The Hobbit

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!

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13 thoughts on “The Hobbit

  1. You would probably have an easier time getting into LotR now that you’ve read the Hobbit and know a little bit of the story.

    I’m in the minority that hates the movies. I feel like all of the characterizations are completely wrong. I’d encourage you to give them another shot, but maybe not immediately. πŸ™‚

    1. That’s reassuring to hear. Maybe when I finally get through my looooong TBR list I’ll give them a go. I enjoyed your post on The Hobbit, will def look back for the next few chapters!

      1. Heh, I TOTALLY understand the daunting pile of books. I currently have 120+ on my “Read this next, you already own it, dummy” shelf. Oops.

        Also, thanks for visiting! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, I have several friends that are heading to Middle-Earth for the first time this summer, so it’s nice to have a mix of people who are very familiar, along with people who’ve never read any Tolkien at all.

  2. It’s good to know this one was enjoyed by one who normally doesn’t go for fantasy. I’m very scared to read Tolkien because I actively dislike fantasy, and I can’t say the preview helped. 😦 But thanks for posting it! The trology and The Hobbit are on my Classics Club list… because there is no way I would read it unless I force myself. 😑 *scared*

    1. I would wholeheartedly recommend it now. I admit I was pretty daunted and have avoided Tolkien for years, but I think if you just pick it up randomly and forget all fantasy/Tolkien assumptions, you can enjoy it for what it is, which is a fantastic novel! I rarely moved from the sun lounger all day, even when the sun went in!

  3. This is probably my favourite book from my childhood, my dad read it to me althought he left out the giant spiders! I didn’t half get a shock when I read it myself for the first time. I think reading this before trying Lord of the Rings is the best idea, as you get a good feel for Tolkien’s writing style and elaborate world of Middle-Earth. I also love the Lord of the Rings but will admit I found it very hard to get into The Fellowship of the Rings when I first read it. There is just so much information and it seems very little action. I do urge you to try again though because all the details at the beginning means that the second and third books can be more action packed.

    1. The more I hear from people who have read LOTR the more I think I need to give it another go. Admittedly I was in my early teens when I attempted ‘The Fellowship of the Rings’ so I am sure I will get on better as an adult. I don’t blame your Dad for leaving out the spiders.

  4. I first read The Hobbit as a graphic comic many years ago. What drew me to it at first was the illustrations…then of course, that it was about a wizard and a little creature called a hobbit! From there I just had to get myself a copy of the novel and read on further with The Lord of the Rings. They styles of the two are absolutely different, I know. But I found myself drawn so strongly to both. I’m hoping to do a re- read of LotR sometime in the next year or two. πŸ™‚

    1. Maybe I will make it my project for next year, I think another journey to Middle Earth will be fun, and lots of people continue to tell me it is worth it, which is encouraging.

  5. I loved this too, and found it so different from the LOTR books. It is much more linear, more of a true adventure story, with very clear good vs. bad, etc. Such a fun read!

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