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  1. #1

    The Hobbit (first read)

    Is there anyone else in my same situation? I've only started reading the past 10years. I had never read The Hobbit previously. I have read many of the newer books MBOTF, FirstLaw, Mistborn, ASOIAF..etc I just finished The Hobbit. I'll probably get a lot of flack possibly for saying this. But I found it profoundly pitiful. I could barely get through it. Luckily it's only one book and pretty short.(unsure how they are making that 3 movies) I almost stopped reading simply because I think I will like the movie, and didn't want to know all the major plot points. But I just finished it, and if there was a second book you'd have to pay me to read it. I tried reading LOTR when I first started reading and couldn't get through it. I always attributed it to being not one of the first books you should attempt, but now I think it's just simply not my style. The Hobbit felt like some cartoon fairytale. All the animals talk, everything can be magical. I wouldn't have been surprised if there was a talking Tea Pot.

    We've had lots of threads around here about who's the best author and what is the best book. And LOTR/Tolkien are usually at worst in the top3. Normally 1 or 2(this is a pretty PRO-GRRM forum so he seems to take #1 more often than not). But is that all nostalgia? Do you really honestly believe he is the better author, and that's a better book? Or is that simply a "respect" vote for him basically defining a genre. It's like people saying Henry Ford is the best car engineer and the Model T is the best car ever made. Sure it redefined everything else. But is he better than the guy who invented the Hybrid? Or is a Model T better than a Corvette or *insert your favorite car here*?

    Or is this just another case of "to each his own", and there are plenty of people who thoroughly enjoy The Hobbit and LOTR(with out having their judgment clouded by nostalgia).

  2. #2
    The Hobbit was the first fantasy that I ever read so my love of it may come from the nostalgia factor. It was written for children thus the fairytale feel of it. Peter Jackson is using the story from The Hobbit plus some of the information in the appendices from LOTR and some of Tolkien's other Middle-Earth stories in order to make the three films for The Hobbit.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gray View Post
    The Hobbit was the first fantasy that I ever read so my love of it may come from the nostalgia factor. It was written for children thus the fairytale feel of it. Peter Jackson is using the story from The Hobbit plus some of the information in the appendices from LOTR and some of Tolkien's other Middle-Earth stories in order to make the three films for The Hobbit.
    Shows my ignorance, I did not know it was YA. I guess that gives it a little leeway then, since I can't complain about the childish feel if that was the intent.

  4. #4
    Lol, well you can't know everything.

  5. #5
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    I read the Hobbit while young as well and when i re-read it as an adult I didn't have a hard time with it, but yes, it can be a tough read and rather long-winded in parts.

    For that point, when I re-read the Lord of the Rings (another book I read when much younger) and I had a really hard time fighting my way through it. Tolkein had a habit of being very wordy and described every little detail and I'm not big on that. I will say that without that great detail, the movies wouldn't have been as all encompassing as they were. I did, however, notice many things that were missing in the movie that were in the book.

    I loved the LotR movies and I know I'll love the Hobit for the same reasons. It's a fully detailed and flesh out world that, when done right, translates to the screen so well.

  6. #6
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    YA? Really? I've heard that a lot of books written 50, 40, even 30 years ago that were marketed toward adults only at the time of their publishing are, today, listed as YA. I don't think of The Hobbit or LOTR as YA. I think it is one of those that is cross-generational and that it does, indeed, have something for everyone. I know I read it and LOTR starting when I was 11, fifth grade, up into my early teens. I think if I tried to re-read it today I would have trouble due to the difference in the quality of language Tolkien used and my being unfamiliar with it. However, I think, too, that I would get a lot more from all the books than I did as a kid.

    I agree Chris, Tolkien is difficult to get through. But I think that is the quality of language he used. It is a much higher, finer quality than I am used to. Also, as you stated, a lot has come out of Tolkien's REDEFINITION / EXPANSION / MAINSTREAM-IZATION (is that even a word?) of the fantasy genre. He did not create it, but a lot of what we have now has grown from it (and from others writing before and during his time). That's how the world works. We are constantly growing and changing, learning from the past, improving on their ideas and correcting their mistakes and, sometimes, just making all the bad stuff even worse. So I think the genre has evolved and trying to look back at one of its previous forms such as Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and back to Shakespeare and Beowulf and even further, is a hard thing for us to do. We are used to what we have now, today. Yesterdays stuff was yesterday. It belongs to them, not to us. It doesn't mean it is not good, or valuable, or doesn't work. It just means it is different.

    Again, I do have a difficult time with Tolkien too. But knowing that he was a linguist and professor of Medieval studies at Oxford University (it was Oxford, right? Not Cambridge?) really helps to understand his work and why he wrote what and how he did.

  7. #7
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Well, I'm biased because J.R.R. Tolkien is my favourite author of all time...

    ...but yeah, The Hobbit is a children book. The Lord of the Rings is completely different and much better, with a deeply realized backstory and a far more serious tone. IMO, it stands among other great works of English literature.

    But Tolkien definitely isn't for everyone. Even LOTR is a difficult read for many people (common criticisms are that it's too slow, dry, boring, and contains large chunks of landscape description).
    Last edited by Evil Agent; December 5th, 2012 at 12:21 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage View Post
    YA? Really? I've heard that a lot of books written 50, 40, even 30 years ago that were marketed toward adults only at the time of their publishing are, today, listed as YA.
    This is true. When I was in school we were reading Of Mice and Men and The Catcher in the Rye, among other works that had been originally published as books for adults. That happens a lot. Generations change, the newer generation learns early what the earlier generation only came to later in life.

    I don't think of The Hobbit or LOTR as YA.
    But The Hobbit was written for children. If you just go back and compare the first chapter of the The Hobbit with a chapter of LOTR, particularly chapters after the first one, I think you'll find there is a great difference in how Tolkien approached the story and the telling. The language, the tone, the sentence structure of LOTR are geared more for an older reader.

    I think it is one of those that is cross-generational and that it does, indeed, have something for everyone. I know I read it and LOTR starting when I was 11, fifth grade, up into my early teens. I think if I tried to re-read it today I would have trouble due to the difference in the quality of language Tolkien used and my being unfamiliar with it. However, I think, too, that I would get a lot more from all the books than I did as a kid. I agree Chris, Tolkien is difficult to get through. But I think that is the quality of language he used. It is a much higher, finer quality than I am used to.
    Yup. I agree. (Well, not that Tolkien is difficult. His language is more formal than many current readers are used to, but if you read any amount of Brit Lit you'd find more difficult prose.)


    Randy M.

  9. #9
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    My first exposure to The Hobbit was when my fifth grade teacher read it to us out loud. I think that says it all. It's simply not as deep and nuanced as LOTR.

    It's ok to not like it, though I think it's worthwhile reading through both The Hobbit and LOTR if you're interested in fantasy, given how incredibly influential they are. But if you aren't particularly interested in "studying" the genre in depth, there's no shame in skipping them. I find the writing style of The Return of the King pretty difficult to endure, with all those sentences that begin with "and".

  10. #10
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Perhaps I should say that I have not picked up The Hobbit again as an adult? Because I haven't. At the time I was a kid and the language was highly formal for me and, therefore, adult. I still find it formal. But, ok, picking it up know I am sure I would see what you are talking about regarding the difference between it and LotR.

    And I agree, Randy. There are a lot more books with even more difficult language to wade through. But there is a reason I don't read Brit Lit or even much American Lit of that vein

  11. #11
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Agent View Post
    Tolkien definitely isn't for everyone. Even LOTR is a difficult read for many people (common criticisms are that it's too slow, dry, boring, and contains large chunks of landscape description).
    So kind of like baseball. Which is my favorite sport!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage View Post
    So kind of like baseball. Which is my favorite sport!
    Yup. And I can barely watch a full inning of baseball. Give me the NFL! =)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    Yup. And I can barely watch a full inning of baseball. Give me the NFL! =)
    Go Colts!!!

  14. #14
    Too many books to read... Siberian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    Is there anyone else in my same situation? I've only started reading the past 10years. I had never read The Hobbit previously. I have read many of the newer books MBOTF, FirstLaw, Mistborn, ASOIAF..etc I just finished The Hobbit. I'll probably get a lot of flack possibly for saying this. But I found it profoundly pitiful. I could barely get through it. Luckily it's only one book and pretty short.(unsure how they are making that 3 movies) I almost stopped reading simply because I think I will like the movie, and didn't want to know all the major plot points. But I just finished it, and if there was a second book you'd have to pay me to read it. I tried reading LOTR when I first started reading and couldn't get through it. I always attributed it to being not one of the first books you should attempt, but now I think it's just simply not my style.
    Most likely.

    The Hobbit felt like some cartoon fairytale. All the animals talk,
    Only the special ones, like spiders or those birds on the Lonely Mountain.

    everything can be magical. I wouldn't have been surprised if there was a talking Tea Pot.
    Actually, Middle-earth in The Hobbit and LOTR is a very low magic world, especially compared to most of the other fantasy I've read over the years. Only few beings have access to powers and they use it very sparingly. It's no AD&D.

    We've had lots of threads around here about who's the best author and what is the best book. And LOTR/Tolkien are usually at worst in the top3. Normally 1 or 2(this is a pretty PRO-GRRM forum so he seems to take #1 more often than not). But is that all nostalgia? Or is this just another case of "to each his own", and there are plenty of people who thoroughly enjoy The Hobbit and LOTR(with out having their judgment clouded by nostalgia).
    Nostalgia might be a part of it. The Hobbit and LOTR were the first fantasy books I'd ever read so nothing can beat that first impression. However, I also loved a lot of other books as a kid/teen and most of them don't work for me anymore. LOTR is about the only exception. I can still read it and find all sorts of interesting details, metaphors, allusions, that I'd missed before. It's also one of the most humanistic books I've read. The victory over the enemy doesn't come from physical prowess or magic abilities, but rather from kindness, compassion, humility and loyalty. I can't think of any fantas/SciFi books that match the appeal of LOTR in that regard.

  15. #15
    http://tinyurl.com/363ogv DurzoBlint's Avatar
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    I read the Hobbit when I was a kid and I thought it was boring and right along with all your other thoughts regarding the novel Chris. That said, I did go to the movie this morning and thought it was better than LoTR (movie wise). I feel personally that Tolkien is overrated. Those that have enjoyed the novels it holds a lot of nostalgia, but for others such as myself, it doesn't get the job done as we are looking for more (e.g. complex).

    I do tip my hat to Tolkien for setting the stage for those that came after him, but for me Tolkien isn't even an author I recommend to others as there are plenty of better examples of the genre.

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