Over the weekend I finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. For the second time. When I was in middle school I read The Hobbit for school but it was so difficult for me to get through that I'd tried and failed to read it twice since then. (Compare that to my almost yearly reading of Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia)
Although I love J.R.R. Tolkien's stories, they are so dense that I feel like they drag on foreeeever.
So I figured out how to read Tolkien -- in chunks.
My problem is that I like to read a book in one sitting.
For some reason, I can't do that with Tolkien -- hence the chunks.
I really, really loved reading through this story again -- there were so may things that I didn't remember, and now that the movies are coming out I wanted to refresh my memory.
Although now I'm aware of the tragedy awaiting me in the third movie, which is *not* cool. (RIP my favorite dwarf...)
I feel like this story is probably the most epic, most grand-scale fantasy I've read or seen in a long time. The sheer size of the adventure (over a year) and the breadth of what happens is staggering.
You take a quiet little homebody and drag him through the woods, mountains, rivers, valleys and caves of a wild and almost always dangerous land and somehow he survives. Somehow, he turns into a hero, albeit not a perfect one.
Insert a mysterious grey wizard (who pops up and appears at will), a gaggle of dwarves (with several different colored hoods, all different ages), and crazy creatures like Beorn, the necromancer and the Elven King of Murkwood, plus a DRAGON *and* eagles and you have one heck of an adventure story.
I also like that J.R.R. didn't pander to an audience. For example -- a lot of publishers pay attention to how many male/female characters there are in books, but I don't feel J.R.R. was excluding women from this story. There just simply wasn't a woman in this tale. (There are epic women later on in Lord of the Rings, however)
I love the voice of this book -- sort of Bilbo re-telling his adventures to the young Took nieces and nephews, sort of Gandalf explaining it to someone (maybe the aforementioned nieces and nephews)...
My favorite parts were the Mirkwood episode, the Smaug/Bilbo conversation (Bilbo accidentally introducing himself in a really epic riddle), the Smeagol/Bilbo game of riddles, and the songs.
What are your favorite parts of The Hobbit? Favorite quotes? Favorite characters?