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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What does The Hobbit mean to you?
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Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 17 2013, 10:49pm

Post #1 of 32 (726 views)
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What does The Hobbit mean to you? Can't Post

Lately there have been plenty of discussions about likes/dislikes of the movie, as well as expectations and the problems of adaptation. It's all made me very curious as to the different perspectives on the story held by people here, and how that affects how they relate to the movie. I'm sure we'll go on to talk extensively about that connection, but before that becomes the focus I'd love to hear from everyone where the essentials...the "heart" of the story lies for YOU.

What is it that makes The Hobbit what it is? Is it the sense of childlike wonder? Is it the adventure? The humor? Is it the connection to the world of LOTR? Is it the characters, or the places, or...? Tell us why you love the story enough to be a "fanatic", a "geek": a member of a message board dedicated to talking of nothing else! Regardless of how we feel about the movie, we all love the story in some form or we wouldn't be here. And what's important to us about the story has a lot to do with what's important to us in an adaptation. So let's talk about not just what we love, but why. Why are you passionate about The Hobbit? I'll start!

__________________________________________

My earliest introduction to Middle-earth was watching the Rankin-Bass Hobbit and Return of the King on television when I was very young. I think they showed them on consecutive nights, or maybe consecutive weeks, but I know they were sort of mashed together in my mind. It was probably the first fantasy I ever saw. I only remember a couple of scenes that really made an impression as a child, but later when I picked up the books I started with The Hobbit and read straight through LOTR in one gulp.

So for me, The Hobbit has never stood completely on its own. It's always been the prelude to LOTR. I got very attached to Bilbo - not only were hobbits of childlike stature, but he wasn't always the most brave or most wise, so that even a child could relate to him as he faced all these awesome and dangerous things - impressive wizards, rough (and pompous) Dwarves, mysterious Elves, the creature Gollum who was the single creepiest character to me for years (at least until I saw the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and talking spiders and dragons, and prophecies and battles. In addition to my first fantasy, it was probably the first big adventure story. My affection for Bilbo was such that it took me probably until the arrival in Rivendell in FOTR for me to resign myself to Frodo being the main character in LOTR. In fact, while I loved LOTR from the start, it took many readings for me to really warm up to him, sort of like having to get used to a new Doctor in Doctor Who.

When I re-read the stories as I got older, I began to be more and more fascinated by the depth and history in LOTR, and more irritated by the slightly intrusive narrative tone of TH. In the end, I much prefer the style, depth and characterization of LOTR and have re-read it many times for each reading of The Hobbit, but I still have an enduring affection for Bilbo and his adventure, most especially Riddles in the Dark and his encounters with Smaug. To me, the story of how a simple homebody could have a great adventure - and incidentally find a small object and commit an act of mercy that changes the history of his world - transcends its presentation; I find the story to be in some ways even better than its telling, as it presents a story that has just as much meaning for adults as for children under its simple surface. While I have a great affection for the story as it stands, I think I might have loved a re-written Hobbit in LOTR style even more, though we'll never know!

Overall, I think it is first the characters of The Hobbit: Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, Smaug, Beorn, Bard, Thorin, the Elvenking, the Eagles and the prophetic Thrush, and secondly the places: The Shire, Rivendell, Beorn's House, Mirkwood, Esgaroth, the Lonely Mountain that have made me love the story so much and for so long.

Silverlode

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dűm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."



jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 17 2013, 10:57pm

Post #2 of 32 (371 views)
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memories [In reply to] Can't Post

the hobbit for me more than anything simply reminds me of being a kid.

i can still remember the visual image i had when i first read about bilbos hobbit hole, and though now i realise it is nothing like it is actually described it is specific memory i had at the time.

so for me the hobbit represents a connection to my memories and imagination i had when i was younger,

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Jun 17 2013, 11:00pm

Post #3 of 32 (362 views)
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For me [In reply to] Can't Post

the hobbit was the first real book I ever read, its the overall story that makes it what it is to me. Its and adventure, its fantasy, it has moments of personality in it. To me thats where the film failed for me. It just became one big spectacle once they left Baggend, Which by the way i loved the first 45 minutes of the film. LOTR came later for me and after reading it I put the Hobbit in a whole new perspective, gone were the tra la lally elves replaced with the ones from LOTR and the story of the Hobbit took on a more adult tone for me. The film I can see in my mind is a LOTR style with the story of the Hobbit in it. I can see it in a more realistic way. I don't need to add Galadriel, or Legolas, or any characters from LOTR because I know the Hobbit is its own story set in the same world of middle earth. In the films though we didn't get the same world we got a cartoon version of that world. It lost almost all of its realism that was created for Jackson's previous trilogy to me.


Glorfindela
Valinor


Jun 17 2013, 11:12pm

Post #4 of 32 (360 views)
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Well, I was never all that keen on the book [In reply to] Can't Post

This may have been because I first read it as an adult. (I always loved LOTR, though.)

The film, a bit like LOTR, makes me smile, allows me to escape from the horrible things one hears on the daily news, takes me away from the pressure of work and just generally gives me a good feeling.

Qualities such as honour, loyalty and courage are not very much respected in my world today, and they are very much a feature of the film – this is another reason why I love it.

It gives me pleasure to look at the beautiful scenery; see the craftsmanship that has been put into the films in even the smallest details, such as an ink bottle and various household objects; look at the fine workmanship of the clothing and hairstyling; and experience the soaring music.

Most of all, it is wonderful to sit back and observe fine acting, such as that of Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott and Sir Ian McKellen (unsurprisingly) – the way they use their voices, their expressions, and so on.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jun 17 2013, 11:48pm

Post #5 of 32 (321 views)
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Childlike wonder is a good start. [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo as a "fish out of water" but coping courageously and creatively is a model I wished to follow. To me, this is all about Bilbo, which is why I get a little impatient with a lot of Jackson's additions.

I have never seen any of the cartoon versions. The stills I've seen are so repellent I'd go out of my way to avoid them!

I also don't like The Hobbit nearly as well as LotR.








malickfan
Gondor


Jun 17 2013, 11:50pm

Post #6 of 32 (319 views)
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For me its a few things, and hard to sum up [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the child friendly tone, humour, narrators voice, but most importantly , the decepetilvey simple, but classic fairytale story, about greed, honour and bravery...and Bilbo of course. I read The Hobbit for the first time after seeing and reading LOTR multiple times (Aged 16/17 much older than the target age range), but before reading the appendices, Quest for Erebor etc, as such the style and language used in The Hobbit have always stood out for me (Tra la la la!), and I was able to appreciate it primarily in its original context, it was a bit of a shock yes, But I liked how different and acessible it was-If I'm honest it was a bit of relief after pages and pages of Frodo and Co walking through the woods, for all the beauty of Tolkien's prose He can get bogged down by his own scope,

In the years since I have read most of Tolkien's writings about Middle Earth, including The History of The Hobbit, and The Quest for Erebor, I know that Tolkien conceived and aletered The Hobbit to fit more directly into his mytholgy, but I still prefer to think of the book as a stand alone story, almost in a alernative universe to LOTR-afterall Erebor, The Shire and Middle Earth aren't mntioned by name, and the Narrator notes that Gandalf other buisness 'doesn't come into this tale'-if Tolkien trurly wanted to cement The book's links with LOTR, then he would have done, within its own covers.

As Christopher Tolkien notes in Return of The Shadow:

'The importance of The Hobbit in the history of the evolution of Middle Earth lies then, at this time, in the fact that it was published, and that a sequel to it was demanded. As a result, from the nature of The Lord of The Rings as it evolved, The Hobbit was drawn into Middle-earth and transformed it:but as it stood in 1937 it was not part of it. Its significance for Middle-earth lies in what it would do, not what it is'

Though the detail expanding on the backstory of the book, and the historical context in which Thorin's quest takes place was included elsewhere, for me its not necessary to enjoy or understand the story (though it is pretty cool stuff, and I do apply it to the book sometimes)-as far as I'm concerned what makes The Hobbit enjoyable is everything that takes place between its own covers, it is a simple (if flawed and a little dated) comfort read for children that works well on its own merits-classic characters, an accesible but evocative prose and adventurous story. Yes it is a gateway to Middle Earth, and yes itdoes have flaws in structure and characterisation, but in my eyes by retaining a greater distance from the detail and prose of Tolkien's other work, works all the better for it-Think how many readers would get turned off by LOTR's depth if they had never been drip fed via The Hobbit, think how many children wouldn't have been entranced by Gollum and Smaug, and without The Hobbit we might not have got Tolkien's other chamring childrens stories-Roverrandom, Farmer Giles and Mr Bliss see print.

I can agree with you to an extent:

To me, the story of how a simple homebody could have a great adventure - and incidentally find a small object and commit an act of mercy that changes the history of his world - transcends its presentation; I find the story to be in some ways even better than its telling, as it presents a story that has just as much meaning for adults as for children under its simple surface. While I have a great affection for the story as it stands, I think I might have loved a re-written Hobbit in LOTR style even more, though we'll never know!

Looking back on the story now, it isn't the classically executed story I thought as a teenager, and no it dosen't have The LOTR's depth, but you know what...that's the reason I like it.

All in all The Hobbit is a classic story, one that ultimately was swallowed up by Tolkien's scope as a writer, and imagination as world builder, it is part of a larger story yes, but at its core it is a deeply thrilling, surpringsly complex, and yet thankfully simple fairytale about a small man in a very big world, one that paints a touching portrairt of Tolkien's relationship with his children, and undertstanding of his own indentity as a writer. And as you have noted (and I'm sure the differing opinions will prove):

To me, the story of how a simple homebody could have a great adventure - and incidentally find a small object and commit an act of mercy that changes the history of his world - transcends its presentation; I find the story to be in some ways even better than its telling, as it presents a story that has just as much meaning for adults as for children under its simple surface

I couldn't think of a better testmament to Tolkien's creation.

Wink

Oh how I've tried, but my posts always seem to get longer than I intended...




...And as DanielLB will no doubt point out-it features a talking purse, what more could you want?

This is not a very interesting signature is it?


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jun 18 2013, 12:54am

Post #7 of 32 (291 views)
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A childhood love, overshadowed by LotR [In reply to] Can't Post

 I read "The Hobbit" for the first time when I was 6, and I still remember how I was absolutely blown away by it, by the variety of adventures, improbable escapes, and amazing creatures that I encountered between its pages while reading Bilbo's tale. I've since read LotR, and reread both many times, and came to prefer the latter. The higher stakes, the greater scope of the adventures, and the larger number of characters with some development, are all in its favor for my taste.

But I still love Bilbo, the thoroughly respectable hobbit who goes off on an adventure and comes back changed, and I still enjoy the account of his adventures. I suppose, for me, the essence of "The Hobbit" is to have a Bilbo who is still recognizably himself, and to convey a sense of adventure. Both of which I feel AUJ has accomplished for me.


Bombadil
Half-elven


Jun 18 2013, 1:05am

Post #8 of 32 (306 views)
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Bomby is a First Responder? [In reply to] Can't Post

1966, into 1967, was a Strange year only to be followed by 68 and then, wOW 1969?
My oldest Brother always gave me books at Christmas, even to this day.
Yet he never read it? Well, people in NYC (The Hippies) were all talking about it,
and as a Junior in High School in Colorado Springs, was HOOKED from the First page.
Up until that time Shangra-La of "Lost Horizon" was my passion. And Rivendell had a Lot of Similar qualities.

(Long-Lived contented people in a Sanctuary, fairly impossible to Find).

News reports from Vietnam, the Assinations? The rise of Color Television,
the British Invasion of Music (Anything British was Cool!), and Turmoil everywhere.
As well, our Picture window in the Living room, looked Directly at Pikes Peak!
Talk about a Lonely Mountain.
Skiing, I was always on the Look out for Middle-earthy Landscapes.
Breckenridge was like Bree. By the time Bomby got to Boulder, summer of 1968,
the Hippy movement was in Full swing..and Bomby bot a Middle-Earth Map,
and Buttons, "Frodo Lives" and "Gandalf for President".

Wore them all the time and they became a conversation Starter.
Mom had sewn me a Hobbit Hood, with a Tunic belted at the Waist.

Named my Liquid Light Show, the "Arkenstone Light Show" and performed from a Projection Booth,
Pyschadelic Backgrounds on Rock Bands twice a week. Was a Great time.

Much later in Life, 1985, met my Goldberry when Bomby spotted her, reading the Lord of the Rings.
21 years together until Goldberry's Passing into West, was the ONE TRUE Love of Bomby's life.

Goldberry got to see LOTR with her boy, but didn't make it
to PJ's TH...

so there you have it...
something to Remember...
Bomby's past 45 years will always be intertwined with Tolkien.


flameofudun
Lorien

Jun 18 2013, 1:20am

Post #9 of 32 (275 views)
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everything. [In reply to] Can't Post

tolkiens world is alot to me, and i especially love the hobbit.

''We are very dangerous over short distances''

-Gimli


RachellovesLOTR
Rivendell

Jun 18 2013, 1:39am

Post #10 of 32 (266 views)
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I like The Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Not as much as The Lord of the rings, but it's still a good story and a decently written book.


bungobaggins
Lorien


Jun 18 2013, 2:15am

Post #11 of 32 (253 views)
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The Hobbit and me. [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read The Hobbit in 6th grade around 1999/2000. A classmate gave an oral book report on it, it was extremely vague and by the end I still didn't know what a hobbit was. So I read the book for myself. As a child the book was a fun adventure with a lot of cool stuff (goblins, a dragon, trolls, wargs, giant spiders, elves, dwarfs, hobbits, wizards) that was great for a kid who needed to escape into their imagination now and then.

As an adult The Hobbit has retained that quality, but has become more of a symbol of hope for me. Hope that despite how old we get there will be opportunities for us to break out of our daily drudgery and have an adventure of our own, no matter how small it may be. Also hope that I can become a better person, and to appreciate what I have and simple joys (food and cheer above hoarded gold). It always reminds me that I am "quite a little fellow in a wide world, after all!"

I do like LOTR, but I feel more of an emotional connection to The Hobbit, and I find that it's easier for me to put myself in Bilbo's hairy feet than in Frodo's.

I'd like to add a final note. I know the cartoon of The Hobbit gets a bad rap, but I really enjoy it. It's very nostalgic for me. Smile

"You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!" - Gandalf

Darth Bungo: "Gandalf the Gray never told you what happened to your father."
Bilbo Barrel-rider: "He told me enough. He told me you killed him."
Darth Bungo: "No, I am your father."

(This post was edited by bungobaggins on Jun 18 2013, 2:16am)


Eleniel
Grey Havens


Jun 18 2013, 5:49am

Post #12 of 32 (224 views)
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I first discovered The Hobbit in the Children's section of my local library... [In reply to] Can't Post

when I was probably about 8 years old. I was attracted by the cover (I still love JRRT's stylistic artwork to this day!) and was immediately drawn into the exciting adventure. It was probably my first foray into the fantasy genre, and it began a lifelong a love of different imaginary worlds and creatures/peoples. Sometime after that it was read as a class book at school, and then I was delighted to find that the BBC had chosen it to be serialized on their Jackanory programme - where children's books are read aloud each day for 15 mins,by a well-known actor, accompanied by artists drawings. In the case of The Hobbit, there were 4 actors involved, including a female narrator! I was spellbound...

A few years later I read LotR, again borrowing the volumes from my local library (guess what? I trained as a librarian as a career!) and loved them, being totally amazed at the depth of the world I had come to know from The Hobbit. From there I devoured any Tolkien I could get my hands on. I don't think I've ever looked back on TH as being "just a kid's book" and firmly believe it can still be appreciated by adult minds. That's the beauty of Tolkien...there is always more you can get out of his works from re-reading them, and reading other people's commentaries on them.


"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Ż Victoria Monfort


namarie
Rohan


Jun 18 2013, 6:34am

Post #13 of 32 (226 views)
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For me [In reply to] Can't Post

as for many others on this boards , I'm sure, it all started with LOTR. I've came on this boards because of my love for the movie and because I was excited that the Hobbit was made.
The Hobbit didn't turn out to be in the end what I was expecting but I still love it. As I said in a previous post I don't like it as much as LOTR and LOTR at this point it's still my favorite but I do love the Hobbit also. Why?
For the simple reason that it takes me back to ME in a new adventure, the adventure of Bilbo and the 13 dwarves. In LOTR we keep hearing about Bilbo adventure and now we get to see it. And that's very exciting :). Also what makes me love the Hobbit it's the brilliance of the cast. Martin is the perfect Bilbo, I like Richard as Thorin and I love the rest of the dwarves each and everyone of them.
And it's also good to revisit old friends like Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and spent some more time at Bag End with Bilbo, in Rivendell and also into places where we've never been before :)
And let's not forget that in the Hobbit we can see the moment in which Bilbo is finding the Ring and meets Golum and we see Bilbo sparing Golum's life. And we all know where that leads to.
I hope this answered to your question Silverlode :)


"The world is not in your books and maps. It's out there!"

"Such is the nature of evil. In time all foul things come forth."


demnation
Rohan

Jun 18 2013, 7:00am

Post #14 of 32 (211 views)
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I like it well enough [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoy The Hobbit as a fine little adventure tale that has some cool twists and turns at the end, but I don't get the deeply felt emotions from it that I get from The Lord of the Rings. For that reason, I am more willing to accept the changes that PJ has made to the story.

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien


elostirion74
Rohan

Jun 18 2013, 8:15am

Post #15 of 32 (202 views)
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humour, Bilbo and his way of facing problems, scenery [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, the most essential features of the Hobbit to me are these:

1. The humor, there really is so much of it throughout the first two thirds of the story.

2. The story of Bilbo and the difference between his civil and practical-minded attitude to solving problems compared to the possesiveness and the grim and heroic honour-code of the other principal characters surrounding him. Although Bilbo shows great courage, it´s his ingenuity and his more modern and practical/flexible attitude to the problems he faces which is much of the heart of the story for me.

3. The beautiful descriptions of places and scenery.
At it´s heart the Hobbit it´s fairly simple and beautiful adventure story, but as I re-visit it I´m still struck by all the wonderful descriptions of scenery and places: this sets it very much apart from other fairy tales I´ve read.
The mix between the simple structure and the wealth of descriptions gives the story an atmosphere all of its own.


dormouse
Half-elven


Jun 18 2013, 8:35am

Post #16 of 32 (202 views)
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Magic and wonder and a sense of the deep past.... [In reply to] Can't Post

.... and the longing for a world that was different from the everyday world of home and school. That feeling you have as a kid, curled up in an armchair with a book which takes you somewhere new - anywhere you want to go. That's what The Hobbit means to me.

I first read the book at 7 or 8 years old and it was one of the key books - along with Helen Clare's Merlin's Magic and Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Moon of Gomrath - that showed me how imagination could open other worlds and times. Tolkien desired dragons, I desired elves most of all. That glimpse of the lights in the forest that you could never quite reach. And I thought the Elvenking was wonderful - couldn't understand why Bilbo didn't leave the dwarves (who struck me as grumpy and miserable) and stay with the elves. And the conversation with Smaug... and that moment when one battle is about to begin and Gandalf's words change its nature completely. It's one of those emotional turning points that stays with you.

That's why for me. The Hobbit is one of the books that showed me how powerful imagination can be, and shaped my own secret worlds - guided the things I really like to read. I came to LotR later - at 13 - and that came to mean more to me because it had the same elements but richer and deeper and more developed; still I go back to The Hobbit to recapture the first glimpse of the magic, and it's always there.


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 18 2013, 12:32pm

Post #17 of 32 (176 views)
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Same... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I enjoy The Hobbit as a fine little adventure tale that has some cool twists and turns at the end, but I don't get the deeply felt emotions from it that I get from The Lord of the Rings. For that reason, I am more willing to accept the changes that PJ has made to the story.


I think that is my take on it, as well.


「さようなら、ミスターホームズ」〜アイリーンアダラーのメール

「ベルグレービアの醜聞」


Elenorflower
Gondor


Jun 18 2013, 1:11pm

Post #18 of 32 (177 views)
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to be honest when I read TH as a kid [In reply to] Can't Post

I liked it but other books had more of an impact on me, like Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals, or Alan Garners books or A Stitch in Time series. I read LOTR as a teenager and that was the spark that made me go back to The Hobbit. LOTR is such a romantic and grand adventure it became my all time favourite book, I rediscovered the Hobbit and loved it. I think what appeals about the Hobbit is the message that even the smallest and meekest comfort loving person can defeat their fears and become brave to save a friend.


Noria
Rohan

Jun 18 2013, 1:36pm

Post #19 of 32 (168 views)
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I didn’t read The Hobbit as a young child and IMO that makes a huge difference [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read TH at the age of fourteen after having read and adored LotR and I was mightily disappointed. There was no Frodo, most of the characters were even sketchier than those of LotR, the author’s arch “Dear Reader” narrative tone drove me nuts, the action until the BoFA was goofy and cartoony. Mr. Baggins puffed and blew, shrieked and fainted, the Dwarves were grumpy, mean, silly and helpless and fell in heaps or “plop” out of trees, the goblins sang, Bilbo’s “Attercop” and "Tomnoddy”, talking purses and animals and so on. There was no sense of a coherent world, of history and geography and various societies like in LotR and the story was essentially about greed, not saving the world. It wasn't as deep nor as epic as LotR. The Hobbit just wasn't more LotR and I wanted more LotR, not a silly kid’s story.

But when I read The Hobbit again a few years later I was able to get past the things I had disliked and came to appreciate the book for what it is: a great little adventure story that is also funny, charming, moving and tragic and has a lot more depth than I originally perceived. Now I love it dearly (except maybe the “Dear Reader” tone) but probably primarily because it’s “more Middle Earth”. Decades have passed and LotR is still my favourite, followed by the Silmarillion and then The Hobbit.

So when The Hobbit was to be filmed, I was glad to hear that it would be expanded with the White Council story because, you know “more Middle Earth”. Though I loved AUJ from my first viewing, at first I was a bit taken aback by what people are calling the cartoony, video game feel. Now I believe that PJ was trying to capture the goofy, fairy tale aspects of the book in a way that works for a younger, modern audience. For me, though I am old and very unmodern, it works as well.


(This post was edited by Noria on Jun 18 2013, 1:37pm)


Fŕfnir
Rohan


Jun 18 2013, 2:14pm

Post #20 of 32 (151 views)
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It is the first real book I ever read [In reply to] Can't Post

I was six when I started it and seven when I finished it ! I think that and the zelda video games have totally fashioned my imagination since I am a child, so The Hobbit for me is the most comfortable book I can read, I totally feel at home in its universe.
Now I can't say the exact same thing of the movie, because it is quite different, but it's still connected enough for me to find it like it a lot that way, and I also appreciate the original inclusions like azog, who feel like a real orc chieftain like I was imagining while reading lord of the ring


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 18 2013, 2:47pm

Post #21 of 32 (173 views)
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After 30 years of The Hobbit, I had a new insight today. [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read The Hobbit as a school assignment when I was 13. I was a great reader as a child, and always completed my school reading assignments in record time. But I read The Hobbit in record time, and within a week had read The Lord of the Rings. This occurred a few years before The Silmarillion was published, so that was all we had, but I read all the books over and over. I loved Middle-earth and the story of the elves, dwarves, hobbits and men, and the triumph of good over evil. I didn't yet know the word "eucatastrophe" but that's exactly what I felt - the bittersweet joy at the end of the books. I would consciously slow down as I finished LOTR, dreading the end, and read every word of the Appendices as I gradually withdrew from Middle-earth and back to my world.

Bilbo is still my favorite character. I didn't like Frodo when I first read LOTR because he replaced my favorite. I like Frodo well enough now, but Bilbo is still special to me.

The insight I gained today is that The Hobbit is just as much a story about dwarves as it is about Bilbo. Bilbo is clearly the main character, and the story follows him changing from the fussy bachelor to a hero that finds his courage at the most unlikely moments. But the dwarves have a character arc also, embodied in Thorin's words to Bilbo: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." Thorin and the dwarves were bent on re-acquiring their treasure, but Bilbo taught them that there's more to life than treasure. I think all the dwarves were changed because they knew Bilbo, and he was changed because of his time with the dwarves.

That got me to thinking how the movies have been structured. Peter and the team have spent a lot of time individualizing the dwarves, and I wonder if he's going to take the dwarves on a character journey in that Bilbo shows them the values of food, cheer and song. Maybe the movies won't just be about Bilbo.


hutch
Rohan


Jun 18 2013, 7:56pm

Post #22 of 32 (111 views)
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For me [In reply to] Can't Post

it's all about Gandalf. Such a hilarious character.

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken.


hutch
Rohan


Jun 18 2013, 7:58pm

Post #23 of 32 (116 views)
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yeah. [In reply to] Can't Post

at first I remember thinking "Why didn't Tolkien just put Bilbo in a new adventure?" Over time I loved the decision. Gave the world more expansive, realistic feel. And, hey, I got Gandalf in all books, so no complaints here.

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jun 18 2013, 10:00pm

Post #24 of 32 (89 views)
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It probably [In reply to] Can't Post

Inspired me to do the writing for theater that I have done for many years.


Escapist
Gondor


Jun 18 2013, 10:48pm

Post #25 of 32 (86 views)
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I simply enjoy the tale immensely. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't help but smirk and laugh at Bilbo's antics no matter how many times I re-read it. None of the characters seem to actually take themselves too seriously, either - even the Elven King is a vulnerable and accessible character. Thorin is extremely important, yes, but still has to take a little elven jesting.

But this isn't quite the same thing as meaning. I find the following meaningful ideas to stand out in the book:
  • There is sometimes very much more to a very small person than they may even give themselves credit for.
  • Cultural differences hurt but reaching across them to find common ground is possible and sometimes absolutely necessary.
  • There is wonder in the world, from its butterflies and ravens right down to each small sleepy river.
  • Staying on the road is nice if you can manage it, but sometimes the road takes a turn for reasons you don't understand at the time - and the best you can do is just try to follow. The path in life that gets you where you want to go does not always stick to the well established highways.
  • Complacency is boring. Go out and get that treasure and slay that dragon (even if you don't know every detail of how to do it at the start). You can write and tell wonderful stories about it then when you are done.


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