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    Default Rater Reads The Hobbit

    So, I have never actually read The Hobbit, despite it being one of those books that everyone should read if given the chance, being that it and the rest of Tolkien's library are definitive influences on modern fantasy literature.

    I have recently been gifted a new copy of the book, specifically a copy of the 75th Anniversary Pocket Edition, if that is at all relevant, and I thought it might be fun to, as someone with only an intellectual, pop-culture-influenced understanding of the book reading it otherwise blind, to share my thoughts don't he text.

    I asked a bit ago, some people expressed interest, so I'm doing it.

    A breakdown of how this is going to work: For each chapter, there will be two spoiler blocks.

    The first will contain my thoughts on the chapter as I read it, which means they will probably be somewhat disjointed and stream of thought. the second will contain a more detailed set of thoughts after finishing the chapter.

    sometimes, one will be longer than the other, and in both cases, the chapter will probably be summarized to some degree.

    I do not have a set schedule for this. This will be updated as I read and I will read as I feel like it. There may come times where more than one chapter is read in a day—maybe even during the same post. I am a quick reader, I usually finish books pretty fast.

    Discussion of the book is welcome, and anyone with a copy who wants to read along is welcome to, but please, anything that comes after the most recent chapter I have posted on should be in clearly marked spoiler tags, please and thank you.

    I don't normally mind spoilers, but in this case, I want to respond to things after having read the chapter myself.

    And here we go.


    Spoiler: Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party thoughts as I go
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    Before getting to the chapter proper, I feel I must note, as this edition preserves Tolkien's own illustrations, that Smaug is much more lanky and serpentine than more modern depictions.

    Which honestly makes sense. "Smaug" means something along the lines of "to slither through" so he should look like something that slithers.

    I like that the first chapter properly opens by saying the hobbit lives in a hole, then goes to length to explain that a 'hobbit-hole' isn't a literal hole in the ground but a cozy home built into a hill when it could have just said "the hobbit lived in a cozy house built into a hill" and gone on to describe it exactly the same. It feels like something someone might actually say, if they were trying to tell a story from memory.

    We have our introduction to the wealthy, respected, and all together unadventurous Baggins family, and a description of what a hobbit actually is.: A good-natured, cheerful little fat person with hairy, leathery-soled feet. No mention of them having unusually large feet for their size, which you see in pretty much every adaption.

    Another thing I find noteworthy is that the hobbits are described as having "long, brown fingers" which would indicate that... well, I man, pretty much every adaption of The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings shows the Hobbit as fair-skinned, but to have brown fingers they would logically have brown skin. I'm not sure what exactly would constitute "Brown" to an Englishman in Tolkien's time but I'm imagining at the very least a moderate tan.

    We are then given a description of Bilbo Baggins' parents, noting that his mother comes from a family rumored to have fairy blood because they tend to disappear on adventures, but that she never went on any adventures after becoming Mrs. Baggins.

    In these kinds of stories, in my experience, it's always the father whom this kind of thing comes from. Inheritance from the father, maybe a gift from the mother. It's nice to see a case where when something is "in the blood" that it comes from the mother even almost 85 years back.

    In comparison, all we're told about Bilbo's father is that he built a nice house that Bilbo eventually inherited. Almost a complete inversion of the trope from a book that, honestly, probably predates the trope.

    "By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green..." and I am immediately nostalgic for a time I've never known and probably never existed. That is some good descriptive prose right there.

    Gandalf is introduced by more prose, presenting him as some sort of famed Myth-Hero capable of almost any miracle... Which considering that Tolkien's "wizards" are more akin to 'demigods' or 'questing angels' is more than appropriate... I wonder, did the idea of wizards as such beings come first, or did Tolkien write this description and then decide his wizards needed to live up to it?

    And I immediately love the banter between Bilbo and Gandalf. "When you say good morning do you mean *number of options*"
    "Yes."

    I notice the descriptions of the dwarves describe quite colorful clothes and especially beards... I haven't seen the films, and only clips of the Rankin-Bass production. Am I right to assume that it is omitted in favor of more traditionally 'dwarvy' colors?

    A dwarf taking wine? ye gods have things been simplified from the old days.

    ...I could hear the singing in my head. Thank you Peter Hollins drinking melody.

    And, at least the Dwarves make for good guests. That's gotta be at least some consolation.

    I already like these dwarves more than any other example of their kind in any other media. They already feel like a culture, a people who could exist, rather than a simple stereotype.

    I literally shook with laughter at the description of Bullriarer inventing golf.

    And Gandalf tempting Bilbo's latent adventurous side, hinted at his aborted comment about things being more exciting in the old days, was the entire point of this audacious stunt, was it not?

    More heist movies should start like this. The team is already assembled, the plan is discussed and fine-tuned when the last guy is involved, and most of the story is just gettiing there.

    And more beautifully descriptive prose, this time of the destruction wrought by Smaug.

    ...I don't like the Capital Letters on "The Necromancer."

    And we end with everyone going to bed.


    Spoiler: Chapter 1 Thoughts Upon conclusion
    Show
    so, imagine if you will that you only know pizza from something.. Cheap. Like, say, bagel bites. Not bad, not by any means, but far from the best.

    And then you taste a properly made pizza made fresh with top-shelf ingredients, fresh creamy mozzarella and sweet, spicy sauce seasoned just right on a crust that's just the right thickness and balance of crunchiness to tenderness.

    that is how I feel going from my vague understanding of Tolkien via pop culture and derivative works to the original, real thing.

    I'm repeating myself a bit, but... I love the prose. even bilbo's "not so prosy" prose does a good job of painting a picture in my mind's eyes.

    Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin all have their own distinct voices from their first lines, and to repeat myself I love the initial conversation between Bilbo and Gandalf—it comes across very much like two very clever people who do not think the way normal people do and who don't quite understand each other trying to have a conversation when one clearly means something other than the other... Though Obviously, Gandalf understands more than he lets on, and is playing a con.

    I can actually feel how increasingly flustered Bilbo becomes as the Dwarve begin to step in...

    In general, I love literature. I love to read, I love to artistically critique what I've read, I love to examine it and reexamine it and learn about the context in which it was written, and this?

    I have chills, they're multiplying, and I should stop here before I transition from my love of literature to my love of stage musicals.


    And tha'ts chapter one done. I hope some people will design to join me in time for chapter two.
    Last edited by Rater202; 2021-07-22 at 01:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    I'm glad to read that you are already loving the book, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by many of the twists to come.

    It is worth bearing in mind that The Hobbit is very different in style to the rest of the Middle Earth works - both those wirtten by Tolkein (or very nearly) and those assembled by his son atfer his death.

    I, who have read The Hobbit many times before recently re-read it after a long break and I was very surprised by some of the things I had forgotten, bu all I woudl say at this point is that Peter Jackson ignored the book pretty much from the start (and I never watched the 2nd or 3rd Hobbit films).

    Oh yes, do take time to look at the maps (online if those in the Pocket Edition are too small to read) - one of the nice touches is the way the Dwarf map of the lonely mountain isn't "North up".

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    Ooh, this one could be fun to keep an eye on. The Hobbit was my favorite novel for probably a decade after I first read it (and it still obviously holds a place of honor in my heart). In fact, and this is personal taste, I vastly prefer it to Lord of the Rings; the fairy-tale-like tone of the narrative makes it so much more fun than the more epic and clinical style of Tolkien's related work. Bilbo is an extremely fun clever-but-out-of-his-depth character, and watching his relationship with the dwarves go from 'that guy the wizard told us we should bring' to a trusted ally that is relied on in the most perilous of circumstances is extremely engaging. Additionally, his sense of wonder at the wider world of Middle Earth is easy to latch on to as a reader, and he makes an excellent viewpoint character.

    How much do you know of the recent films? I'm practically contractually obligated to dunk on them (they...very much miss the spirit of the original work in my opinion, among other problems), but I will say that their adaptation of the first chapter is actually pretty good if I remember correctly (it goes downhill rather quickly...and the first film is by far the best of them).
    Last edited by The Hellbug; 2021-07-22 at 01:35 PM.
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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    While I made myself watch all three LOTR films, I flat refused to watch The Hobbit trilogy because the book was good enough, and they tried to stretch it out into three films. (I was also dragooned into seeing a stage adaptation if The Hobbit, and that was pretty ropey, and runined by the number of times they tried to reference LOTR.)

    I'm looking forward to this - it's a good book, and if you liked the first chapter you should enjoy the rest of it.
    Warning: This posting may contain wit, wisdom, pathos, irony, satire, sarcasm and puns. And traces of nut.

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    Ooh, I cant tell this is going to be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    We have our introduction to the wealthy, respected, and all together unadventurous Baggins family, and a description of what a hobbit actually is.: A good-natured, cheerful little fat person with hairy, leathery-soled feet. No mention of them having unusually large feet for their size, which you see in pretty much every adaption.

    Another thing I find noteworthy is that the hobbits are described as having "long, brown fingers" which would indicate that... well, I man, pretty much every adaption of The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings shows the Hobbit as fair-skinned, but to have brown fingers they would logically have brown skin. I'm not sure what exactly would constitute "Brown" to an Englishman in Tolkien's time but I'm imagining at the very least a moderate tan.
    The question of skin color in Tolkien's Legendarium is a bit complicated as his descriptions are generally more evocative that descriptive. The hobbits being something of a stand-in for then-modern English people, it's likely the Professor didn't intend for them to have what we'd call dark skin today and was more referring to a worker's tan, but you never know. Also the people of Gondor and Nůmenor are also kind of whitewashed.

    We are then given a description of Bilbo Baggins' parents, noting that his mother comes from a family rumored to have fairy blood because they tend to disappear on adventures, but that she never went on any adventures after becoming Mrs. Baggins.

    In these kinds of stories, in my experience, it's always the father whom this kind of thing comes from. Inheritance from the father, maybe a gift from the mother. It's nice to see a case where when something is "in the blood" that it comes from the mother even almost 85 years back.

    In comparison, all we're told about Bilbo's father is that he built a nice house that Bilbo eventually inherited. Almost a complete inversion of the trope from a book that, honestly, probably predates the trope.
    In fact, whenever somebody is of mixed origin in the LEgendarium, the mother is always the most magical of the parents. Out of all the Men/elves coupling only one had a male elf and female human and they died without having children (it was war-time).


    "By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green..." and I am immediately nostalgic for a time I've never known and probably never existed.
    Middle-Earth in a nutshell.

    The world was young, the mountains green,
    No stains yet on the Moon was seen,
    No words were laid on stream or stone,
    When Durin woke and walked alone...


    Gandalf is introduced by more prose, presenting him as some sort of famed Myth-Hero capable of almost any miracle... Which considering that Tolkien's "wizards" are more akin to 'demigods' or 'questing angels' is more than appropriate... I wonder, did the idea of wizards as such beings come first, or did Tolkien write this description and then decide his wizards needed to live up to it?
    Gandalf is already taking some pretty serious clues from Norse and Finnish mythology with a side helping of Arthurian mythos, so the former, I'd say.


    I notice the descriptions of the dwarves describe quite colorful clothes and especially beards... I haven't seen the films, and only clips of the Rankin-Bass production. Am I right to assume that it is omitted in favor of more traditionally 'dwarvy' colors?
    One thing I can say for the Jackson Hobbit movies, is that they gave each dwarf a distinctive visual identity.

    A dwarf taking wine? ye gods have things been simplified from the old days.

    ...I could hear the singing in my head. Thank you Peter Hollins drinking melody.

    And, at least the Dwarves make for good guests. That's gotta be at least some consolation.

    I already like these dwarves more than any other example of their kind in any other media. They already feel like a culture, a people who could exist, rather than a simple stereotype.
    ...Unwearied then were Durin's folk,
    Beneath the Mountains music woke,
    The harpers harped, the minstrels sang
    And at the gates the trumpets rang...


    Okay, I should probably stop with the quotes, you might read The Lord of the Rings afterward.

    I literally shook with laughter at the description of Bullriarer inventing golf.
    You know, I keep forgetting that's a thing.

    ...I don't like the Capital Letters on "The Necromancer."
    Fair enough.

    Spoiler: Chapter 1 Thoughts Upon conclusion
    Show
    so, imagine if you will that you only know pizza from something.. Cheap. Like, say, bagel bites. Not bad, not by any means, but far from the best.

    And then you taste a properly made pizza made fresh with top-shelf ingredients, fresh creamy mozzarella and sweet, spicy sauce seasoned just right on a crust that's just the right thickness and balance of crunchiness to tenderness.

    that is how I feel going from my vague understanding of Tolkien via pop culture and derivative works to the original, real thing.

    I'm repeating myself a bit, but... I love the prose. even bilbo's "not so prosy" prose does a good job of painting a picture in my mind's eyes.

    Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin all have their own distinct voices from their first lines, and to repeat myself I love the initial conversation between Bilbo and Gandalf—it comes across very much like two very clever people who do not think the way normal people do and who don't quite understand each other trying to have a conversation when one clearly means something other than the other... Though Obviously, Gandalf understands more than he lets on, and is playing a con.

    I can actually feel how increasingly flustered Bilbo becomes as the Dwarve begin to step in...

    In general, I love literature. I love to read, I love to artistically critique what I've read, I love to examine it and reexamine it and learn about the context in which it was written, and this?

    I have chills, they're multiplying, and I should stop here before I transition from my love of literature to my love of stage musicals.


    And tha'ts chapter one done. I hope some people will design to join me in time for chapter two.
    Yup, This is going to be good. You've just embarked on a great journey, friend. And remember, The road goes ever on...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Fair enough.
    Now, when I say that, it's that "the Necromancer" says something all-together different than "a necromancer" does.

    I'm vaguely familiar with the general outline of this story... But I don't quite recall anything about "the Necromancer."
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    "...love of stage musicals". Well, if memory serves, the first chapter already had a couple of songs, so you could imagine this as a musical. Let's see how that goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Now, when I say that, it's that "the Necromancer" says something all-together different than "a necromancer" does.

    I'm vaguely familiar with the general outline of this story... But I don't quite recall anything about "the Necromancer."
    Spoiler: I don't really think this really is a spoiler, but I'm covering my bases
    Show
    He's not actually in the story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    You know what, this is a great opportunity to post some sung versions of those songs.

    Now, the movie version of Far Over the Misty Mountains is excellent, but I'd like to instead plug a full version here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ymgFyzbDo

    (If you ever do the Lord of the Rings, I have so many more songs. And they are all great. I might be a minority, but I love Tolkien's super long songs.)

    Edit: whoops, wrong version. That one also contains another song for some reason. THis is the right one.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2021-07-22 at 03:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    The thing I love most about the prose in the Hobbit is the way it almost compels me to read out loud whenever I'm reading it. It feels so much like a story you want to tell someone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    The thing I love most about the prose in the Hobbit is the way it almost compels me to read out loud whenever I'm reading it. It feels so much like a story you want to tell someone.
    Yes.

    From what I've heard, The Hobbit was originally written as a bedtime story for Tolkien's own children.

    Even if it wasn't, even one chapter in there's some obvious inspiration from ancient Norse literature, which consisted almost entirely of songs and poems which are, naturally, meant to be spoken or sung aloud.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
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    Way down the air
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    Where my other
    Rocks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post

    Edit: whoops, wrong version. That one also contains another song for some reason. THis is the right one.
    Yes, Durin's Song is all very well and atmospheric, but it's from The Lord of the Rings, not The Hobbit.

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    The Clamavi de Profundis version of Durin's song is brilliant, though.

    A few years back, I remember reading LOTR again, long years after the first time, and being startled at how genuinely well written it was, as a work in itself. Big difference, like when you read Dracula or Sherlock Holmes for the first time and find out they're not what pop culture made them.

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    I recently re-read the Hobbit and LotR, for the first time in over 2 decades probably, my last re-read was probably somewhere before the movies came out.

    The thing I wanted to recapture not present in the movie was that special something the text had.

    The really weird part however was a lot of things I thought I remembered from the books that were changed in the movies didn't actually occur in the books either. Very puzzling. It's like I remember something half-way between books and movies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hellbug View Post
    In fact, and this is personal taste, I vastly prefer it to Lord of the Rings; the fairy-tale-like tone of the narrative makes it so much more fun than the more epic and clinical style of Tolkien's related work.
    I was pretty much going to say the same thing. The LotR have a place in my heart, but the Hobbit just has so much more fun and whimsey, it's such a joy.

    How much do you know of the recent films? I'm practically contractually obligated to dunk on them (they...very much miss the spirit of the original work in my opinion, among other problems), but I will say that their adaptation of the first chapter is actually pretty good if I remember correctly
    Agreed. The start of the film up until just about after Bilbo (spoilers) heads off on his adventure is definitely my favorite segment, and had given me lots of hope for the film.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    From what I've heard, The Hobbit was originally written as a bedtime story for Tolkien's own children.
    It definitely was--I think Christopher Tolkien wrote an introduction to one of the editions where he mentions his childhood self correcting his father on the colour of Thorin's hat because he'd made it different in one scene than in another! It's why it includes aspects of Tolkien's wider legendarium but really doesn't fit very well into it--you never see clocks anywhere outside the Shire in LOTR, as I recall, so apparently hobbits are the most technologically advanced race in Middle-earth.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    I was introduced to the Hobbit in, like 1980, by my parents who played the Mind's Eye Audio Production in the care on long road trips. I always think of the Dwarve's song the way they recorded it.

    Last edited by Trafalgar; 2021-07-23 at 01:36 AM.
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    I've read the Hobbit a million times and read it to my son out loud twice. Judging by Rater's first post, I can tell it's going to be a lot of fun vicariously experiencing reading the book for the first time through them.

    Regarding the descriptions of the Hobbits as "brown-skinned" and "long fingered", these seems to link them to lots of descriptions in Little Folk in Faerie lore - brownies, gnomes, etc. I think in Lord of the Rings the Hobbits morphed more into stand-ins for 19th century English country folk, just shorter.

    Regarding the question of the Gandalf archetype - Tolkien based Gandalf on the stories of Odin wandering around in his big wide hat and cloak, pretending to be mortal and giving people advice, help, or maybe pointing them to their doom, as his mood warranted. These aren't in the Eddas much, but Odin appears in this fashion in lots of Scandanavian sagas (a number of which are wonderfully retold by fantasy author Poul Anderson, btw). Tolkien was definitely familiar with all of them.
    Last edited by PontificatusRex; 2021-07-23 at 02:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    you never see clocks anywhere outside the Shire in LOTR, as I recall, so apparently hobbits are the most technologically advanced race in Middle-earth.
    Gonna be honest, that actually makes sense.

    You'd be surprised how many attempts at innovation were done because someone was just the right kind of lazy that they consider working hard now to be worth things being easier later, and Tolkien does describe the Hobbits in such a way that they are easy going and like their leisure time and their meals.

    A device that lets them know that it's time for second dinner without having to go outside and check the position of the sun and moon is exactly the kind of thing they'd invent.
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    Spoiler: Ode To Meteors, By zimmerwald
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Meteor
    You are a meteor
    Falling star
    You soar your
    Way down the air
    To the floor
    Where my other
    Rocks
    Are.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Tolkien does describe the Hobbits in such a way that they are easy going and like their leisure time and their meals.

    A device that lets them know that it's time for second dinner without having to go outside and check the position of the sun and moon is exactly the kind of thing they'd invent.
    Hmm, I see things a bit differently. While hobbits are easy going in lots of ways, I think they use clocks because they don't like surprises and unpredictability. If a guest is coming for tea, they want to know that guest is coming 3:30 sharp, not "some time in the afternoon".

    As for meals, they don't need clocks to tell them when second breakfast, their stomachs do just fine.
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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    Oh yes, do take time to look at the maps (online if those in the Pocket Edition are too small to read) - one of the nice touches is the way the Dwarf map of the lonely mountain isn't "North up".
    This is in imitation of medieval maps who had East up for religious reasons. This is why "orient" often comes up as a root in words about directions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    No mention of them having unusually large feet for their size, which you see in pretty much every adaption.
    Thinking about this, part of the reason might be the need for actors to wear fake-feet over their real feet so they don't walk barefooted everywhere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    The opening of the Hobbit:

    Spoiler
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    “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.”


    may be amongst the greatest in all literature.
    Last edited by Scarlet Knight; 2021-07-23 at 06:27 AM.
    “A long surcote of pers upon he hade, / And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.” - Chaucer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trafalgar View Post
    I was introduced to the Hobbit in, like 1980, by my parents who played the Mind's Eye Audio Production in the care on long road trips. I always think of the Dwarve's song the way they recorded it.
    My version was always the BBC radio play version from 1968.

    It's very worth checking out. Good performances, and faithful to the book.

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    Concerning the large feet on dramatized hobbits
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Thinking about this, part of the reason might be the need for actors to wear fake-feet over their real feet so they don't walk barefooted everywhere.
    That wouldn't explain the feet on the animated versions, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Spoiler: I don't really think this really is a spoiler, but I'm covering my bases
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    He's not actually in the story.
    Spoiler: Humorous addendum
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    But he features more prominently in the sequel.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    This reaction to Chapter 1 was delightful.

    It makes me recall my reaction to any re read of Lord of the Rings when you start with 'Concerning Hobbits'. To me, that also has the 'settling in' quality to it that is uncommon in a lot of other literature I have read.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidSh View Post
    Concerning the large feet on dramatized hobbits

    That wouldn't explain the feet on the animated versions, however.
    It's a meme spread from an artist's decision to emphasize them; the 1976 calendar by the Brother's Hildenbrandt. Tolkien never said they had them.

    Tolkien's sketch of Biblo in his hole shows normally proportioned feet. He does refer to a specific character/family (the Proudfoots) in the Fellowship as having exceptionally large and hairy feet, that seems to have caught on in the general imagination as a key characteristic. More generally, he states that the most numerous breed of hobbits has 'nimble hands and feet' while the a smaller breed had large hands and feet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Cardew View Post
    (the Proudfoots)
    Proudfeet!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    And now we come to Chapter 2: Roast Mutton.

    As an aside, the chapter title makes me hungry. Gonna have to eat something when I'm done here.

    Spoiler: As I go
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    The dwarves are no-longer good guests, leaving a mess for Bilbo to clean.

    Bilbo trying to talk himself out of being disappointed that the Dwarves left without him is somewhat indearing.

    Also, Gandalf is more of a jerk than I've been lead to believe. For all that I find it amusing, I must note that in Bilbo's position I'd be mighty tempted to shove my non-existent boot up the wizard's ass.

    I wouldn't go through within, but I'd be tempted.

    Bilbo arrives just in time to get going, as I imagine may become a trend, but at least he is loaned a spare hood and Gandalf brought that which Bilbo was forced to leave behind in his haste.

    As an aside, with how small hobbits are, and how sedentary, running over "a mile or more" in less than ten minutes is some damn good time. I imagine such swiftness may come in handy on a journey such as this.

    The telling of stories and singing of songs in relating to the dwarves and their throng. It makes sense. Dwarves are originally from Norse mythology, and the Norsemen were big on stories and song, but I don't think such things are part of the common conception of "fantasy" dwarves.

    Much, I fear, has been lost in imitation. If I ever actually play proper D&D again I'm making a colorfully dressed dwarven bard.

    Either Middle Earth is very small, or the paragraph describing their travel through different lands is to emphasize that they've been on the road a long time. I feel tired and slightly anxious just reading it. A feeling that only get worse in the following paragraph.

    As an introvert who loves routine and good food, it should come as no surprise that I strongly identify with Bilbo right now.

    It is July. It is frickin' hot right now, but I can almost feel the chill of the long rainy day leading into a cold wet night.

    And... Ooh, is this where the trolls come in? The light in the distance?

    Yep, the trolls...

    ...Did "gravy" mean "grease" in 1930s England? Because I'm seeing it being hard to mix grease/broth with flour if you're cooking with sticks.

    ...A troll named William? My god. And they're clearly monsters, with their talk of eating man-flesh... But they're having an intelligent conversation in complete, if thickly accented, English. No "Me this" or "Bert that."

    ...I understand that, for reasons that we can't really discuss here, that Tolkien had issues with beings that were inherently "evil." Is this an example of this? The trolls are monsters, but they're also people. They could have chosen to be something other than monsters if given the chance?

    Bilbo proceeds to attempt something quite brave and stupid and immediately gets caught...

    He just barely managed to avoid trouble by accidentally starting a fight... Only for the dwarves to start wandering in and immediately be captured one by one. At least Torn was able to put up a fight.

    And then Gandalf shows up after having vanished before and saves the day by starting another fight. And another. And another. Until daylight and then the light of the sun turns the trolls to stone. From stone, they are made, from stone they return forevermore...

    Where do Ents come from? I know that a (proposed?) origin for Trolls is that they were a failed attempt to create a rival for the Ents, creatures of living wood. Living Stone to oppose Living wood would...

    I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Things wind down by searching for the cave in which the trolls must have had shelter, which they then loot, with attention drawn to some finely crafted swords and knives. They make camp, supplies restocked, and sleep till afternoon before discussing the road ahead. and where Gandalf vanished to.


    Spoiler: In Sumary
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    First, I want to comment on the illustration.

    The Trolls hiding in the shadows of the tree waiting for the dwarves to wander in. That's...

    The trolls don't look like ugly lumpy pale humans. They look like...

    Honestly, if I didn't know what I was looking at I imagine I was looking at devils hiding in the woods. They look quite sinister, in a way that you don't really see with trolls, giants, and ogres are commonly depicted.

    Beyond that, I am starting to get the feeling that the story is somewhat... Episodic.

    Which makes sense. Tolkien wrote this as a bedtime story for his children, so... so far each chapter feels like its own story. Like an episode of a serial...

    ...Probably would have adapted better as a mini-series than a movie?

    I don't feel like I'm stopping in the middle of a story when I stop at the end of a chapter. That's nice.
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    Spoiler: Ode To Meteors, By zimmerwald
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Meteor
    You are a meteor
    Falling star
    You soar your
    Way down the air
    To the floor
    Where my other
    Rocks
    Are.

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    Default Re: Rater Reads The Hobbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    Also, Gandalf is more of a jerk than I've been lead to believe. For all that I find it amusing, I must note that in Bilbo's position I'd be mighty tempted to shove my non-existent boot up the wizard's ass.
    Gandalf is a very old man with all the coolness and the crankiness that implies.

    ...A troll named William? My god. And they're clearly monsters, with their talk of eating man-flesh... But they're having an intelligent conversation in complete, if thickly accented, English. No "Me this" or "Bert that."

    ...I understand that, for reasons that we can't really discuss here, that Tolkien had issues with beings that were inherently "evil." Is this an example of this? The trolls are monsters, but they're also people. They could have chosen to be something other than monsters if given the chance?
    These three simply don't fit with how trolls behave in the other texts. They are very much more fairy-tale trolls than fantasy trolls, if you catch my meaning.



    Where do Ents come from? I know that a (proposed?) origin for Trolls is that they were a failed attempt to create a rival for the Ents, creatures of living wood. Living Stone to oppose Living wood would...
    Long story short, after her husband's pet project (the dwarves) got greenlit by the Big Guy Upstairs, Yavanna Kementari, Valië of Life (both vegetal and animal) complained that that made yet another race that would cut and burn trees and hunt animals and all that on top of the Dark Lord doing his thing, so she was granted the right to craft some protectors for her wards.


    Beyond that, I am starting to get the feeling that the story is somewhat... Episodic.
    Yes. In fairness, This tends to happen with stories focused on a trip to a certain place (Exhibit A: The Odyssey.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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