The Hobbit was a re- read with La La in the Library and I was so glad to revisit this world. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book now- I first read it years ago and it's been a few years since I read The Lord of the Rings as well, so I'm a little rusty on my Middle-earth? I needn't have worried, however. This was like putting on a warm blanket and settling in with a nice mug of tea. I was very happy to join Bilbo and company on their journey There and Back Again.
There have been so many reviews of this, and so many have seen the movies/ read the book, that I won't review this as such. I'm just going to share, in no particular order, my thoughts and observations as I read.
- No mention of the Shire! The Green Dragon gets name-dropped, and Bywater is mentioned, but when they leave there is no mention of the Shire or any of its byways or landmarks.
- There were already lots of tales of Gandalf in Bilbo's time- not just the fireworks stuff, but tales of people leaving to go overseas (!) or on misadventures.
- Bilbo is mentioned as a Burglar, and Gandalf mentions a Warrior or Hero not being available. Some interesting archetypes here.
- The hints of the magnificence of Dale in the time of Thror - including Dale being a toy market hub.
- Moon- letters. Such a cool concept.
- The ambivalence of dwarves. By the time they reach Erebor the dwarves' estimation of Bilbo has gone way up- he saves their bacon numerous times, after all- and when it's time to explore the secret door into the Mountain, none of the dwarves accompany him. As greedy as they are you'd think they would want to go see! Also... it's mentioned that Bilbo is practically their leader at that point! Thorin actually defers to him when Smaug first emerges to raze the mountainside.
- Tolkien also mentions that dwarves are calculating, and while they'll help Bilbo as they can, they're not necessarily heroes? He says they can be tricky or treacherous (some anyways) and not to expect too much?
The other issue that is fascinating to me is the idea of a haven in dangerous lands. I've noticed that Tolkien seems to like to place unassailable safe points in wild, untamed areas. Rivendell of course comes to mind most prominently, but I was struck by Beorn's place as well. The company are told that they are safe there, although they should refrain from venturing outside at night- the implication being that Beorn is in bear mode, not to mention the apparently large numbers of bears who congregate with him!
These places serve as a safe haven though, a place for respite and camaraderie, amidst the dangers of the wild. Some other havens that come to mind would be Tom Bombadil's house in The Fellowship of the Ring, and even the Eagles' eyrie, where they briefly shelter in this one.
Great post! I've always loved The Hobbit. It's actually my favorite of all his books.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed revisiting it- I can totally see why!Delete
I read it years ago, and I can not really remember what I thought of it. I mean it is a kiddie book, hmm, well I did like the moviesReplyDelete
Yeah that might partly be why I never re- read it til recently- the kiddie book thing. I was suprised how much it worked!Delete
Despite its beloved status, I've never read The Hobbit (or seen any of the movies). I'm always somewhat intimidated by fantasy.ReplyDelete
I've never seen the movies either. They seemed kind of... overdone? It's such a small book for three adaptations of three hour length right? But it was nice to revisit... the book version. And I totally understand!Delete
I must have been channelling your brainwaves because I wrote my review last night. Ha ha. It will be up the first Monday of January. I wanted to wait until my Dragon Daze theme. 🐉ReplyDelete
You hit on all of the parts I liked during the re-read, but the lack of descriptions and depth was still weird for me. I didn't remember it that way. And those $%#&℅π£ songs! 😂
Ha did you? Awesomeness. Can't wait to see what you think.Delete
I know what you mean. LotR is SO detailed and yet this... wasn't. And yes I know you LOVED the songs!!!
I always preferred Fellowship to The Hobbit but I love Riddles in the Dark! That was my favourite bit.ReplyDelete
Fellowship is awesome- I think as a kid I thought it was the most boring but all of the details now entrance me!Delete
I'm glad you enjoyed your re-read! I still need to read this for the first time...ReplyDelete
Oh I hope you enjoy when you do!!Delete
One day I'd love to revisit this book. It just feels like such an overwhelming task!ReplyDelete
I know, I kinda felt the same way- like I'm going to re- read THE HOBBIT?? But it was surprisingly low key.Delete
I loved this book as a preteen. I read it over and over. I tried really hard to read the rest of the series because my friend raved about it, but I could never get through it. I guess it was too much for my young brain.ReplyDelete
Aj @ Read All The Things!
Well I will say as a kid- for me- Fellowship is a TOUGH slog. All those descriptions of farmers fields and this and that, and it takes forever to get going- I was so bored until they hit the road. Now I appreciate those details, but then... no. :) So I get that. The Hobbit though is so charming. :)Delete
Great post. I'd love to re-read The Hobbit too. My son keeps eyeing it on my bookshelf so maybe he and I can read it together (if I can get him off the video games long enough, lol).ReplyDelete
I adore this book as you know. I'm so glad it was like coming home for you too. It's so rare to find books that do that, and I'm thankful to have Middle Earth to escape to. It's one of my unassailable safe spots in a world that tends to go mad sometimes.ReplyDelete
It's so different from The Lord of the Rings, but it just works so well together, at least for me. I remember reading Fellowship YEARS ago and having so much trouble with it, but reading it last year again I found myself really into all the poems and prose.
This is the only LOTR book I haven’t read. I feel like I need to fix that because I’m sure I’ll love this too. Great post.ReplyDelete
I hope one day to be able to read High Fantasy. I really loved these movies! :)ReplyDelete
I have read The Hobbit when I was 12 but I really didn't like it... I thought it was very slow moving. But I understand that people like the world and it would've been better if I read LOTR first, which is something I still need to read! Interesting what you pointed out about safe havens in dangerous places...ReplyDelete
Awesome review!! I need to reread this soon!ReplyDelete
So glad you enjoyed your reread of The Hobbit. I think, outside of Harry Potter, this was one of my most favourite reads of my youth. I reread it a couple of times and cried when I read it (because I am just not ok with how much they lost in this quest to recover Erebor. I did reread a few years ago and my biggest complaint with Tolkein's work will forever be that it needed a touch more editing because they could be far shorter but the world he created was amazing and I love how much history he put in. You just know these are fully fleshed worlds with a long and detailed history. I respect any author who can do that.ReplyDelete