The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Posted January 28, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Illustrator: Alan Lee
Series: Middle Earth
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on February 12th 2012 (first in 1937)
Genres: Adult fiction, Adventure, Classics, Fantasy
Pages: 322
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

Bilbo Baggins is a reasonably typical hobbit: fond of sleeping, eating, drinking, parties and presents. However, it is his destiny to travel to the dwarflands in the east, to help slay the dragon Smaug. His quest takes him through enchanted forests, spiders' lairs, and under the Misty Mountains, where he comes across the vile Gollum, and tricks him out of his 'Precious' - a ring that makes its bearer invisible, and wields a terrible power of its own.

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing is so simple there is no question that this is a children’s story, but he still has a certain charm in his style that just seems so clever.
Plot:
A lot of events are sort of passed over; not described in great detail at all. Had I not seen the movies (in which there was considerably more detail, which of course had to be made up) I’m sure I would have noticed all the same. It is a little bit of a disappointment indeed, but I suppose the movies satisfy a little of it at least even knowing it was not intended to be that way. In fact all things considered it was a very short book. But it was a really cool story. 
What I think is really interesting is the character roles in the story. Bilbo is the main character for sure, but his own role is not a huge one at least in the end. In the beginning 2/3 (approximately) he gets the dwarves out of most of their troubles and after that he is still very clever but he really does not save the day. In fact, Thorin is perhaps the opposite. He is rather useless in the beginning but then becomes extremely important, both as a villain and a hero.
Another thing to consider is the leader of the group. At the beginning it appears to be Gandalf until he leaves them, and then it turns to…Thorin? No! Bilbo! This is so curious! You would think it would be Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King Under the Mountain, but it is not! Bilbo is the one they turn to because he is resourceful and has saved them and he has a magic ring. So then you have to take that into consideration when later Thorin becomes obsessed with wealth and refuses to give it where it is due, against his honor. Where did his honor come from, anyway? All we see of Thorin is his wordiness, his uselessness as a leader, and then he is consumed by dragon-sickness (obsession with the treasure). So it does not do very well for our opinion of him.
I admit earlier I did not give Bilbo very much credit, but looking back I believe he did deserve a lot. For one who did not have any desire for adventure from the beginning he took to it rather well (excuse the pun- Took).
But there is so much more that could have been elaborated upon, especially Gandalf’s business. That alone could have been another story, or at least another chapter. And the battle with Smaug was very short. And there was nothing about what was going on with Thorin inside the mountain before he changes his mind and decides to leave the mountain to fight in the Battle. In the movie that was a whole big changing point and a big deal. It was not even mentioned in the book.
In fact, I feel like the movies do a much better job with Thorin then the book does. They make him out to be a much more dramatic and dark/complex character, and after seeing the movies I can’t think of him without crying.
Another interesting thing to note is that the importance of the Ring is much different here than in the Lord of the Rings. True, it is important and gets Bilbo out of a lot of scrapes, but its importance is more to Bilbo personally than the general public. And it does not appear to have any dangerous side effects. Which is curious, in comparison with its role in the Lord of the Rings.
I found it hilarious that they kept referring to Bilbo as a burglar. First of all, it’s just a funny word, and it seemed really out of place in Middle Earth. I just…it’s so funny. *chuckles*
Well, while the plot was a bit more straightforward than I would have liked it was very good.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • plot
  • characters
  • writing
  • setting
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  • detail
  • and therefore, length
Bottom Line
I loved this book even though it was short and glossed over a lot of things that could have been more detailed. There were a great many twists and turns and the character roles were rather unexpected. But it was certainly a fast-moving story and an engaging one. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this to others? Yes.
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About J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Rating
Plot
five-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Setting
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Ending
five-stars
Overall: five-stars
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