The Hobbit was initially published in 1937, and was subsequently revised in 1951 – with some significant changes – to bring it into consistency with the events that occur in The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit was my introduction to Middle Earth, an introduction that occurred approximately 34 years ago when my mother read it aloud to me and my brother. I remember that I loved The Hobbit, but I didn’t fall in love with Tolkien and Middle Earth until years later, when I read The Lord of The Rings.
I am a self-described Tolkien nerd. I have read the Silmarillion, and I have listened to Professor Corey Olson’s podcasts on Tolkien and his works. I know a lot about Middle Earth for a 46-year-old married mother of two. I love the Peter Jackson movies, and am unashamedly excited about the adaptation of The Hobbit that is scheduled for release on 12/15.
In honor of that release, I decided to re-read The Hobbit. Since I had previously read it aloud to my daughter, my son, Nick, previously mentioned in a post about or reading streak, had to be persuaded that we should read it together after finishing Harry Potter. He was a pretty easy mark, though, to be honest.
So, my most recent re-read of The Hobbit was a read-aloud. It took about a month for us to read it. In preparation for writing this post, I asked him a few questions about it.
Me: So, did you like The Hobbit?
Nick: Yes, I liked it a lot.
Me: What was your favorite part?
Nick: The part where the dragon got killed!
Me: Which character did you like the best?
Nick: I liked Bilbo, but I thought that Gandalf was really cool. I wish I could do magic.
Me: Would you rather hang out with elves or dwarves?
Nick: Dwarves. Because Thorin was the king under the mountain and they had lots of treasure.
I have to admit, I was surprised by the dwarf answer, since I’ve always considered the elves to be clearly superior (I suspect that Tolkien did, as well). But, I suppose it makes sense for a 12-year-old boy to be attracted to a short, bearded, axe-wielding dwarf as opposed to the pretty-boy elves who shoot arrows and sing. He did like it, though, even the parts where I sung Tolkien’s songs to my own, undoubtedly terrible, tunes. He provided back up drum sounds, which may in fact have been intended to drown out the singing. He’s not telling.
Anyway, I hear that there are people out there who haven’t read Tolkien. Start with The Hobbit. It is a wonderful story, full of wonder and beauty, some vanquished trolls, a shape-shifting bear, goblins and wolves, giant spiders who will suck the juice out of a man, harrowing adventures, narrow escapes, great battles, and a dragon who sleeps on a bed of gold and jewels. Seriously, who wouldn’t love that?