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text 2015-10-06 18:04
The Hobbit- Ch. 5

Things are starting to get interesting! After the fight with the goblins, Bilbo gets separated from the group and wakes up in Gollum's cave. There were a few things that I noted while reading, though I didn't listen to the lecture this week and I'm not a long-time Tolkien person so my interpretations could be off. 

I remember hearing that later in the series you find out that Gollum actually used to be a Hobbit and has been twisted by the darkness and loneliness into the creature that he is. I picked up on a hint here and there, the most telling being- 

"...Gollum brought up memories of ages and ages and ages before, when he lived with his grandmother in a hole in a bank by a river..."
Gollum hasn't always been this way, and it seems like somewhere deep down Bilbo knows that. He feels empathy for him even though Gollum wants to kill him. 



Again Tolkien uses something silly to make a very grim situation a little bit more "kid-friendly". Gollum is scary, he carries around goblins teeth and a stone to sharpen his fangs on in his pockets, he scampers around in the dark and snatches goblins and whatever else he can find to eat. It's pitch black and Bilbo is hopelessly lost. The riddle game, "sacred and of immense antiquity"  distracts from the desperation of the situation and leads to a couple of funny moments. My favorite was when Bilbo said "The answer's not a kettle boiling over, as you seem to think from the noise you are making."- it sort of shows that he's becoming more brave in the face of danger. 



I like that the great ring of power enters the story in such a nonchalant way. Bilbo wakes in the darkness, gropes around and there it is. And he proves he is worthy of it immediately by not killing Gollum when he has the chance. 
"He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sword. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him, or tried to yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost."

The last thing I wanted to mention is what seems to me like a brief reference to evolution. I don't know very much about Tolkien's personal beliefs aside from knowing he had an interest in theology that's reflected in LOTR, but I was pleased to see this passage. Not only because I like seeing people be interested in both science and religion but also because it's just wonderfully descriptive: 
"Still he did not dare to wade out into the darkness. He could not swim; and he thought, too, of nasty slimy things, with big bulging blind eyes, wriggling in the water. There are strange things living in the pools and lakes in the hearts of mountains: fish whose fathers swam in, goodness only knows how many years ago, and never swam out again, while their eyes grew bigger and bigger and bigger from trying to see in the blackness; also there are other things more slimy than fish."




It's also worth noting that Bilbo got himself out of trouble this time and that he seems to be a bit more comfortable with adventuring- for example, upon finding himself lost in the dark he at first tries to smoke his pipe, which is a pretty chill reaction. And once again it's wit and a bit of luck that saves him, not violence.  



Favorite quote from the chapter: "Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" 



[I was going to combine Ch. 5 & 6 into one post but this ended up taking longer than I thought after gathering the pictures and everything. So here's a very late Ch. 5, still gotta go back and read everyone else's posts, and then Ch. 6 will be up later!] 


[img1] [img2] [img3] [img4]

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text 2015-09-08 00:04
The Hobbit Ch.2
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien,Alan Lee

For now I just want to write a bit about what struck me most and anything else I'll post on the discussion page- I think that's how I want to do all these posts. It's hard to believe there can be so much to look into in just a chapter, but there totally is! This first paragraph is pretty rambly, fair warning. Image credits: [img1][img 2&3]

The beginning of Chapter 2 really resonates with me. Bilbo wakes up to a mess in his kitchen, evidence of the strange events which took place the night before. Even though at the end of the Chapter 1 it seems that Bilbo has become a bit more determined, we as readers are sort of prepared for what comes the next morning.

I think we've all witnessed this before, in ourselves or in our friends- we gather and start talking and everyone gets excited about having an adventure like getting up early and going to some cool event, or we talk about moving somewhere we've always wanted to live, or start making plans to find a better job or travel with money saved instead of buying a new lawnmower or couch or whatever stupid thing... in that moment of excitement and wanting to do something different and adventurous and even risky, we're completely serious. We are willing to make the sacrifices and do the work to make it happen. And then we all go home and go to bed and the morning comes... and we all wake up in our comfy rooms, settled into our comfy lives and suddenly these adventures, as rewarding as they may have seemed in an inspiring moment of determination the night before, seem next to impossible- and certainly far less "comfortable" than the lives we already have.

After having those same reservations and ending up adventuring a little bit myself, I often wish I could be as badass as Gandalf and just bust up into my friends' houses the morning after a hangout and force them out the door. 

I'm really enjoying listening to Corey Olsen's lectures after I read the chapters. I have always had trouble explaining what makes a story like The Hobbit so good- I always just say "It's the literary art of it!". As Prof. Olsen mentions, through the two sides of Bilbo, the Baggins side and the Took side, Tolkien is able to show the story from two very distinct viewpoints at the same time. This is what gives it more depth than your average fantasy novel. We never just "accept the adventure blindly"- we always have the "down-to-earth Baggins side" to make us feel like we have an ally in this world, someone who sees things somewhat the same as us. 


“I wouldn’t risk it, I really wouldn’t.”

I love the humor of this chapter. The trolls are threatening and their talk of eating people is scary, but they're not horrifying. Their stupidity takes away from the seriousness of the threat they pose- even as you're thinking about how awful it would be to be made into a pie for these disgusting creatures, you also can't really see them being able to accomplish such a thing in between all their arguing. It goes back to what Prof. Olsen mentioned in his lecture on Ch. 1- Tolkien doesn't want to shield his young readers from death and pain, but he doesn't want to terrify them either. The trolls are the perfect introduction to the potential dangers of this magical world. I love the way Gandalf saves them- the very first fight they encounter they win (or rather, Gandalf wins) with wit, not weapons or strength. Also, I found their names to be very humorous- you don't expect a magical creature like a troll to have a name like Bill or Tom.

That's it for now, sorry it's kind of choppy but hey, it's a holiday. It's okay to be lazy.
Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day, I know a lot of people probably still have to work... and if you're not in the US, hopefully you're just enjoying your Monday. :]


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review 2013-11-18 23:45
My favourite Tolkien
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien,Alan Lee

The Hobbit. The one that started it all!

The Hobbit is still my very favourite of all the Tolkien I have read (which includes The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings). I'm not too sure if maybe this is because it was written for/told to his kids and so is primarily more of a children's fantasy story than Lord of the Rings is, or if it is just because it is a perfect fantasy adventure no matter your age. I am only sorry that it took me so long to reread it, which only reminded me how much I enjoyed it the first time and found that I enjoyed it even more the second time around. This is one that will definitely be brought out again and again.

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review 2013-10-02 22:10
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. Of course.
The Annotated Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien,Douglas A. Anderson

Might as well start moving my reviews over to Booklikes by moving the one with the most "like"s. Enjoy.


I can't review The Hobbit: it's part of me, so I can't be objective.  

Instead, kick on the karaoke machine. 

He Didn’t Mean To Adventure


- The story of The Hobbit, singable to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire


Bilbo is respectable in Bag End Under Hill
Till “Gandalf tea Wednesday” and a rune scratched on his door.
Fili Kili Ori Óin, Dori Nori Bombur Glóin
Bifur, Dwalin, Bofur, Balin – are there any more?!
Yes: Thorin especially; Gandalf makes fourteen
An Unexpected Party, and a burglar with no choice.
Green Dragon, Bywater, Trolls consider slaughter:
Bert, Tom, and William – Gandalf throws his voice.


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure
     Minding my own business,
     Then all things went amiss
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     Taken from my doorstep
     Now with Gandalf I schlep


Heading on to Rivendell, Elrond’s House where elves yet dwell

Moon runes, Elf tunes, but it’s not long before:
Thunderstorms, giants swarm, misery is uniform
Captured by the Goblins, but Gandalf comes through once more
Goblin King, a missing Ring(!), Bilbo makes good use of Sting
A game of Riddles in the Dark, Gollum’s bite’s worse than his bark
Balin is sharp-sighted, the party’s reunited,
Bilbo appears, Dwarves cheer, Gandalf is delighted.


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure
     Wish that singing was my kettle
     Not Elves in fine fettle
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     Almost served like mutton
     Then lost all my buttons


From the frying pan of Goblin fray to Wargs and wolves, ya harri hey
An eye-opener and no mistake, racket keeps Eagles awake
A night spent in an eyrie, Beorn’s house is more cheery
Ponies serve up honey-cake, with dogs and rams – no chops or steak
Beorn gives good advice (maybe should’ve told ‘em twice)
Black squirrels and butterflies, cobwebs and insect eyes
White hart frustrates, Bombur is a dead weight
Vanishing feast agonize, all lose their heads (no real surprise)


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure
     I don’t think I’m an asset -
     Are we nearly there yet?
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     The Road goes ever on
     That’s why I’m woebegone


Bilbo’s nearly caught in webs : courage peaks as daylight ebbs
Attercop, Attercop, monster spiders nearly get the drop
Thorin caught by Woodelves, the rest made prisoners themselves -
Butler and guard drink till they drop; barrels float, Bilbo atop
Bilbo starts to cough and sneeze; Fili says No apples, please!
Desolation of the Dragon, now it’s all up to Burglar Baggins!


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure
     Hope I come in useful
     Not look too much a fool
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     Once I blew smokerings
     Now I’ve got this joke Ring


Bilbo ‘thags you very buch’ old black snail-cracking thrush
Smaug rises in fire, off to Laketown venting ire
But now the dragon’s Not At Home, I’ll just take that Arkenstone
Goblets they found there for themselves, and harps of gold where once they delved
Mithril vest, did Smaug go west? Lake Town is put to the test
Grim-voiced Bard, black arrow last, a little bird speaks as Smaug flies past
Smaug goes down in clouds of steam – Bard should be king, the Dale folk deem
Dalemen and Elf array marching northward straightaway


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure

     I miss my good old arm-chair
     Once back I won’t leave there
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     Don’t care how much gold’s strewn
     Can I be going home soon?


Old Roäc, son of Carc, reports Bard’s arrow hit its mark -
That’s the good news; bad remains – Thorin sends him off to Dain
Dueling ballads, Elves and Dwarves – Thorin’ll sit on gold and starve
The Clouds Burst, Bilbo’s cursed, after Dain comes the worst -
Goblins led by Azog’s son – wolves and Wargs behind them run
Disagreements disappear – so does Bilbo, thinking clear
Goblins offer no reprieve, then Thorin turns the tide at eve
And Bilbo sees a welcome sight – Eagles are coming! To join the fight


     Bilbo: I didn’t mean to adventure
     I’ve a helm and hard skull
     Of adventure chock-full
     I didn’t mean to adventure
     Didn’t expect warfare
     Eagles, Dwarves, Wargs, Elves, bear


Bilbo comes to once more – Thorin’s passing grieves him sore
And Fili and Kili, body and shield, defending Thorin died before
Under the Mountain Dain’s now King, Even dragons have their ending
Chest of silver, chest of gold, Yule-tide with Gandalf in Beorn’s hold
Bilbo’s Took blood grows more tired the closer he comes to the Shire
Rivendell – the first of May, and Elves’ lullabyes at break of day
Auction ended, SB’s offended, reputation gone and won’t be mended
Thus ends the tale, how beyond all ken, Bilbo journeyed There and Back Again.

Source: agoldoffish.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/the-hobbit-j-r-r-tolkien-of-course
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review 2012-12-03 00:00
A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible
A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible - Ed Strauss The mythology of the Bible strongly influenced Tolkien's works in Middle Earth along with the mythology of other cultures. Ed Strauss has attempted to identify many of these influences in The Hobbit, although I do not always agree with his conclusions. While this devotional is good as far as it goes, I believe it is difficult to make such an analysis without addressing the intricate and masterful weaves of the many cultures created by the Father of Epic Fantasy.Ed Strauss' book is a good and interesting primer and I would recommend it from an academic standpoint.
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