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How Many Incarnations of The Hobbit Are There? Which Do You Prefer?

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Jun 26 2013, 8:32pm

Post #1 of 17 (345 views)
How Many Incarnations of The Hobbit Are There? Which Do You Prefer? Can't Post

I am eliminating the book from consideration because it is the original and Peter Jackson's live-action movie because it is incomplete. That leaves the NPR radio adaption, the animated movie, the stage play, the stage musical. If I've left anything out or am mistaken on any of the above, please feel free to correct me.

Just for discussion's sake, that leaves open for adaption a live action TV mini-series, an animated one and a graphic novel. Did I leave anything out?

Of the ones already done, I'd have to say I prefer the radio adaption. It comes closest to the experience of reading the book as far as engaging your imagination. And I still clearly recall the actor who performed Gollum -- was it Theodore? -- as being very good and quite chilling.

As for future adaptions, I'd really embrace the idea of a live-action mini-series. I think the nature of the book would lend itself well to an episodic telling. And it would be fun to see what someone with a different style than the only one we know, PJ's, would make of it.

The round door is open. Stop by and share your thoughts (but you'll have to bring your own pipeweed).Smile


Jun 26 2013, 9:21pm

Post #2 of 17 (224 views)
Audio adaptation [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to listen to some audio adaptation back when I was small. I don't have a clue now what it was called or who did it, but I remember it quite fondly. I remember it being on cassette tape, and I'd listen to it on my portable cassette player on long car trips (back when portable cassette players were cool Tongue).

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel


Jun 26 2013, 11:49pm

Post #3 of 17 (208 views)
Ive only seen the R/B cartoon [In reply to] Can't Post

And I really like it, sure a few of the designs are a bit dodgy *Elvenking*, but the voice work (Love John Huston) and pace are great, in some ways I think it did a much better job of replicating the books spirt than PJ did with 170 minutes and $200 million.

There is already a graphic novel from the...80's?-very faifthful (perhaps 100% so) to the book with great illustrations, well worth getting

I agree on the TV series-I'd love to see a 6-10 parter fleshed out with UFT, HOTH, HOME and Sil materials, but still kept closer to the 'fairytale' spirt of the book, shot in the UK (David Yates or Ridley Scott spring to mind as Director) failing that a 3 hour cartoon.

This is not a very interesting signature is it?

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Jun 27 2013, 12:58am

Post #4 of 17 (204 views)
Never knew about the graphic novel [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you perchance remember who the artist was? I think I'd like to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

The graphic novel idea reminds me of all those designs and drawings John Howe and Alan Lee did for the movie. It would be awesome if they could be collected and made into a new graphic Hobbit novel. But I guess that would make it a book adaption of a movie adaption of a book ...? Wink Don't know where the rights would fall on that one, LOL.

Fredeghar Wayfarer

Jun 27 2013, 7:54am

Post #5 of 17 (196 views)
Graphic novel [In reply to] Can't Post

The graphic novel was written by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by David Wenzel. It was published by Eclipse Comics in 1989-1990. It's pretty good. Very true to the book.

Out of all of them, my favorite is the Rankin/Bass cartoon. It was my first exposure to Tolkien and I still love the designs, the voice acting, and the songs.

(This post was edited by Fredeghar Wayfarer on Jun 27 2013, 7:55am)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Jun 27 2013, 11:33am

Post #6 of 17 (175 views)
Thanks for the info, FW :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post


Kristin Thompson

Jun 27 2013, 11:49am

Post #7 of 17 (182 views)
There's the Russian TV adaptation (1985) [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't say that it's all that good, though it's sort of a novelty. It's on YouTube and runs about 71 minutes. Don't be fooled by the so-called version with subtitles. The subtitles are joke ones, not real.

There's also THE HOBBITS, a Finnish TV series from 1993, also on YouTube (the link goes to part 1). It does have English subtitles. It's an adaptation of both THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, but THE HOBBIT is dealt with very sketchily in the first episode.

And finally, there's the brief animated version of THE HOBBIT from 1966. The producer who bought the adaptation rights was planning a feature, but he didn't get funding. The cartoon was made so that he could hold onto the rights and sell them at a profit. Also on YouTube. In English, so no need for subtitles.

I have an essay on all the professional film adaptations of Tolkien, in a companion to Tolkien to be published by Wiley-Blackwell. I think it's due out next year.

There have been a number of stage adaptations of THE HOBBIT, I believe, done by local amateur groups. When he was still alive, Tolkien typically gave permission for schools and other non-profit groups to put on such plays without paying a fee. If by "the stage musical" you mean the big professional show that was put on in Toronto and then London a few years ago, that was THE LORD OF THE RINGS, not THE HOBBIT.


Jun 27 2013, 12:12pm

Post #8 of 17 (181 views)
At least nine to date... [In reply to] Can't Post

Not fair eliminating the book!

1. Book (First Edition, 1937)
2. Book (Second Edition, 1966)
3. First BBC adaptation for radio
4. Condensed and illustrated for Princess magazine
5 Animated short
6. Made-for-television animated movie
7. Mind's Eye audio dramatization
8. Eclipse graphic novel (now published by Ballentine)
9. Second BBC radio adaptation
10. Three-part theatrical adaptation (not complete at this time)

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

Tol Eressea

Jun 27 2013, 8:17pm

Post #9 of 17 (175 views)
If I might offer a small correction - [In reply to] Can't Post

- the second edition of TH was published in 1951. The third ed. was 1966.



Jun 27 2013, 9:40pm

Post #10 of 17 (157 views)
Thank you. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was basing my i nformation on the copyright data found in the Second Edition of The Annotated Hobbit. My Houghton Mifflan copy contains neither the original copyright information nor a notation of edition, but merely includes the 1966 copyright notice.

Were the Russian and Finnish adaptations authorized or not? If so, they should also count.

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

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jun 27 2013, 9:43pm)


Jun 28 2013, 1:55am

Post #11 of 17 (159 views)
Rob Inglis audiobook [In reply to] Can't Post

I greatly prefer the Rob Inglis unabridged audiobook...Rob Inglis is a British actor who did the recording in 1990 for Recorded Books. His voice characterizations are spot on. He also sings and wrote melody for the songs in the text...and while interesting, I find I often fast forward through these...though his voice is quite nice. He did the LOTR trilogy also. It was hard to find this version for awhile, but it is available as a digital download from audible.com now. I have all four books in my iPod...Smile

My Avatar: the desk Tolkien used when he wrote The Hobbit...now on display at Wheaton College.

Tol Eressea

Jun 29 2013, 9:15am

Post #12 of 17 (132 views)
sorry to be a wet blanket.. [In reply to] Can't Post

.. but i'm always disappointed when folk waffle on happily about free downloads of books, or audio or whatever. If it's legit, of course there's no problem - but I don't see how Rob would get his money from free distributions sites such as these.

This is not a whine; it's a genuine question - does anyone here know how artists (not to mention authors) get their monies due in this situation?

Tol Eressea

Jun 29 2013, 9:20am

Post #13 of 17 (115 views)
You're welcome. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien bibliography is a bit involved - and that's just for the UK and US editions, which are the areas I concentrate on. The field of Tolkien translations, though, is hige. I don't collect those - here's a link to a Wikipedia page which shows details of translations of TH alnoe - it will answer your last question - Smile



Tol Eressea

Jun 29 2013, 9:24am

Post #14 of 17 (135 views)
Purely out of interest - [In reply to] Can't Post

- or not - Wink - here's a link to a photo of JRR holding a copy of the Japanese translation of TH, which I believe he liked, because of the illustrations.




Jun 29 2013, 12:25pm

Post #15 of 17 (125 views)
Sorry, don't follow... [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly not free! (Who said that!?!?) Retail of the Hobbit audio from Recorded Books on CD is over $100, US. Audible.com (Amazon) download is $27.99 US. You can likely also find this version at your local library.

Actors are paid scale for voice work and common compensation is $35,000 to $45,000 per completed work per AFTRA, the union for audiobook narrators. since Mr. Inglis recorded all four works, I'm sure he whistled all the way to the bank.

I'm sure actors everywhere appreciate your concern about compensation, however.

My Avatar: the desk Tolkien used when he wrote The Hobbit...now on display at Wheaton College.

Tol Eressea

Jun 29 2013, 1:29pm

Post #16 of 17 (116 views)
hang on, let's take a look - [In reply to] Can't Post

- oh, yes - I was dead wrong! Sorry about that. No offence meant..

Me and my wife met Rob Inglis a couple of times - he used to do a one-man performance of TH, and of LotR (!) I have his unabridged readings of TH and LotR on cassette tapes, believe it or not, and I listen to them at work. Just yesterday, Gollum fell into the Cracks of Doom (again). I agree that Rob does a very good job of singing the poems - there's only one which I fast-forward through, though - that's the Lay of Nimrodel. Can't be doing with all that.

We have all of the recorded Tolkien books - Silm, read by Martin Shaw; and The Children of Hurin, by Christopher Lee. And the shorter works, read by Derek Jacobi. We also have Tolkien's translations of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight; and Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. These are read by Monty Python's Terry Jones, who is a medieval scholar himself.

Once again, sorry about the mix-up. Put it down to old age.



Jul 2 2013, 9:30am

Post #17 of 17 (117 views)
The Lord of the Rings Musical [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw it in Toronto, and it was AMAZING! There was an older couple sitting next to me who had never read or seen LotR. They said they were sure what the whole storyline was, but they absolutely loved it! Very stunning!

4th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - May 1, 2013


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

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

TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


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