The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now...

Title:The Hobbit
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0618260307
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:366 pages

The Hobbit Reviews

  • Scott

    There are some days when I actually think that the humble

    is superior to it's bohemoth brother,

    . It's a much tighter story, and Bilbo is a much more appeal character than is Frodo. I also just love this poem, from

    Far over the misty mountains cold

    To dungeons deep and caverns old

    We must away ere break of day

    To seek the pale enchanted gold.

    The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

    While hammers fell like ringing bells

    In places deep, where dark things sleep,

    In

    There are some days when I actually think that the humble

    is superior to it's bohemoth brother,

    . It's a much tighter story, and Bilbo is a much more appeal character than is Frodo. I also just love this poem, from

    Far over the misty mountains cold

    To dungeons deep and caverns old

    We must away ere break of day

    To seek the pale enchanted gold.

    The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

    While hammers fell like ringing bells

    In places deep, where dark things sleep,

    In hollow halls beneath the fells.

    For ancient king and elvish lord

    There many a gleaming golden hoard

    They shaped and wrought, and light they caught

    To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

    On silver necklaces they strung

    The flowering stars, on crowns they hung

    The dragon-fire, in twisted wire

    They meshed the light of moon and sun.

    Far over the misty mountains cold

    To dungeons deep and caverns old

    We must away, ere break of day,

    To claim our long-forgotten gold.

    Goblets they carved there for themselves

    And harps of gold; where no man delves

    There lay they long, and many a song

    Was sung unheard by men or elves.

    The pines were roaring on the height,

    The winds were moaning in the night.

    The fire was red, it flaming spread;

    The trees like torches blazed with light.

    The bells were ringing in the dale

    And men looked up with faces pale;

    The dragon's ire more fierce that fire

    Laid low their towers and houses frail.

    The mountain smoked beneath the moon;

    The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.

    They fled their hall to dying fall

    Beaneath his feet, beneath the moon.

    Far over the misty mountains grim

    To dungeons deep and caverns dim

    We must away, ere break of day,

    To win our harps and gold from him

  • Matt

    Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? Unless you are an author of equal worth to the one whose work you review, what powers of prose and observation are you likely to have to fitly adorn the work?

    'The Hobbit' is at one level simply a charming adventure story, perhaps one of the most charming and most adventurous ever told. There, see how simple that w

    Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? Unless you are an author of equal worth to the one whose work you review, what powers of prose and observation are you likely to have to fitly adorn the work?

    'The Hobbit' is at one level simply a charming adventure story, perhaps one of the most charming and most adventurous ever told. There, see how simple that was? If you haven't read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable. At some level, there is little more to say. Enjoy the story as the simple entertainment it was meant to be. Read it to your children and luxuriate in the excitement and joy that shines from their faces. That's enough.

    But if it was only simple entertainment, I do not think that it would be anything more than just a good book. Instead, this simple children's story resonates and fascinates. It teases and hints at something larger and grander, and it instructs and lectures as from one of the most subtle intellects without ever feeling like it is instructing, lecturing or being condescending.

    At its heart, the complaint I opened the review with is just a variation on one of the many nuanced observations Tolkien makes in 'The Hobbit' when he complains that a story of a good time is always too quickly told, but a story of evil times often requires a great many words to cover the events thereof. How often has that idea fascinated me.

    Consider also how the story opens, with Bilbo's breezy unreflective manners which are polite in form but not in spirit, and Gandalf's continual meditation on the meaning of 'Good morning.’ How much insight is concealed within Gandalf's gentle humor! How often do we find ourselves, like Bilbo, saying something we don't really mean and using words to mean something very unlike their plain meaning! How often do we find ourselves saying, "I don't mean to be rude, but...", when in fact we mean, "I very much mean to be rude, and here it comes!" If we did not mean to be rude, surely we wouldn't say what we say. Instead we mean, "I'm going to be rude but I don't want you to think I'm someone who is normally rude...", or "I'm going to put myself forward, but I don't want you to think of me as someone who is normally so arrogant...", or even, "I'm going to be rude, but I don't want to think of myself as someone who is rude, so I'm going to pretend I'm not being rude..."

    I think that is what makes this more than just a good book, but a great one. Tolkien is able to gently skewer us for our all too human failings, and he does so without adopting any of the cynicism or self-loathing so common with those that seek out to skewer humanity for its so evident failings.

    We fantasize about heroes which are strong and comely of form, and we have for as long as we've had recorded literature. Our comic books are filled with those neo-pagan mythic heroes whose exaggerated human virtues always amount to, whatever else may be true of them, 'beats people up good'. These modern Ajaxs, Helens and Achilles dominate the box office, and I would imagine dominate our internal most private fantasy lives as well. Oh sure, the superhero of our fantasy might have superhuman ethics to go along with his superhuman ability to kick butt, attract the opposite sex, and enforce their will upon others, but it is always attached to and ultimately secondary to our fantasy of power and virility. How different is Tolkien's protagonist from Heracles, Lancelot, Beowulf, or Batman - short, small, mundane, and weak. Of all the principal characters of the story, he possesses probably the least of that quintessential heroic attribute - martial prowess.

    And yet, he is not actually merely an 'average Joe'. Bilbo is just as much an exaggerated idealized hero as Heracles, it's just that those attributes in which Bilbo is almost transcendently inhuman isn't the sort of attributes we normally fantasize about having ourselves. Bilbo is gentle. He is simple. He is humble. Power and wealth have little attraction for him. He is kind. He takes less than his share, and that that he takes he gives away. He is a peacemaker. Though wrongly imprisoned, he bears no grudge and desires no vengeance for the wrongs done to him. Rather he apologizes for stealing food, and offers to repay in recompense far more than he took. Though mistreated, he harbors no enmity. He never puts himself forward, but he never shirks when others do.

    How often do we fantasize about being this different sort of hero, and yet how much better we would be if we did? How much better off would we be if we, like Thorin could declare in our hearts, "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." How often is it that we hunger after all the wrong things? What profit would we really have if we had in great measure the power to 'beat people up good'? What real use could we put it too? How much better off would we be individually and as a people if we most desired to be graced with Bilbo's virtues, rather than Achilles speed, strength, and skill with arms? How much less mature does this mere children's book of a well lit-world cause our darker fantasies to seem?

    Now, I admit I am biased in my review. I read this book 36 times before the age of 16. I broke the spines of three copies of it with continual reading. Yet in my defense I will say that I'm considered only a moderate fan of the book by many. I've known several devotees of the book who, like the protagonist of Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451', can recite whole chapters from memory - ensuring that this would be one of the few books that would survive the sudden destruction of all the world's technology if only the world's story tellers survived. If you are inclined to think no book can be that good, and that my review overhypes it, so much the better. Go in with low expectations so as to be certain that they will be met or exceeded. Forget all I have said save that, "If you haven't read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable."

  • Jason Koivu

    From a hole in the ground came one of my favorite characters of all time, the very reluctant and unassuming hero, Bilbo Baggins.

    As a child,

    sparked my young imagination, causing wonderful daydreams and horrible nightmares. As a teen, the book made me want to become a writer of fantastical tales...or go shoeless, live in a hole and smoke a pipe. As an adult, Tolkien's novel maintains within me a link to my childhood, safekeeping cherished memories and evoking everlasting emotions.

    The

    From a hole in the ground came one of my favorite characters of all time, the very reluctant and unassuming hero, Bilbo Baggins.

    As a child,

    sparked my young imagination, causing wonderful daydreams and horrible nightmares. As a teen, the book made me want to become a writer of fantastical tales...or go shoeless, live in a hole and smoke a pipe. As an adult, Tolkien's novel maintains within me a link to my childhood, safekeeping cherished memories and evoking everlasting emotions.

    The troubles with trolls, those slinking spiders, the finding of treasure, cave exploration, riddles in the dark...it all added up in me a love for adventure. I would make many an ornate wooden sword in my father's basement workshop, because of Sting. Funny I didn't take to wearing rings though...

    Being pint-sized, Mr. Baggins makes the perfect magnetic character for a young person. He is about a child's size, yet he is mature. Similar, yet something to aspire to. His diminutive stature made his implausible escapes and victories that much more satisfying. Nothing bores me more than muscle-bound killing machines wielding swords the size of windmill blades.

    I have read this fantastic tale a number of times, watched the 70s cartoon movie version countless times and was counting down the days with unabashed eagerness until Peter Jackson's new live action film came out. I will continue to read

    again and again, for the road goes ever, ever on...

    This may be the movie I've watched the most in my life. This is the one I can quote from start to finish and annoy the fuck out of my friends. I try to refrain, but when John Huston bellows out, "I am Gandalf and Gandalf means ME!!!"...well, I just can't help myself. Crazy-off-his-rocker Brother Theodore as Gollum still astounds me with the sheer depth of his guttural growl. Sorry voice-straining Serkis, but this is the real Gollum, the creepy muthah that kept me up nights. Though Rankin & Bass's version skips over the whole Beorn scene entirely, coming in at 90 minutes, they actually managed to pack in quite a bit of story. Certainly it is truncated (to absurdity during The Battle of Five Armies), but at least it's not overblown, as appears to be happening with Peter Jackson's unnecessarily long trilogy of this single book.

    Though it's a few pages shorter than the regular paperback version, this marvelous part-text, part-illustrated version seems to be unabridged. It includes screenshots taken directly from the 70s cartoon, plus where the movie skipped over parts of the book they've included extra illustrations, admittedly of mixed quality. It's a little strange to see the same characters rendered differently sitting side by side...

    ...but nonetheless, it's always fun to see how artists interpret the work, especially when it's a work dear to your heart.

    It's never fun to see an artist tear the heart out of a work. Peter Jackson was given too long a leash when New Line stretched this one book out to three separate movies. Instead of one movie packed with awesome, we get three that, so far (I've yet to see the third and I'm not eager to), have been watered down and dragged out. Extra scenes are added and add nothing: Really, a sleigh ride chase scene with an incredibly minor character? And honestly, can Richard Armitage (as Thorin Oakenshield) act with any other part of his body besides his eyebrows?

  • Inge

    To be fair, it really

    a cool story. Mr Tolkien’s imagination is endless and I respect him immensely for that. To be able to

    To be fair, it really

    a cool story. Mr Tolkien’s imagination is endless and I respect him immensely for that. To be able to conjure a whole new, magical world and all these creatures in it.. absolutely amazing. But it is also a very long-winded story and I found myself struggling to get the

    done. Reading is not supposed to be a job; it’s supposed to be fun and relaxing. For me,

    was not an engaging story – I was distracted constantly and kept missing paragraphs. The story in itself is pretty great, but the way it is told makes the magic disappear. I am not quite sure how to explain. Maybe it was the way it was written, or the fact that they take a long time before anything happens. I should also mention the highly anticlimactic end of Smaug, and the fact that I can’t tell any of the dwarves apart. And the

    ! Dear Merlin,

    I felt like I was in a ruddy musical.

    I’m sad that I didn’t like it as much. I wish I did. In any case, still a cool story, bro.

  • Darth J

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