In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
I finally purchased a copy of The Hobbit to fill the glaring gap in my Lord of the Rings mania. I would not want to call my blog Mirkwood, if the only thing I knew about The Hobbit was a synopsis gleaned from other books and websites and quote collections. It starts off calmly and simply like a children’s book would, and I wonder if Tolkien knew what he was getting himself into when he wrote it. I wonder how much he knew about the coming War of the Ring, when he set Bilbo out to the Lonely Mountain.
I am a fan of Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings, and have the Extended Version DVDs of all three films, thanks to the kind indulgence of a very close friend. The version released in the theaters begins with Galadriel’s prologue and jumps to Frodo sitting in a peaceful garden in Hobbiton reading a book. The extended version inserts a beautiful scene between the prologue and the garden. It shows Bilbo with ink and quill, writing the title of his book There and Back Again, a Hobbit’s Tale. Then he proceeds to write Chapter 1, Concerning Hobbits. The screenplay of the first reel of the first film uses some material from The Hobbit. Every time I discover these little things that went into the making of the great film trilogy, I marvel at the skill, dedication and attention to detail that Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh brought to bear on the script. It must have been an enormous task to pore through the appendices, the unfinished tales and the many prequels, so that the film version of the trilogy could be a consistent and self-contained depiction of Middle Earth.