The Lord of the Rings Read-Along Begins! – Thoughts on The Hobbit

I’m participating in the Lord of the Rings Read-Along this year and the first book on the agenda is The Hobbit. Eva from A Striped Armchair is hosting the discussion for this book and to help us along, she’s posted some great questions:

When did you first hear of The Hobbit? What made you decide to join the read-a-long?

Have you read it before? If so tell us about that experience.

If you’re new to The Hobbit, do you have any preconceptions going into it?

J.R.R. Tolkien pretty much founded the modern fantasy genre. So let’s take a moment to think about the genre as a whole; have you always loved fantasy? Or perhaps you still feel rather skeptical towards the whole idea of wizards and dwarfs and magic? What was your introduction to the genre?

Do you have a certain plan for reading it? A few pages a day, spacing it out over the month? Or are you just going to race through it? Let whimsy decide?

Since many are still reading, I’m going to answer a few of the questions instead of doing a traditional review. I’ve tried my best to keep out spoilers but there maybe a few references that might give something away. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. 🙂 Onward!

We’re also sharing pictures of our book covers. Here’s mine.

The first time I read The Hobbit was the summer before I started 5th grade. The idea of a quest, treasure, magic, and elves was fascinating and stuck with me for a long time. I was in love with fantasy then, still am now, and I credit this book with my love of the genre.

In the fall of my 5th grade year, a few teachers put together a production of The Hobbit. Having already read the book, needless to say, I was very excited. A bunch of us tried out and made it! Okay, so the pickings were slim — an actor I am not! 🙂 I couldn’t wait to see what it would look like as a play though. This was, of course, my first experience with liking a book more than the movie/play. Not that we all weren’t fabulous but…I never pictured Gollum looking like a mermaid and still don’t to this day. But I guess when you’re putting on a play in a school cafeteria with a bunch of 5th graders, you go with what you got. I have very fond memories of the experience even if I personally found the book much more thrilling than our little play.

I, if anyone is curious, was the lead goblin in the play. A rather boring part with only three lines. The goblins played a very small role in our production. There were only three of us and after we finished our sparse lines, we mostly grunted and chased everyone whenever we were required on stage.

From that summer on, I have always loved this book. No matter how many times I re-read it, I fall in love with it all over again. Bilbo is so lovable, loyal, and truly just wants everyone to get along. Most of all, he wants to be home in his warm hobbit hole, which I imagine to be the most wonderful and magical of places. The beginning of the adventure is fantastic when he gets all flustered and then excited at the prospect of an adventure. It’s so amusing and shows his true character. He’s so proper (To leave home without pocket-handkerchiefs, the horror!) and not really fit for a long trip but you also see the excitement and wonder that make Bilbo such an enduring character.

The idea of magic, elves, hobbits, dwarfs, goblins, orcs (I know, getting ahead of myself!) just makes me all giddy. It’s the incredible sense of friendship, loyalty, adventure, danger, and a touch of magic that draws me in. I laugh when Bilbo gets all Tookish, feel creeped out when Gollum first appears, and more importantly, the first time he refers to himself as My Precious. His voice is a creepy echo in my head that I don’t shake until Bilbo finally leaves him behind.

I started The Hobbit over Christmas and stopped again. I was so excited I couldn’t help myself. I let myself savor one chapter, then another a few days later. I held off almost a week before I finally gave in, curled up on the couch, and joined the fearless travelers. I think because I’ve read this book before and have good and wonderful memories associated with it, that once I get back into the story and see everyone off, I can’t abandon the little travelers until they find their way home again.

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings sits prominently on our bookshelf. Each day I see the books and I’ve been thinking about re-reading them but with so many other books waiting to be read, I’ve put them off. When I saw the read-along, I knew it was time! And once again, I’ve enjoyed every moment of the journey. It’s so beautifully told, how can you not.

If you’re joining us on the journey, feel free to leave your impressions and memories here and also with Eva at A Striped Armchair who is hosting The Hobbit portion of the read-along. Enjoy the adventure! If you want more information about the read-along, click here. Not too late to sign up…