For this project I read ‘The Hobbit’ by J. R. R. Tolkien and ‘Exploring J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit’ by Corey Olsen. I also listened to a podcast by Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor. I would highly suggest checking out these items if you are interested in learning more. I do not claim to be a complete expert on this subject and will hopefully learn more every year when I do this read-along. I will also hopefully have more and different things to discuss every year. Since this is the first year, I’m going to talk about my general thoughts and feelings on the book as a whole. I am also going to focus on the tone of the book. This is in no way a complete discussion. I probably missed a lot and hope that you will talk to me in the comments and let me know your opinions and thoughts. I also have a video booktalk on my Youtube.
I enjoyed this read through. I was reading it in sync with another book and I think that hindered my full experience of the book in its own, but it also made me think a little harder about what I was reading. It also gave me a bunch of ideas for parts of the story that I can focus on in future book talks.
It’s interesting to think about how the book changes in tone throughout. The story starts with a lot of silly things mixed in with a few darker moments. The dark moments are always treated in a light way though. As the story goes on it just gets darker. At the end it doesn’t have any of the sillier moments to lighten the mood. Looking at the fact that ‘The Hobbit’ is a childrens book, it’s fascinating to see that change. It almost like the book grew up as it went on.
When we are first introduced to the dwarves they are almost a comic troupe. They have instruments and sing a silly song while cleaning up. Throughout a good chunk of the story it’s hard to take them seriously. They clearly don’t have a plan and they don’t know what they’re doing a lot of the time.
The first time we met the elves they sing a funny song and even the last time we see them they are still singing. In the middle of the story they get a little more intimidating. The elves of Mirkwood are not as friendly as the elves of Rivendell.
The goblins are treated in a dark way whenever we meet them. They sing songs, but the songs are about torturing the dwarves. They are very simple, but still pretty messed up when you think about it.
Bilbo is the silly one when we meet the spiders of Mirkwood. When he is trying to save the dwarves he makes fun of the spiders by singing silly songs. He is also killing the spiders, but the song and talking distract from that.
Smaug is mostly a darker character since we do meet him in the laster part of the book. He isn’t the biggest baddest villain, but he also isn’t to be underestimated. Bilbo does for a moment, but he realizes quickly while his butt is burning not to do that.
On my next read through I’m going to focus on Bilbo’s change throughout the story.