Concerning Hobbits

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.

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4 thoughts on “Concerning Hobbits”

  1. As I understand from what little reading I’ve done about it, Tolkien did not know what he was getting into when he wrote The Hobbit. In fact, he had never intended writing a sequel to it at all, until his publishers, Allen and Unwin, asked him to.

    Enjoy the book!

  2. yes, these books are just a marvel and aren’t we so lucky that Tolkein wrote as much as he did. It would have been better to have more, of course, but I will be grateful for how much there is!

  3. Josh: Yes, it appears that the War of the Ring hadn’t revealed itself to Tolkien yet. The tone of the Hobbit is quite different, closer to a children’s novel than to the decidedly grown-up nature of the later books. Thanks for visiting!

    JennDZ: Count me in among the grateful ones! I have lost count of the number times I think of LoTR in a week, or in a day, how often I have said to myself after having bad thoughts: “Dark have been my dreams of late.” 😉

  4. So have you read the Silmarillion? Now that is a great book. Gives you the backbone to the mythology of LOTR. It reads like one of those Old Norse Sagas.
    So what are some of your other favorite books?

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