I wrote the following right after finishing The Hobbit. I just sat down and wrote down all my feelings. I haven't edited at all, so don't judge too harshly.
awesome was The Hobbit? I mean, pretty dang awesome. Freaking Gandalf. I
just adore him. And I fell in love with Dori when he was all sassy and,
“You almost chopped my head off with Orcrist—I’d like to see you not
drop a hobbit!” He is my bro. As a main character Bilbo is approximately
two hundred and thirty-nine times better than Frodo. The story is
enchanting; I can wait to read it to my kids. It’s much more
child-friendly than Lord of the Rings in the writing style. It’s a
straightforward quest, with one main plot and one main goal: get that
treasure. There is every needful ingredient for an adventure: stolen
gold, many miles to journey, a noble company, elven and dwarfish songs,
and of course, a dragon. We mustn’t forget the dragon. “Never leave a
live dragon out of your calculations,” as Bilbo learned.
grandpa is who got me into Middle Earth. He is a hardcore Tolkien fan. I
remember him reading The Hobbit to me at six or seven. My grandpa is
the best storyteller I know. Period. There’s no one I’d rather have tell
me about Thorin, Smaug, and Bard. I am so grateful for those memories.
As a child I was terrified by both Gollum and the giant spiders that
beset the party in the forest. It’s one of their first trials—after the
trolls—and I’m not ashamed to admit that at that point I would have
turned around and been like, “Have fun with the rest of your suicidal
mission! Rebecca out!” But luckily Bilbo is made of sterner stuff than
I….must be that Took in his blood.
The end battle comes so
unexpectedly. I mean, a lot of the ending is unexpected. Smaug is killed
by a character we haven’t even been paying attention to; our heroes are
completely oblivious to his demise until a little bird tells them.
(Literally.) After all of Bilbo’s banter with the gold-hoarding dragon
you kind of want him to be present when it all goes down. But that’s the
reader in me speaking—as a player in the story I’m sure Bilbo was quite
happy to be absent.
So the dragon is dead. Problem solved, right? Not so fast. The main
obstacle might have been shot down, but the greed of man (and dwarves)
is alive and well. Squabbling about ownership of this newly available
treasure quickly erupts between the inhabitants of Laketown and our
merry men. (That’s the one downfall of this book—there is not a single
named female character. My feminist heart regrets this.) Thorin summons
his kinfolk, the Elvenking arrives on the scene with his own army, chaos
abounds. But disrupting this argumentative atmosphere is Gandalf,
exclaiming that the goblins have suddenly appeared.
goblins?” you may ask. “Not the goblins that we left hundreds of pages
ago?” The very same. Combined with the hideous Wargs they have come to
wreak revenge for the death of their king. It may be construed as a
fortunate event, again from a reader’s perspective. If a common foe had
not appeared, who’s to say that our three “Allied” armies would not have
spilled each other’s blood, in a civil war of sorts? Thorin was
prepared to die to defend his gold, and Men have never been the most
noble of creatures. Harsh words had already been exchanged between all
parties, and bloodshed is not hard to imagine.
But that’s all
academic, because the goblins did come, and a terrible battle resulted.
Bilbo’s invisibility is both a help and a hindrance, the Eagles again
save the day, and we lose three of our courageous dwarves: Thorin, Kili,
and Fili. (For those of you who have only seen the movie, Thorin is the
leader and Kili is the hot one.) I hated to see them go, but that’s one
of those inevitabilities of war.
Humor in The Hobbit is one of my favorite things. The characters are
real. There is that sibling mentality between the party members where
they would defend each other to the death, but don’t you touch my stuff.
Gandalf vanishes at his own convenience, Bilbo steals the Arkenstone
(becoming an “honest burglar”) and everyone makes fun of Bombur for
being fat. I had to struggle against laughing out loud as I read this at
my desk on break.
I love this book. I love the talking ravens
and Bilbo’s impromptu riddles and the bickering of the dwarves, and
Gandalf in general. All I could think about as I reread this gem of a
book for the first time in seven years was that I can’t wait to read
this book to my children. I hope they are filled with the wonder of it
as much as I was, and am, and expect to be again.
My thoughts on
the Hobbit films maybe ought to be a whole ‘nother entry. I was
initially quite excited to hear that Peter Jackson would be bringing
this story to the big screen—the animated version was great, but somehow
not as stunning as the New Zealand we all raved about in the Lord of
the Rings films. But then it was announced that there wasn’t going to be
a Hobbit film. There were going to be three. Some fans rejoiced, I
I don’t like “my” books being made into movies. It has
seldom been done to my satisfaction. I especially don’t like them being
made into blockbuster cash cows with love triangles and unnecessary Orc
subplots and hot dwarves. (Okay, I don’t so much mind the hot dwarves.)
It’s one of those sad instances where I so much wanted to fangirl over
these films, but I always had the sinking sensation that it wasn’t going
to happen. Martin Freeman was embraced by the internet as the unwilling
protagonist of their dreams, but I don’t know. He just didn’t do it for
me. We all love Ian McKellan, but he’s not as young as he once was. Was
it strictly necessary to have the Necromancer, and Radagast, and the
White Orc? And I doubt I’ll ever stop being angry about the love
triangle inserted into part two.
Let’s face it, there is just not
enough material in the book for three films. That’s part of why I love
it! It’s a perfect one shot. It doesn’t need to be milked to put in
every character that Tolkien ever wrote about. Reading the book brought
back the simple joy that I had initially associated with The Hobbit,
which I had lost watching Peter Jackson create twelve hours of footage
out of a three hour movie.
To sum up a rambling and disjointed
post, The Hobbit is enchanting and hilarious and seven hundred and
eighty-two times better than the films.