Illustration by Alan Lee.

Illustration by Alan Lee.

Since I have only just finished The Hobbit – I can not believe it took me so long! – the time has now come for a wrap-up post.  Thank you to the lovely Eva over at A Striped Armchair for hosting the Hobbit discussion.

My experience of reading The Hobbit was vastly different from my original reading as a child, but it has not detracted from the memory. When I read it all those years ago, I was utterly engrossed by the adventure. I was reading for that childhood bedtime story appeal – all the “what comes next” as opposed to the “why”.

What did you think of the ending? Well, for much of The Hobbit, the adventure seemed, well, rather superficial. They were on a quest for gold and diamonds – and that was all. It bothered me slightly, but what I ended up loving was how it turned out that the whole quest did have a nobler purpose in the end. Bilbo and co. ended up freeing an entire group of men from the tyranny they had suffered from the Master of Lake town and the Dragon Smaug.

I loved how Tolkien began to incorporate the idea of corruption in men with the Master, and at the name time the nobility of men with Bard. The burning of Laketown was really kinda, well, beautiful – in a terrible way, of course – because it showed these characteristics so clearly.  I was reminded of the scene in Return of the King where Denethor tells his army to abandon their posts. Not sure if that actually happens in the book, and look forward to finding out!  (I included the wonderful Alan Lee illustration of Smaug’s death/flight from Laketown – really recommend you get the illustrated edition!)

I probably enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first – although, Gollum, how he made me cry –    as Tolkien threw in some unexpected wrenches.  I was stunned when Thorin sent Bilbo away after everything Bilbo had done for him and his party.  And for what?  A pretty stone?  While I understood that he was basically overwhelmed by his lust for gold, it was an excellent twist I had not considered.

What delighted you most? I absolutely loved the character of Beorn the shape-shifter.  First of all, there is hilarity of how Gandalf went about introducing himself and the rest of the dwarves… I don’t think I have laughed that hard it a while!  I reminded my mother about it, and even though she hadn’t read the book in a few decades, she remembered it clear as day.  Secondly, there was his connection with animals.  Because he could communicate with them, and could even become one, he also couldn’t eat them.  As a vegetarian, I really appreciated his inclusion.

Are you planning on continuing on to The Fellowship of the Ring?  Most definitely!  I already have my illustrated by Alan Lee editions and am looking forward to reading it as an adult.  I did read Fellowship when I was younger, and just remember it being rather tedious.  I now have more appreciation for Tolkien’s world-building, and think I will enjoy the descriptions much more this time round.

Well, that’s Bilbo sorted.  I’ll be checking in with Frodo over at The Literary Omnivore this month!

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