Title: The Hobbit
Author(s): J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Fiction- Fantasy
Finished: January 13, 2013
Rating: 5 Stars
I dug this one out of the shelves in celebration of the movie, which I have to date seen a grand total of 3 times, none of which I regret in the slightest.
Okay, I didn’t take the book off of the shelf and dust it off. I uploaded it to my Kindle Fire, but the same concept is at work here: I pulled out a book from my past to enjoy in the present. I haven’t read the Hobbit since I was in secondary school, I’m certain English class in middle school. Even then it was an assigned reading, so I read it with the most begrudging of pleasure, and I did not get as much out of it as I could have had it not come with the attached stigma of being a book assigned for school.
But alas, the Hobbit is the sort of book that everyone need read at least once in their life. I wanted to give it another shot, and with more appreciation for fine literature and fantasy.
I was first touched by the fast pacing of the book. Tolkien certainly paid scant attention to detail and drawn out events. The timing for things like anticipation or suspense, even drama, is lacking. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad book, and neither does the book come across as too hurried or without character development and involvement. Indeed, it is a bit surprising how much Tolkien is able to pack in a few short words. By fast pacing, I mean that there is little to describe their wanderings. Instead, our esteemed author chooses to gloss over the aimless wandering across terrain of Middle Earth, and let us as readers enjoy one action packed sequence to the next.
It is at times like that that I realize the book was meant for children, and so needed to be relatively free of too much boring description, and also required enough entertaining action to keep the attention span of a child engaged.
But I loved the fast pace of the book; it seemed like a long short story.
And of course, as a fantasy novel lover, I can’t forget the honor that must be paid to Tolkien as a master of his own world, language, and mythology. Bilbo was adorable, his character complex and curious, equal parts brave and frightened, as anyone would be taken from the comfort of their home and thrust on a deadly adventure. I loved all of the dwarves. They were just, each and every one, adorable and brave. Of course not all dwarves were fully fleshed out, as I imagine that would have taken a lot more work and detail than the tiny novel could handle, so only a few dwarves are “real”characters in the novel. The rest of them are just background names.
Though I do wonder how future movies will alter some of the story a bit, particularly with Smaug and with the final battle between man/dwarves/elves and the goblins/wargs. I can’t see some of those details (trying not to spoil here) being preserved in movies, but maybe that’s just me thinking that people want heroic and happy endings.