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The Book First or The Movie First?

The Shire

Oct 31 2013, 4:12pm

Post #1 of 22 (486 views)
The Book First or The Movie First? Can't Post

Hello everyone. This is my first post here on TORn and I wanted to make it about a topic that I just wrote about on my Hobbit news blog.

The question that I posed there is this: did you choose to read the book before watching the Hobbit films or did you choose to watch the Hobbit films before reading the book.

My own personal choice was to watch the films before reading the book (the reasons for which I detailed on my blog).

I want to ask that question here too. What did you TORn members choose to do?


Oct 31 2013, 4:22pm

Post #2 of 22 (342 views)
First [In reply to] Can't Post

Read the book. I highly recommend it! Movie IS different, but much more enjoyable with the book experience before, not after!

Werde Spinner

Oct 31 2013, 4:41pm

Post #3 of 22 (338 views)
It depends. [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're trying to drag a friend or family member into the fandom, showing them the movies first is often a good way of getting them hooked, especially if they don't read much. However, encouraging them to also read the books is definitely a good idea.

On the other hand, if they're already amenable to the idea of The Hobbit and LOTR, and if they're not averse to reading, I would suggest reading the books first. It might take them awhile, but then you have a better appreciation for it when you see your favorite awesome moments on screen. Smile

As for me, I read all the books before I got my hands on the movies, so... there was never a real choice for me. Wink

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."

Aunt Dora Baggins

Oct 31 2013, 5:41pm

Post #4 of 22 (331 views)
Didn't have much choice :-D [In reply to] Can't Post

I read "The Hobbit" first in 1969.

I have a friend who waited until she had seen all three LotR movies before reading the books. But she got into LotR fanfiction in the meantime, which must have given her a very skewed vision of the characters (it was very...strange..fanfiction.)

In general I prefer books to movies, because my mind sees the story in its own way, and it doesn't depend on the particular vision of the movie. But I do like seeing movies too. The only time I liked a movie better than the book it was based on was "The Princess Bride".

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

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(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Oct 31 2013, 5:44pm)


Oct 31 2013, 6:11pm

Post #5 of 22 (314 views)
I actually read the book in Primary School [In reply to] Can't Post

so I already knew what was going to happen.

It was quite amusing though because a few years ago I was saying to my sister, "Peter should make a Hobbit film," and a year later what happened? It was confirmed that he was going to make one - no, not one, two films.
And then it later changed to three and I was all "What!? How are the scenes so long that he has to make three!?"
I think I understand now. Wink

....."Loyalty, Honor,
......A Willing Heart.
I can ask no more than that."

...... ~ Thorin Oakenshield

Forum Admin / Moderator

Oct 31 2013, 6:20pm

Post #6 of 22 (310 views)
Well, I first read the books in 1973 [In reply to] Can't Post

so I didn't have many options. I'm a proud book-firster, and while I love the movies, the books will always be my first love.


Oct 31 2013, 7:03pm

Post #7 of 22 (308 views)
I'd already read the books multiple times. [In reply to] Can't Post

Before any of the films were made.

But in general, if I know that a movie is an adaptation of a book, I like to read the book first.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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Tol Eressea

Oct 31 2013, 7:10pm

Post #8 of 22 (302 views)
Well......... [In reply to] Can't Post

I read the book first, in my first dose of Tolkien craze. After discovering that there was more beyond PJ's film adaptation, I delved into the first level of reading: The LotR and The Hobbit. That stage being long past now, I would have to say that I do not regret the occurrence. My LotR experience was/is? a bit coloured by PJ, and I cannot get a few actor's own interpretations out of my head.

With the Hobbit I have a base reference to see what is changed in the adaptation process, and I find it highly enjoyable to see how many transformations it takes to get it to the screen. I might not care completely for the end product, but the process fascinates me!!

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!

Tol Eressea

Oct 31 2013, 7:51pm

Post #9 of 22 (295 views)
The Zoo of Death [In reply to] Can't Post

was the one part of the book I really wished had made it to the big screen in PB. Oh, and Buttercup's parents; they killed me!

As for LotR, I read the books about 20 years before the movies.

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Psalm 27:2

The Shire

Oct 31 2013, 7:51pm

Post #10 of 22 (303 views)
It seems I may have to reconsider [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems I may have to reconsider my decision to not read The Hobbit before DoS based on these responses. Smile Although I may not, we'll see.

(This post was edited by OldBeard on Oct 31 2013, 7:52pm)

Ethel Duath

Oct 31 2013, 9:09pm

Post #11 of 22 (281 views)
Me neither! ('68 try and fail; '69 right through, and many times since!) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Oct 31 2013, 9:17pm

Post #12 of 22 (285 views)
The book -- by necessity [In reply to] Can't Post

I was born in 1960. When I first read The Hobbit there was no movie, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of the first half of The Lord of the Rings was still a few years away, and the animated made-for-television adaptation of The Hobbit didn't exist yet either.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Nov 1 2013, 1:33pm

Post #13 of 22 (270 views)
Books, by necessity [In reply to] Can't Post

I read them in the 70s as part of an ongoing decades-long general reading binge. I have read thousands of books, but very few (OK, none) have stuck with me in the same way as Tolkien's books. IMHO, the movies have been/are fun, but nothing matches the books for depth, insight, characters, emotions and majesty.

"That is one thing that Men call 'hope.' Amdir we call it, 'looking up.' But there is another which is founded deeper. Estel we call it, that is 'trust.' It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature and First Being. If we are indeed the Eruhin, the Children of the One, then He will not suffer Himself to be deprived of His own, not by any enemy, not even by ourselves. This is the last foundation of estel, which we keep even when we contemplate the End. Of all His designs the issue must be for His children's joy."
Finrod, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, HoME X Morgoth's Ring


Nov 2 2013, 12:49pm

Post #14 of 22 (237 views)
You beat me by two years :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read LOTR in 1975 and like you I'm a proud book-firster. The movies are a lovely bonus, but the books will always hold first place Heart

Bag ENZ Home of the Hobbit *with thanks to cameragod ;D*

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Nov 2 2013, 2:03pm

Post #15 of 22 (236 views)
No choice, as I'd first read The Hobbit in '66 or '67... [In reply to] Can't Post

...when I was in 7th grade. Smile

But I think that you might enjoy seeing the movie first, THEN reading the book for the comparison. And we'd be interested in reading your reaction!

And welcome to TORn, OldBeard!


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Nov 3 2013, 2:21am

Post #16 of 22 (220 views)
Books, of course! [In reply to] Can't Post

My dad read them to my sister and me around 1990, though as some of you earlier sibs may recall, Dad also read them to me when I was in the ICU, so I'd heard them before. Fellowship is my favorite of the movies, but they just went downhill after that.


Nov 3 2013, 3:31am

Post #17 of 22 (220 views)
I read the books (Hobbit / LOTR) in the late 1960s [In reply to] Can't Post

I reread The Hobbit in the mid 2000s ... sometime amongst the LOTR movies coming out.

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The Shire

Nov 3 2013, 5:28pm

Post #18 of 22 (211 views)
my age hadn't given me much of a choice [In reply to] Can't Post

The Fellowship movie came out the month I turned 8, and I had never heard of it before. My first exposure to it was via a preview when I was seeing a movie with my friends and their mom, who is an avid fan of fantasy novels. Needless to say she was therefore a big fan of Tolkien. My friends were only 8 and 10 at the time, but they still knew what it was (they might have read it, or had it read to them, I don't remember?). I felt a bit left out, since no one in my family was much into fantasy.

I was able to get my dad to take me to see Fellowship, and it was love at first sight. Right after seeing it I started to read LotR. Rembrethil, I know what you mean about some parts of PJ's movies being etched into your head. I really wish I had been able to read some of it first!

I read the other books before their respective movies came out, but as could only be expected, I wasn't really able to fully grasp them at that age. This has always been kind of a let-down for me, because I really hadn't been given the chance to have Tolkien's world in my mind in its truest form before being so influenced by the movies.

That being said, I made sure to reread The Hobbit before the movies came out, and am very, very glad I did!

On a side note, I always kind of felt like I didn't have the opportunity to be a "higher-level" Tolkienite, so to put it, because I didn't know what the books were before PJ's movies came out. Oh well--I am quite immersed and well-versed in his world now!!

Superuser / Moderator

Nov 3 2013, 6:19pm

Post #19 of 22 (204 views)
It doesn't matter how you came to Tolkien: [In reply to] Can't Post

If you love LOTR, you love LOTR - the path that got you there is neither here nor there. Welcome to the lovely madness, bauglir!

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

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Ethel Duath

Nov 3 2013, 7:40pm

Post #20 of 22 (195 views)
"Lovely Madness" I love that. Should be our TORn motto! :) :) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Nov 4 2013, 10:31am

Post #21 of 22 (178 views)
Howdy and Welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so glad you found your way to TORn :D This is the greatest place EVER!

The book chose me first! I've been reading LotR since 1971, and started reading the Hobbit very shortly after that... so I waited a LONG LONG time for these stories to be told on screen as they were meant to be :)

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I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

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Nov 4 2013, 11:13am

Post #22 of 22 (203 views)
I only had one choice [In reply to] Can't Post

Only the books where around when I became interested. I wish someone had made the movies back then, but they would not of been anything as outstanding as what Peter Jackson has created and brought to our screens. The timing for the movies is just right. I think it is good that people can have both now, and I have enjoyed that luxury with Harry Potter, able to read the books and see the films. With HP I saw the first movie then read the books, then saw the rest of the movies as they came out. Smile


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