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Minas Tirith Forums » The Hobbit » Why should I read the Hobbit??? Making the case or not..
Author Topic: Why should I read the Hobbit??? Making the case or not..
Calenlassiel
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Scholarly question... Why should I care about the Hobbit {The Book}. Is it really all that important to the histories of Middle Earth.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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If you haven't read the Hobbit before then lucky you in reading it for the first time. The main reason for reading it is simply because it is a crackling good read. And now is probably a good time to read it before certain movies come out and put a different complexion upon some things.
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Roll of Honor pi
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Lord Of The Rings

Foreword

quote:
This tale grew in the telling, until it became a history of the Great War of the Ring and included many glimpses of the yet more ancient history that preceded it. It was begun soon after The Hobbit was written and before its publication in 1937; but I did not go on with this sequel, for I wished first to complete and set in order the mythology and legends of the Elder Days, which had then been taking shape for some years. I desired to do this for my own satisfaction, and I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarily linguistic in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of 'history' for Elvish tongues.

When those whose advice and opinion I sought corrected little hope to no hope, I went back to the sequel, encouraged by requests from readers for more information concerning hobbits and their adventures. But the story was drawn irresistibly towards the older world, and became an account, as it were, of its end and passing away before its beginning and middle had been told. The process had begun in the writing of The Hobbit, in which there were already some references to the older matter: Elrond, Gondolin, the High-elves, and the orcs, as well as glimpses that had arisen unbidden of things higher or deeper or darker than its surface: Durin, Moria, Gandalf, the Necromancer, the Ring. The discovery of the significance of these glimpses and of their relation to the ancient histories revealed the Third Age and its culmination in the War of the Ring.


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Dark Flint the Dwarf
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You're joking !! The Hobbit is the beginning of the Lord of The Rings !! Well, it was for me as these long years past, I read it first before TLOTR and Silmarillion, UT etc etc . But it was written in a style for the kiddies, so don't be surprised if it's a much lighter tone and less prosaic than other ME works by JRRT.

But if you love an adventure story, this really builds up nicely !

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Tigranes
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It's entertaining and you can finish it in a short time. It's not like it were a huge door-stopper like some other fantasy novels. So there is no reason not to read it.
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Roll of Honor Sauron's Secret Agent
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A good question Calenlassiel. I for one dither between liking and hating The Hobbit.

It does give some background for LOTR, particularly regarding Bilbo's possession of the Ring, but personally I don't think it's an essential read, unless you are one of those people who has to read everything JRRT wrote and despises those who don't.

On the "hate" side, certainly the beginning of the book is obnoxiously "twee" - the sort of thing self-respecting children hate. My own daughter, who had The Hobbit read aloud to her eight times back to back (by me) used to ask me to skim over the "kiddy bits", and she was only seven when we started.

My advice on consideration is to skim the early chapters, and read the rest of the book. Maybe. It gives a view of the Elves which to my mind does not gel with their appearance in LOTR.

But really, if you are familiar with the Rivendell sections of Fellowship you don't need The Hobbit.

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Thingol of Doriath
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I agree with SSA regarding if you "have" to read The Hobbit to understand the background LotR.

I love The Hobbit, for mainly sentimental reasons. My grandmother worked at a bookstore and bought the book for me when I was a child. I devoured it! It awoke the fantasy part of my brain and I craved anything to do with the characters which, obviously, brought me to LotR. Rereading it always brings back nice childhood memories... []

On the other hand... The Hobbitis an easy and relatively quick read. It is guaranteed to give you a few chuckles and maybe even a groan or two. Reading it won't kill you. So why not read it? []

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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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Daddy! []

But yes, you don't NEED to read TH really, but it's not too taxing if you have the time.

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Roll of Honor pi
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Just put a day aside and read it. [] It took me 24 hours of continuous reading on my first time. []
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Roll of Honor Sauron's Secret Agent
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I've re-read some of The Hobbit since yesterday. I still don't like the twee talking-to-the-kiddie-winks parts in the early stages, but it does pick up remarkably well. I'm enjoying it again. []

Hello Thingy! How nice to see you again!!

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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From a literary perspective, The Hobbit is Tolkien’s best work. It has a unique narrative voice and employs superb descriptions. It has a sharper dialogue, better pacing and a more advanced plot than any of his other works. The Professor used Ernest Hemingway’s famous iceberg theory of untold background information as well as Aristotle’s advice on tragedy. It may have gained life as a fireside tale told to his children, but it is a very sophisticated novel.

From a scholarly view, the book is completely accurate to the other works in all aspects. It shows the culture of the Dark Elves, Dwarves and some of the lesser tribes of Men better than any other book. It is the sole source for geographic information of much of the north-west of Middle-earth. The Hobbit gives some historical information that you can find nowhere else. It even offers Bilbo’s unique narrative point of view, which is not found in the other books but is explained through the transmission-of-knowledge story line that becomes extremely important deep in HoME.

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Roll of Honor pi
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Thorin! Will wonders never cease! Welcome back, my good dwarf.
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Hello, pi!

I was drawn back by the same reason Thingy was, but when I saw this thread I had to post in defence of my favourite book.

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Roll of Honor pi
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Gotcha. Sometimes a lack of knowledge is a good thing [] That the question is even asked tells you something.

In a way, I'm kind of jealous. What I wouldn't give to start the journey all over again. Mine began in the literary world, and no movies compare to that kind of depth and personal enchantment.

Try to stick around or un-lurk once in a while, if digging for gold and jools has lost some of its luster.

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Dark Flint the Dwarf
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Initially told to his children, Tolkien wrote it for a young audience, was my first forray into middle earth. Great adventure, so much packed into a relatively small book. Fantastic story telling and depth of characters, absorbing.
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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Calenlassiel:

quote:
Scholarly question... Why should I care about the Hobbit {The Book}. Is it really all that important to the histories of Middle Earth.
Yes! []
I don't want to go into detail because of spoilers.
It's not as important as the Silmarillion, but it's more definite in terms of being a firm basis to the story, rather than "myths."

Edit: I'd definitely make a point of reading it before you see the movie: i.e. proactive inhibition and all.

[ 11-13-2012, 08:31 AM: Message edited by: Numenorean Sword Trainer ]

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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Thorin
quote:
From a scholarly view, the book is completely accurate to the other works in all aspects.
What about stone-giants? []
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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Why "The Hobbit" is a better book than "Lord of the Rings".

Not a very serious analysis, but it convinced me to consider "What would Bilbo do?" before making any important decisions henceforth.

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Roll of Honor Athene
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See that's where I've been going wrong. I usually ask myself "What would Sauron do?".
[]

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Fangorn
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Or you could listen to reasonably abridged version here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7jYQFTV7EM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD0a8a0tEaM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8hx-YnyUW4

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Roll of Honor Mandin
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Wow, I was starting to lose hope reading these posts, and then I got to Thorin's. []

I'm having a hard time imagining a cogent argument for a "scholarly" perspective that left out the Hobbit.

From a "personal taste" perspective it is certainly possible to not want to read it. I understand such "hold your nose and read the Hobbit" sentiment on a theoretical level. I, for one, thinks it's fantastic.

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Snöwdog
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It is odd that the first Tolkien book I read was The Hobbit in 1975, and that remains the only time I've read it. I've read Lord of the Rings many times, most of the Silmarillion more than once, Unfinished Tales more than once, and Children of Hurin once. Thought of reading it again before the PJ abomination came out, but didn't. I think I will read Children of Hurin again, but have no desire to read The Hobbit. Maybe one day.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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I actually have fairly recently re-read the Hobbit. The bit with the Wrags in particular. Ten times scarier in the book!
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Snöwdog
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Yeah, that part is a bit fuzzy to me. May be worth a spot re-read.
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Gollum Gollum
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I've read the Hobbit three times so far and the third time definitely wasn't the last one. Even if it's not the best book ever written, it has its specific charm.
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