There are some days when I actually think that the humble Hobbit is superior to it s bohemoth brother,The Lord of the RingsIt s a much tighter story, and Bilbo is a much appeal character than is Frodo I also just love this poem, from The HobbitFar over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away ere break of dayTo seek the pale enchanted gold.The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,While hammers fell like ringing bellsIn places deep, where dark things sleep,In hollow halls beneath the fells.For ancient king and elvish lordThere many a gleaming golden hoardThey shaped and wrought, and light they caughtTo hide in gems on hilt of sword.On silver necklaces they strungThe flowering stars, on crowns they hungThe dragon fire, in twisted wireThey meshed the light of moon and sun.Far over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away, ere break of day,To claim our long forgotten gold.Goblets they carved there for themselvesAnd harps of gold where no man delvesThere lay they long, and many a songWas sung unheard by men or elves.The pines were roaring on the height,The winds were moaning in the night.The fire was red, it flaming spread The trees like torches blazed with light.The bells were ringing in the daleAnd men looked up with faces pale The dragon s ire fierce that fireLaid low their towers and houses frail.The mountain smoked beneath the moon The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.They fled their hall to dying fallBeaneath his feet, beneath the moon.Far over the misty mountains grimTo dungeons deep and caverns dimWe must away, ere break of day,To win our harps and gold from him In A Hole In The Ground There Lived A Hobbit Not A Nasty, Dirty, Wet Hole, Filled With The Ends Of Worms And An Oozy Smell, Nor Yet A Dry, Bare, Sandy Hole With Nothing In It To Sit Down On Or To Eat It Was A Hobbit Hole, And That Means ComfortWritten For JRR Tolkien S Own Children, The Hobbit Met With Instant Critical Acclaim When It Was First Published In Now Recognized As A Timeless Classic, This Introduction To The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, The Wizard Gandalf, Gollum, And The Spectacular World Of Middle Earth Recounts Of The Adventures Of A Reluctant Hero, A Powerful And Dangerous Ring, And The Cruel Dragon Smaug The Magnificent The Text In This Page Paperback Edition Is Based On That First Published In Great Britain By Collins Modern Classics , And Includes A Note On The Text By Douglas A Anderson Unforgettable In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit Books exist in time and place and our experience of them is affected by the specific time and place in which we encounter them Sometimes an uplifting or inspiring book can change the path of a life that has wandered onto a wrong course Sometimes a book, discovered early on, can form part of the foundation of who we are Or, discovered late, can offer insight into the journey we have taken to date Sometimes a book is just a book But not The Hobbit Not for me In January, 2013, I pulled out my forty year old copy in anticipation of seeing the recently released Peter Jackson film It is a substantial book, heavy, not only with its inherent mass, but for the weight of associations, the sediment of time The book itself is a special hard cover edition published in 1973, leather bound, in a slipcase, the booty of new love from that era The book, while victim to some internal binding cracks aren t we all is still in decent shape, unlike that long vanquished relationship Not surprising I had read the story six times and been there and back again with this particular volume five J.R.R Tolkien image from Vision.org The Hobbit had first come to my attention in 1965 or 66 I was then a high school underclassman, and my eyes were drawn to it at a school book fair That was probably the ideal age, for me anyway, to gain an introduction to Tolkien Not too far along into adolescence and an appreciation of the reality of the world to have completely tarnished my capacity for child like wonder That is what one must bring to a reading of this book, openness and innocence Tolkien was a step sidewise for me, as I was a fan of the science fiction of that and prior eras It was also, of course, a gateway drug for the grander addiction of LOTR, still my favorite read of all time One might think that looking at this book again with old, weary fresh eyes might lend new insight After all, I have read literally thousands of books since, and have picked up at least a little critical capacity And yes, there are things I notice now that perhaps skipped past back then Of course that begs a specification of which back then one considers While I first read the book as a high schooler, I read it again when I was gifted with this beautiful volume, in my twenties That makes two readings But there would be I well recall reading the book aloud while sitting in a chair by my son s bed And yes, each of the major characters was delivered with a distinct voice I went as deep as I could for Gandalf I vaguely recall giving the dwarves a Scottish burr Bilbo was definitely a tenor My Gollum was remarkably like the sound of the one created by Andy Serkisssssss patting self on back Of course, my son was not the last to arrive at the gathering Some years later there was a daughter, and bedside theater It was a bit of a struggle then Life was rather hectic Nerves were often frayed Sleep was in short supply And there were far too many times when my eyes closed before those of my little gingersnap But reading it that fourth time, one couldn t help but notice the absence of any significant females Who might my little girl relate to here It is certainly possible for folks to identify with characters of another gender, but the stark absence of representatives of the female persuasion did stand out Somehow I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to get through the volume.But the party was not yet complete There would be one arrival, and one opportunity to sit on or near a daughter s bed and read aloud, sometimes to an upturned, eager face, sometimes to a riot of ringlets as she settled My capacity for consciousness remained an issue By then, my voice had also suffered a bit with the years, the reward for too many cigarettes, too much yelling, too much ballpark whistling, and the usual demise of age, so it took a fair bit effort and strain than reading it aloud had done previously I am pretty certain I made it through that third time aloud Truthfully, I am not 100% certain that I did.You probably know the story, or the broad strokes anyway In the quiet rural village of Hobbiton Across the Water, in a land called Middle Earth, an unpresupposing everyman, Bilbo Baggins, lives a quiet existence He has a smidgen of wanderlust in him, the genetic gift of ancestors on the Took branch of his family tree, but he is mostly content to enjoy hearty meals and a good pipe One day, Gandalf, a lordly, father figure wizard Bilbo has known for many years, comes a calling and Bilbo s life is upended Gandalf is helping a group of dwarves who are on a quest Led by Thorin Oakenshield, a dwarf king, they aim to return to their home, inside the Lonely Mountain, somehow rid the place of Smaug, the dragon who has taken up residence, and regain the land and incredible treasure that is rightfully theirs Gandalf has recommended that Bilbo accompany the group, as a burglar Bilbo, of course, has never burgled a thing in his life, and is horrified by the prospect But, heeding his Tookish side, Bilbo joins the dwarves and the adventure is on One need not go far to see this as a journey of self discovery, as Bilbo finds that there is to him than even he realized This raises one question for me How did Gandalf know that Bilbo would be the right hobbit for the job Bilbo faces many challenges and I betray no secrets for any who have not just arrived on this planet by reporting that Bilbo s dragons, real and symbolic, are ultimately slain and he returns home a new, and somewhat notorious hobbit Bilbo serves well as the everyman, someone who is quite modest about his capacities, but who rises to meet the challenges that present, acting in spite of his fear and not in the absence of it He is someone we can easily care and root for Elements abound of youthful adventure yarns, treasure, a map to the treasure, a secret entrance that requires solving a riddle to gain entry, a spooky forest, foolishness and greed among those in charge, a huge battle, and, ultimately, good sense triumphing over evil and stupidity Oh, yeah, there is something in there as well about a secret, powerful ring that can make it s wearer invisible Sorry, no damsels in distress Rivendell remains a pretty special place If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to retire, I think I would like to spend my final days there, whether the vision seen by Tolkien or the Maxfield Parrish take as seen in the LOTR films There are magical beings aplenty here Hobbits, of course, and the wizard and dwarves we meet immediately A shape shifting Beorn assists the party but remains quite frightening There are trolls, giant spiders, giants, goblins, were wolf sorts called wargs, talking eagles, a communicative, if murderous dragon, elves of both the helpful and difficult sorts, and a few men, as well Then there is Gollum.IMHO, Bilbo is not the most interesting character in Tolkien s world Arguably there is a lot going on with Gollum, an erstwhile hobbit riven by the internal conflict of love and hate, corrupted, but not without a salvageable soul While he is given considerably ink in the LOTR story, it is in The Hobbit that we meet him for the first time He is the single least YA element in this classic yarn, one of the things that elevates this book from the field and makes it a classic The Hobbit was written before Tolkien s ambitious Lord of the Rings While there are many references to classic lore, the bottom line is that this is a YA book It is easy to read, and to read aloud, something that is not the case with LOTR I know and is clearly intended for readers far younger than I am today It remains a fun read, even on the sixth or so, I may have dipped in again somewhere along the line time through Were I reading it today for the first time, I would probably give it four stars But as it bears the weighty treasure of memory and fond association, I must keep it at five If you are reading this for the first time as an adult, or an antique, the impact is likely to be different for you If you are a younger sort, of the adolescent or pre adolescent persuasion, particularly if you are a boy, it might become an invaluable part of your life Maybe one day you can sit by your child s or grandchild s bedside and be the person who reads these words to them for the first time, In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit and begin the adventure again To see the glowing young eyes as the tale unfolds is nothing less than absolutely precious.PS I would check out the review offered by GR pal Ted He includes in his review outstanding, informative and very entertaining excerpts and comments re info on The Hobbit from JRRT s son Christopher EXTRA STUFFHere is a lovely article on JRRT, from Smithsonian Magazine, January 2002In comment 32, below, GR pal Rand added a link to a reading of the entire book by Nicol Williamson It is just the thing for bedtime, yours or your child s Adding it here was done with Rand s kind permission. To call this the epitome in which all high fantasy should be judged does not quite suffice this is simply one of the best books that has ever been written or will ever be written The Hobbit defines the high fantasy genre along with its sequel, of course, and has been an inspiration to countless authors and readers alike Tolkien, quite literally, kick started a genre that would eventually capture the hearts of thousands of people He changed the literary world He made fantasy real The best fantasy universe ever createdMiddle Earth is undoubtedly the best fantasy universe created It is the most original and richly devised It is very hard for fantasy authors not to borrow elements from Tolkien He set the definition with his wonderful world Tolkien s references to modern day are also very amusing and almost unnoticeable in the brilliant narrative, but a perceptive reader will notice the whimsical contrasts he has drawn between his world and the real world The sheer depth of Tolkien s imagination is really unmeasurable I wonder what other ideas for books he may have had that he never got to writeThe road goes ever on and on Bilbo, like the reader, is blown away by the breath taking landscape of Middle Earth We must remember that he too is experiencing the majesty of Rivendell and the mightiness of Erabor for the first time His reaction reflects a reader who is also awestruck by a world that is as beautifully magical as it is corrupt and wicked it is a world in which both the benevolent and the malignant reside it is a world whose people are capable of both great kindness and equally as great cruelty The peoples are diverse and contrasting I think the differences between the elves and the dwarves are best captured in their music The music of the elves is full of mirth and is generally quite playful whereas the music of the dwarves is strong, deep and full of resolve to match their stubborn nature The wonderful, wonderful, storyThis story belongs to Bilbo Baggins This is something I think Peter Jackson would do well to remember, but that s beside the point The tale begins as Bilbo accidently, unexpectedly, invites Gandalf for tea the next day after a brief encounter The Wizard marks him as the fourteenth member of his company, his burglar Bilbo doesn t really understand what he is getting himself in for when he agrees to join their mission Indeed, the next evening thirteen dwarves, headed by Thorin Oakenshield, arrive along with their quest to reclaim their gold and slay a dragon Smaug Smaug has stolen their home fortress of Erebor They want it back Bilbo reluctantly gets dragged along though this reluctance is quickly overcome by a strong, secret, desire for adventureI am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it s very difficult to find anyone I should think so in these parts We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things Make you late for dinner The story becomes darker as they close in on the mountain The company are attacked by spiders and abducted by the wood elves who want a share of the dwarfish treasure The dwarves begin to rely on their burglar who they believed would become a liability How wrong they were Bilbo was destined to come along They would have surely failed if he had not, and the ring of power may never have been destroyed But, that s another wonderful story The game of riddles and the finding of the ring is one of the memorable scenes of the book and is Bilbo s gateway into heroism I think the power he receives from the ring helps him to discover that not only does he have courage and fortitude, but he has lots of it Gandalf, if anything, is an excellent judge of character The ending is just the beginning The ending of this book is undeniably rushed Bilbo is unconscious for most of it, and we receive a post battle update There are off page deaths and victories In this, I think Tolkien cements the message of the story it is not about the tragic death of a dwarf who went slightly mad, and then redeemed himself it is not about a boatman who slayed a dragon, and became a renowned hero it is about a Hobbit This is Bilbo s story and no other s It is a story in which a Hobbit who had no courage and no bravery found it It is a story about a hobbit who was too scared to leave his house without a hanky eventually evolved into a Hobbit that would trick a dragonYou have nice manners for a thief and a liar, said the dragon It also sets the readership up for a sequel If Tolkien focused too much on the dwarfish storyline at the end then the focus of the story would have appeared different It may have shocked the reader that the sequel was about Hobbits and not about the Dwarves This, again, is something Peter Jackson did not realise I know this is a book review of the Hobbit, but what better place than here to share my distain for that terrible trilogy that Jackson recently farted out This is Bilbo s story, not Thorin s and certainly not Legolas This book is called the Hobbit not the hobbit, the dwarf and that elf with the cool swordIn a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort Further, I read this first when I was twelve years old and again now I am not sure at which time I enjoyed it the most This is a book that I will read many times in my life and it is also book that I will never stop enjoying, no matter how many times I read it Also if you like this book as much as me I recommend reading The Art of the Hobbit I think this captures Tolkien s vison of Middle Earth than any artist or movie maker ever could Alan Lee s work is artistic, but Tolkien s is from the most original source himself Five stars I think you know why The original cover of the Hobbit, as painted by Tolkien From a hole in the ground came one of my favorite characters of all time, the very reluctant and unassuming hero, Bilbo Baggins As a child, The Hobbit sparked my young imagination, causing wonderful daydreams and horrible nightmares As a teen, the book made me want to become a writer of fantastical talesor go shoeless, live in a hole and smoke a pipe As an adult, Tolkien s novel maintains within me a link to my childhood, safekeeping cherished memories and evoking everlasting emotions The troubles with trolls, those slinking spiders, the finding of treasure, cave exploration, riddles in the darkit all added up in me a love for adventure I would make many an ornate wooden sword in my father s basement workshop, because of Sting Funny I didn t take to wearing rings thoughBeing pint sized, Mr Baggins makes the perfect magnetic character for a young person He is about a child s size, yet he is mature Similar, yet something to aspire to His diminutive stature made his implausible escapes and victories that much satisfying Nothing bores me than muscle bound killing machines wielding swords the size of windmill blades I have read this fantastic tale a number of times, watched the 70s cartoon movie version countless times and was counting down the days with unabashed eagerness until Peter Jackson s new live action film came out I will continue to read The Hobbit again and again, for the road goes ever, ever onAppendix ish type reviews The Hobbit, the 1977 animated film version by Rankin BassThis may be the movie I ve watched the most in my life This is the one I can quote from start to finish and annoy the fuck out of my friends I try to refrain, but when John Huston bellows out, I am Gandalf and Gandalf means ME well, I just can t help myself Crazy off his rocker Brother Theodore as Gollum still astounds me with the sheer depth of his guttural growl Sorry voice straining Serkis, but this is the real Gollum, the creepy muthah that kept me up nights Though Rankin Bass s version skips over the whole Beorn scene entirely, coming in at 90 minutes, they actually managed to pack in quite a bit of story Certainly it is truncated to absurdity during The Battle of Five Armies , but at least it s not overblown, as appears to be happening with Peter Jackson s unnecessarily long trilogy of this single book The Hobbit, or There And Back Again An illustrated book by Rankin Bass Though it s a few pages shorter than the regular paperback version, this marvelous part text, part illustrated version seems to be unabridged It includes screenshots taken directly from the 70s cartoon, plus where the movie skipped over parts of the book they ve included extra illustrations, admittedly of mixed quality It s a little strange to see the same characters rendered differently sitting side by sidebut nonetheless, it s always fun to see how artists interpret the work, especially when it s a work dear to your heart The Hobbit, a film version by Peter JacksonIt s never fun to see an artist tear the heart out of a work Peter Jackson was given too long a leash when New Line stretched this one book out to three separate movies Instead of one movie packed with awesome, we get three that, so far I ve yet to see the third and I m not eager to , have been watered down and dragged out Extra scenes are added and add nothing Really, a sleigh ride chase scene with an incredibly minor character And honestly, can Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield act with any other part of his body besides his eyebrows 610 The Hobbit There and Back Again, J.R.R TolkienThe Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel by English author J R R Tolkien It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children s literature 2004 20 190 191 JUST AMAZING FUN AND BEAUTIFUL ADVENTURE I HAD TO READ THE END AGAIN BECAUSE OF MY LOVEhow they made three films out of this impresses me In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Bilbo Baggins, living comfortably in his hobbit hole in Bag End, finds himself on the wrong end of an adventure.Gandalf the Grey has come recruiting for a burglar willing to raid the home of Smaug a dragon whose taken over the ancestral home of the dwarves.These dwarves, who number thirteen, are deeply suspicious and are unwilling to proceed unless their number is rounded up Evil is afoot and they refuse to ignore common sense aka superstition.Gandalf soon finds that persuading Bilbo ends up a quest in and of itselfI am looking for someone to share in an adventureit s very difficult to find anyone I should think so in these parts We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things Make you late for dinnerReluctantly very reluctantly , Bilbo joins on this journeyand soon finds out that quests are not very friendly to hobbits Is it nice, my preciousss Is it juicy Is it scrumptiously crunchableAnd yet, despite the hardships, trials and tribulationsBilbo finds himself eagerly plunging ahead Already he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without a pocket handkerchief from Bag End long ago He had not had a pocket handkerchief for ages. Absolutely Love This Book I ve read it so many times, and yet each time through, I find myself just absolutely enad with the book as if it is the first time Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not or that you feel good this morning or that it is a morning to be good onIt just has such a wonderful feel I want to read it over and over and over again.I absolutely love Bilbo s reluctance to adventure he and I would get along splendidly So many characters are just ready to run off and do thingsbut I would always be like, What about my books My blankets My turtle Agatha, my turtle, for referenceBut, even so, I adore how Bilbowcomes out of his shell and he grows into hismself You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after. And, above all, the world that J R R Tolkien is absolutely magical Elvish singing is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars, not if you care for such things. Such an enchanting book one that I truly, truly treasure May the hair on your toes never fall outAudiobook CommnetsRead by Rob Inglisand honestly, was not a big fan of the audio You d think that the narrator would be able to muster SOME enthusiasm for such a wonderful story.Blog Instagram Twitter Dear Tolkien fans please don t leave a comment if you re going to spew hatred I ll just delete it I m glad you enjoy Tolkien s work, but I am actually allowed to feel this way, no matter how scandalous you find that idea Thank you To be fair, it really is a cool story Mr Tolkien s imagination is endless and I respect him immensely for that To be able to conjure a whole new, magical world and all these creatures in it absolutely amazing But it is also a very long winded story and I found myself struggling to get the job done Reading is not supposed to be a job it s supposed to be fun and relaxing For me, The Hobbit was not an engaging story I was distracted constantly and kept missing paragraphs The story in itself is pretty great, but the way it is told makes the magic disappear I am not quite sure how to explain Maybe it was the way it was written, or the fact that they take a long time before anything happens I should also mention the highly anticlimactic end of Smaug, and the fact that I can t tell any of the dwarves apart And the songs Dear Merlin, the songsI felt like I was in a ruddy musical.I m sad that I didn t like it as much I wish I did In any case, still a cool story.