, 1:30am


Views: 956
You misunderstoood.

I was just making a joke, I never meant to insult this person in any way, shape or form.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 3, 2:32pm


Views: 880
That's an interesting idea: one-way borrowings, do you think?


In Reply To
Reading The Hobbit it always seemed quite clear to me that Tolkien put into the yet-to-fully-form Silmarillion: The Woodland Realm IS Doriath and the Elvenking IS Thingol. The Arkenstone is Nimphelos and, Mirkwood is Taur-nu-Fuin.

Even Erebor can be seen as based on Amon Ereb, and Beorn is kind of a variation on Huan.

In that sense, the mysterious Necromancer in Dol Guldur was always going to be Sauron, being that both The Necromancer from The Hobbit and Sauron from The Lord of the Rings Are Thu, and Dol Guldur is a hybrid of The Wizard’s Isle and Thu’s undisclosed abode in Taur-nu-Fuin.


That does sound interesting, but I don't know the Sil. very well, so I'll wait for others to tease it out further if they will.

One thing I'd be interested in is the extent to which folks feel the Sil material was adapted - conciously or unconciously- to make new but recognisable versions of things, suitable for their new context in a childrens' book. It's something I think is called a 'one way borrowing' and my (doubtless limited) understanding of this is something I mentioned earlier, when I described the Arkenstone as being a 'Schrödinger's silmaril' (Nimphelos hadn't occurred to me):


Quote
I think the Arkenstone is Schrödinger's silmaril - of course it's not a silmaril (certainly it can't be and be consistent with the rest of Tolkien's legendarium as finally published). But I think that simultaneously it kinda is a silamril. More specifically, I think Tolkien made what I've seen called 'a one-way borrowing'. I think this means that the silmarils he was writing about elsewhere were much in his mind (quite appropriate really) and influenced the writing of how the Arkenstone looks and how Thorin behaves about it. And yet (I think) maybe this idea of it being a silmaril doesn't quite 'break the surface', such that Tolkien doesn't deploy it in all its consequences. It is and it isn't a silmaril - until you make up your own mind. But personally, I think I'll keep that box shut and leave it both a silmaril and not.

me in response to Darkstone...http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=948731#948731


Clearly, just as the Arkenstone can't literally be one of the silmarils and be consistent with the rest of the legendarrium, I suppose that the Elevnking cannot literally be Thingol, who is killed during the 1st age as the legendarium finally stands. in the published Sil. Or, wait a minute - - was Thingol as yet unslain by dwarves as the Sil stood in the 1930s when Tolkien turned to The Hobbit, such that he might plausibly turn up as an (un-named) 3rd age elvenking?

And - are we in danger of hijacking Cygnus' thread? This sounds like a fruitful area of discussion we missed in the recent Hobbit read-through. But it might be pretty incomprehensible to someone who has read neither Hobbit nor Sil as yet (which I infer is Cygnus' current situation) So maybe it ought to have a thread of it's own, before it zooms off on a tangent?? Let me know - someone (I don't mind if it's me) can summarise the argument so far in a new OP from which to continue, if that is what folks want to do

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 3, 2:46pm


Views: 873
I think its more than borrowing

I'm certain the Elvenking is supposed to be Thingol, as is the case with the rest of the recurring narrative elements.

Its not as appearant in reading the Silmarillion, but in earlier versions of the legendarium where Thingol is called "Elvenking", and goes on celebrating with his people (commemorating the hunt of the Wolf) much like the Woodland Elves do in The Hobbit, its readily appearant.

They're obviously not 1:1, but than the legendarium was still very much in flux in the professor's mind, and he obviously he had to adjust it for the sensibilities of a children's story. So darker elements like Turin Turambar or the sack of Doriath, were obviously going to be left out.

And yes, the Arkenstone is very much based on Nimphelos and not so much on the Silmarils.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 3, 2:56pm)


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 3, 10:53pm


Views: 725
No problem

I wasn't even the least bit insulted. I was the one who called myself a rookie so I certainly wouldn't be upset if someone else called me that. I thought it was funny! Besides, I like being teased as much as I like teasing others, as long as it's in good fun...which is how I interpreted the rookie joke!

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 3, 11:22pm


Views: 724
a lot to soak in

I haven't had time to go though all these responses and likely won't tonight either because of astronomy (assuming it stays clear). I will Friday though. I did get to read chapters 2 and 3 today, "Roast Mutton" and "A Short Rest". I have also started a list of characters, writing down each name and the page number where the character is first mentioned so I can refer back if needed. There were a lot of surprises and deviations from the movies in these two chapters but nothing that shocked me too much. Of course, the small differences from the movies are too numerous to mention.
I am surprised that I don't find myself liking the book as much as the movie (so far at least). Everybody always loves the book more than the movie (not just with Tolkien stuff) but I wonder if part of that is because they usually read the book first so it has the advantage of being their first love. I suspect I'm not as impressed so far because the movie had so much more in it. Of course, I understand that Peter Jackson took one book and stretched it out to three movies so he had the capacity to add much more. (This makes me wonder how I'll feel when I read the 1 to 1 ratio with LOTR). Even though I'm catching myself saying I like the movie more so far..... I am also certain that if I had read the book first I wouldn't like the movie as much. I know Tolkein fans didn't like a lot of things PJ added and finally reading the book is helping me understand why but for now at least, I'm still affectionate toward that first love. We'll see if I feel the same in a few weeks. I may never know the feeling of disliking the added movies characters because until now I never knew what things were like without them.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 11:46pm


Views: 716
Happy stargazing!

It's less evident in The Hobbit than in The Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien had an interest in astronomy.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 4, 12:55am


Views: 723
Not just having read it first...

In many cases, having read it in childhood. It was, after all, written as a children's book. Things that one loves in childhood tend to have a little extra shine on them, and people do not like their nostalgia being messed with!

I nearly always prefer the book to the movie, and this is very much true for LOTR, though I loved the movies as well (with various caveats and addendums, of course). But this is a somewhat odd case, because while I love The Lord of the Rings book very deeply, I am merely fond of The Hobbit. The narration style and simpler approach don't appeal to me as they do to some. Those who love the Hobbit book very deeply had equally strong reactions to the movies. I had no particular expectation of liking the Hobbit movies more than I liked the book...and I don't know that I do. They're a mixed bag for me. Some things I liked very much indeed, some I disliked very much, but overall it fails (both book and movie) to touch the chords in me that LOTR does.
A portion of the frustration aimed at the Hobbit films comes from the fact that they were made after the LOTR films, and made to match their tone and be a "prequel" in ways that the book was not. In the literary world, The Hobbit was its own thing, and LOTR began as a sequel and then "grew in the telling" to become...well, you'll judge that for yourself when you come to it. The tone and style of The Hobbit is significantly different from that of LOTR, and I will be very interested to see how that strikes you when you reach it.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 4, 1:10am


Views: 717
I have similar experiences

I have no attachment whatsoever to the written Hobbit, having only read it in full as an adult– I came to Tolkien as a kid for Lord of the Rings first and foremost (the films were out at the time), and could never get past the Hobbit's narrator intruding on the action as a kid. As an adult, I find the book more structurally intriguing than cloying / annoying / dull (as I did as a child).

I'll be very interested to see how the rookie reader reacts to the change in tone from the Hobbit to LOTR.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 4, 2:08am


Views: 702
I read The Hobbit first

and it will always be dear to me. I can't say I love it more or less than LOTR, but I love them equally, for different reasons.
I have never warmed up to Frodo, and I think that stems from reading The Hobbit first, and loving Bilbo first. I nearly stopped reading Fellowship when I realized that Bilbo wasn't the main character. Thank goodness I persisted! But while I admire Frodo, my heart belongs to Bilbo Smile.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 4, 4:11am


Views: 695
Yes.

I did read The Hobbit first (as a teenager) and then went straight into The Lord of the Rings. And I also found it hard to warm up to Frodo after bilbo's departure. As a character, Bilbo is warmer and more accessible, and it's easier to be fond of him (not least because he doesn't spend half the story laboring under a tremendous personal burden). Personality-wise, I still prefer him to Frodo. But at the same time, the structure and breadth and depth of LOTR was far more to my tastes, as I was past the age where The Hobbit's approach would have most appealed. So I have fondness for TH where I have love for LOTR but I do agree with you about the protagonists. There are also some scenes in TH that rank equally in my mind with LOTR, especially Riddles in the Dark and Inside Information - which are also the highlights of the film adaptations for me.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Lissuin
Valinor


Jan 4, 4:13am


Views: 690
I think the book Hobbit is best when read aloud by a good reader.

Hi Cygnus. Your project is a great one for wintertime.

I read Tolkien's stories before the films, The Hobbit after LOTR. After the more adult story of the Fellowship and the ring, the children's bedtime story about Bilbo and the Dwarves - even with a wizard and a dragon and Elves - was a bit hard to stay with. It might be similar to the experience of seeing the film version first with all it's bells and whistles.

Before An Unexpected Journey came out, I was able to listen to a CD unabridged recording of The Hobbit read by actor Rob Inglis. It was just like being read to as a child, as Tolkien created it for his children, and even at age 62 I loved it. Inglis' ability to present all the characters with different voices brought them alive. I found myself laughing out loud quite often and my throat tightening in the final chapters. I usually listened to it in the car, which wasn't always such a great idea, I suppose. Laugh

Here's Chapter 1, posted on the Harper Collins website. The complete unabridged version is carried by some libraries or can be purchased on Amazon. Just another option for your research. Smile Enjoy!
https://soundcloud.com/...e-hobbit-chapter-one


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 4, 11:17am


Views: 660
Bilbo and Frodo (and Sam)

I read The Hobbit as a child, and turned to LOTR as I was heading into adolescence. At the time, LOTR seemed a step up into more sophisticated material.

I’m a way, Bilbo is an ideal protagonist for a children’s book. If he’s at a loss it is done for comedy. In darker moments- such as when he reflects at the Battle of Five Armies that they all look likely to die - we are close enough to the action to see Bilbo’s resolve, but not close enough for the full horror. More often of course Bilbo, though the youngest and smallest, is the one who has the plan or the answers.

In many ways Sam takes Bilbo’s place as the overlooked hero. Frodo struck me as a different kind of hero, maybe more suited to adolescent thoughts (mins anyway). He’s not an aspirational figure (such as Aragorn, Arwen, or Eowyn or others according to taste). Rather, he finds himself in a world that is far too big, too dangerous, and hard to understand - and he does his best to do the right thing as events rush onwards around him. Frodo spends much more time at a loss for what to do, and it isn’t written as funny.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 2:22pm


Views: 638
What did you think of the book trolls vs the movie trolls scene?

As in, did you like them both? Was one funnier than the other? Did you wish there was a talking purse in the movie? Did the movie trolls' size seem the same as the book indicated? (For me, as a book-firster, I pictured the trolls as smaller than they appeared in the movies, but I didn't think the movies were "wrong," I was just surprised.)

And overall, is Morgan Freeman how you picture Bilbo as you read along, or do you picture someone else? (I think of book Bilbo as fatter than movie-Bilbo, for example.)

As my name indicates, I'm just Curious.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 4, 2:48pm


Views: 634
Agreed (hobbit weight)

I would have been satisfied should the hobbits all have been about Sam's size, with Sean Astin gaining even more weight for his role.


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 4, 8:58pm


Views: 606
CuriousG

I did like them both. I also like the fact that the scene was different because (even though I have a good idea of what to expect overall) I never know what small and mid-sized differences to expect. I would just say that I'm not finding the book as intense as the movie. Part of that is expectation. Until 4 days ago I had no idea that The Hobbit was intended as a children's book....older children I assume. I also never knew that he didn't have LOTR in mind but that didn't come as a surprise. Back to your questions... I thought the funny level was equal. I agree that if I would have read the book I would have been surprised the movie trolls were that big. It's been impossible for me to not imagine what the movie characters looked like when I read the book. I have tried but can't get the visual out of my head. I don't think I will be able to. In fact, I've nearly given up on trying. As far as the purse goes I didn't catch myself saying I wish it was in the movie.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 4, 9:27pm


Views: 601
Two more chapters

I just finished "Over Hill and Under Hill" and "Riddles in the Dark". I'm suspecting this statement will be a pattern the rest of the book so I think I will try to stop repeating it after this post. Being repetitive can be boring. I love the book but the movie was more intense. I'm starting to wish I would have read the book first. If I would have, I would have loved the intensity. Since the movie intensified the intensity (can I word it like that?) I would have felt the intensity twice. In that sense I feel just slightly let down....almost as if you folks got twice as much intensity as I'm getting. Or maybe it's just because any story isn't as intense the second time you experience it. After all, I know none of the main characters will die as I read a particular scene and chapter. I didn't know that the first time I saw the movie. I'm not complaining. I'm loving the experience just as much but it is a different kind of experience. It's more of an educational experience since I am equally as interested in learning (what the books are like) as I am being entertained. Although the entertainment level is high....."Several hundred wild cats and wolves being roasted slowly alive together would not have compared with it" writes Tolkien when describing the sounds of Gandalf striking down the goblins. Now that's intense writing I would have missed if I would have only seen the movies!

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 4, 10:05pm


Views: 597
Keep on wording!


Quote
I'm starting to wish I would have read the book first. If I would have, I would have loved the intensity. Since the movie intensified the intensity (can I word it like that?)...

I don't see why not.

Here's something that may interest you. You're probably reading the second edition of The Hobbit, which the film's version of "Riddles in the Dark" tracks reasonably closely. But in the first edition of the book, published before Tolkien had any notion of writing The Lord of the Rings, the stakes in the riddle game are different. As originally written, if Bilbo wins the contest, instead of showing him the way out, Gollum will give him a present: the ring!


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 4, 10:47pm


Views: 589
I've had exactly the same experience, and

reactions.(Does that mean we're right?EvilWink)



noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 5, 2:06pm


Views: 564
Well it's your opinion that counts most here, Cygnus...

...and I am glad that you are undaunted.

To explain my intervention, if that is helpful or interesting: As many here know I've spent a considerable time organising read-throughs for the Reading Room. A recurring and significant barrier to people volunteering is that they are worried about the reception they will get. I can tell you that significant nervousness about it is a real thing - 'but I don't know enough' is right up there with 'I haven't got time'. Therefore, I'm well aware that posting anyting substantial takes a lot of courage from many contributors - often those who feel least able to defend themselves if they get any form of rough handling in response. And without to people willing to do go ahead and post something despite any nerousness they might have, there would be nothing for the jokers to joke about.

So I feel quite comfortable reminding people of the need to be positive and welcoming here. I think that point stands, and applies to jokes too - perhaps especially to jokes with the problems they can have translating between the various cultures, demographics, and mother-tongues we have on this board. It and still remains valid whether or not I've misunderstood the jokiness of a comment.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 5, 2:16pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 6, 10:18pm


Views: 504
As a character says, later on in your reading:

"That's an eye-opener, and no mistake!" Laugh

Fascinating, isn't it, now that you've gotten part-way into it! The Hobbit was written when Tolkien was reading stories to his own children. Ten-year-old Rayner Unwin, son of publisher Stanley Unwin, was tasked with reading and reviewing it, and concluded that it "should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9".

And as others have said, feel free to start new threads about your reading, for different chapters or different sections of the books. Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 7, 3:59am


Views: 473
Im so sorry


In Reply To
"

And as others have said, feel free to start new threads about your reading, for different chapters or different sections of the books. Smile

I really feel bad but I'm getting the feeling that I'm not doing this right. I'm just so dense at this because of my lack of experience and my low-tech lifestyle (I'm not joking when I say I've never owned a cell phone). So, every time I enter something it's called a post, right? I thought that "2019 Rookie Reader Review" was called a thread.....Or is it called a "Subject"? Can there be unlimited threads in a subject and unlimited posts in a thread? Maybe the problem is that I'm viewing things in flat. I tried threaded but didn't like it. I'm starting to think that if I don't start using threaded it will make it too difficult for others. Are there very few members who use flat? I'm sure this is not the fault of the system being to complicated, it's the fault of me being too simple.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 7, 5:48am


Views: 473
Don't panic! You're doing fine.

People are just offering you options, not having a problem with what you are doing.

A "post" is a single message. A "thread" is a whole conversation made up of posts. When people talk about "subjects" they usually mean the subject line that you enter in the box above the main text of the post, though sometimes they mean "topic of conversation". Sometimes people talk about subthreads, meaning a back and forth about a particular topic or idea within the general conversation of the thread.

You started this thread with your "Rookie Reader Review" post. The rest of the conversation that came from it is part of the thread. We call it that no matter which mode we are reading in. And while we don't have stats on who uses which mode, I think Flat readers are in the majority these days. You are doing just fine using it.

Often RR conversations have been run in a very structured fashion, with a new thread (using the "post new" button at the top of the forum) for each chapter. But those are usually much more detailed and dedicated to in-depth discussion. A read-through where you are just giving your thoughts as you go certainly does not need to be done that way. The person who starts the discussion can do it however they want.

There is no problem at all with keeping your comments about the Hobbit all in one thread. You may want to start a new thread for LOTR, however, or one for each of the three books in it, just to keep the threads from getting too long. We have found threads that go over 250 replies slow down the boards, so we start new ones before discussions get that long. Other than that, keep on keeping on. We are all enjoying this. Smile

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 7, 3:50pm


Views: 404
You're doing great!

I envy you the opportunity to experience Tolkien's work for the first time, from a different perspective than most of here. And I envy you your devise-free lifestyle!

Just keep doing what you are doing. I am greatly looking forward to seeing your reaction as you move through LOTR and the intensity ramps up. I'll be interested to see whether your impression about the intensity being more intense in the films changes by the end. I think it might!

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 7, 5:33pm


Views: 375
Into the fire

After reading "Out of the frying pan, into the fire" I can say that the scene with the Wargs trapping the dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf in the trees was as intense as the movie scene to me. The lack of a White Orc was no surprise since this is one of the few things I expected because I remembered a conversation with a friend a couple years ago who told me he wasn't in the book.
Tolkien's narration continues to amuse me. Even though I'm now expecting things of this manner, I was still surprised at his reference to Christmas trees.
One thing that really surprised me was the Lord of the Eagles. I hope to learn more about him in the future. I had often wondered why Gandalf didn't use the eagles more often but the "great bows of yew" comment explained that. It would have been nice to know that a long time ago.....Peter Jackson's fault, not Tolkien's.
I have made an adjustment that has helped me a lot and I owe it to you folks. As I have mentioned I didn't know that it was written for a younger audience so I approached the very first page expecting more intensity. Now that I know that is not the case I approach it with a different attitude and now I'm enjoying it more. It's a good lesson in life: adjust your expectations to be happy.
On a side note, I enjoyed this quote at the end about Bilbo "He slept curled up on the hard rock more soundly than he had ever done on his feather bed in his own little hole at home." I think the reason I liked that so much is because when I have trouble sleeping I imagine myself in one of the scenes of Tolkien's adventures, a scene like this but sometimes with different characters (often from LOTR) and different places. In my imagination there is always a fire and (despite the glow of the flame) the stars are always bright. Occasionally though it will be inside, as long as there's a fire. And (like in this scene) there is no immediate danger of being attacked.....puts me to sleep every time.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 7, 5:40pm


Views: 371
slow tech learner


In Reply To
. We have found threads that go over 250 replies slow down the boards, so we start new ones before discussions get that long. Smile

Thanks for telling me. I'll keep an eye on it. It will take me longer than most folks to learn my way around but I'll get there eventually.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 7, 5:56pm


Views: 366
Likewise

I also love the end of that chapter, and rather hoped it'd be incorporated somehow into the end of the first film.


hanne
Lorien

Jan 7, 10:49pm


Views: 344
An Eagle memory

I'm so glad you're having fun discovering the books! I agree that the tree scene is pretty intense, with Dori nearly being eaten, then the situation escalating and escalating.

You asked if we had any "first-time" memories of our own - one of mine is from this bit. The painting of the Eagle was the first illustration in my copy to show Bilbo, and I remember having to readjust my mental picture of him all over. For some reason, I'd got the idea in the first chapter that a hobbit was a small, fat, green and yellow dragon. Now if I'd been a movie firster that wouldn't have happened :) I still sometime picture Bilbo as a a potbellied dragon in the first chapter and turn him into an actual hobbit as I go on.


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 7, 11:17pm


Views: 343
Chapter VI and VII

Queer Lodgings certainly had it's share of surprises but for some reason nothing struck me as shockingly or dramatically different. "Dramatically" being a relative term. I had a feeling when I entered into "Flies and Spiders" that would change and I wasn't disappointed. This chapter was very intense. I was pretty lost in Mirkwood. It seemed like a much different place than the movie version. The river crossing was especially tense since the results of contacting the water were so uncertain. Everything seemed new, exciting, scary and full of surprises. Even when I thought I knew what was going to happen it didn't. Could this be happening? Did Bilbo really not see anything significant when perched above the treetops? But then came the mother of all shockers to me. In fact, I'll be shocked if anything shocks me more than this. (I'm certain you know where I'm heading). Bilbo reveals that he has a magic ring. I'm now rethinking EVERYTHING I thought I knew.
Little side note: I'm just not comfortable with the narration and "That belongs to the next chapter" made it worse. That took the narration to the next level. I don't want to be reminded that I'm reading a book. I want to forget that it's fantasy and imagine it's real. I wouldn't want an actor in a movie to remind me that it was just a movie. I feel bad complaining since Tolkien is a million times smarter than me and a billion times more creative. I feel like a person who can't draw with a crayon criticizing the Mona Lisa.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf

(This post was edited by Cygnus on Jan 7, 11:19pm)


Starling
Half-elven


Jan 7, 11:25pm


Views: 571
That's funny

When I was little I thought a hobbit was some sort of insect, sort of like a fancy mosquito. This was because my sister had this version:

To this day I still can't see this drawing as a dragon. Instead, it is a weird insect with a black head (facing forward) and red decorative antennae. Crazy




squire
Half-elven


Jan 7, 11:55pm


Views: 569
"That belongs to the next chapter"

Imagine reading that line out loud to a young child, curled up in bed, raptly following the story. It worked for me when I was that child, and it worked for me when I read it to my own children. A chapter a night, and each chapter ends with some kind of resolution, very often with Mr. Baggins drifting off to sleep. It's really an almost perfect story of its kind, once one adjusts to that point of view.

I am really enjoying your voyage of discovery, from a starting point I can barely imagine! I think and hope you're enjoying it too.

The Lord of the Rings, by the way, does not have an overt narrator nor a children's book's tone (with just a few exceptions, well worth talking about when you get there). In the mean time, have fun with "There And Back Again"!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 8, 12:42am


Views: 559
One way borrowing

As you are no doubt aware, the term “one way borrowing” comes from John Rateliff, who has done by far the most extensive analysis of the relationship between the writing of The Hobbit and the Silmarillion tradition as it existed at that time. In his discussion about the Elvenking, he writes:

"Given the fluid nature of the unpublished myths, where Tolkien was willing to play around with concepts and occasionally contemplate major changes in the legends, we should ask the obvious question: is the elvenking Bilbo meets Thingol himself or an entirely new character closely modelled upon him – an analogue, as it were? The answer seems to be both: just as the status of The Hobbit itself hovered in Tolkien’s mind between being part of the legendarium and standing apart from it, so too within the book the identification of the elvenking straddles both options and cannot conclusively be resolved either way. Even after Tolkien eventually, towards the end of the work on The Lord of the Rings, committed to the decision that the wood-elf king was a separate character, he never fully reworked the original story to completely support that decision.”

In the course of his analysis, John notes that the Elvenking in The Hobbit is far more consistent in character with the original figure of Tinwelint (Thingol’s predecessor in the earlier versions of the legendarium), than the more ennobled Thingol himself. He concludes, “In the end it seems clear that when he wrote The Hobbit Tolkien drew on the old story (which was, after all, unpublished and likely to remain so), changing it as he did so, to make the material more suited to his new purpose. But he left his options open as to whether the Elvenking was a new character or an old familiar character appearing in a new story, slightly altered to fit his new surroundings. In time he decided that the Elvenking was indeed a new character and gave him a new name and history of his own, but this decision postdated the publication of The Hobbit, probably by more than a decade, and he never went back and re-wrote the key passage in The Hobbit to distinguish what was now the analogue from the original. Thus to this day we are left with two contradictory accounts of which elvenking was responsible for provoking the elf-dwarf war, the one in the Silmarillion tradition, and the other within The Hobbit.”

Then, in addressing the thorny question of whether the Arkenstone could have actually been one of the Silmarils, John reminds us that while decades after the posthumous publication of The Silmarilion “it seems inevitable that the three jewels would be lost beyond recovery” at the time that he was writing The Hobbit, “Tolkien had in fact at that point changed his mind four times in the previous fifteen years about the holy jewels’ fate, all in a series of unpublished works that remained in flux and were each to be replaced by a new version of the story; the one constant had been that the story ended with all three of the jewels remote and inaccessible. Just as the sword of Turgon King of Gondolin had somehow survived the fall of his city and found its way through the ages into that troll-lair and hence Bladorthin/Gandalf’s hands, it is thus more than possible that Tolkien was playing in The Hobbit with the idea of having one of F¸anor’s wondrous Jewels re-appear, no doubt the one that had been thrown into a fiery chasm and lost deep within the earth – which is, after all, exactly where the dwarves find the Arkenstone, buried at the roots of an extinct volcano. As with his borrowing regarding Tinwelint’s quarrel with the dwarves in “The Nauglafring" for the chapter about the wood-elves and their king’s old quarrel with the dwarves, Tolkien drew on his legendarium without committing himself: it was a one way borrowing in which elements from the 1930 Quenta and Early Annals found their way into The Hobbit but that ‘unofficial’ usage did not in turn force changes in what Tolkien was still thinking of as the main line of the legendarium.”

To this I have little to add, other than to say that if you have not read John’s cogent and extensive analysis, please pick up a copy of his History of The Hobbit. It is well worth the time.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 8, 1:58am


Views: 556
That's one of my favorite things about Tolkien's works.

It's a Place to Go. For any number of reasons.

A hankering for adventure.
A need for inspiration.
Hope that people actually can get along, overcome differences, and work together, even in the worst circumstances.
A respite from the difficulties of RL (Real Life)

And like you said, a place to fall asleep under the stars.



hanne
Lorien

Jan 8, 2:49am


Views: 545
Hee!

So it wasn't just me! I love childhood imagination. :)


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 8, 3:28am


Views: 543
Youth


In Reply To
So it wasn't just me! I love childhood imagination. :)

You're only young once but you can be a child forever.
(The original version of this that I heard was "You're only young once but you can be immature forever")

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 8, 5:05pm


Views: 512
feigned history, versus legend

Thanks for this! You are right - I had read enough of John Rateliff to pick up his term 'one-way borrowing', but not enough to know about his opinions on the elvenking.But now I do.

I think the whole one-way borrowing thing is interesting. It's easy to think of Tolkien's stories as a kind of feigned history, and to an extent of course, he encouraged this game. But in real events there is, at least in principle, one correct explanation for events, which we coud know if only there were good enough evidence.

I find it interesting that Tolkien's approach here is quite like one seen in legends and folk-lore: figures from other stories or from history get borrowed for a tale, or aspects of another tale are borrowed to fit around a storyteller's current needs.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 8, 5:23pm


Views: 524
entertaining then not

The chapter "Barrels out of Bond" was pretty fun. I'm surprised at how long Bilbo wears the ring. There seems to be no negative side effects to wearing it which I didn't see coming. It seems like the movies make the ring-wearing moments seem uncomfortable and burdensome but now I'm wondering why that was the case. Why didn't Bilbo have the same problems Frodo did? Was it because Sauron wasn't as strong when Bilbo wore it or did Tolkien simply make a literary adjustment?
The chapter "A Warm Welcome" was pretty boring by comparison. I'm sure it's because my movie mind caused me to expect more. Of course, Peter Jackson had the ability to expand it (and the need since he was making 3 movies from one book). As I mentioned earlier, I knew there was not going to be a white orc in the book but that is the only thing I knew about the differences. At this point in my reading I suspect there will be no Bard or Alfrid. (please let me know....I don't care if I find out now. In fact, it wouldn't bother me to see a list of all the characters who won't be in this book, or any of the other 3 books for that matter).
I was surprised that there was little mention of the ring in "A Warm Welcome". By that I mean you'd think that the dwarves would have been pestering Bilbo to see more of it. Of course, they might have but Tolkien just didn't put it in. I was also surprised that there was no resistance by the citizens when the dwarves left for the mountain. I guess, without a Bard around nobody got any resistance organized. Also, without a Bard I'm wondering how Smaug is going to die (BUT PLEASE DON'T GIVE THAT PART AWAY!)
This isn't important but I notice that spell-check says dwarves should be dwarfs. Was this a result of the Americanized version of English? I haven't noticed anything else, like colour for example but maybe I simply haven't been looking.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf

(This post was edited by Cygnus on Jan 8, 5:30pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 8, 6:07pm


Views: 514
no negative side effects


In Reply To
I'm surprised at how long Bilbo wears the ring. There seems to be no negative side effects to wearing it which I didn't see coming. It seems like the movies make the ring-wearing moments seem uncomfortable and burdensome but now I'm wondering why that was the case. Why didn't Bilbo have the same problems Frodo did? Was it because Sauron wasn't as strong when Bilbo wore it or did Tolkien simply make a literary adjustment?


Well, one answer is that Bilbo's ring is not yet the One Ring - it's entirely clear from Tolkien's papers that the idea for the Rings of Power emerged as he tried to work out what his new Hobbit story should be about. As Tolkien wrote what you are reading now, we don't think he was imagining any powers for the Ring other than invisibility.

I've seen people squaring the resulting circle and restoring consistency by arguing (as you say) that Sauron was not then as powerful, as later. But what I don't know is whether that's an idea Tolkien himself used, or whether it's a fan idea. In any case its merits as an idea depend, I suppose, on how one thinks the Ring corrupts people - and a usual Tolkien doesn't provide much information about mechanisms.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 8, 6:28pm


Views: 510
No Alfrid

You are quite correct that Alfrid was a completely made up character in the films, but Bard is very much an important player in the book, as you will find out soon.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


enanito
Lorien

Jan 8, 8:22pm


Views: 509
Bilbo - is he Rankin/Bass', Peter Jackson's, or still my Bilbo?

The most recent time I re-read the Hobbit, I found myself vacillating between how I envisioned Bilbo (and everything else in the Hobbit). As a book-firster (3rd grade school teacher reading to class during quiet time), then seeing the animated version and then finally all 3 P.J. movies (plus LOTR which shows some of the same sites), I've found my visuals of the Hobbit have definitely evolved. Truth be told, it's now hard for me to remember exactly how I envisioned Bilbo prior to seeing the movies (although other aspects of the Hobbit remain as I saw them as a child).

As geeked as I was when the LOTR movies were first announced, I had extreme trepidation regarding how my personal vision of Middle Earth would be portrayed -- would I be dismayed, delighted, or disgusted?

I've always found it interesting to see Forum Posts from movie-firsters as they then read the books, since it's such an opposite experience for them.

I won't pass judgement on the Hobbit films in this post, but one thing I will say, is that I'm happy that the visual in my mind of Bilbo from the animated movie has been mostly replaced by Martin Freeman (although I understand not everyone shares my feelings) Wink


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 8, 11:28pm


Views: 487
And no Tauriel or Legolas

As for the spelling of "dwarves," I have a vague memory of reading somewhere that Tolkien felt quite strongly that it should be "dwarves" and "elves", not "dwarfs" and "elfs," but unfortunately I forget his reason.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 9, 12:15am


Views: 484
I believe it had something to do with

his feelings about "the sillier tales of latter days." He wanted these races taken seriously, and from what I remember "feigned" that the original plurals had the "v."



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jan 9, 12:15am)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 9, 2:00am


Views: 475
I think Tolkien put that in the foreword to LOTR

but I will have to check. He had trouble with his editors and insisted on "dwarves" and "elves".


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 9, 12:33pm


Views: 435
makes sense



Well, one answer is that Bilbo's ring is not yet the One Ring - it's entirely clear from Tolkien's papers that the idea for the Rings of Power emerged as he tried to work out what his new Hobbit story should be about. As Tolkien wrote what you are reading now, we don't think he was imagining any powers for the Ring other than invisibility.
.

That clears it up. I am learning so much here thanks to everybody's help. The next time I wonder something like that I should probably put myself in Tolkien's shoes (at the time he wrote those words) and imagine that LOTR doesn't exist. As I recall, others on this thread have suggested something similar to that. I just need to remember! Of course, my primary goal is to have fun and enjoy the fantasy. Since analyzing it is my secondary goal I'm not always focusing as well as I could.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf

(This post was edited by Cygnus on Jan 9, 12:34pm)


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 9, 2:04pm


Views: 426
However


In Reply To
Well, one answer is that Bilbo's ring is not yet the One Ring - it's entirely clear from Tolkien's papers that the idea for the Rings of Power emerged as he tried to work out what his new Hobbit story should be about. As Tolkien wrote what you are reading now, we don't think he was imagining any powers for the Ring other than invisibility.


Although I still think that Ring was always somewhat based upon Andvaranaut, and so that it always had the potential of becoming what it ended up being.

It wasn't a foreign idea to Tolkien, either: When he first wrote the story of the Nauglafring, he at one point toyed with the idea that the item around which the quarrel with the Dwarves ensues was not a necklace by a "Ring of Doom".


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 9, 2:11pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 9, 2:44pm


Views: 419
It’s fascinating...

...how a lot of Tolkien’s ideas seem to have more than one origin, meaning, or layer. Maybe that is part of what attracts me to Tolkien’s work: the feeling of reality that comes from things having many layers, rather than being straightforward symbols or equivalencies.

Thanks for this Chen!

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 9, 2:55pm


Views: 414
No problem

I guess it all stems from his academic background.

As an academic myself, in a discipline not too dissilimar to Tolkien's, I really relate to his work on a unique level.

Reading them, especially his more mythological works, his academic stature punches through the pages. Reading something like The Lord of the Rings, is so clear that it is the work of an actual professor; a scholar who knows his ancient literature, as well as a host of other topics, inside-and-out.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 9, 2:55pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 9, 2:57pm


Views: 411
Please don’t stop having fun though!

For some of us analysis only adds to the fun. But there’s be nothing wrong with someone who found that for them, analysis spoiled things.

Also, to echo what others have said, I’m enjoying your fun. So I’d hope to enhance - and hate to spoil - your enjoyment.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 9, 5:29pm


Views: 402
Smaug

I just finished "On the Doorstep" and "Inside Information" (clever title).
I really am enjoying all the differences in the book. It is so full of surprises compared to what I am familiar with. It's not all good though. I'm missing some characters. Of course I'm told that Bard will eventually show up but I'm suspecting that Radagast and Legolas won't. For awhile there I thought I wouldn't be hearing of the Arkenstone but it just got mentioned....much later than I expected.
I love the little things I'm learning. I never knew that the thrush was smacking the wall because it was busting a snail shell open....although there was certainly more to it than that.
And yes, now that I am paying attention there are differences in spellings (besides the dwarves thing I mentioned). In these two chapters I ran across vapour, favourite and draught....all underlined in red as I type this in America. I'm surprised I hadn't even noticed the spellings before.....too busy into the fantasy I suppose.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 9, 7:13pm


Views: 396
Radagast, Legolas and Dwarves

Yes, Radagast only appears in The Hobbit by name, never in person (though we do finally meet him through Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings). Tolkien didn't create the character of Legolas until he wrote his sequel; he did, however, use the name for another Elf of the First Age.

Tolkien coined 'dwarves' as the plural of 'dwarf' to distinguish his fantasy race from persons born with the condition of dwarfism. An old, out-of-use plural for 'dwarf' is 'dwarrow' which we find in the name Dwarrowdelf (Khazad-dûm).

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


squire
Half-elven


Jan 9, 8:01pm


Views: 393
I think Tolkien joked (!) that it would be Dwarrows as the proper plural for Dwarf.

Dwarf (s.), Dwarrows (pl.)

"...the dictionaries tell us that the plural of dwarf is dwarfs. It should be dwarrows (or dwerrows), if singular and plural had each gone its own way down the years, as have man and men or goose and geese." - Tolkien, in LotR Appendix F.

This one always puzzled me until I figured out that he was working with a common and confusing set of sounds and spellings that we inherit from Old English: the varieties of -ough, -ow that we know in several other words.

1) enough is often spelled enow in older (19th C and earlier) texts. Enough is pronounced 'enuf'.

2) plough is often spelled plow in newer (19th C and later) texts. Plough is pronounced 'plau'.

3) though is sometimes shortened to tho' in dialect transcription. though is pronounced 'thoh'.

In short, -ough has three different sounds, depending on the words; and it often has an alternate spelling that drops the silent -gh and ends in a pure vowel. But oddly enough (ha ha) one of the variations has a distinct 'f' sound, without losing the option to go with just a vowel spelling.

So, unless I've misunderstood this completely, Dwarrow as Tolkien saw it was a variation on Dwarrough; and Dwarrough has the sound in (1) above, that we use in 'enough': the -uff ending.

Get it? Dwarrow is pronounced Dwarruf, (Dwarf), and was eventually simplified to the latter spelling. The plural Dwarrows is pronounced Dwarrufs, (Dwarfs). It has come down with the latter spelling as well, but Tolkien suggests that in similar cases (he gives goose, geese or man, men) a divergent plural spelling might well have been preserved by the chances of language.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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hanne
Lorien

Jan 9, 9:14pm


Views: 379
Touches like the thrush behaviour remind me...

...how the book is so very English, a flavour the films didn't capture. Tolkien would have seen thrushes using a stone to break a snail shell. (In fact, there are several videos of this well-known behaviour on youtube, but don't click if you feel sorry for snails!) It is so lovely to see you enjoying the book so much :)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 10, 1:04am


Views: 361
Dwarrows

Thanks, I'm sure I've read that but I keep forgetting.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 10, 3:13am


Views: 344
Wrapping things up

I can hardly believe it. This is going so fast. Actually it's been a couple years since I've read a book that wasn't astronomy related. I'm learning a lot but mostly this is just pure fun. All my astronomy books are the opposite.... fun but mostly designed to learn a lot. It looks like I'm going to be finishing this up tomorrow. I never would have imagined it would go this quick. I told myself to read slow because I wanted to absorb it all and it feels like I've done that but still, 10 days! I guess that's what happens when you can't put it down. I just finished "Not at Home", "Fire and Water" and "The Gathering of the Clouds". The thing I found the most unexpected is that they didn't find out until later that Smaug was killed. To be honest, I did miss Smaug's bath in liquid gold.
It was nice to find out how Dain got word of Smaug. I was pretty intrigued with Roac. For the short time that old raven appeared he fascinated me. What a character! Like the Lord of the Eagles I hope he appears again.
There doesn't seem to be enough pages left for a lengthy battle of 5 armies so I'm guessing PJ did some lengthing on the silver screen. Thanks for all the comments. I am very grateful for them.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 10, 2:25pm


Views: 574
Do you like maps?

If your answer to the above question is 'yes', I can recommend looking up a copy of Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth. Not only do you get maps for all the ages of Middle-earth; she also analyzes the geography and geology of Middle-earth, illustrates the major battles, and traces the paths of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield and the Fellowship of the Ring.



"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 10, 5:25pm


Views: 571
The end

Time certainly does fly when you're having fun and I had a blast with this part of the adventure. I'm all done with The Hobbit and here are some miscellaneous observations regarding the last few chapters.
1) Since Thorin's gold sickness didn't sound that bad in the book I was surprised that Bilbo kept the Arkenstone. Maybe if I wouldn't have seen the severity of the sickness in the movie I wouldn't be thinking that way.
2) There were some things that I knew were coming since I had been asking questions here the last couple months. I knew Dain would become king. I knew Bard would rebuild. I knew Bard would place the Arkenstone on Thorin for his burial.
3) I don't recall ever reading the Elvenking's name. Did I miss it?
4) No orcs, only goblins. This has me wondering if the LOTR has orcs in it. I'm guessing it does.
5) I notice Bilbo's book is "There and back again, a Hobbit's Holiday." I wonder if PJ replaced the word holiday because Americans use it differently.
6) I loved the return trip. I'm a home-body and don't like to travel but when I do I always feel tense on the way there and relaxed on the way home so I could relate to the trip's opportunity to wind down, have fun, reflect and relax.
7) I was hoping that Bilbo would have gotten a better reception in the book than the movie when he returned. Nope. Oh well, I can't be happy with everything.
8) I was VERY happy and surprised that Gandalf and Balin visited "some years afterwards". This unexpected twist made up for my disappointment with that silly auction.
9) I am somewhat sad that I'm done. I'm the kind of person who gets a little down when something good is over (currently suffering from some post-Christmas blues which won't be cured until February). I'm not going to have post-book blues for long. I got three more to go and folks here have told me to expect a much different writing style. Exciting!
10) So, I would say that the biggest surprise is that I didn't know The Hobbit was written with a younger audience in mind. I also thought I would like it more than I did but I can tell that is the result of seeing the movie first. Had I read the book first I have no doubt I wouldn't have liked the movies as much. Still, I envy you folks who read the book first. I wish I would have listened to all my high school friends back in the late 70s and got in on the action.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 10, 6:20pm


Views: 562
You moved quickly!

I'm excited to see what you make of the long-expected party.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 10, 7:47pm


Views: 550
A few answers


In Reply To
I don't recall ever reading the Elvenking's name. Did I miss it?


No. In The Hobbit he's only ever called the Elvenking. He's essentially Elu Thingol from the Silmarillion.

In The Lord of the Rings, his name, Thranduil, first comes up, when his son, Legolas, attends the council of Elrond.


In Reply To
No orcs, only goblins. This has me wondering if the LOTR has orcs in it. I'm guessing it does.


The Hobbit's Goblins are The Orcs of The Lord of the Rings - they're one and the same. Indeed, Orcrist is translated as Goblin-cleaver, even though the component Orc is clearly in the Elvish name; and Azog, later to be identified as a huge Orc, is also called a Goblin. In the foreword to The Lord of the Rings, Goblintown itself is identified as Orc tunnels.

It is worth mentioning, however, that in his earliest writings Tolkien did consider Goblin and Orcs to be separate, if related.


Elthir
Grey Havens


Jan 10, 8:36pm


Views: 538
Hobbit 3rd edition


In Reply To
4) No orcs, only goblins. This has me wondering if the LOTR has orcs in it. I'm guessing it does.



The Hobbit second and third edition refer to orcs twice, outside of the sword name. In my opinion, when Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first and second editions, he considered orcs to be greater goblins (in ways). But for the Third edition Hobbit, Tolkien added a note that included an explanation of his ultimate scenario: "orc" and "goblin" denote the same thing.

The external history is fairly detailed, but with respect to Tolkien's very early Book of Lost Tales, Christopher Tolkien notes about "goblin" (index BLT II): "frequently used as alternative term to Orcs (…) but sometimes apparently distinguished." (while gongs were: "Evil beings, obscurely related to Orcs.")


For The Lord of the Rings Tolkien does not do wholly do away with the word "goblin", but the author-published scenario here reflects the idea noted in The Hobbit third edition.

Tolkien's ultimate notion, in my opinion, works well enough with respect to the two Hobbit references (the second "orc" reference was actually added to the second edition), even though JRRT's mind changed about this while the two descriptions remained as worded.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jan 10, 8:49pm)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 10, 9:02pm


Views: 533
I've been reading The Hobbit and LOTR

for more than 40 years (yikes!) and EVERY time, I slow down my reading as I get close to the end. I don't want to stop.
Thank goodness that LOTR has lots of appendices because I can read them and begin to "come down" from the experience. I'm always a bit blue when I finish, but they will always be there for a re-read!
You are in for a treat. I love The Hobbit, but LOTR has some epic moments that still give me chills. Look forward to your reactions!


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 10, 10:23pm


Views: 530
Don't be afraid to read it again in a

few months or a year. Each reading looks and feels different, and even in the simpler Hobbit, I find new things on re-reading. Also, you may get more of a feel of the book-version of the story, so that it might act more like a thing-in-itself, rather than a narrative that in turn compares with and then departs from the movies.
I have the same reaction to the ends of things. I think that's why I'm a re-reader in general.

So glad you're on this journey with us here.Smile



Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 11, 4:59pm


Views: 426
the next step

So if Mr. Low-Tech has interpreted this right: The next step I should take it go to Reading Room, click on "Post New" and then go the Subject and put in something like "The Fellowship of the Ring, a rookie reader review" and then start with post #1. Does that sound good?

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 11, 5:07pm


Views: 418
That's right!

Smile

And of course, I expect you to take special note of any astronomical occurrences which you find in the text! Cool


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 11, 5:39pm


Views: 416
Yes, that's right!

You've got the idea.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you make of LOTR!

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 13, 7:38pm


Views: 320
"Do you think Lord of the Rings will be succesful?"

This was a fun find in Letter 87, where Tolkien tells his son about some fan mail, which makes him a little sad, and he worries if the still-unpublished LOTR will be successful. All I can say is "Gee whiz."


Quote



Quote
‘Dear Mr Tolkien, I have just finished reading your book The Hobbit for the 11th time and I want to tell you what I think of it. I think it is the most wonderful book I have ever read. It is beyond description … Gee Whiz, I’m surprised that it’s not more popular … If you have written any other books, would you please send me their names?’ John Barrow 12 yrs. West town School, West town, Pa.’



I thought these extracts from a letter I got yesterday would amuse you. I find these letters which I still occasionally get (apart from the smell of incense which fallen man can never quite fail to savour) make me rather sad. What thousands of grains of good human corn must fall on barren stony ground, if such a very small drop of water should be so intoxicating! But I suppose one should be grateful for the grace and fortune that have allowed me to provide even the drop. God bless you beloved. Do you think ‘The Ring’ will come off, and reach the thirsty?

Your own Father.

It’s nice to find that little American boys do really still say ‘Gee Whiz’.



Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 14, 4:52am


Views: 268
Much thanks

Thank you so much for your comments. I have had so much fun reading The Hobbit and doing this. Tomorrow I will move onto Fellowship. I feel like Bilbo running and holding up the contract yelling "I'm going on an adventure!"

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 14, 6:16am


Views: 263
Yay! Fellowship is my favorite!

One thing I meant to ask earlier: Are you intending to read the Foreword and Prologue before you begin the story proper? Because both are optional, and are not necessary to read before the story.

The Foreword mainly concerns the circumstances of the writing of LOTR and its connection to both The Hobbit and to the stories of earlier ages (which were posthumously collected and published as The Silmarillion and the various volumes of the History of Middle-earth). It is fairly short and interesting - if you're interested in those sorts of details. But it can be read at any point.

Tolkien got so many requests for more information about hobbits that he wrote the whole Prologue to answer them, which is like a chapter in itself. It goes into a great deal of background about their history and customs, and gives a recap of The Hobbit for those who may not have read it. If you are interested in lots of facts about hobbits, it is a good read. However, it does not include any information that is necessary to know before reading the main story, and some people feel a bit bogged down by it before they get to the first chapter. It is perfectly ok to skip it and come back to it later if you feel you just want to get on with the story.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 14, 12:57pm


Views: 226
Seconded

I have never actually read either the Foreword or the Prologue in conjunction with a reading of the book (though I've read both isolated a few times). If I'm ever inclined to start a read-through, I almost find it essential to start with the actual first line of the story, versus the exhausting descriptions of Hobbit culture.

Others might find the prologue an essential part of their read-through.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 14, 2:04pm


Views: 223
Oh, gosh, I love the Forewrord

I read it even my first time, and I read it every time since then. Since I had read The Hobbit first, I loved learning more about them, and immersing myself again in their story.

I wonder if there's a difference between people who read The Hobbit first or LOTR first, in terms of enjoying the Foreword?


(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jan 14, 2:05pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 14, 2:17pm


Views: 221
Don't get me wrong, re: the foreword

I love the foreword (not so much the prologue), but moreso as a document about the making of the book rather than an essential ingredient of the diegetic narrative, somewhat akin to listening to Jackson's DVD commentary vs watching the film itself.

I get the sense that you're talking moreso about the prologue, though, which I admit I find tedious and have probably only read in full once or twice.

This is definitely coming from a LOTR first reader; I never read the Hobbit in full until I was an adult, whereas I loved LOTR as a kid. That might be the difference.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 14, 2:36pm


Views: 216
Diegesis: a definition

I love words and learning new ones. Never heard of "diegetic" before, and thought the definition & commentary on Wikipedia were helpful.

So it goes back to the usual debate about whether an author should "show" or "tell," with the advice usually being the former, though Tolkien did plenty of "telling" in The Hobbit.

And since I always marvel at what people thought about 2500 years ago, this was an issue Plato & Aristotle were quite familiar with. So, I finally caught up with something that's been known for 2000+ years. Next I hope to figure out those intriguing but mysterious inventions known as "wheel" and "fire," but I'm not one to push myself too hard in a single day. Smile


Quote

Diegesis is a style of fiction storytelling that presents an interior view of a world in which:
  1. details about the world itself and the experiences of its characters are revealed explicitly through narrative.
  2. the story is told or recounted, as opposed to shown or enacted.
  3. there is a presumed detachment from the story of both the speaker and the audience.



Cygnus
Rivendell


Jan 14, 4:52pm


Views: 205
step ahead

I'm a step ahead of your question. I did read it.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 14, 11:22pm


Views: 181
I do tend to think of the Foreword and Prologue

as the same, so I might have mis-spoke. I love it all, maybe because I'm anticipating the pleasure of reading LOTR. But I'm the daughter and grand-daughter of engineers, so process is part of my DNA. I love reading about process, but can completely understand why others find it hard going. Smile