The Quickly Aborted 1960 Hobbit Rewrite...Missed Oppurtunity or Depressing Mistake?
How do you feel about Tolkien's abandoned attempt to recast The Hobbit in the style of The Lord of The Rings?
In the light of its frequent mentions on the Hobbit board, I thought it would be intresting to discuss.
For me personally I'm glad it was abandoned, although what we have is rather intresting writing ( I was particularly fascinated by Trolls destroying the bidge to Rivendell, and the hints at Thorin's later corruption, it's all in the details...) and I would certianly have liked to see it proceded a little further (If only to see whether the Stone Gaints and 'Oh Tra La La lalley... made it in) it just feels a little depressing to me, the changes are so relatively minor it felt like robbing a fairytale of its charm, for no real reason, rewrting a children's story for children who wanted to think like adults-The Talking Purse made it in, as did the multi colured beards, and other 'fairytale elements'...but it just dosen't feel like The Hobbit.
I have always been glad The Hobbit stands apart-the later backstory developed in Quest For Erebor and the Appendices etc isn't necessary for me to enjoy the story, and I tend to read the book ignoring all of this info, rewriting the story in the style of the sequel to me would risk sidelining Bilbo's story as merely part of the whole, rather than a whole on its own. Speaking from my own experience The Hobbit is normally the only book by Tolkien I can persuade friends to read, the implication being the other books are too long or dark for their tastes-who's to say how many other people might not have discovered Tolkien if it weren't for the simple Gateway of The Hobbit? Would a rewrite still have the charm and universal appeal a childrens fairytale has?
It is also rather worrying to think of what might have happended if it was published-Tolkien was by his own admission a notorious niggler, if this rewrote had been a sucess, who's to say he might not have done the same with LOTR , and spent his twilight years in a loop, writing even less of the first age...
It is certainly interesting reading though, and I do wish the chapter in Rivendell was finished at least-the Elves being the centerpeice of Tolkien's mytholgy I feel whatever Tolkien would have written here would have shown a very definite idea of where the rewrote was going.
But with much deeper changes than what Tolkien seemingly started to do.
Never cared much for TH as a book at all... simply read it too late when I was already deeply into LotR and the Sil and never was able to make myself ready for a children's novel. Maybe this will change once I have kids or am a godfather and can introduce them early on to the world of ME via TH.
(This post was edited by Arannir on Oct 6 2013, 2:32pm)