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Is The Hobbit great but flawed?

Curious
Half-elven


Jun 27 2012, 4:47pm


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Is The Hobbit great but flawed? Can't Post

And, if so, can we agree upon the flaw?

The problem, as I see it, is that right up until Bilbo discovers Smaug's weak spot, the story is exclusively about Bilbo, the hobbit. Even Gandalf and Thorin are peripheral characters, much more so than the ensemble cast in LotR. It's not just hobbitcentric, it is told almost entirely from Bilbo's point of view.

After that, Bilbo suddenly becomes a supporting character in the story, and not even a prominent supporting character. Even his attempt to end the conflict by giving Bard the Arkenstone does not actually work, and he plays no direct part in the death of Smaug or the final battle.

And although the ending of the story holds my interest, in many ways it seems thrown together. We know nothing about Bard, not much about the Elvenking (we never even learn his name), and until this point Thorin has been a one-dimensional buffoon. Suddenly these three characters, and the conflict between them, become central to the tale, yet we have little reason to empathize with them. But then, before that conflict plays itself out, the battle with the orcs becomes central to the tale. But then, out of nowhere, the Eagles and Beorn come to save the day.

It all feels slapped on to the tale of Bilbo, and unsatisfying for that reason. It's like two different stories, one without a proper ending and the other without a proper beginning or middle, one about Bilbo and one about an ensemble of, frankly, two-dimensional characters.

There are all kinds of things I love about The Hobbit, but I don't think I need to tell you about those. I have never found the ending satisfying, though, for the reasons I discuss. It's not just a change in tone, it's a fundamental change in the nature of the story that leaves me unsatisfied.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 27 2012, 4:50pm)

Subject User Time
Is The Hobbit great but flawed? Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 27 2012, 4:47pm
    Not so sure CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 27 2012, 7:10pm
        It's more about midlife crisis, I think. It's about coming of age at an advanced age. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 27 2012, 8:06pm
    Any number of flaws have been pointed out on these boards... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 27 2012, 9:15pm
        I would not classify the role of Bard with these other technical problems. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 27 2012, 10:13pm
            Our views differ on Bilbo and the Bot5A. Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 28 2012, 1:15am
                No question, Tolkien resurrected heroic fantasy Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 2:29am
                    Fantasy vs. romance squire Send a private message to squire Jun 28 2012, 3:30am
                        I didn't say he invented it. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 11:12am
                            Tolkien Furioso squire Send a private message to squire Jun 28 2012, 4:33pm
                                Actually, Tolkien did consider the Gospel story the greatest of all fairy tales. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 5:04pm
    Interesting post! Undome Send a private message to Undome Jun 27 2012, 10:56pm
        I don't see the same flaws in LotR. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 12:45am
            tunnels and growing up titanium_hobbit Send a private message to titanium_hobbit Jun 28 2012, 5:13am
                Oh yes, The Hobbits is full of tunnels. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 11:21am
        Agreed on Paths of the Dead CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 28 2012, 6:23pm
            There are no hobbits there. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 6:38pm
    Flawed, but only when it comes to following convention... Mim Send a private message to Mim Jun 28 2012, 2:28pm
        But LotR flouts convention more successfully, and more consistently. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 2:54pm
            Well if we're comparing it to LotR... Mim Send a private message to Mim Jun 28 2012, 4:25pm
                Tolkien does write a nice mini-background for Bard. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 5:19pm
                    It's a big cast of characters Mim Send a private message to Mim Jun 28 2012, 7:56pm
                        Bilbo could have sent a talking bird to Long Lake, Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 9:03pm
                            I don't really buy into any of those ideas Mim Send a private message to Mim Jun 28 2012, 10:49pm
                                It can work Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 11:59pm
                Hobbits as fighters CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 28 2012, 6:19pm
                    Sam killing an orc in Moria Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 28 2012, 6:47pm
                    I always saw Sam as strong for a hobbit imin Send a private message to imin Jun 28 2012, 7:12pm
                    Sword Fighting 101 Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 28 2012, 8:31pm
                        What i was trying to say but said much better as always, haha :) // imin Send a private message to imin Jun 28 2012, 8:37pm
                            Glad to be of service... // Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jun 28 2012, 8:38pm

 
 
 

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