12.15.2012

Review - The Hobbit



The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien
300 pages

Description via Goodreads
Surely, you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really suppose, do you that all your adventures and escapes were managed by pure luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all! (303)
I read The Hobbit as a read-along hosted at Unputdownables. Although the read-along is scheduled for another two weeks, I went ahead and finished the last 75 pages, so I can see the movie. Honestly, I don't want to over-analyze or even really analyze this book--why? because it's been done before, and I didn't feel too strongly about anything to offer up any commentary. But that doesn't mean I didn't like the story. I quite enjoyed it. Tolkien created a solid story of adventure, good over evil and self-discovery. (Of course he did, he's J.R.R Tolkien)

Many people have already read the book, or will see it in theaters, so I guess it might make sense to bring up what was discussed in the read-along...because there were a few things that others brought up that I couldn't understand...for example, I was met with slight  resistance when I suggested that Gandalf was an all-knowing figure and obviously powerful. Others said no (which is fine, I don't have to be right) but how they could deny his 'all-knowingness' was odd to me. They say he's 'wise'. I say yes, most definitely, but he knows way more about the direction of the journey than he lets on. They say he can influence the sequence of events, but can't predict the outcome...and in my head, if someone can influence the chain of events so that it almost always leads to a favorable ending, that's pretty damn powerful to me. But anyways, that was one thing. 

Maybe, I won't go into the other odd things from the discussions (it's related to ponies and handkerchiefs)...after all I did enjoy the book  Here are couple of passages that I really liked:
They walked in single file. The entrance to the path as like a sort of arch leading into a gloomy tunnel made by two great trees that leant together, too old and strangled with ivy and hung with lichen to bear more than a few blackened leaves. The path itself was narrow and wound in and out among the trunks. Soon the light at the gate was like a little bright hole far behind, and the quiet was so deep that their feet seemed to thump along while all the trees leaned over them and listened (139)
Paths had vanished, and many a rider and wanderer too, if they tried to find the lost ways across. The elf-road through the wood which the dwarves had followed on the advice of Beorn now came to a doubtful and little used end at the eastern edge of the forest; only the river offered any longer a safe way from the skirts of Mirkwood in the North to the mountain-shadowed plains beyond, and the river was guarded by the Wood-elves' king. So you see Bilbo had come in the end by the only road that was any good (189)
So, yeah. That's all I got...now to see the movie.

The Hobbit
Four stars.

6 comments:

  1. I love the Hobbit, though if you read my review, you'll see I didn't love it QUITE as much as some people.

    But it's interesting to think of Gandalf and Merlin together, I think. (Have you ever read the Once and Future King?). Merlin always knows what will happen next because he lives his life backwards. And I think he's still trying to influence events to turn out right...but he also knows that he is moving inexorably towards his own downfall. So even though he has a pretty special second sight, he's also limited in his ability to put band-aids on everything.

    Anyway, it's interesting to think about whether having glimpses into "fate" or "prophecy" gives you the power to change it...and in the end, I have to admit that Gandalf ends up being a sort of deus-ex machina a number of times.

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    1. Yes, I didn't LOVE it. But I liked really liked it.

      ...and I like the Gandalf-Merlin connection.

      I have not read the Once and Future King, but I will look into it now that you've mentioned it.

      He was a deus ex-machina! For sure! ...I don't know how people were denying it. I likened it to Candide's misadventures minus the heavy religious implications/social criticism. Everything always worked out somehow. Had this been a different book, geared toward a different audience, it would have annoyed me more.

      I will certainly check out your review. I skimmed it the other day, and then I saw your back and forth debate with someone... Checking it out now, actually.

      Thanks for visiting!

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    2. The fun part of Gandalf's character, too, is that even while he appears at the least likely of moments...he never fixes things up perfectly. He always seems to muddle his perfect fix a little. But probably the best example of that is in Fellowship where he can't get the door to Moria open.

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    3. Yeah, I thought that too when they were in the trees and surrounded and Gandalf starts his firework magic...and then things catch on fire. And then the eagles come to rescue them all.

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  2. Replies
    1. I have yet to see it...no one will go with me because they all hated the book when they read it.

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