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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Hobbit & LotR: Which versions are the best?

Registered User

Jul 30 2012, 8:50pm

Post #1 of 10 (596 views)
The Hobbit & LotR: Which versions are the best? Can't Post

Hello everyone!

I apologize if this post is in the wrong place; please feel free to move it if so. I'm a first-time poster here on the TORn boards. Wink

I've just recently gotten back into Tolkien (I've always been a huge fan of the films, and have read The Hobbit and LotR twice. Not much, but better than some!) and am looking into purchasing my first copies of all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth works. My question to you fellow Ringers is this: if you could only have one published version of both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, which would it be?

I'm considering the following:


Any opinions would be much appreciated!


Jul 30 2012, 9:02pm

Post #2 of 10 (292 views)
If I only could have one published verions of The Hobbit, [In reply to] Can't Post

I would go with The Annotated Hobbit. Either that or a signed first edition in mint condition!

Yes, it's cool to have the 50th Anniversary Edition of LotR, which is in my library, but frankly, I never read it. It's too heavy! I'm more likely to read it the Kindle e-book!

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jul 30 2012, 11:37pm

Post #3 of 10 (298 views)
Yes, Douglas Anderson's Annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

is the most informative, by far, and I love it!

(Although I also have, quite by serendipity, a 2004 deluxe edition, with a foreword by Christopher, filled with Tolkien's artwork, and a Map which folds out and can be held up to the light of the Moon (or lamp) to read the hidden runes. But the Annotated is still the best.)


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Jul 31 2012, 3:41pm

Post #4 of 10 (259 views)
The Alan Lee illustrations are great. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with the Annotated Hobbit if you're interested in that kind of commentary, but for sheer enjoyment, I'd go with the Alan Lee illustrated versions of both TH and LOTR.

I also have the Anniversary Ed., which is beautifully done, but I agree with Curious that it's too heavy to read comfortably.

Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Aug 1 2012, 10:56pm

Post #5 of 10 (222 views)
I love the Annotated Hobbit, but [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it is also worth having another copy, even if it is a cheap used paperback, to just read through the book. The annotations are so interesting that it is impossible, for me at least, to actually just read through the story without getting sidetracked.

'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

Registered User

Aug 2 2012, 3:31am

Post #6 of 10 (207 views)
Thanks guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Veronwe, that happens to be the conclusion that I came to as well. I went ahead and ordered the softcover one-volume Lord of the Rings (released in 2004 I believe, for the 50th anniversary), as well as a hardcover copy of The Hobbit (released in 2007, with the Tolkien dust jacket illustration - the same as the link in my first post).

Tol Eressea

Aug 2 2012, 12:17pm

Post #7 of 10 (205 views)
One advantege of the Annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

is that it contains the original version of the riddle game; where Gollum kept his promise and showed Bilbo the way out.


Aug 2 2012, 12:43pm

Post #8 of 10 (174 views)
Absolutely! // [In reply to] Can't Post


'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

Tol Eressea

Aug 2 2012, 7:52pm

Post #9 of 10 (168 views)
...but I know what you mean about being sidetracked.// [In reply to] Can't Post



Aug 2 2012, 8:28pm

Post #10 of 10 (320 views)
That Deluxe Edition [In reply to] Can't Post

must be absolutely gorgeous!! How wonderful to own something like that. :D

I agree with what seems to be the consensus - an easily-replaced paperback copy is best for reading, abusing, dog-earing, dropping in the bath accidentally, whatever. Plus a copy of The Annotated Hobbit for reference if you like. It's really nice to have both.

Edit: Referring to The Hobbit only. I've only got reading-copy paperbacks of LotR.

(This post was edited by DesiringDragons on Aug 2 2012, 8:30pm)


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