Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo-alone and unaided-who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside . . .
This stirring adventure fantasy begins the tale of the hobbits that was continued by J.R.R. Tolkien in his bestselling epic The Lord of the Rings.
Before watching the movie The Hobbit (more on that later) I decided that I’d best re-read the Hobbit as the last time I read it I was about 9 and I didn’t remember a thing. I also want to read the Lord of the Rings, and this is a great place to start.
The Hobbit was a delightful, albeit slow, read with fantastic world-building. Everything was described in great detail so, even though the book was small, I was able to experience so much. Every chapter is a new event in a new place which kept me turning pages to find out what was happening next. This also kept the book interesting as it didn’t keep building on previous events but kept coming up with new ones.
Apart from the adventure itself, my favourite part of the book is the characters. There are many characters over the course of the book and each have their own lives parallel to that of the main characters. It did not feel like they are placed their just to interact with the main characters, which I see happening in many other books. Characters also aren’t either right or wrong but fall somewhere in between. Even the dwaves, whose story we are following, aren’t necessarily right in their beliefs.
Bilbo is the best character because he was the most developed. Over the course of the book he changes from a scared, mild hobbit into a brave and adventurous one. His transformation is subtle as it is gradual but that is what makes is so well done. Both his actions and his thoughts differ when comparing the beginning and ending of the story.
The book was also really funny where you’d least expect it. It is written in third person by someone who is not actually there, but is telling a story. These two things together made the story a light, easy read.
My only complaint about The Hobbit is that there was no tension built up which prevented me from becoming fully engaged in the plot. Even the harshest events were dealt with in a rather off-hand manner but I suppose that it helped keep the book from becoming too involved.
I highly recommend The Hobbit if you enjoy fantasy or are looking for a light read that you can savour.
I feel that I’d have enjoyed the movie much more if I hadn’t read the book, as most of my complaints arise from the fact that so much was changed. I don’t mind minor changes but pretty much every scene was altered in some way.
I also do not appreciate the fact that the book is being divided into three movies which would warrant additional and unnecassary scenes. Some of these extra scenes tried to connect The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, even though the only real connection between them was the ring. The rest changed relationships between characters and added in revenge and hatred that isn’t in the book.
The movie also turned Bilbo into a bigger hero than he actually was and glorified the whole adventure, when in reality it was anything but that. So it was rather lacking on capturing mood for me.
However, it did have great action scenes, and an amazing job was done bringing both the world and the characters to life. It also didn’t ruin the book or change it so much that it unrecognizable.
I can’t wait to see the next movie!