魔戒前傳: 哈比人歷險記 [Mo jie qian zhuan: ha bi ren li xian ji] = Hobbit

ISBN: 9570823348
ISBN 13: 9789570823349
By: J.R.R. Tolkien

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About this book

'The Hobbit' in Traditional Chinese characters.

Reader's Thoughts


This book was a very ancient candidate on my "to read list" and I always planned to read it just before the Lord of the Rings. So far, things have worked out and I have started Lord of the Rings the same afternoon I finished the Hobbit.I don't think I would enjoy Lord of the Rings as much as I do, had I not read the Hobbit just beforehand. The Hobbit really provides the reader with a lot of background information, which is an advantage when you get started with the trilogy.Nevertheless, I still feel that, as a stand - alone story, the Hobbit is a book aimed at children. Tolkien's fluid writing style and the way in which he addresses his readers, often gave me the impression that the author was right next to me, lecturing about hobbits in a style suitable for primary school children. The Hobbit is thus the perfect book to read to your children before bedtime or even one of the first novels they might read themselves.When evaluating the Hobbit as a prelude to Lord of the Rings, things look a little bit different. Currently reading Lord of the Rings, I am thankful to have followed the chronological path, as the Hobbit prepares the setting for Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien has adapted his very scholarly writing style to an audience of grown ups.Apart from the obvious highlights of the story, i.e. Bilbo's encounter with Gollum, The Hobbit, even though the plot was neat and perfectly paced, sometimes felt dragging as the story meanders from one perilous situation to another. However, the aspect I enjoyed most was the author's typically English humour, which often shines through when Bilbo interacts with the other characters.


The action was good. The elements are there. But I was hoping for more!Initial Thoughts:1. I liked Bilbo Baggins, his personality, and his development throughout the story. I was hoping he was fleshed out more, but he made a very good protagonist.2. My favourite chapter was Riddles in the Dark. It was intense, creepy, and a lot of fun. The chapters where Bilbo and the Dwarves were in a tight spot, I really enjoyed and I couldn't wait to see how they'd get out of it!3. I felt there was a lack of depth to the majority of the characters and the plot. There are 13 dwarves, but only a handful have bigger (kind of) roles that others. There's no personality or outstanding character traits, and it was difficult to be emotionally invested in these characters and their adventures. The dwarves are central to the plot, but it didn't feel like it.4. I liked the fantastical creatures and characters. The world is great! But again, I wanted MORE.5. The ending was anti-climactic. There's a bit of re-direction going on I wasn't expecting.I'm still looking forward to The Lord of the Rings. Hopefully I'll fare better. :) Click here to check out my video review!


There are some days when I actually think that the humble Hobbit is superior to it's bohemoth brother, The Lord of the Rings . It's a much tighter story, and Bilbo is a much more appeal character than is Frodo. I also just love this poem, from The HobbitFar over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away ere break of dayTo seek the pale enchanted gold.The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,While hammers fell like ringing bellsIn places deep, where dark things sleep,In hollow halls beneath the fells.For ancient king and elvish lordThere many a gleaming golden hoardThey shaped and wrought, and light they caughtTo hide in gems on hilt of sword.On silver necklaces they strungThe flowering stars, on crowns they hungThe dragon-fire, in twisted wireThey meshed the light of moon and sun.Far over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away, ere break of day,To claim our long-forgotten gold.Goblets they carved there for themselvesAnd harps of gold; where no man delvesThere lay they long, and many a songWas 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 daleAnd men looked up with faces pale;The dragon's ire more fierce that fireLaid 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 fallBeaneath his feet, beneath the moon.Far over the misty mountains grimTo dungeons deep and caverns dimWe must away, ere break of day,To win our harps and gold from him

Emily May

In certain crowds, my rating and the words I'm about to write (well, type) would probably get me shot. But The Hobbit is still, to this day, the single most boring book I have ever read. That's including The Globalization of World Politics. And Moby-Dick. I feel like I'm missing something with all of Tolkien's work. I don't get the love :(


I love the feeling of connectedness you get when you've wondered about something for a long time, and finally discover the answer. I had a great example of that yesterday. As I said in my review of The Lord of the Rings, for me Tolkien is all about language. I must have read The Hobbit when I was about 8, and even at that age I was fascinated by his made-up names. They sort of made sense, but not quite.Then, when I was 21, I learned Swedish, and suddenly there were many things in Middle Earth that came into focus! Of course, the Wargs get their name from the Swedish varg, wolf. And "Beorn" is like björn, bear.But I never figured out why Bilbo was teasing the spiders in Mirkwood by calling them "attercop". Now I know. It's an archaic English word related to the modern Norwegian word for spider, edderkopp. The Swedish word, spindel, comes from a different root. I've thought about that for over 40 years. See how much fun it is to acquire a new language?

Bryon Medina

This book took me on a great adventure, one that took me through a great range of emotions, and I have to say, it must be the cutest adventure I've ever been on. How can you not adore Bilbo and his hobbit friends with thier furry feet and quaint past-times? Of course, by the same Tolkien (pun intended), how can you not be afraid for Bilbo as he faces trolls, gobblins, men, and numerous other dangers? I for one don't know how you couldn't, not with J.R.R.'s gift for character development. I quickly came to identify with Bilbo and realized that he and I share a fondness for many of the same things, such as: food, music, and pipe weed, just to name a few. And I could easily see myself in his furry lack of shoes, as he finds himself in way over his head. When I finally got around to reading this book I had allready read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and felt like this was the low calorie version, but that was exactly what I needed in my life. After the great epic of the trilogy it would be years before I could watch Middle earth go through that kind of upheaval again, yet I just could'nt get enough of J.R.R.'s fascinating creation. Or did he create it? Middle earth seems so ancient, so grand, and so complete I sometimes suspect that Tolkein didn't in fact make it up at all, but that somehow, somewhere, middle earth is out there and as real as we are. It's as if Tolkein saw it all himself and simply wrote it down. If you haven't read this book, do so, and share it with everyone you love. Read it to people who will listen, or at least make shure that they can get a copy. No one should miss out on the the beutifull and mystical place that is middle earth, after all who doesn't want to escape every now and then, if just for a little while?

Kwesi 章英狮

Bilbo Baggins is a normal hobbit, only wanted is a peaceful life and a home loving type. But one day when Gandalf tricked Bilbo to host a party for Thorin and the gang, he was ridiculed and forced to join the team to explore the land within the imagination of Tolkien. Bilbo, the band and the reader met new faces from orcs, eagles, and other mystical creature that fought within stories by stories. Imaginative Tolkien once again made his famous children's book of all time.If I'm a little bit younger, I may love and treasured this book like the other readers. I heard a lot of praises and one of my friends love Tolkien that he collected most of his works in hardbound, not to mention his Stephen King first edition hardbound copies. So I read it because of him and some of my friends in the other group, and I'm glad I did! It was a fun read and I can feel the songs still tingling on my ear. Come, my jolly hobbit!What are hobbits or holbytlan (hole-dweller) in Old English anyway? Hobbits are small creature created by Tolkien. They are usually very shy creatures, but are nevertheless capable of great courage and amazing feats under the proper circumstances. For me they are just cute little stuff toy that you want to give to your friend or girlfriend, seriously I fetish them for some reason. For what reason Tolkien created this small creature, he succeed to make them to be loved by humans. To whoever it signify, the hole dwellers will always be those shy type heroes or maybe not.I enjoyed reading the book. He also use ruin symbols which I'm currently studying because of its power to decode the future, kidding, I mean to tell the future. Somehow, the letters are unique but not quite used in the context itself. It was just introduced through the map and the clue to where the dragon lived. I'm still expecting more from it since they already shoot a movie adaptation and I can't wait to watch it. God, seriously, for 18 years of existence I never tried to watch the Lord of the Rings series but I'll promise to interfere my reading after I read the whole book just to watch it.The Hobbit was also written in a simple and in friendly way. Although most of you can determine who those characters saying, for me, I find it very difficult to identify them except for Bilbo. I have to back read a little bit and read it again but I never thought that the book put me to sleep and dreamed of A Walk to Remember. I know there is no connection between the said movie and the book but what I want to say is that the book is very magical. It digs the unconscious part of the person not like the books I read for awhile.If people ask me why I gave this book a four and I really enjoyed it, well, that's because the events happened too fast that I can't feel the whole action and so on. Hey, I don't mean because I read a lot of pocketbooks lately, that's the worst answer you can conclude! But at least, all the time I spent is worth it! I'm interested in reading the other series, but today, I have to play with my new friend, Mr. Hobbit. Tra-la-la-la-la!Review posted on Old-Fashioned Reader .Rating: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien, 4 SweetsChallenges:Book #261 for 2011


Finished reading it to the kids tonight. I'll have to write about it tomorrow.later ... It's been almost two decades since I last read The Hobbit,and the intervening years have not been kind to our relationship. I've reread The Lord of the Rings in that time, and been both dazzled and repulsed by Peter Jackson's screen interpretation of them. I revised my intellectual response to Tolkien, if not my feelings, because of the racism inherent in the Trilogy, then I revised it again because of the sexism. But the Hobbit comes out in the theatres this year, and my kids are HUGE fans of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman -- Sherlock and Watson on the BBC's Holmes update -- and since they just happen to be playing Smaug and Bilbo Baggins, respectively, I thought it was about time I revisited Middle Earth with my kids, setting aside my Tolkien grievances to awake some non-Potter magic in their hearts. It was the single best reading aloud experience I've ever had, and I've read many, many books with Të and Loš in their seven years. They loved it like nothing else I've read. Miloš actually wept when Thorin died (which took me completely by surprise). Brontë adored Fili & Kili, and has drawn some spectacular pictures of Smaug. Even Scoutie toddled her way into the readings once in a while, wanting to be part of the energy and excitement. Reading the Hobbit aloud was nothing like what I had expected. I expected the read to be a slog. I was thinking of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings prose, that heavily descriptive, pseudo-archaic language that delivers so much weight to the War of the Rings, and I thought it would be impossible to keep my kids interested (though I had to try). Boy, was I wrong. I remembered that Bilbo was the slightly-veiled narrator, but I assumed he would sound like Tolkien. I always remembered it that way, but it wasn't and he didn't. The narrative and the narration didn't just sound like Bilbo Baggins, it was Bilbo Baggins, with Bilbo often intruding quite literally on the telling (hiding his identity, of course, as any good ring bearer would). It was a conversation between Bilbo and my kids, and I was able to become Bilbo and tell the tale as our little Hobbit rather than as a dad reading to his kids in the winter of their seventh year.Something marvellous occurred to me during my reading, something I'd missed each time I'd read the book in the past -- and it's the true genius of Tolkien's writing. I have always marvelled at his world building, his linguistic gymnastics, his deep, believable, overwhelming mythologies (even when other issues have frustrated me). I have been blown away by the fierce creativity of Tolkien's mind. But I suddenly realized what a subtle writer he truly was. The Hobbit, you see, is a lie. It is a white lie, perhaps -- an hyperbolous exaggeration by a bit player turning himself into the star -- but it is a lie from beginning to end, and Tolkien wants us to find the lie (and to do that we must be well versed in the Lord of the Rings -- so J.R.R. was busy forcing some deep intertexuality, amongst other brilliant things) and love Mr. Baggins all the more for the lie.In Lord of the Rings we see an extended and objective vision of four hobbits, each heroic in their own way, each impressive, each foolish and/or weak, each capable of making decisions and driving events, but they are merely part of a much larger whole. They are members of a party of beings who can and do the same things as they. Aragorn is a king in the making; Gandalf the White, née Grey, is the catalyst of action; Boromir is noble and tortured and tragically heroic; Legolas and Gimli and Eomer and Eowyn and Treebeard and Gollum and Faramir and others all have roles to play, all are capable, all are important. But in the Hobbit -- with the exception of Gandalf once in a while -- Bilbo Baggins, or so he tells us, is the only one capable of anything great, and everyone else's great moments, if they have them, depend on him.He is like no other Hobbit who ever lived. He's also completely full of shit, which makes me love him even more. There's probably a sliver of truth in everything our furry footed unreliable narrator tells us, but whatever that sliver is really doesn't matter because The Hobbit isn't about the truth, it's about the weaving of a tale, and this is the one time that J.R.R. Tolkien achieves that weaving perfectly. The Hobbit is mesmerizing for those who read it and those who have it read to them. I wonder what the movie will do with Bilbo's attercoppy web of deceit. Will Jackson play it straight, and retell the tale in the same way he told Lord of the Rings (I can't imagine a bigger mistake)? Will it be dour and serious, and will Bilbo's lies be taken as truth? Will the movie be the book, lies and all? Will Jackson somehow tip us off to Bilbo's bullshit? Or will he dig deep into the tale and tell us the Hobbit that really was but never made it onto the page? Will all the events be there, but will the Dwarves be more capable? Will Thorin be more impressive? Will Bard and Beorn and Gandalf be more than deus ex machinas? Will Smaug be more frightening, and will his demise be more his own responsibility and less Bilbo's? Whatever the case, I think Jackson will have a much harder time delivering a satisfying Hobbit, though I bet it will be more loved than his first three. It doesn't matter what the movie(s) do(es), though. What matters is that for those who take the time to read this with their loved ones, who read to their children or take a very patient lover and spend some time in a darkish room in your pajamas and really roll the tale out. (This stuff may not be sexy in the strictest sense, but literacy is hot however you slice it, and this is the kind of tale for the telling.) Be the freaking trolls, wield Sting while you shout attercop and slash down your arachnid foes, smoke and steam and lie like Smaug in the ruined halls, squeak and scheme and try to avert a battle of five armies, and fail, but fail in the honesty of smallness,"* for those who really embrace the telling, The Hobbit will always remain one of the most rewarding literary experiences you can have.I love this book more now that I ever have before. I hope, with fingers crossed, that a year or two from now, Miloš or Brontë or Scoutie will bring me our tattered old copy of the Hobbit and ask me to read it again. Or, maybe someday, when I am old and dying, one of them will come by the home I am wasting away in and read it to me. That is about the most beautiful way to die I can imagine. And it will be comfortable and cozy in a way that Bilbo would approve.*stolen with love and respect from Ceridwen's fantastic review. Go see it for yourself.

Ellie Red

Reading 'the hobbit' was a delight. I always wanted to read a novel by Tolkien and I finally got the chance! Lord of the rings was the first epic story I ever learned about so I have an emotional connection with Tolkien's world. The hobbit was magnificent, so magical and full of good messages about the world and people's values. Bilbo is a hero, even in the beginning when all he wants to do is stay inside his hobbit hole and not go on a adventure, he is kind and respectful. Even though almost everyone didn't believe in him, he pulled through amazingly.The world doesn't need me to tell him that Tolkien is one of the best storytellers ever but if you happen to read my review and haven't still read the book, do it, you will gain only good things.

Seak (Bryce L.)

Amazing.-----------------The above was my first review of this and really summed things up quite succinctly. Below is actually a review of the first of the trilogy of movies following The Hobbit (kinda).-----------------There have been lots of thoughts on this movie already, but I felt I needed to add my two cents, because, well, lots of people are just plain wrong.Okay, maybe people have good reason to be disappointed with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but I wanted to tell you why you shouldn't be. I think we all had a bit of an inkling that the film version of our beloved book, The Hobbit, wasn't quite going to follow the book precisely when we learned it was going to be two movies. I mean, each of the books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy got one movie and they're all longer than The Hobbit...so logic already started us down this path.Then we found out it was going to be three movies.Slight doubt was replaced with actual knowledge. The movie version(s) of The Hobbit was NOT GOING TO FOLLOW THE BOOK exactly.[image error]So, why are so many people coming out of this movie utterly disappointed the movie didn't follow the book? You already knew this going in! There were no expectations to dash in this regard and if you had any expectations, they should have rightfully been dashed weeks if not months before the viewing of this movie.The Hobbit delivers with orc-slaying, adventure-having, rock-throwing, breath-taking goodness. What's wrong with that?Now there are few books I reread, there are just too many to go through once, but The Hobbit is one of the rare books I've read twice. It will always have a special place in my heart and I still loved this movie.I'm not going to say it was completely devoid of fault. Two things irritated me for a time and they were the handling of the troll scene, which was good in its own right, but COMPLETELY different when it could have been kept the same. The other thing was the use of CGI was a bit (okay really) heavy at times especially for the main big baddie. If you could only have seen my face as I watched The Hobbit. There was literally a smile ear to ear the entire time. I loved it. I'm pleading with you, manage your expectations. Think of this as Peter Jackson goes to Middle Earth (with possibly the only goal of staying consistent with his earlier films). You'll be much happier.


Maybe one day soon I'll write a proper review of The Hobbit.In the meantime, I want to say this:If you are a child, you need to read this for Gollum's riddles.If you are an adult, you need to read this book to children (if you don't have children, rent borrow some) for at least one opportunity to roleplay Gollum.Becuz GOLLUM ROOOLZ!!!!! See here, he even won an award!! (Click on the link to see a hilarious video)Of course the most compelling reason to add this to your reading list in haste is that it's coming to the MOOVIEZZZ!! (Now we're waiting for part 3).Btw, if you like kickass fighting elves, not to mention pretty kickass she-elves and some sizzling elf romance--well, then you might like the second Hobbit movie more than the book... ahem!Part 3 coming to a cinema house near you soon(-ish. My PRECCIOOOUUSSSSS!...and soon I'll have a copy of the all the moviez, and they will be me MINE, all mine, just like my precciousss illustrated copies of the novel.Ha, you didn't think one copy would be enough did you??If you get around used bookstores a lot, do look out for an illustrated version of the book!


Where there's life there's hope. I've been thinking a lot of how many stars giving to the book, since there were parts that I loved a lot, but there were others that I found tedious and even anti-climatic, but in respect to this great writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, I think that the book deserves at least 4-stars rating with which I feel easy since I am not giving it a full rating but also I am not punishing it for things that maybe a future re-reading will solve. In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Anyway, it's amazing how with this line... In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. ... the epic fantasy were never the same... it got better!It's so fantastic to think how Tolkien felt the impulse to write down this line, and from it, a whole epic universe came into life. I loved to read when some book came up from a dream (like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) or from an unknown impulse, like in these case. I watched at some moment a documentary abour Tolkien's work and I learned how he was looking for a mythology, in the sense like the Nordic one or the Greek one, to call as own on England, and it was the trigger to creat such vast and appealing universe. And even more interesting to choose its point of development, since the core books like this one, The Hobbit and the following trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, are located in an time where the magic is leaving the Middle-Earth and the age of men is becoming the important one. If you sit on the doorstep long enough, I daresay you will think of something. I think that certainly many people could love "more magic" in the main story, there would be others who enjoy the "more downed" tone with more "realistic" elements. In that way, everybody can like this story since there is a good balance of magic and "terrenal" stuff. I learned that in the second edition/fifth printing (if I am not mistaken) was where Tolkien made the corrections in the Fifth Chapter, Riddles in the Dark, to make it fit better with the evolution of the sequel known as The Lord of the Rings. Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever! Still, it was amazing how Tolkien could develop such impressive "sequel" from the book of The Hobbit with only editing one chapter, but definitely a key one. It's wonderful how the mood of the book is at hand with the maturing of Bilbo Baggins, the main protagonist, since the story started quite innocent and even with such humoristic moments and step by step is turning more and more serious, in the same way as Bilbo is getting more serious about his role in the mission. My Precious, my Precious. The two introductions about characters that I absolutely loved were the Elrond's and Smaug's... About Elrond... He was as noble and fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong, as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer. I mean...wow!!! If you are not impressed about a character when he or she is introduced in such way, well, I don't know what else you'd need. About Smaug... My armour is like ten fold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death! Oh yes, right then, anybody without a ring of power on his finger should run like crazy and never NEVER stop to look behind. It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Without spoiling anything really crutial, I think that my most favorite part were the moon-letters. I mean, secret messages that you can read only at certain position of the moon in the year... WOW!!! and my favorite moment there, was when is asked to Elrond if the map says something else... Not with this moon. (Or something much like it) I mean, it gives a promise that may that map has some other secrets in there, only to be revealed at the right position of the moon in the year. WOW!!! It's cool when you read or see an scene where certain treasure's location is revealed when the sun's light or moon's light came into a certain room at certain moment of the year, but I think that this "moon-letter" and/or "moon runes" are way WAY MUCH COOLER.Obviously, Gandalf is a great character, but I think that it was "too" great and Tolkien had troubles to think about challenges to put into the travelling group and they could mean a real risk having a powerful wizard in the midst. And you sensed it when they are in peril UNTIL Gandalf appears again. I understand. Gandalf rules! But hey, if you create such powerful character you have to live with him/her, I mean, if you will have troubles to think about adventures involving him/her, well, then, at least, let's present him/her as a passing character like Elrond, but when you have Gandalf in the travelling group, it's even more notorious the conflicts of the author when that character is dissapearing and appearing.In here, about Smaug's fate... (view spoiler)[You have such powerful and intimidating character as Smaug, the last of the dragons, with such fearful introduction and later bam! it is beaten with a dang arrow? Thanks to a very convenient failure in his armour that a hobbit that he doesn't know anything about warfare, he was able to deduce a weak point that many, many, many warfaring races weren't able to deduce? And so, this menace that it's been spoken about along the whole book...bam! It's killed with a single arrow and even the arrow is shot by a totally new character that you didn't know anything about until that moment? Geez! (hide spoiler)]I was expecting more about Thorin Oakenshield. Certainly, the first part of Peter Jackson's film adaptations gave him a lot of credit and respect, presenting him as a powerful leader, where in the book, he doesn't do anything useful. And in fact, I didn't find out why so many dwarves in the story since nobody did something particulary memorable. At some moments, you think that Balin will become something more in the story but no, Bombur is only remembered by his weight (that I found something cruel how he is treated in the story) and even I thought that since Gloin is the father of Gimli, he would do something awesome at some moment but no. So, why so many dwarves in the group if they won't do something useful in the story? I think Gimli, one single dwarf, did more to give a good name to the dwarf race in The Lord of the Rings, than 13 dwarves in the whole The Hobbit.I loved the trolls! Maybe some people didn't get the most humoruous aspect of them. I mean, you are in the Middle-Earth and everybody has names like Bilbo, Thorin, Gandalf, Elrond, etc... but the trolls' names are: Bert, Tom and William!!! I don't know but I found that such amusing, that they had such common and "modern" names in the middle of such "epic fantasied" names. At the end, The Hobbit is a wonderful piece of writing where you find a totally new race in almost each chapter and not only you know the new race but also you get a "glimpse" realizing that behind of each race there is an extensive and rich history that you won't be able to know in its entirely way, adding more mystery to the whole universe created here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


The only Tolkien I've ever read. And it guarantees it'll stay that way. That's right, I'm one of the five people on the planet who didn't pretend to have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy after the movies came out. And that's using the term loosely. They weren't really movies, they were more like protracted masturbatory fantasies for stoner geeks and people who would otherwise be making b-horror film remakes. The Hobbit wasn't a part of the trilogy, and I can only assume that it got left it out because it wasn't as good as the other 3 books. Or 10. How many are written now? I can't keep track. My generation's contempt for franchises apparently only extends to Steven Segal movies. But I digress. The Hobbit is plodding, ponderous, pretentious and yes, perfunctory. Even the people I know who really, truly did read those godawful books all say The Hobbit is the weakest of the lot. Personally, I don't trust them. I think they're trying to trick me into reading one of the others so I finally realize how utterly useless reading really is, and give up on literacy altogether.NC


I have a long and very personal history with _The Hobbit_. My first experience of it was, I think, at the age of 7 or 8 when my older brother (13 years my senior) read the story to me and I was immediately captivated. After that came readings from the LotR and I was a Tolkien fan forevermore. My re-reading of _The Hobbit_ immediately prior to my most recent one was a bit of a disappointment. Somehow the same old magic didn’t all seem to be there and I was perhaps most discomfited by the gaps in style that were apparent between this story and its even more famous descendent, _The Lord of the Rings_. On this re-read, however, I found much of my initial love of the tale coming back to me and many of the same episodes stirred memories of my first hearing of the tale.For those two or three people not in the know, this is the story of a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins by name, and his unexpected adventure with 13 dwarves and, for part of the time at least, the wizard Gandalf. Thorin Oakenshield and his followers have long been exiled from their home, the far-away and fabled dwarf-realm of Erebor at the Lonely Mountain, after its pillaging by the dragon Smaug. We follow Bilbo as he moves from inept bungler to expert burglar and begin to see, along with the dwarves, just why Gandalf chose this particular hobbit to round out the unlucky number of the dwarves’ party as his inner courage and resourcefulness grow. We see Bilbo through many adventures, from an encounter with trolls and a harrowing escape from goblins, to a dark journey through the treacherous spider-haunted deeps of Mirkwood and a creeping view of the great dragon upon his misbegotten mound of gold. There are many great characters to meet in the journey from Bilbo’s hobbit hole to the Lonely Mountain, even if only a few of the dwarves are fleshed out to any great detail. A personal favourite is the irascible Beorn, a vegetarian skin-changer and unwitting host to the party who eventually becomes a staunch ally; and am I wrong in seeing in the enigmatic and laconic Bard the bowman something of a prototype for Aragorn?This is, of course, a children’s story, and as such does not always seem to sit well as a prequel to the later work, the Lord of the Rings (though of course in its original conception the tale was not meant to be a prequel to anything and its ultimate inclusion into the storied history of Middle Earth only grew as the tale did and the significance of certain elements, namely the Ring, became clearer in Tolkien’s mind). Whether it is the silly songs sung by the elves of Rivendell (can anyone picture Fëanor or Thingol singing these things?), the faux-cockney accents and names of the trolls encountered by Bilbo and co., or the various authorial asides, this book can appear hard to reconcile with the later tales. Of course one valid approach to this is simply to say, “who cares?” and move on. This is certainly valid, but after my most recent reading I found that taking into account the conceit of Tolkien’s that all of his tales from Middle Earth (even the posthumously published _The Silmarillion_) exist as documents taken originally from the “Red Book of Westmarch”, a hobbit tome detailing the adventures of the Shire’s most famous sons, and subsequently handled and translated by many hands before coming down to us was a helpful approach. In essence we can see in _The Hobbit_ how Bilbo’s diary of his own adventures was turned into an adventure tale for children, while the higher matters of the LotR were possibly deemed unsuitable for such treatment. Thus we have talking spiders, tra-la-laing High Elves, and silly trolls mixed in with berserk shape-changing warriors, hints of malign necromancy, and a final battle on the doorstep of the Lonely Mountain.Bilbo is an excellent main character, both unsure of himself and eager to prove his dwarven compatriots wrong in their initial impression of him to be “more a green grocer than a burglar”. Many may criticize Tolkien for his apparent anachronism with the hobbits and the Shire in Middle Earth, with their mantel clocks, singing tea kettles and other modern conveniences in the midst of what appears to be a medieval world of saga and epics. Yet it is this familiarity that allows us to identify with Bilbo as he is thrown into the strange epic world outside the bounds of the Shire. To my mind, despite his estrangement from it, Bilbo sits much more comfortably in this world than do a pack of modern British schoolchildren crossing dimensions or some other conceit that might have been used to allow the reader to identify with the hero. This also gives Bilbo the chance to grow into something more akin to a hero and leader than we ever would have expected of him based on his origins and it is this growth that gives impetus to the story amidst its many colourful episodes. The most famous of these is, of course, the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, a suitably creepy game played by Bilbo for nothing less than his life and the keystone moment that links this smaller tale to the greater epic of the LotR as we see just how important that question Bilbo asks is: “What have I got in my pocket?”Bilbo not only grows in courage and resourcefulness, but shows his inner worth when he resists the call of the dragon horde, unlike the unfortunate Thorin, and even attempts to broker peace between those who ought to be allies when greed and anger threaten to destroy all that the quest attempted to achieve, at the possible cost of his own safety and the friendship of his comrades. This is a great story for children, of any age, and will provide them with not only an exciting adventure, but also some good lessons and a fine model for true heroism. It’s also a great introduction to the world of Middle Earth and you won’t regret your time spent with the charming Mr. Baggins of Bag End.

Shayantani Das

The Hobbit is the epic journey of Bilbo Baggins, our titular 50 something hobbit. Bilbo though might as well be 10 year old, since he has almost no experience of the outside world and likes to sit in his Hobbit hole, resting in his armchair having breakfast, supper and dinner and numerous meals in between. That is, until Gandalf the great comes barging in with a dozen of dwarfs, urging him to take up the role of the burglar in their quest to The Lonely Mountains. The dwarfs question Gandalf’s decision, which offends Bilbo and the home loving hobbit agrees sets out with them, on their “epic journey”.And, what a journey it is! We meet elves, goblins, giant spiders, warts, the great Beorn and of course the Great dragon along our way and pass through Mirkwood, The lonely mountains, goblin’s lairs. Every description is so vivid, the images almost float into your mind when you read it. Every adventure is greater than the previous one, every scenery better. Just when one thinks, nothing better can come after this, another amazing character gets introduced. And amidst it all is Bilbo and they way his character develops through out the story.Our Hobbit, who is underestimated by all (including himself) discovers strength, wisdom, and courage within hims. He also discovers the magic ring ( THE RINGto be precise), but I wouldn’t give it much credit. Because its Bilbo and his courage which makes him such an inevitable part among his group and this novel. Without him the novel would be just another amazing fantasy saga, with him, it’s epic. He’s so unfamiliar with the larger world in the beginning, always wondering how he could possibly have left without his hat and continuously wants to go back. Still, in crucial situations, he is the one who to rescue the others. He kills a giant spider, and that is the first step toward him discovering strength. He is the first one to go in the lonely mountain (where the dragon lies with his treasure) and he says that it is the bravest thing he has ever done. Bilbo devises the plan to stop the war among the dwarves and the elves and shows immense wisdom in this. And amidst it all, he still remains our humble, simple, naive hobbit, and how does one not love him?This story has so many different facets. Brilliant adventure, flawless description and still conveyed such an important message. It's funny and wry, and tells us a classic coming-of-age story. Its not melodramatic, still, one feels Bilbo’s pain when Thorin dies. Him accepting gold to be worthless is such an epic scene from the novel. Who would have thought that the subtle details Tolkien uses could move someone so much. Not only Thorin, all the other dwarves (Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin and the others whose name I don’t remember), Beorn, the Elrond king, Bard, even the goblins make such an incredible impression one’s mind. Secondary characters have never been so memorably rendered.By the end of the journey, Gandalf tells Bilbo that he has changed. And he has! Bilbo comes away from The Hobbit with a couple of sacks of treasure, but what's immensely more valuable to him (and to us) is the respect he wins from all of the people he meets. More importantly, the respect he wins from himself. He gains self confidence and stops caring about what his fellow hobbits think of him. Somewhere along the journey, I, as a reader felt that, in some way, I have changed too. . Bilbo might not be big or impressive looking, but he's still able to change the course of history in Middle-earth. What can be more inspiring for a person and what more can one ask from a book? No book is more flawless, inspiring, touching, adventurous and fun than the Hobbit. I may sound melodramatic when I say this, but every time I read books like this, I feel happy to be alive. A more perfect book has never been written and I am going to cherish it as long as I live. 50000 stars and highest possible recommendation.

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