Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: Review
State of day. Up on Natalie Whipple’s blog there’s a lovely story from her childhood, check it out.
So this is my first review on my blog, and I think it ran a little wild, sorry but the Hobbit is Sick dude!
You can’t accuse a Sudanese girl born in Saudi Arabia in the eighties of living in a bomb shelter for not coming across The Hobbit, more than you can accuse Harry & Hermione of that since they knew nothing about the tales of Beedle the Bard. The brothers Grimm stories were the European classics I knew but Tolkien books? No! sorry doesn’t ring a bell, you hit me in a blank place. Should I say more?
What can I say about The Hobbit? Such a perfect book that happens to be the Lord of The Rings on a smaller scale.
The best dialogue ever with catchy lines and everything, best descriptions, wonderful creatures, swords with ancient histories and songs
Poetry people Poetry!
I loved the maps and moon letters, and elf cities and dark woods, and different languages Ah!
(Elrond, graceful as usual makes a tomboy girl like me too ashamed to speak)
I LOVE FANTASY!
Remember in The Two Towers movie, the battle of Helms Deep when Legolas skates down the stairs on a shield shooting arrows at Orks? Well I remember saying to Strategykid that this is how skateboarding was invented. It was a joke of course, I had no idea that Tolkien have mentioned the invention of golf and well known proverbs in his book,
That was SO cool :D
So there’s this writing technique that I really appreciated, we have thirteen dwarves, only few stood out displaying some individual characteristics; Thorin -who Queenballerina loves to call the prince- is considered a main character, Balin is the old and wise, Fili & Kili are the youngest and fastest, Bombur is easily distinguished since he’s the fattest, slowest and laziest but he’s also kind, Oin & Gloin are known for their ability to light a good fire, other than that we find that most of the book the thirteen are treated as one, they grumble, fight and think together and of course blame poor Bilbo for all their trouble in the least kindest way, this is a technique Don Mass* (124-125) describes as “involves creating such a strong identity that the group itself becomes a single character” I find this fascinating.
You would hate or love those dwarves, they are flat characters, perhaps Balin is the one to evolve the most and maybe Thorin too near the end. They got on my nerves at the beginning but when Bilbo learnt how to deal with them their grumbling became kindda cute to me, but I connected with their mission, I easily connect with anything that has to do with home, roots and finding who you are, I raise those dwarves very high, just listen to their song and you will too. Or the song in the movie, wow;
For home a song
That echoes on
And all who find us will know the tune
I do know the tune :)
And I was honestly surprised, I never thought that Tolkien will allow all the group to make it to the Lonely Mountain, but he did, I’m SO board of stories/movies where members die one by one on the way to the destination, you start with ten and end up with two or even one.. Blah, Blah, Blah!
The songs in The Hobbit were a beautiful extra treat, but of course they had their value in moving the story forward, it was interesting how each kind had their special word choice and singing;
Dwarves songs are sad, strong and really good (by far my favorite)
For over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
Elven songs are silly and –of course- merry
O! what are you doing,
And where are you going?
Here down in the valley!
Goblin songs are sharp, dreadful and scornful and FUN!
Clap! Snap! the black crack!
And down,down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad!
The plot of this book is simply brilliant, on their journey the group stumbled upon a secret plan that would never be known to them if they did not got kidnapped by goblins! this part put an evil smile on my face, they killed the Goblin King trying to escape therefore put a planned attack shared between the Goblins and Wargs on hold -at least for awhile, of course they got to know that because Gandalf happens to understand Warg language, he listened as they made their fascinatingly dreadful gathering under the moon while our poor friends trapped up on the trees, funny how all this chaos came in handy since Goblin tunnels were a short cut through Misty Mountains, then air force presented by the great eagles came to the rescue giving them yet another short cut, huh! Loved it.
All through the book there’s a perfect balance between fear and fun, you just can’t be fully enjoying a scene because you're positive something wicked this way comes! For example, although that’s a little extreme one, I loved the chapter “Riddles in the dark”, while Bilbo and Gollum –who is deadly scary in the book- are playing riddles I was laughing and shivering (yes that’s correct) at the same time. I loved the delicacy in following this technique, and it took over all the book, we began by an old sad story of the massacre of the dwarves of Lonely Mountain and continue on that same path to reach the catalyst in the battle of the Four Armies, no this book is certainly not an easy ride, there’s a lot of harsh stuff going on, and tears and deep thought is what you will come out with.
And for God’s sake what IS Beorn? A human shape shifter or is it the other way around?
The reason of my current enchantment and of course what makes the book amazing and memorable is the journey of Bilbo himself, as old as he is, still he changed tremendously from a simple sweet hobbit to a brave hero, he changed from a follower and a liability to the leader of the Dwarves. This little Hobbit surprised me in that I never expected him to be on my list of all time favorite characters, such an adorable attractive character you simply can not but love, no wonder he’s Frodo’s uncle ;)
The only thing that seemed rather astonishing to me was the death of that stupid dragon Smaug, I really expected Bilbo or Thorin to slay him but a very strange thing happened. It was amazing how after all the dragon wasn’t theirs to kill, why bother when a greater danger in the shape of complete armies was coming their way right? It was a brave move from the writer and of course the aftermath was beneficial to everyone, another good lesson in writing coming from the best :)
Wow! This book blew me away, it had me laughing from my heart, shaking with fear, crazy with suspense, I became completely invested in the Hobbit I wanted to know everything, how exactly did the dwarves decided to go through this hardship? Why Gandalf chose Bilbo as their burglar in the first place, why not just take a Took? In the house of Beorn the dwarves were telling stories and singing, I want to hear it all. And what are the dangers Bilbo encountered with Gandalf in the comeback journey to the Shire since they didn’t cross Mirkwood this time but went around it? I honestly want to know, The Hobbit got me entranced in its world I could speak of nothing other, and this fierce curiosity, this invisible cage, is my sign to how a book is really good.
Making Bilbo get his head bumped and faint all through the battle might be considered cheating in our days, but at the time of the Hobbit it’s not, besides I cared less about the battle and let’s face it Bilbo isn’t a warrior, participating would have got him killed even with the LORD of the rings and all the luck he possess.
But the ending made me cry, it appears that Mr. Tolkien was a fan of these sweet sorrowful and yearning provoking endings that leave you feeling a little romantic, nostalgic AND determined to pluck all the hair out of your head all at the same time. Or simply wanting to hug and smash your lap top, that’s right too. Mark my words after I finished the book I cursed all treasures and whatever physical fortune man can possess, that strong connection that formed between Bilbo and the dwarves in their long journey back to the great Lonely Mountain to reclaim their lost treasure and the Arkenstone, their home, their everything, if you get the treasure out of this equation whatever left is what people should die for.
To shook you guys more I have never heard of the term necromancer before…it spooked me & hooked me so bad my brain began generating wonderful story ideas.
Something extra. It’s a book about a genuine hero, the one who takes the right path and stays true to himself all the way to the end, this type of heroes unfortunately have extinct from literature.
Now the majority of our so called heroes are easily distracted, rued, and ready with a scary determination to break all the rules of morality without even flinching, on the contrary you find them stating they feel no regret, seriously? No regrets in your life? That’s news to me. You know, you can tell your kid “remember what Bilbo did in a similar situation” but you will have to think twice before pointing your son’s attention towards a modern say X because you will remember how along the way X did a shameful act with sheer shamelessness that makes you sick, how frustrating is that? God help me. But it’s changing, I can sense it in the world of books, so I’ll just keep an optimistic smile :)
The movie? Well it’s cute compared to the book, with the over simplification of the story and doing some clichés that the book lacks (can you even believe that?). Apparently they are trying to make Thorin more likable but alas! ALAS! If everything is going to end according to the book...I’ll find me a hole to crawl in before a strong wave of sadness takes over me, never the less I loved it, great choice of actors, and I can’t wait for the two coming installments.
I Leave you with the movie’s awesome awesome ending song 'Song of The lonely Mountain'-that deserves an Oscar - following in the same fashion of the dwarves original song, but come by soon cause you might find my first favorite character post about a certain someone, yup your right it’s our Bilbo Baggins.
May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks ;)
Mass, D. 2002. Writing the Breakout novel. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books.