The Hobbit

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Are we looking forward to Peter Jackson’s filmization of “The Hobbit”? Yes, of course we are.

I was born into the Lord of the Rings Generation. When I was in the seventh grade I bought “The Two Towers,” not knowing that it was the second book in the trilogy, and not understanding how trilogies worked in any case.  Naturally I didn’t understand a bit of the plot, but I struggled through it anyway. Then one of my teachers, Mister Lorenz, bless him, noticed what was going on, and offered to lend me his copies of “Fellowship of the Ring” and “Return of the King,” so long as I didn’t damage them.

I was an immediate convert to Tolkienism.

A summer or two later – around 1970, anyway – I wrote to Ballantine Books, and sent them my $2.00, and received in return a copy of “The Hobbit,” which was described on the cover as “the enchanting prelude to ‘The Lord of the Rings.’”

I devoured it in a couple of days.

Have you ever noticed that “Hobbit” is exactly the same story as “Lord of the Rings”? A hobbit (Bilbo / Frodo) is enticed by Gandalf to leave the Shire with a group of oddball travelers. They encounter problems on the way (trolls, Nazgul, whatever). They get to Rivendell and have a chitchat with Elrond. They cross the Misty Mountains, but not without difficulties (Bilbo with Gollum and the goblins, Frodo in Moria). They pop out the other side and have a little rest (Bilbo and the dwarves with Beorn, Frodo and his companions in Lorien). They cross the river, and get into trouble, and get separated. There are spiders. There’s an ominous mountain. There’s a treasure that needs to be thrown away or given away (the Arkenstone / the Ring). There’s a big climactic battle. “The eagles are coming! The eagles are coming!” A few key people are killed in each battle (Thorin in “Hobbit,” Theoden in “Rings”).

And then the hobbit goes home to the Shire.

I’m delighted that Jackson is bringing back some key people: Ian McKellen, the perfect Gandalf, and Hugo Weaving, a grave (if intense) Elrond. (Please note that I love the Elrond that Tolkien gives us in the books; he’s thousands of years old, but he’s also very nice. Hugo Weaving looks irritated all the time, or maybe constipated, which is maybe more likely for someone who’s half-human and thousands of years old.)

Martin Freeman, like Ian Holm and Elijah Wood, is a perfect hobbit; like them, he’s a little unearthly-looking.

I hope the movie isn’t too CGI-reliant. “Hobbit” is a children’s book, but this had better not be a children’s movie.

And I don’t know if this is true, but I hear that Stephen Colbert is in the movie, as an elf. (He’s spoken Elvish on his show more than once, so he’s got the right background.)

We will see.

Here’s hoping for the best.


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to The Hobbit

  1. starproms says:

    I love the Hobbit even more than Lord of the Rings, which I read as a teenager. I liked the first two books but lost a bit of interest by the third book, mainly because I don’t like battles. My favourite characters apart from the obvious, are the black riders. I found them fascinating. I think J.K. Rowling must have had them in mind for her black ghosties, can’t remember what they are called at the moment, can you remind me?
    Nice picture. Martin Freeman is great. He came to my notice in the U.K. version (original) of The Office, which I loved.

    • Looking forward to the movie very much. I hope it manages to be as funny as the book; there aren’t many laughs in Lord of the Rings, but there are lots of funny moments in The Hobbit.

      • starproms says:

        Have you read ‘The Life of Pi’? That is a fascinating book/story. I highly recommend it and now I am looking forward to seeing the film of that too! Lucky aren’t we.

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