Der Hobbit

ISBN: 3608938052
ISBN 13: 9783608938050
By: J.R.R. Tolkien Wolfgang Krege

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About this book

Im friedlichen Auenland verbringt der Hobbit Bilbo Beutlin sein wenig abenteuerliches Leben. Bis eines Tages 13 Zwerge und der legendäre Zauberer Gandalf uneingeladen zum Tee kommen -- von da an sind die geruhsamen Tage des behäbigen kleinen Hobbits vorbei. Ohne Hut und ohne Frühstück bricht er mit den Zwergen auf, um in einem fernen Land einen verlorenen Schatz wiederzugewinnen. Doch vorher begegnen sie Elben, Trollen, Orks und Riesenspinnen, durchwandern das Nebelgebirge und den Nachtwald, bis sie schließlich zum Einsamen Berg gelangen, wo der Drache Smaug den Schatz der Zwerge bewacht. Der kleine Hobbit ist ein Buch für Kinder ab 10 Jahren, die abenteuerliche Reisebeschreibung eines kleinen Wesens durch eine fremde Welt voller Phantasiegestalten.

Reader's Thoughts

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 :(


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

Will Byrnes

Updated - July 10, 2013 - new link at bottom In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Books exist in time and place and our experience of them is affected by the specific time and place in which we encounter them. Sometimes an uplifting or inspiring book can change the path of a life that has wandered onto a wrong course. Sometimes a book, discovered early on, can form part of the foundation of who we are. Or, discovered late, can offer insight into the journey we have taken to date. Sometimes a book is just a book. But not The Hobbit. Not for me. In January, 2013, I pulled out my forty-year old copy in anticipation of seeing the recently released Peter Jackson film. It is a substantial book, heavy, not only with its inherent mass, but for the weight of associations, the sediment of time. The book itself is a special hard-cover edition published in 1973, leather bound, in a slipcase, the booty of new love from that era. The book, while victim to some internal binding cracks (aren't we all?) is still in decent shape, unlike that long-vanquished relationship. Not surprising. I had read the story six times and been there and back again with this particular volume five.The Hobbit had first come to my attention in 1965 or '66. I was then a high school underclassman, and my eyes were drawn to it at a school book fair. That was probably the ideal age, for me anyway, to gain an introduction to Tolkien. Not too far along into adolescence and an appreciation of the reality of the world to have completely tarnished my capacity for child-like wonder. That is what one must bring to a reading of this book, openness and innocence. Tolkien was a step sidewise for me, as I was a fan of the science fiction of that and prior eras. It was also, of course, a gateway drug for the grander addiction of LOTR, still my favorite read of all time. One might think that looking at this book again with old, weary fresh eyes might lend new insight. After all, I have read literally thousands of books since, and have picked up at least a little critical capacity. And yes, there are things I notice now that perhaps skipped past back then. Of course that begs a specification of which back then one considers. While I first read the book as a high-schooler, I read it again when I was gifted with this beautiful volume, in my twenties. That makes two readings. But there would be more. I well recall reading the book aloud while sitting in a chair by my son's bed. And yes, each of the major characters was delivered with a distinct voice. I went as deep as I could for Gandalf. I vaguely recall giving the dwarves a Scottish burr. Bilbo was definitely a tenor. My Gollum was remarkably like the sound of the one created by Andy Serkisssssss. (patting self on back). Of course, my son was not the last to arrive at the gathering. Some years later there was a daughter, and more bedside theater. It was a bit more of a struggle then. Life was rather hectic. Nerves were often frayed. Sleep was in short supply. And there were far too many times when my eyes closed before those of my little gingersnap. But reading it that fourth time, one couldn't help but notice the absence of any significant females. Who might my little girl relate to here? It is certainly possible for folks to identify with characters of another gender, but the stark absence of representatives of the female persuasion did stand out. Somehow I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to get through the volume.But the party was not yet complete. There would be one more arrival, and one more opportunity to sit on or near a daughter's bed and read aloud, sometimes to an upturned, eager face, sometimes to a riot of ringlets as she settled. My capacity for consciousness remained an issue. By then, my voice had also suffered a bit with the years, the reward for too many cigarettes, too much yelling, too much ballpark whistling, and the usual demise of age, so it took a fair bit more effort and strain than reading it aloud had done previously. I am pretty certain I made it through that third time aloud. Truthfully, I am not 100% certain that I did.You probably know the story, or the broad strokes anyway. In the quiet rural village of Hobbiton Across the Water, in a land called Middle Earth, an unpresupposing everyman, Bilbo Baggins, lives a quiet existence. He has a smidgen of wanderlust in him, the genetic gift of ancestors on the Took branch of his family tree, but he is mostly content to enjoy hearty meals and a good pipe. One day, Gandalf, a lordly, father-figure wizard Bilbo has known for many years, comes a-calling and Bilbo's life is upended. Gandalf is helping a group of dwarves who are on a quest. Led by Thorin Oakenshield, a dwarf king, they aim to return to their home, inside the Lonely Mountain, somehow rid the place of Smaug, the dragon who has taken up residence, and regain the land and incredible treasure that is rightfully theirs. Gandalf has recommended that Bilbo accompany the group, as a burglar. Bilbo, of course, has never burgled a thing in his life, and is horrified by the prospect. But, heeding his Tookish side, Bilbo joins the dwarves and the adventure is on. One need not go far to see this as a journey of self-discovery, as Bilbo finds that there is more to him than even he realized. This raises one question for me. How did Gandalf know that Bilbo would be the right hobbit for the job? Bilbo faces many challenges and I betray no secrets for any who have not just arrived on this planet by reporting that Bilbo's dragons, real and symbolic, are ultimately slain and he returns home a new, and somewhat notorious hobbit. Bilbo serves well as the everyman, someone who is quite modest about his capacities, but who rises to meet the challenges that present, acting in spite of his fear and not in the absence of it. He is someone we can easily care and root for. Elements abound of youthful adventure yarns, treasure, a map to the treasure, a secret entrance that requires solving a riddle to gain entry, a spooky forest, foolishness and greed among those in charge, a huge battle, and, ultimately, good sense triumphing over evil and stupidity. Oh, yeah, there is something in there as well about a secret, powerful ring that can make it’s wearer invisible. Sorry, no damsels in distress.(Rivendell remains a pretty special place. If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to retire, I think I would like to spend my final days there, whether the vision seen by Tolkien or the Maxfield Parrish take as seen in the LOTR films.)There are magical beings aplenty here. Hobbits, of course, and the wizard and dwarves we meet immediately. A shape shifting Beorn assists the party but remains quite frightening. There are trolls, giant spiders, giants, goblins, were-wolf sorts called wargs, talking eagles, a communicative, if murderous dragon, elves of both the helpful and difficult sorts, and a few men, as well. Then there is Gollum.IMHO, Bilbo is not the most interesting character in Tolkien's world. Arguably there is a lot more going on with Gollum, an erstwhile hobbit riven by the internal conflict of love and hate, corrupted, but not without a salvageable soul. While he is given considerably more ink in the LOTR story, it is in The Hobbit that we meet him for the first time. He is the single least YA element in this classic yarn, one of the things that elevates this book from the field and makes it a classic. The Hobbit was written before Tolkien's ambitious Lord of the Rings. While there are many references to classic lore, the bottom line is that this is a YA book. It is easy to read, and to read aloud, (something that is not the case with LOTR. I know.) and is clearly intended for readers far younger than I am today. It remains a fun read, even on the sixth (or so, I may have dipped in again somewhere along the line) time through. Were I reading it today for the first time, I would probably give it four stars. But as, for me, it bears the weighty treasure of memory, I must keep it at five. If you are reading this for the first time as an adult, or an antique, the impact is likely to be different for you. If you are a younger sort, of the adolescent or pre-adolescent persuasion, particularly if you are a boy, it might become an invaluable part of your life. Maybe one day you can sit by your child's or grandchild's bedside and be the person who reads these words to them for the first time, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" and begin the adventure again. To see the glowing young eyes as the tale unfolds is nothing less than absolutely precious.PS – I would check out the review offered by GR pal Ted. He includes in his review outstanding, informative and very entertaining excerpts and comments re info on The Hobbit from JRRT's son Christopher. ==============================EXTRA STUFFHere is a lovely article on JRRT, from Smithsonian Magazine, January 2002In comment #32, below, GR pal Rand added a link to a reading of the entire book by Nicol Williamson. It is just the thing for bedtime, yours or your child's. Adding it here was done with Rand's kind permission.

Joel Simon

There are not many books that I have read twice. The first time I read The Hobbit, I liked it a lot. But I hadn't read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and still haven't (so I guess I didn't like The Hobbit enough). But it brought a smile to my face when I saw it on our shelf this past summer and I decided that I would read it aloud to my 10 year old daughter. In reading it aloud, a few things happened. First, it took a very long time to read the whole book (8 months, in fact). Some of this was due to other commitments, mine as well as hers. But some of it was due to the writing. Reading The Hobbit aloud to a 10-year old is not easy. For starters, there are a lot of words in the book that are not in a 10-year old's vocabulary, which leads to frequent interruptions and questions. Second, there are a lot of words in the book that aren't used much today so they weren't in my vocabulary either. Third, certain parts of the book are so slowly but beautifully descriptive that reading them quickly gives you nothing to grab onto. So you have to read it slowly. Fourth, it is hard to keep track of who all the characters are so you find yourself going back over pages you have read to figure out who is who and where they fit in (especially when you take 8 months to read it!). But the journey is worth it. This book is so incredibly creative and enchanting that my daughter and I always found it a pleasure to pick it up and read it no matter how much time had passed since the last reading. The characters are so rich, each with his own idiosyncrasies and quirks. Even the bad guys are exquisitley described. Especially Gollum and the Dragon. It had been such a long time since I read this book the first time that I had forgotten the ending and I had also not realized how richly descriptive the story was. I really loved this book and recommend that you read it or reread it, and savor it. Do not try to zoom through it or you will miss what it has to offer.

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?


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.


Honestly I'm not even sure about how to write this review. How do you review a book that has such an impact on your life, stretching all the way from your childhood? J.R.R. Tolkien was my first, and still is, my favorite author of all time. Ever since 5th grade when I stole my hermano's Lord of the Rings book (all three in one!) and trotted around school reading it every chance I got, even had it taken away once or twice, yeah I was that kid, I loved the world of Middle Earth. While I read The Hobbit after reading the entire Lord of the Rings series (twice) it had the same effect on me. Middle Earth was probably the first thing that I was truly obsessed with. I don't think there has been another imaginary world that I have wanted to live in more than Middle Earth. While the worlds of Harry Potter and Narnia were also my escape when I was younger Tolkien's world has and always will have the strongest calling to me. Maybe that's why I have several copies of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and while I have tried to read a book from the Lord of the Rings series each year I was long overdue for a rereading of The Hobbit. With the movie recently out of theaters and a local book club reading it for this month I decided it was most certainly time to read it again. It was no surprise to me when while reading it I was again sucked into the world that Tolkien created and while the story was still familiar with me even after all these years I still was so involved in the story it was hard for me to put it down. "Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick."I'm pretty sure almost everyone has had this feeling, the want for adventure and to travel and see the world. That is probably part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. When I was younger I was always pretending to go on adventures in the backyard where our tree house turned into a lot of awesome things. This book let you go on an adventure full of trolls, goblins, orcs, magic, dragons, dwarves, wizards, elves, gold, and everything a young kid could want in a story. While some may find Tolkien's detail (especially in Lord of the Rings) tedious and excessive it is what made Middle Earth so lifelike and why it was such a great escape realm. But enough of this nostalgia cause I could go on for hours. As to the book in general there isn't much that I don't love about it. It has action and adventure but then there is humor and singing! What is a good adventure story without some singing? "Far over the misty mountains cold.Through dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away ere break of dayTo claim our long forgotten gold!" This is a book that has elements for all ages, it can be read and enjoyed by kids and is still enjoyable as an adult. Tolkien could really weave a perfect story. I love the narrator in this novel for the narrator already knows everything that has happened and will allude to events that take place near the end of the book that will have you thinking, "No tell me what happens now!" It is just that simple tactic that will keep you reading all through the night the first time you read the book. After the first time though you read those parts and think, "No I don't want to get to that part!" One because you know what partakes and sometimes it isn't the happiest of situations and two that means you are nearing the end of the book. My favorite part of this book is probably all the tie-ins to Lord of the Rings, especially the finding of the one ring and the game of riddles. While I love all the action and such in the book I just love the game of riddles. It is were you really see Bilbo's wit (even though he does cheat) and the riddles themselves are just fun. I like riddles so I would try to figure out the answer before I continued reading even though the movie made some of them easy. It is also interesting to see how the character of Bilbo changes over the course of the entire novel. At first he is just a scared Hobbit who seems to at first regret his decision to go on an adventure with the dwarves. The dwarves at first don't seem to really see Bilbo as a great asset to the group and seem for the first half to kinda count him out. But as the book progresses you see Bilbo get braver and stronger."I will give you a name," he said to it, "and I shall call you Sting"I think this is one of Bilbo's strongest lines in the book finally accepting the adventure and that there is more to himself that even he knows. As Bilbo comes into his own you see his wit and smarts come out even more showing the dwarves that he may be the most valuable asset of the group. Right after Bilbo as my favorite character comes Thorin Oakenshield. I think the main reason why he is one of my favorites is because of the similarities to Aragorn as a King without a crown. While he makes many mistakes on the way to the mountain and even afterwards in the end he redeems himself and just seems to be one of my favorite characters in the book, and lets be honest the movie version of Thorin made me like him even more. As to my least favorite part of the book it would have to be how absolutely un-climactic the ending of the book is. For those that have not read the book I will mark major spoilers but honestly go and get this book immediately, you need to read it! The dragon is the main problem in this novel. Smaug has taken over the mountain and claims all the gold under the mountain as his and terrorizes the surrounding area. "It does not do to leave a dragon our of your calculations, if you live near him." The dragon is fierce and will not be easy to take down. So here comes problem one: (view spoiler)[The dragon gets shot down with one arrow?! One arrow hits his weak spot and he goes plummeting to his death?! And mind you it's not even by one of the main characters. Just felt this part could have been much more epic. (hide spoiler)] Alright so thats all done and all of a sudden there is going to be this large battle which has been foreshadowed all throughout the novel. It is going to be the best battle scene there are dwarves, elves, men, and goblins all about to fight and problem two: (view spoiler)[Bilbo gets hit in the head with a rock and passes out for the best part of the battle and the next thing you know the battle is over. (hide spoiler)] Anyways the battle is still epic but could have been much better if some things were done differently. I just didn't like getting the main things that happened after the battle was done especially in the case of the death toll. Sorry if you weren't aware but some have to die and you are not going to be happy about it that is all I'm going to say. Even with the battle being un-climactic I still cried at the end of this book cause you've gone on this whole adventure with Bilbo and all the dwarves that it is just heartbreaking in the end. Tolkien mastery in writing really shows through in this book and all of his books. He weaves a picture so intricate that you feel like you are there on the adventure with the characters. This book is a lot simpler than the Lord of the Rings series. It isn't as intricate and detailed but still is able to tell an amazing story. I will say that I like Lord of the Rings better than The Hobbit, but that may just be because I read them first and that I read them more often but The Hobbit is still a great book that I think everyone should read.I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars because even with the cons I love this book to the ends of Middle Earth and back. Like I said before no other literary world has called to me so much as the world of Middle Earth so I would really recommend everyone to read this book you will not be disappointed. Now I guess I need to say a few words about the movie. Honestly I loved it. I'm pretty sure I didn't blink the entire time. I walked out of there thinking while there are lots of movies that I positively love The Hobbit, like Lord of the Rings will stick with me forever. I don't understand many of the complaints people had with the movie. Yes, it is long but it was so full of adventure and action that, to me at least, it didn't seem that long. Also many people say that they messed with the plot too much. I don't see where the plot was messed up at all. A lot of things were added which I think add to the story and they are trying to add more tie-ins with Lord of the Rings, adding more about the necromancer and such. I thought it was well done and can't wait for the next one to come out. The acting was great, the cast was perfectly chosen and just the imagery and scenery was beautiful! Also the soundtrack was amazing and while having new themes kept a lot of the themes that were introduced in the Lord of the Rings movies. I especially liked reading the book again after seeing the movie because I constantly had the soundtrack playing in the background which really made the book even better. Overall 6/5 stars."Roads go ever on,Over rock and under tree,By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea;Over snow by winter sown,And through the merry flowers of June,Over grass and over stone,And under mountains of the moon.Roads go ever ever onUnder cloud and under star,Yet feet that wandering have goneTurn at last to home afar.Eyes that fire and sword have seenAnd horror in the halls of stoneLook at last on meadows greenAnd trees and hills they long have known"["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"]>


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!!! 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"]>

Stefan Yates

I received this beautiful 1966 leather-bound edition of The Hobbit as a result of winning a contest on author G.T. Denny's blog. I wanted to publicly thank him for such a wonderful prize which, of course inspired me to re-read the novel.The Hobbit is a tale that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. My father first read it to me when I was around five years old and I have had a love of fantasy in my heart from that point forward. The time that we spent together journeying with Bilbo and Company in their quest to the Lonely Mountain is one of my treasured childhood memories and I cannot talk or think about Tolkien without bringing up fond images of my Dad.Luckily, the story also holds to the test of time. It is a fast-paced, sometimes humorous, adventure story with an almost continual stream of action. The poor party seems to go from one peril to the next to the next in such rapid succession that it is truly one of those books that is almost impossible to put down for any significant span of time. The characters, especially dear old Bilbo, are lovingly crafted and presented to the reader in such a way that they become stamped into the memory for all time.Truly one of the greatest stories of all time and forever one of my favorite books. If you haven't read The Hobbit, I cannot recommend it more highly to readers of all ages, levels, and interests. (And IF you haven't read it yet, I envy your fledgling journey into the magic lands of Middle-Earth!)


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


2012 - Reread - What to add to my original review for this site? I don't. There is something everlasting and yet almost tragic about this book. Thorin doesn't fail but he does not live very long to enjoy his victory, if you can call it his. Perhaps that grey zone is what make the book last.Some time ago, Harold Bloom went on a Harry Potter rant. He is hardly the only academic to do so. In fact, A. S. Byatt wrote a wonderful essay on how strange and annoying she finds adults who read Harry Potter but disregarding Terry Pratchett . Dr. Bloom said that he doubted that the Potter books would become classic children’s literature in the lines of Alice in Wonderland or The Hobbit.I think Dr. Bloom is jumping the gun, if you will pardon the overused cliché, in terms of Harry Potter. It’s too early to tell if the Potter books will stand the test of time. I also am not sure if I fully agree with the idea of The Hobbit as an outstanding example of children’s literature. True, I know the publishing story around the book. Everyone, or almost everyone, at this point must know it. I know that I read it before I read Lord of the Rings. Yet, I have always, even as a child, liked LOTR better. The one thing that makes me think Bloom might be correct in how he sees The Hobbit is the fact that every time I return to it, I see something new. It is a classic, a classic, whether or not one sees it as children’s literature.The first thing that any reader above a certain age realizes about The Hobbit is the fact that it literally begs to be read aloud, and this no doubt is the reason why everyone sees it as a children’s book. Tolkien’s use of language, in particular his use of rhyme, makes reading this book aloud an irresistible option. From the beginning, from the alliterative name of its central character, Bilbo Baggins, to the rhymes in Gollum’s caves, to the many songs, and even down to the conversations, (especially Gandalf relating the story to Beorn), the novel drips a love of word play and language. This made it particularly easy to adapt the story into a cartoon, as Rankin Bass did. The movie stayed relatively true to the book, though the Wood Elves remind one of green drug addicts for some strange reason. Like some of the passages in Watership Down, The Hobbit contains passages that are memorable for their sheer poetry, and, no I’m not talking about the songs.The narrator also stands out as well. There is a warm, yet superior tone of voice to the narrator, as if he and the reader are in on some joke that the dwarves, Bilbo, and even Gandalf don’t get. Part of this comes from the quasi saga tone that is used, a tone that comes across far more in LOTR. Part of this seems to come from a sense of humor that is more obvious to an adult and far less obvious to a child. I know that some critics, even some children, have expressed a dislike or a recultance to view this book as a work of children’s literature. The tone of the narrator, at times a gently mocking tone, might have something to do with this. If the narrator sees himself as superior to Bilbo, as superior to the dwarves, then does the narrator see himself as superior to the children who are supposedly being told the story? Children who supposedly would identify with the hobbit and the dwarves simply due to size? What modern child thinks about pocket handkerchiefs and the morning post?The adult emphasis is elsewhere in the book. It is not hard to see overtones, parallels, or direct references to WWI in this book, in particular when the Five Armies join together. Though, I will admit, I am not entirely sure if I really am suppose to see the dwarfs as Frenchmen (Or maybe the French are the elves and the dwarfs are the Dutch. Hobbits, I know, are English). I also don’t think I’m supposed to see the Goblins as Germans. But one does wonder.One also wonders about the character of Bilbo who we know must secretly long for adventure. He is resourceful and wily. While he does pull rescues out of the hat, he is not the traditional hero. He doesn’t slay the dragon, and he sleeps though the battle. Okay, he was knocked out, but he missed the whole thing. The only character who comes close to being a tradition hero is Bard, who does heroic actions and has the blood line. But even Bard is not the romantic hero, for he is grim. Bilbo isn’t the traditional trickster hero either. He lacks that slight edge of cruelty that many tricksters have. Additionally, unlike Frodo, Bilbo seems relatively untouched by what he has experienced, unless one counts the whole interaction with Gollum. Bilbo is Bilbo in this book. A hero who succeeds though a mixture of luck and common sense. Bilbo is a unique take on the everyman hero. He does what the reader in many cases would do, he is at the center of the action, but is not the central of the action. He keeps his head because he, like Gandalf, is unaffected by the greed that the hoard causes in everyone else. Mayhap, because he is so childlike, innocent in the heart because unlike Thorin, Bilbo has been untouched by tragedy. Bilbo remains me, a little bit, of Jack the Giant Killer, though not as morally questionable.Maybe a fairy tale is the point. If we take The Hobbit and LOTR together, as they should be taken, then we have the fairy tale (The Hobbit) and the afterwards (LOTR, much like the musical Into the Woods. Considering the heavy use of myth and legend that makes its way into Tolkien’s world this is not surprising. Most of the characters in this book have a start in the legends of Europe. There have been traditions of bear men (berserkers), of dwarves, of dragons, of wizards, of everything except Hobbits (though we now know that they existed). Even at this early stage, Tolkien is making his mythology for England, and it is quite clear that he loves every minute of it. Neither writer nor narrator lacks a belief in the world. Tolkien’s mythology is far better and far more interesting than Milton’s attempt.This is believability comes out in Smaug, who will always be one of the most terrifying dragons in literature to me. What makes Smaug terrifying isn’t his power. Many authors have invented many worlds that have far more powerful dragons. Smaug works because he is so evilly smart. During his conversation with Bilbo, Smaug speaks not only to the doubts that echo inside of Bilbo’s head, but those doubts that roll around in the first time readers as well. It is entirely possible that the dwarfs intend to trick Bilbo out of his gold, a fact hammered in by the treatment of the River men after the death of Smaug. Smaug works because like most evil, he speaks to the worm of doubt that exists in everyone. The fact that he is as big as a dinosaur and can breath fire is just a happy bonus.Smaug would make a good godfather. I can just see him doing a Marlon Brando.If Tolkien’s work is rightly considered classic, the role of Smaug is one of the major reasons why. Another major reason would of course be the influence that both The Hobbit and TLOR have had on the fantasy that has followed them. From intentional knock offs such as Mithgar; to the parodies, such as the Disc; to simply inspiring other writesr, such as Jim Butcher, a true reader cannot ignore the role of the books.One final note. I am glad, supremely glad, that both Tolkien and his son have not overly tinkered with The Hobbit. I know that Tolkien went back and made slight changes after LOTR simply to make the story of Gollum work, but he left certain other things alone, the difference in the elves for example. I like that. It is much better than Lucas constantly reworking the Han Solo shooting Greedo scene in Star Wars. Both Tolkiens had the good sense to leave well enough alone. Thanks heavens for that, otherwise a PC Bilbo would be offering pipe weed to Smaug, who would be baking cookies for the orphans.


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!


An amazing story that starts with a disturbance in the life of a homely Hobbit. The unpleasantness leads on to an adventure that spans the known world of Middle Earth and sets the stage for the final battle with the Dark Lord, Sauron of Mordor. Written in a much more simple and easy to read form than "Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" has a charm that is often lacking in the great epic that follows it. Many either prefer "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings" but rarely do readers favor both, even though they are part of the same story. Those who like lighter tales of adventure as opposed to more meaty epics will find "The Hobbit" a very enjoyable read. "The Hobbit" is also interesting from the point of view of a study of Middle Earth. In this part of the story, Tolkien's vast and detailed world is much more raw and less developed. There are many more allusions to contemporary myths than in the broader Lord of the Rings. And the concept of elves is less realized or revealed. For my part, this was the book that started it all for me. Prior to The Hobbit, I had little interest in reading at all. So here's to Tolkien, grandfather of fantasy!


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?


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."

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