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80 Years for The Hobbit...and 17 for this reader...

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Sep 21 2017, 11:49pm

Post #1 of 16 (1460 views)
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80 Years for The Hobbit...and 17 for this reader... Can't Post

Not to this exact date, of course. But it's been about 17 years since I first read J.R.R. Tolkien's inaugural work, and 17 years since I've been entranced by Bilbo, Gandalf and the other numerous wonders of Middle-earth.

I have my eleventh grade English teacher to thank for it all. My only prior exposure to The Hobbit had been a viewing of the 1977 animated film when I was very young (it had been shown on TV). I remembered little of it apart from what Bilbo looked like, and his terrifying encounter with Gollum. I don't know exactly how old I was, but I was young enough that it scared me to the bone.

I would later look upon that animated film with great fondness, but for the moment I knew little else of Tolkien's classic novel. That soon changed as the class began reading it. I still remember copies of the book being passed around to each student, myself included. It was the 50th anniversary paperback edition.



When did I fall in love with the story? Hard to say. I don't remember when I began to adore Bilbo Baggins, though it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that the very sequence that scared me as a child in the animated film made me a true believer on the page. Never had I encountered such a creature as Gollum, and reading "Riddles in the Dark" for the first time is permanently etched in my mind. As brilliant as Andy Serkis was in Peter Jackson's films, the memory of my initial impression of Gollum and the shivers that he sent down my spine have always remained when reading the character in Tolkien's novels.

Words cannot express how much I loved this book from my very first reading. It would be easy to give so much credit to LotR for my love of Middle-earth and reading in general, but it all started here. I loved the book, its story, characters - and Bilbo most of all. It's funny to think it now, when I love all the characters of LotR, but I remember being IMMENSELY disappointed when I realized that Bilbo would not be the protagonist of The Lord of the Rings. Though that made it all the more rewarding when he shows up in Rivendell halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring. Smile He was the heart of the story I fell in love with, and it was difficult to let him go.

I remember immediately looking on the internet (and how quaint "the internet" of that day seems to me now) for information on any live-action version of my new favorite book. My search led me to a website called "Corona's Coming Attractions", which featured news on film projects currently in development (and its coverage was QUITE extensive). I found not information about any film projects on The Hobbit, but was pleasantly surprised that the sequels (which I had not yet read) where in development as a trilogy from New Line Cinema. "What?! Why aren't they starting with the first book?", I cried (as I'm sure many, many others did Smile). Still it wasn't long before I picked up a copy of The Hobbit for myself, along with the first book in Tolkien's sequel trilogy - The Fellowship of the Ring.



The rest, as they say, is history.

What of you, fellow TORNsibs? Where and when did you begin the Quest of Erebor?

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Sep 22 2017, 12:01am)


squire
Half-elven


Sep 22 2017, 1:35am

Post #2 of 16 (1410 views)
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Maybe 54 years ago? I loved Bilbo and the dragon [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved when you said you were shattered to find that the hero of The Lord of the Rings wasn't Bilbo, but some other hobbit. That was exactly how I felt, when my mother began reading LotR to my brother and me, after we had finished The Hobbit - when I was about seven.

But unlike you I don't remember Gollum - I remember Smaug. Two reasons, perhaps:

One, Gollum in the original book is funny, rather than scary. My mother had the original book, which she had gotten from her Aunt when she was eight, back in 1938. I didn't read the revised version until the 1990s, when I started my own kids on the book and we got the edition illustrated by Michael Hague. I was shocked to read the hysterical and insane Gollum of LotR, retrofitted into my beloved book.

Two, the book doesn't show us Gollum, it shows Smaug in what I think is the single most formative illustration in my entire youth. That fabulous painting of the sly dragon curled on that pile of gold and jewels, with the hobbit hiding in a puff of invisibility smoke and the tiny skulls of the dwarves lying about in the cavern, lives with me even today as the ultimate Tolkien illustration.



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


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


Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Sep 22 2017, 1:53am

Post #3 of 16 (1398 views)
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Really? :) [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
One, Gollum in the original book is funny, rather than scary. My mother had the original book, which she had gotten from her Aunt when she was eight, back in 1938. I didn't read the revised version until the 1990s, when I started my own kids on the book and we got the edition illustrated by Michael Hague. I was shocked to read the hysterical and insane Gollum of LotR, retrofitted into my beloved book.


That's interesting. I knew the Gollum stuff was different, but I wasn't aware it was to the extent of Gollum being more humorous than scary. That's hard for me to imagine!

Really makes you think about the nature of revisionism and changes made to beloved works. I'll go on and on about wanting the Theatrical Cuts of the original Star Wars films, but for The Hobbit, I've long since accepted (and never thought twice about) Tolkien's revised version as THE story.

There's been rumblings for years about a release of the ORIGINAL Hobbit as a special collector's edition, but to my mind it hasn't yet materialized. That's a shame, as that version should definitely be there for future generations to experience (I'd like to read it myself!).

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Sep 22 2017, 1:54am)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 22 2017, 2:00am

Post #4 of 16 (1391 views)
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1966 or 1967...grade 7 or 8. [In reply to] Can't Post

When my older brother said, "You should read this book." I don't recall my reaction to my first reading of it, except that I was hooked: and sought the Trilogy paperbacks, taking heed of the Professor's words on the back of the Ballantine editions to avoid the unauthorized Ace editions.

Fifty years ago! I never did see the 1977 movie, but I read those paperbacks dozens of times until they fell apart, and the librarian I worked for during the summer months between college years gave me the Houghton Mifflin 2nd ed. hardcovers, which are still my "go-to" set for doing quick look-ups.

I wasn't disappointed that Bilbo was not the main character in LotR, I think I was too busy being in love with Sam.

(And Smaug. I doodled him and Chrysophylax on the margins of my notes taken during Math classes in high school. When not writing messages in Tengwar to my other friends-in-Tolkien. Angelic)

Those were the days...!


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

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 22 2017, 2:38am

Post #5 of 16 (1394 views)
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1969: My first Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

My first encounter with The Hobbit was forty-eight years ago when I discovered that an excerpt from it ("The Riddle Game") was in our Fourth Grade Reader. Thanks to that, I eventually sought out and read the book, watched the animated television special, read The Lord of the Rings (out of order from the school library), etc.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. -- The Doctor


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Sep 22 2017, 2:40am

Post #6 of 16 (1392 views)
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1969 [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a pen-pal who told me about it when I was 12. I remember thinking "Bilbo" sounded like "Balboa", and picturing the elves looking like Santa's elves. I was and still am a big fan of the Oz books, and those hobbits reminded me a lot of the munchkins in the books. Bilbo reminded of the rich munchkin Boq.

I read FotR the next year, and was shocked to find out it wasn't a stand-alone book. I went to the library, but TTT was checked out so I read RotK next, which was a bit confusing. When I finally met Shelob, I was reminded of the giant spider that the Cowardly Lion killed in the Wizard of Oz.

I read the Hobbit and LotR every year for decades, but it's been a while now. I just got saturated in the early 2000s, when I joined TORn. I read them in Spanish once, which made them seem new. Not sure when the next time will be.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, that 1977 movie. I was 21, and loved it. I bought the record, which came with a picture book (no videos back then). When I had kids I shared it with them, and they loved it (I read the book to them when they were little.) When PJ's version came out, my grown son wondered what was the point, when the cartoon was so perfect.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Sep 22 2017, 2:46am)


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Sep 22 2017, 2:50am

Post #7 of 16 (1384 views)
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Oh, my I thought I was the only one <3 [In reply to] Can't Post

I read FotR, which was a birthday present, then checked RotK out of the school library because TTT was checked out, and then went back and read TTT. How fun to hear that you read them out of order too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



grammaboodawg
Immortal


Sep 22 2017, 4:49am

Post #8 of 16 (1364 views)
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1975-76 for me? Yours is a wonderful tale! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've read through your story again and again. It's really so touching. *hugs*

I didn't discover The Hobbit until several years (maybe 5?) after discovering Tolkien and LotR February 1971. I had heard about The Hobbit, but didn't have the opportunity or wherewithal to hunt it down. Life during those years was an adventure all its own ;)

I believe things come to you (and happen for a reason) when it's the most meaningful... when you're the most aware and appreciative of its significance. I had already immersed myself into The Lord of the Rings and was clinging to it for safety, I don't think I would have "gotten" what The Hobbit was all about during that time. It's when life was shifting (again) that I found it at a thrift store for 50 cents. That would have been about 1975-76. As with LotR, this discovered Hobbit is the one I've read from exclusively ever since. It's been signed by Sean Astin and I've scribbled/highlighted it several times myself! The back page has a list of all the dwarves, what they ate at Bilbo's, their musical instruments, etc. I've also written a list of all the foods consumed by Bilbo & Company.

After knowing LotR so well, it was actually startling to read The Hobbit where it all began. First off... so much made more sense after reading how this story of Gandalf, Gollum, Rivendell, Baggins, and The Ring all came to be. How the story of wonderful Bilbo Baggins lept off the page! It was so exciting... though I believed, at first, that is was a really nice children's story. Then it got more serious, then scary, then exciting, then very dark as war broke all involved. When Beorn burst onto the scene, I gasped aloud! This was definitely NOT just a children's story. Even writing about it now, my eyes well with tears... for the friendships, strength, homesickness, bravery, loyalty and loss endured by this child of the kindly West. My heart was, again, captured by Professor Tolkien... and I'm so grateful I didn't read it first... before LotR. The impact of this wonderful tale was more profound for me.



I've since gathered many different editions of The Hobbit. Thanks to my Mom and Dad, I have a 1st ed/2nd printing. But I still only read this first 1965 ed cover to cover.



sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observations List - November 28, 2013
4th draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observations List - May 15, 2014

5th draft of TH:BotFA Geeky Observations List - January 30, 2015


TORn's Geeky Observations Lists for LotR and The Hobbit

(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Sep 22 2017, 4:51am)


Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Sep 22 2017, 5:52am

Post #9 of 16 (1363 views)
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Thanks, gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

Blush

I love writing about those days. Sometimes I wonder how healthy it is to be so nostalgic about it, but my discovery of Tolkien, at that particular time, proved to be such a formative even in my life, and gave me so much unimaginable joy.

You said yourself that things come to you when it's most meaningful, and I truly believe this is the case with me and the Professor's works. That the release of the LotR films, that I also love with all my heart, followed hard upon my discovery of the books only reaffirms this belief. I can't imagine my life without that experience.

I still have my first editions of LotR, though they're mightily beat up. They still sit lovingly on my shelf, but I read from the gorgeous hardcover UK editions (of LotR and the Sil) I bought several years ago, featuring Professor Tolkien's original artwork on the covers. I have the corresponding US 70th Anniversary hardcover edition of The Hobbit, which also features the original artwork.

Picking up the pages of Bilbo's adventure always fills me with such wonder, such joyous emotion. I've always found that difficult to communicate to friends and family. But, of course, you guys are different. TORN has always been the place where I've known I share a tender kinship with those who have truly gone there and back again. Heart

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Sep 22 2017, 6:01am)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Sep 22 2017, 5:19pm

Post #10 of 16 (1311 views)
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It's an incredible feeling [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't it? :) The warmth of Tolkien's world. We're so lucky to have his works to take us away *hugs*



sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observations List - November 28, 2013
4th draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observations List - May 15, 2014

5th draft of TH:BotFA Geeky Observations List - January 30, 2015


TORn's Geeky Observations Lists for LotR and The Hobbit


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Sep 22 2017, 6:15pm

Post #11 of 16 (1304 views)
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'69 or '70 for me [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't recall the exact date. Fact is, I can't recall lots.

Anyway an aquaintance back in the day told me I should get a copy of a trilogy called 'The Lord of the Rings'. Later I went to a bookstore and was browzing through the SF section. A clerk asked if she could help. Well, I had forgotten the name of what I was looking for so told her I was just looking for a trilogy. She immediatley said "Oh, I bet you want 'The Lord of the Rings'." "Yes, that's it!" She then recommended I purchase 'The Hobbit' also, and read them in order, which I did.

Well I was hooked; no, I was in love; no, I was obsessed; no, I wanted to "be there". I sooo wanted to have a cool-one at the Green Dragon and have some small talk with the Gaffer.

How hooked? How in love? How obsessed? I can only touch on it by saying that I spent many a pre-bedtime hour memorizing Bilbo's poem of Earendil. Yes, the whole thing. The complexity and beauty of the stanzas was mind-boggling.

Today? Alas, it's all gone now but a bit here and there.
Earendil was a mariner who tarried in Arvernien.
He built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil to journey in.
Her sails he wove of silver fair. Of silver were her lanterns made.
Her prow was fasioned like a swan, and light upon her banners laid.
It's always been intriguing to me that Tolkien with tongue-in-cheek put the blame (gave the credit) for his wondrous creation on the characters from the books. The 'Redbook of Westmarch' was entirly written by Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, etc. . . .

. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




No One in Particular
Rivendell


Sep 23 2017, 2:07am

Post #12 of 16 (1295 views)
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1980 for me. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in the fourth grade when I read Fellowship for the first time. Over the next year or so I skim-read TT, and more completely RotK. I don't remember when I read The Hobbit, but I know it was before 6th grade, because it was one of the books the "advanced" class read that year, and I was already thoroughly familiar with it by then.

At the time, every one of our copies of all of the books came from the used book stores. Between me and my brother I can't even guess how many different versions we read the covers off of. To this day my copy of the trilogy is a mismatched thrift store set which i love.

No other set of stories...or one long story I suppose!...has ever fired my imagination the way Middle-earth has done. Every time I re-read, even know, i find things I have missed previously. It is simply my favorite story I've ever read.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


ElanorTX
Grey Havens


Sep 29 2017, 8:59pm

Post #13 of 16 (1228 views)
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Hobbit at age 8, LotR at age 10 [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit was a hardbound edition given to me for Christmas by English friends. My daughter absconded with it in her teens, but replaced it with a copy autographed by Peter Jackson.
I spotted the paperback Ballentine LotR at a local university bookstore just before going to Girl Scout camp. Used all my rest hours and flashlight batteries plowing through Fellowship.

I own all 12 volumes of HoME and at least one edition of every JRRT or ChristopherT book. Same for the Jackson movies. Every spring I try to reread Hobbit + LotR to end on March 25th.


"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."



ElanorTX
Grey Havens


Sep 29 2017, 9:01pm

Post #14 of 16 (1229 views)
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Should I watch the Rankin/Bass animations? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have both VHS titles but haaven't decided whether to watch them. Guidance please?

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."



squire
Half-elven


Sep 29 2017, 10:25pm

Post #15 of 16 (1224 views)
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I think the Rankin/Bass 'The Hobbit' is a fine film for children [In reply to] Can't Post

You may or may not agree, but I recommend you try it. My kids loved it at a certain age.

The R/B 'Return of the King', on the other hand, is pretty forgettable, I think. I've forgotten whether I liked it or not.



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


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


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 1 2017, 2:56am

Post #16 of 16 (1169 views)
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Absolutely! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I still watch them every once in a while because they're part of the evolution of the stories and the films. For the longest time, it's all we had... along with Bakshi's FotR/TT adaptations. There are actually parts of each that I anticipate and like what they did with it. Each of these adapatations are another form of telling the story... just like Jackson has said his films are HIS telling of the story.

I like to watch for influences on the films or artwork that follows each adaptation. How much are the stories influences by Rankin/Bass or Bakshi. Who said hobbits have large pointy ears?

Also, when we're having fun with them, you can get some of your own ideas in there ;)



sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observations List - November 28, 2013
4th draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observations List - May 15, 2014

5th draft of TH:BotFA Geeky Observations List - January 30, 2015


TORn's Geeky Observations Lists for LotR and The Hobbit

 
 

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