Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review of #0 THe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Name of Book: The Hobbit

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

ISBN: 0-395-28265-9

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Part of a Series: Lord of the Rings

Type of book: prequel, fantasy, hobbits, dragons, dwarfs, wizard, magic, Gollum, origins, magic ring, adventure

Year it was published: 1937

Summary:

"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."

The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a "little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves." He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf the Grey stops by one morning, "looking for someone to share in an adventure," Baggins fervently wishes the wizard elsewhere. No such luck, however; soon 13 fortune-seeking dwarves have arrived on the hobbit's doorstep in search of a burglar, and before he can even grab his hat or an umbrella, Bilbo Baggins is swept out his door and into a dangerous adventure.

The dwarves' goal is to return to their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountains and reclaim a stolen fortune from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, they and their reluctant companion meet giant spiders, hostile elves, ravening wolves--and, most perilous of all, a subterranean creature named Gollum from whom Bilbo wins a magical ring in a riddling contest. It is from this life-or-death game in the dark that J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, would eventually spring. Though The Hobbit is lighter in tone than the trilogy that follows, it has, like Bilbo Baggins himself, unexpected iron at its core. Don't be fooled by its fairy-tale demeanor; this is very much a story for adults, though older children will enjoy it, too. By the time Bilbo returns to his comfortable hobbit-hole, he is a different person altogether, well primed for the bigger adventures to come--and so is the reader. --Alix Wilber

Characters:

Besides Bilbo and Gandalf, the characters are dull and boring somehow. I am not sure why, but it feels that the characters are just names and I couldn't travel into their thoughts and personalities. Thorin did stand out as well, but besides names I can't remember their personalities. All I know is that I couldn't connect to them and felt alienated.

Theme:

Expect the unexpected.

Plot:

The story is simple to follow and is written in third person narrative from Bilbo's point of view. It reads like a child's adventure, but again, it doesn't sparkle and crackle with life but is dull instead. Its similar to Lewis Carroll (when I read it for fun years ago, I swear I thought it was a zero star book...) Tolkien tries to make the book good, but it didn't work for me sorry to say.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)
born
January 03, 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa

died
September 02, 1973

gender
male

website
http://www.tolkienestate.com/

genre
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books

influences
Catholicism, Norse Mythology, Anglo-Saxon poetry, Finnish Mythology, I...more

About this author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C.S. Lewis.

Christopher Tolkien published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion . These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the word "legendarium" to the larger part of these writings.

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy. Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field.

In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.

Religious influences
J.R.R. Tolkien, was born in South Africa in 1892, but his family moved to Britain when he was about 3 years old. When Tolkien was 8 years old, his mother converted to Catholicism, and he remained a Catholic throughout his life. In his last interview, two years before his death, he unhesitatingly testified, “I’m a devout Roman Catholic.”

Tolkien married his childhood sweetheart, Edith, and they had four children. He wrote them letters each year as if from Santa Claus, and a selection of these was published in 1976 as The Father Christmas Letters . One of Tolkien’s sons became a Catholic priest. Tolkien was an advisor for the translation of the Jerusalem Bible .

Tolkien once described The Lord of the Rings to his friend Robert Murray, an English Jesuit priest, as "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work, unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." There are many theological themes underlying the narrative including the battle of good versus evil, the triumph of humility over pride, and the activity of grace. In addition the saga includes themes which incorporate death and immortality, mercy and pity, resurrection, salvation, repentance, self-sacrifice, free will, justice, fellowship, authority and healing. In addition The Lord's Prayer "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" was reportedly present in Tolkien's mind as he described Frodo's struggles against the power of the "One Ring.''

Opinion:

In 8th grade, for a late holiday present, a friend of mine gave me the set of Lord of the Rings books. That was the year before the movies came out, ironically. I recall as a middle schooler I loved The Hobbit as well as the series, but reading them today and last year has changed dramatically. The author is a talented writer as well as very creative, but for some odd reason the words didn't come to life for me and there was something boring about the books, or this book rather. When I had to read LoTR for school, it was because there weren't humorous scenes interspersed with serious scenes; with this one, while the story and plot were simple, I have no idea why I find this story boring.

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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