The Hobbit

The Hobbit  by  J.R.R. Tolkien
In preparation for the upcoming film…

The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1937.  As I have mentioned before, I never read enough when I was younger.  When I was in High School, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was coming out in theatres, and I took this to be a relatively new story.  It’s always funny to learn how old some stories actually are and how they can stand the test of time.

p.3 – 4 ” The hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins.  The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected…This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.”

Although I have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have seen the films.  I am familiar with the characters of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and Gollum.  The story follows Bilbo as he meets the famous wizard Gandalf, and is thrust into a series of adventures.    His fellow adventurers are 13 dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield.  Thorin is the descendant of The King Under the Mountain.  Many years ago the dwarves were prosperous and ruled the mountain with all their riches.  A darkness came and ruined the land, the darkness was Smaug.  Smaug is a dragon, and dragons love treasure.  Thorin’s plan is to travel very far back to the mountain of his people, kill the dragon and claim back the riches and the mountain.

As I had seen the movies I had a specific image of Gandalf in my mind.  He is a very powerful wizard, and plays a rather large role in the stories.  In the Hobbit, however, he seems more to be a supervisor.  He enters the story to create the party of adventurers, but many times throughout he disappears very conveniently, at the most inconvenient times.  Whenever there is trouble or hardship ahead, he is gone, but always manages to return at the right times, with no explanation.  It is like the male version of a Fairy Godmother.

I was very pleased to have Gollum in the story, as hands down, he is my favourite character in the entire series.  He is my precious, and I’m excited to see him in the film.  I’m sad that he only appears for a short while, but who knows there may be some additional scenes.

From watching the previews for The Hobbit, I can already tell that many things have been expanded and added. The significant reason for this would be the length of the films.  I had known that there would be two films for this story, and while passing the half point of the book, I was really wondering how they managed to make it into two films!  Then they blow my mind even more when I find out that they don’t intend to make it into two movies, BUT A TRILOGY INSTEAD!  After taking some time I have begun to have some understanding.  The obvious and main reason would be to prolong this obvious cash cow.  When making it into two films, I figured they would draw things out and add visuals, as this is a very strong point of these films.   So when we take the story and visuals into consideration we can understand the two films.  Now the reasoning for the additional third film is a little harder to grasp.  Basically they have added characters and scenes to the movie that do not occur in the book.  I see that Elijah Wood will be in the film reprising his role as Frodo.  I don’t know why this was necessary, but I guess we will find out.   My guess is they will end the first film as they are surrounded by the darkness and unknown ahead of Mirkwood.  The second film will consist of Mirkwood, meeting and end of Smaug.  The final film would be the battle for riches and Bilbo’s return home.

For those of you who have read all the books, I’m sure there is something from the Lord of the Rings series that they were able to take from and add to The Hobbit for this expansion.  Or perhaps that is just a hopeful guess.

The story is interesting, but more so because I have previous knowledge of characters and I can visualize the style of the films.  I think if I didn’t have any of this knowledge, I would not have cared for this story.  It is a rather short story with many things that could have been taken out.  For example: the entire character of Beorn, or “skin-changer” could have been taken out without effecting the story.  You would have simply had to move on to the next thing.  If this character appears in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I could see some connection, but he wasn’t important enough to have made it into the films.

Although I am looking forward to the film (now films), I can’t say that I overly enjoyed this book.  It was a decent story, but with such a large following and hype it managed to fall flat for me.  I enjoy the films, but I don’t think I will be taking on the Lord of the Rings any time soon.  This is one of those stories that you have to read when you are a kid, and then see the films after.


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