The Lord of the Rings Read-Along is continuing this month with The Hobbit. Eva from A Striped Armchair is hosting the discussion for this book and has posted a second set of questions and discussion points for all of us participating.
Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?
Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?
Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?
What do you think of the narrator’s voice?
Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?
Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?
Off we go…
I finished the book earlier this month. I tried to take it slow but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop. And, yes, it once again lived up to my expectations — it’s funny, full of wonderful characters, and it’s an adventure! Having read the book several times, I don’t know if I can say I found anything surprising, but I did find it comforting. Reading The Hobbit brought back a lot of good childhood memories and I love when a book does that.
Having finished the book already, I can’t say I was bogged down anywhere. I raced through it. 🙂
The songs, oh, the songs. I have to admit that I usually skip them, but this time around I did read them. This may in fact be the first time I ever read the songs and I feel odd admitting that because I’m sure at some point I must have read them but I found all the songs new to me this time around — so maybe that was my surprise on this re-reading. I’m not a music person, in fact I have no musical talent whatsoever (my parents who had to listen, painfully, to my failed attempts to play the clarinet as a child can attest to this) and when I read the songs, I read them as poetry. My brain is so musically disinclined that I don’t even know where to start with a melody. My husband would attest to this as well since I can barely name my supposed favorite song when I hear it! Any wonder I skipped them before? I think not but I am glad I read the songs this time.
I always thought the narrator’s voice sounded sort of fatherly and, after this re-reading, it still sounds that way to me. I don’t find it intrusive in anyway, it’s just there.
My edition does have maps in the front and back of the book. I do look at them but don’t reference them too much. I have an odd map in my head of what Middle Earth looks like and I like to keep it that way. 🙂 My book also has illustrations but I don’t spend too much time looking at them with the exception of one — the illustration of Bilbo’s hobbit hole at the end. It looks like a most magical place to live.
Favorites! How to choose? Well, if I must…it is Bilbo and running a very close second, Bombur. I always feel so bad for him and sort of cheer the chubby dwarf on. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling it for others but let’s just say I have a soft spot for him. Beorn is another wonderful character, the food alone at his house just sounds so tasty.
My favorite chapter is Riddles in the Dark. I find Gollum so creepy and it marks a turning point for me — the story takes on a slightly darker tone from this point on. More troubles, the adventure is not so much fun anymore, reality sets in, and death becomes a distinct possibility. I love the game played between Bilbo and Gollum and the way that Bilbo gets out of the situation. The little burglar indeed!
My favorite quote also comes from this chapter. In my edition, page 65.
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.
I always wondered how one would go sideways but that’s another topic. I just love that he gives himself a little pep talk and trots off as if this was all part of a normal day. Can’t you just picture Bilbo holding out the sword in the dark shuffling slowly along the wall?
There will be one more post about The Hobbit at the end of the month and then we move on to The Fellowship of the Rings. If you’re curious, here’s more info about the read-along.
Got any memories to share of The Hobbit?