The Hobbit

I never read The Lord of the Rings. I just never wanted to. I listened to the BBC dramatisation, which was pretty good. I had trouble telling who was who, apart from Robert Stephens as Aragorn, who was wonderful. I obviously didn’t see the films either. Although, I seem to have seen the end quite a few times, having managed to walk into the room where the DVD was playing, at the same moment every time. It sort of ends happily, I think?

The only Tolkien I’ve read was the first chapter of The Hobbit – to Son at bedtime – many years ago. Luckily something intervened after that, and the Resident IT Consultant continued the reading.

Daughter likes the LOTR films. She liked the first Hobbit film, too, and wants to go and see the second one. Before doing that she decided to actually read the book. She finished it yesterday.

A little bit later she asked if it was all right for her to say something, and once I’d ascertained I’d not be sad or offended by this something, she had my permission to proceed.

‘The Hobbit was boring,’ she said. I replied I wasn’t surprised. There must have been a good reason I never returned to it.

We sort of came to the conclusion the reason it’s possible to make so many films out of the one book, might be that its boringness requires more fun and exciting stuff to be added. Which makes it longer. Rather like the  two-hour films made of Agatha Christie’s short stories. You pad. And then you pad some more.

J R R Tolkien, The Hobbit

(The cover is nice, though.)


9 responses to “The Hobbit

  1. You run a tight ship in ye olde Bookwitche Householde I see.

    Benign, but strict.

    I liked the Hobbit. Didn’t entirely grasp the whole Lord of the Rings sequel, though.

  2. Hobbit good, LOTR boring and far too long IMHO!

  3. Hold on. While your daughter has every right to her opinion that doesn’t necessarily mean others feel the same way. I’d say that if she decided to read it after having seen the first movie she was bound to have that reaction as the book is so totally different from both movies. It isn’t an epic though that is what Jackson has made it. Rather it is a fairy tale. I reread it last year and still felt it held up for what it was. But there are no scary orcs preying on the party, no hunky dwarves, and so forth. Instead it is a rather old-fashioned original fairy tale with one of those omniscient third person narrators that is very present in his/her telling. Parts are very charming and parts are quite exciting — my favorite parts are when Bilbo tricks some entity — the trolls, Golum, or the spiders. He’s a lovely unexpected hero and Martin Freeman plays him very nicely in the movies. My take on the movie and the book (and some very…er..energetic responses) here:

  4. I think the BBC radio dramatisation of the Hobbit is very good…

  5. Very interesting, Monica. I think this is the way we all feel about something we love and know very well, after someone has had a go and changed it too much.
    And yes, Daughter offered her opinion as a gauntlet I could throw this morning. I suspected she wouldn’t enjoy the book, but was pleased she both started and finished it.
    I believe the Resident IT Consultant shares your thoughts, which is why he said last year that he wouldn’t be interested in seeing the next film. He, too, appreciates the book.

  6. I loved The Hobbit! LOTR could get boring in places when Tolkien got bogged down in lengthy descriptions and was much harder going overall but I’m still glad I read it and plan to reread soon.

    I think the reason that The Hobbit is being made into so many films is that Peter Jackson is a money grabbing so-and-so who tries to excuse himself by claiming to be adding in content from other books. This is not true, for the most part he is making stuff up and it drives me mad!! If he could do LOTR in three films he could definitely do The Hobbit it in one, two at a push. He’s actually cut some of the best bits out in order to make way for his jazz. Grrrr.

    Sorry to rant put you touched on a sore spot there!

  7. Both The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings (books) are unassailable classics. I think the same will be said of both movie trilogies, too. TLOTR is better on screen than The Hobbit, but the new films are great too.

    Yes, they are different from the book. Material has been added so that it makes logical sense onscreen and can dispense with the narrator. It just goes to demonstrate that book and film are vastly different media. You could not make a film of The Hobbit as written, not if you wanted it to dovetail with the LOTR films.

    I do think the films are a tad action-heavy, but that’s my only gripe. And I still cherish all the books. No-one writing today in that genre can touch Tolkien.

  8. Sorry about that, Mr Tolkien Fan. I suppose we can’t see eye to eye on everything.
    I think the thing Daughter discovered was that she’s a child of the 21st century and has little patience with old style writing.

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