- Author J. R. R. Tolkein
I’ve read the first chapter of The Hobbit many times (see below), but never got to where the adventure really begins. It’s a good story, far easier to understand than I expected - I may have been confusing it with the sprawling adventures in Lord of the Rings. My only complaint regarding the story itself is that there are too many dwarves - who can remember all those names, and who can distinguish between them? It’s like trying to remember the reindeer.
Bilbo is a completely different character to that which I thought. Again, probably basing this on my Lord of the Rings knowledge but I wasn’t thinking that he would be sprightly, humble and oh so flippin’ cute. All that scurrying around and dreaming of cake and breakfasts, being heroic when it mattered, it’s marvellous.
I also hadn’t expected the ring to play such a big part in the story. I knew it appeared, and I knew we had a fleeting glimpse of Gollum, but the invisibility trait came in very handy in getting the dwarves through their adventures. Who knows what would have happened without it? Gandalf would have had to work a lot harder, I suppose.
One of the main problems LotR haters have is that a lot of the trials and tribulations seem quite unnecessary. There’s a little bit of that evident in The Hobbit, particularly when the eagles fly them quite a good chunk of their journey. They may not have wanted to go further, but it surely wouldn’t have been too hard to find someone that did? Equally, Gandalf helped them through some of their adventure and then had pressing matters elsewhere. Couldn’t they just have waited until he had some free time for them? Gandalf can pretty much get you out of anything.
You have to suspend all that, though, otherwise you wouldn’t get the quite fabulous imagery of dwarves tucked up in barrels floating down the river on a raft, with an invisible Bilbo soaking up the sun on top. Beautiful.