I LOVED this book! I don’t know if it is because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it that much, if it is because I didn’t plan to read this, more that I just picked it up randomly instead of spending hours deciding, or because I was finally able to sit in the garden on Monday and so my mood was instantly cheerier. Regardless of any of these I just feel as though The Hobbit and I found each other at just the right time in my life so I was able to fully devour and appreciate it…so much so that I finished reading it in a day.
The Hobbit is the prequel to Tolkien’s renowned Lord of the Rings trilogy, which have become infamous since Peter Jackson’s fantastic film adaptations. In The Hobbit we meet Bilbo Baggins, the eponymous hobbit, who is essentially dragged away from his cosy hobbit-hole and life of routine, and taken on an adventure with thirteen dwarves and Gandalf the wizard. The dwarves are on a quest to recover the lost treasure of their forefathers, which is currently being guarded by Smaug the Magnificent…a dragon! On their treacherous journey our heroes encounter trolls, goblins, elves, as well as Gollum and the ring that plays a significant part in the LOTRs trilogy.
Why was I surprised that I enjoyed it so much?
The easiest way for me to collect my thoughts on this novel is to ask myself the above question; why did my enjoyment come as such a shock? Surely I wanted to read it, and no one willingly chooses to read a book they know they won’t like, so why am I so surprised? I think my answer comes in two forms, that are rather wrongly based on assumptions, and how many times do we hear that making assumptions is a terrible thing. And the two factors that led me to this conclusion – I’m not really a huge fan of sci-fi/fantasy fiction and tend to avoid it, and I somewhat unsuccessfully tried to read The Fellowship of the Ring when the film first came out and I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. My previous struggle with Tolkien made me slightly sceptical when approaching The Hobbit, as I remember being weighed down with pages and pages of detailed (and dull) description, which I can only liken to wading through mud, and this in turn made the novel slow paced and difficult to get in to. This is one of the disadvantages of seeing the film first; you are aware of the plot and so expect the action to happen quickly. This is why I was keen to read The Hobbit before the film comes out (something I am keen to do with Anna Karenina too).
Luckily I had a completely different experience when reading The Hobbit. It was fast paced and thrilling; the characters were moving from one obstacle to another quickly, facing new challenges in every chapter. There was enough description of characters and setting for me to visualise them without getting bogged down with the minute details, and this allowed me to feel more in tune with the characters and the action as it happened. The world Tolkien has created is fascinating, and I am only sorry that my first reading experience of this was not as enjoyable as my most recent one. I am definitely looking forward to the film now, and I am almost tempted to give the LOTR trilogy another go, but maybe I will wait until I have worked my way through the other 9 million books on my TBR list.
Hopefully my attempts to add a video clip in to this post will work, as I feel like sharing The Hobbit trailer, mainly because I was very interested to notice that there are women in it and I don’t seem to remember reading about any female characters in the novel, but I could be wrong!