In honor of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arriving at midnight in theaters everywhere this morning at precisely 12:01 (yours truly was seated near the front, dressed as Stryder), let's take a peek at the famous children's fantasy that spawned a new era in literature (along with Chronicles of Narnia and The Chronicles of Prydain, of course).
"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...(skipping a few paragraphs of description)...this hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighborhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected; you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbors' respect, but he gained -- well, you will see whether he gained anything at the end."
--from The Hobbit (or There and Back Again) by J.R.R. Tolkien
I will admit to having a difficult time reading Tolkien -- his descriptions are seemingly endless and I find myself unable to go on any further after spending twenty pages with the same tree. BUT, I love his stories. They're incredible -- he created languages, maps, charts, dozens of characters, each worthy of our attention. I don't know many authors who are capable of creating a very real, other world.
So, I'm going to give The Hobbit another go. Here's why:
1. The first sentence is perfect -- you have the setting and the main character in very few words!
2. You know exactly HOW a hobbit is before you know WHAT it is -- a hobbit's main concern is comfort.
3. Baggins. Great name (one of the many great names Tolkien imagined while writing this epic).
4. The story of an atypical, unique hobbit who gives up his comforts (literally) to go on an adventure...this has got to be the beginning to a great story!
5. ...well, now I must see if and what he gained in the end. Clever, Tolkien.
Did you see the movie last night? Will you see it this weekend/next week? Thoughts?
See you on Monday with a review -- I'm reading a proper fairytale (I'll explain what I mean on Monday) and I'm quite thrilled about it.