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J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Horror Books' started by Darren, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. Prolixic

    Prolixic kickbox

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    I started with the Hobbit and have decided to take a breather between the Two Towers and Return of the King. But you're right, Marie, once you get going its hard to put down.
     
  2. Dawn

    Dawn kickbox

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    I started reading the Hobbit this month, but it was promptly secreted away. I found it on my 10 year-old's desk. He seems to be enjoying it.

    I also prefer the writing style of LOR over The Hobbit. I'm enjoying the story, however. Its great to learn about the backstory, so to speak.

    The tone is definitly different. I still can't reconcile the Gandalf in The Hobbit with the Gandalf in LOR.
     
  3. Prolixic

    Prolixic kickbox

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    I agree, but I like to think Tolkein grew him to fit the part he had to play, which is a pretty realistic thing for him to do with the character. Circumstances in the story-world changed, Gandalf had the power to influence them, he stepped up to the plate. It moved the story along to have him be more than just an escorter of dwarves and a maker of cool fireworks. I read somewhere that the chapter A Shadow of the Past is one of the oldest parts of the Fellowship of the Ring. In retrospect, Gandalf seems closer to his Hobbit character there than in any other part of the trilogy. He's not exactly the same, but in the story it had been something like fifty years since Bilbo went to the Lonely Mountain in the Hobbit and he had been busy, so that could account for the growth. Tolkein even had Frodo notice the change at one point, I think.

    Anyway, Dawn, whatever the reason, you're right, Gandalf did change somewhat.

    And The Hobbit and sundry is another book I'll have to add to my childhood favorites list.
     
  4. Marie

    Marie kickbox

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    I've finished The Fellowship of the Ring and I'm taking a little break before starting The Two Towers. I agree with Dawn and Prolixic. In the Hobbit, Gandalf seems to be very friendly to Hobbits and spends a lot of time in the Shire just entertaining them, he does too in the beginning of FOTR (fireworks), but at times he seems almost to despise Hobbits, to consider them as fools (conversation with Frodo at the beginning)... Also later, he becomes more serious (Council of Elrond and afterwards), more concerned,
    maybe because he realized that even Saruman is evil, before that he didn't consider the threat of the ring so seriously, he was looking up to him and relying on him. When he realizes Saruman cannot be trusted, he understands that the fate of Middle-earth depends on him too in a way... It seems to me that he has become an "adult", he had childlike qualities in The Hobbit and has lost them in LOTR
    Prolixic, you're right, Frodo notices that he has grown older and more worried...
     
  5. Dawn

    Dawn kickbox

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    Didn't think of that. Fifty years is a long time. I'd surely change in fifty years! Of course, the world changed in that time as well.

    Also, the tone of the story is completely different. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.
     
  6. bookvenue

    bookvenue kickbox

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    the movie

    I decided to begin reading the Lord of the Rings after seeing the first movie last year. I liked the movie well enough, but after reading the book I watched the movie again and I was struck by the differences.

    There are some things that the movie just did not (could not?) capture. For one thing the importance of song to both the elves and the hobbits. Yes, the singing is more serious in LOTR than in the Hobbit, but it is still prevalent throughout. It seems nonexistent in the movie.

    The other disappointment in the movie was, in my opinion, the gratuitous use of graphic violence...
    as in the demise of Borimir.

    I found the written version of Fellowship of the Ring very enjoyable, and have just started reading Two Towers.
     
  7. Deerskin

    Deerskin New Member

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    bookvenue - totally agree with you on the importance of song in LoTR - it was something that I largely overlokked on first reading the books at the age of 11 and is now one of my favourite things about them. I also love the pace of the books - much slower than the films.

    As for The Hobbit, the chapter Riddles in the Dark in it's original form can be found online - I'll post the link if I can find it. I believe the changes can be seen in the Annotated Hobbit (not sure if it's been published yet).
     
  8. Efren Tavira

    Efren Tavira New Member

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    I have read the Hobbit and it is a wonderful book. It definitely gives you an understanding of the fantasy genre and Tolkien does a great job of keeping you entranced with his choice of diction. Although at certain points in the story his tone does give the reader the indication that the book may have been intended for children, or simply for people of all ages. Whereas THE LORD OF THE RINGS is aimed for a more mature audience because of its intriguing story line.
     
  9. Idun

    Idun Member

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    For me it was a bit difficult to get through the Hobbit, simply because it seemed too childlish. Nothing surprising if an adult starts a book meant for children. Well, it's my own fault I didn't read it when I was a child.:(

    In the book I especially liked the ending:
    that the dragon was not killed by the main hero, but by someone else. This is what I call "an unexpected twist of action!"
     
  10. Nosferatu Man

    Nosferatu Man New Member

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    I love all Tolkien's writing that I have read. I just want to make a quick point about Gandalf. Some of you have said that 50 years is a long time and it is possible (probable) that he changed a lot between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I don't really agree with that. Gandalf is a Maia and has been around for thousands of years (since the start of The Silmarillion maybe - I'm not entirely sure when the Maiar arrived), so 50 years wouldn't change him much at all. I think it is through the different perspectives of the Hobbits (Bilbo and Frodo) that Gandalf appears to be older/wiser/more serious in The Lord of the Rings than in The Hobbit. When Bilbo set out on his quest I don't think he thought it was a 'great matter'. It was just a fun adventure he was going on, and the outcome wouldn't really change the world very much at all. That, I feel, is why The Hobbit is more childlike. However, Frodo knows that his task is fairly important (even though he doesn't know the extent of it's importance at the start of his story) and so he sees everything through more serious eyes than Bilbo did. I believe Gandalf did behave differently though because he knew the importance of the task aswell.

    The Silmarillion, on the other hand, is written from an Elvish perspective (with the first chapter being almost of a Valar perspective) and so there is more to do with art and the beauty of the Earth than in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, where they are more concerned with Longbottom Leaf and eating five meals a day. Or was it six? I can't remember.
     
  11. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S New Member

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    I think that Gandalf was able to change his personality-he thinks about how he had less worries when he came to convince Bilbo to go on the Quest of Erebor, and of course, when he came to Middle-Earth he was like a blank sheet, he had to re-learn the ways of the world, what Men, Elves and Dwarves were like and re-learn or re-enforce some of his intrinsic wisdom, so Gandalf's personality underwent some deal of change, even his physical appearance underwent change.

    Also, any change in Gandalf would have to be attributed to the different styles of the two books. Just look at how the Elves of Rivendell changed; from joyful and gregarious to wise and sad.

    The Maiar, along with the Valar were created in the beginning. He had been in Arda since it's conception. The thing is that Gandalf of Middle-Earth was not the same as Olorin the Maia. He was stripped of a lot of his native power and wisdom.

    To an extent, yes it is an 'Elvish' tale, but Tolkien’s ideas were often ephemeral and so he changed them often. When Chris Tolkien complied and wrote The Silmarillion he wrote it using the materials which allowed him to write the most elucid, comprehensive and easy-to-grasp account, and the end product was efficacious, as far as Chris's plans went. But, crucially, he overlooked a lot of his father's later works, which contradicted the earlier legends-or simply replaced them. Tolkien's legendarium underwent a great deal of change in his latter years, and one of those changes was that of the 'authors' of 'The Silmarillion'. The new authors were ‘Men’, or more specifically, the Edain and their descendants, the Númenóreans, and although the tales were based on Elvish legends and histories, the legends and histories of Men were juxtaposed with the Elven legends. Specific tales were also given specific authors, the tale of Túrin, for example, was attributed to the Edainic poet Dírhavael. Anyway, at the risk of sounding overly-fastidious and verbose, I will attempt to articulate my thoughts in a nutshell: Men replaced Elves as the writers of the Silmarillion, though Elves certainly had an influence. (At one point, during the writing of The Lord Of The Rings and after, it was Bilbo who collected the lore and composed the Quenta Silmarillion .)
     
  12. Nosferatu Man

    Nosferatu Man New Member

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    Inderjit, that was fantastic. Thankyou for all that information. Where did you learn all that though? Is it all in The History of Middle-Earth? I haven't read any of that yet.

    I've just looked at your profile though and noticed that you're the same age as me (well, a few months younger). I was expecting you to be about 40 or something! You're a very knowledgeable guy. (When it comes to Tolkien's writing anyway) :D
     
  13. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S New Member

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    Thanks for the praise! (Though I don't think I like being mistaken for a 40 year old-though it has happened several times on other forums :eek:)

    Yep-it comes from the History of Middle-Earth...which I read (actually 'read' is a misnomer, you study HoME, you don't read it) and I have a great interest in Tolkien. Honestly, there is a lot of information to uncover. That man (thankfully) had too much time on his hands.
     
  14. Nosferatu Man

    Nosferatu Man New Member

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    That's ok. Haha, yeah I can believe it (studying HoME as opposed to reading it, and also about there being a lot of information to uncover). And yes, I am very glad that man had a lot of time on his hands! The only gripe I have with Tolkien is that he was a devout Catholic - I can't stand religion. The man was obviously very intelligent (I think anyway - speaking a plethora of languages, inventing languages and writing fantastic fiction, etc.), and I'm quite shocked that he couldn't see through it all.
     
  15. novella

    novella Active Member

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    Silmarillion edition?

    I guess I could post a new thread for this, but probably more productive to ask here first . . .

    My son is suddenly deeply into LotR. It just clicked, even though he's read Tolkien before. So he asked me to get him The Silmarillion, which I am about to do. Question is, is it worth getting the original 1977 hardback with the foldout map? Does anyone have this edition? I could easily track one down, and I will do that if there is a qualitative difference. As he is really into the whole experience right now, I want him to have the most fun edition.

    Does anyone out there have that edition, and if so, is it something you value?

    Thanks,

    Novella
     
  16. Idun

    Idun Member

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    To my mind, this change has nothing to do with a character's developement of personality. The Hobbit was meant as a bedtime story for children; LoTR was targeted at more mature audience, so it has more complex characters and different atmosphere.
     
  17. Nosferatu Man

    Nosferatu Man New Member

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    Yeah, I see what you mean (I agree with you), and I also see that you're agreeing with me. I didn't think Gandalf had changed all that much. It was through the different perspectives of the Hobbits that he appeared different. Likewise with the different perspectives of the stories: The Hobbit - bedtime story for children; The Lord of the Rings - for a more mature audience.
     
  18. Jonathan

    Jonathan New Member

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    hmm...first time on this forum, I can just enter right?

    anyway, Lord of the Rings is definetly one of my favourite books and looking at Gandalf I agree much with what everyone has to say, how he matured, and also I think Gandalf needed to have a more serious tone, I felt he guided the story (even though he wasn't present for a long stretch) because he alluded to a lot of the background of the history of middle earth, and being now a wise figure I suppose we coudln't have him jumping around like the Disney version of Merlin!
     
  19. Nosferatu Man

    Nosferatu Man New Member

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    Haha, yeah I know what you mean. But it would have been cool if Gandalf did jump around like Disney's version of Merlin (I'm trusting to your explanation because I haven't seen Merlin myself) because it would sort of show that you don't have to be serious to be wise. But then, I don't really think Gandalf is all that serious. I just think he's a cool guy. :cool:

    In answer to your first question: Yes, you can just enter. I did it last month and I'm still alive! :D
     
  20. AJ_

    AJ_ New Member

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    I loved The Hobbit. It brings back so many good memories of reading it. It's what started me into reading fantasy books. :)
     

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