06 January 2011

The Hobbit

As mentioned previously, I've been doing my annual reading of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and I finished The Hobbit back in December but have been rather busy and rather lazy about posting about it.  However, here it is.

The Hobbit is immensely enjoyable, and is in my opinion the most accessible of Tolkien's works.  It was the first of his books I was able to read, back when I was 12; when I attempted The Lord of the Rings I was in way over my head.  Still, I enjoyed The Hobbit enough that a memory of it remained, and kindled excitement when Peter Jackson's movies were released.  By then I was old enough to try reading the books, and I finally had the vocabulary (and the patience) to appreciate them.

I find it very hard to write about The Hobbit.  Bilbo Baggins feels like a friend I've known for years, and his adventures more history than story.  Perhaps others have had this feeling with fiction they have particularly embraced.

The world Tolkien revealed is rich, bountiful, and alluring - who wouldn't want to go live in the Shire in a cozy hole, with the kettle boiling?  There are times - frequent ones, if truth be told - when that thought ie beyond tempting.

It is strange how, on its own, The Hobbit is a light-hearted tale, but when added in with The Lord of the Rings it is so full of portent - though of course this comes partially from Tolkien's revision of The Hobbit after LOTR was finished.  Regardless, it shows true mastery.

The Elven tongues, which all of Tolkien's work serves as a backdrop for, are present at times in The Hobbit, though not nearly as much as in other works.  All the Dwarves' names come from the Edda, as does Gandalf's; small mention is made of Gondolin and the events of the First Age, and the three houses of the Eldar - the Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri - are simply named the High Elves, the Deep Elves, and the Sea Elves.  Even Valinor is named Faerie in the tale.  That said, the sense of a tapestry of history pervades the entire story.

As a story, The Hobbit is excellent; and as a prelude to The Lord of the Rings, even more so.  I cannot praise it enough.  All I can say is that I look forward to reading it again next December!

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Books: More than halfway-through The Lord of the Rings.

Bottles: Had some Eiswein a while ago, have to find my tasting notes on it.

Writing: Still working on revisions on the novella.  It's going well.

Guitar: Working on "Astronomy Domine" as well as interval studies and some blues solos.