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The Hobbit J R R Tolkein

Quiet Smiles
Default Sharky What?
eyebrow-smiles
Angry Sharky 4 What?!
Happy Smiles It's our tenth review Sharky! Be more excited!
Surprised Sharky 2 Tenth already? … yeah, I guess that's pretty coo- wait. Is that why you picked the Hobbit?
Default Smiles Yep! And what better way to celebrate our double digits than to talk about one of the first fantasy books we ever read? Imagine you live a completely quiet, respectable, unexciting life, and that’s just how you like it. You live comfortably, there’s always good food in plenty, and things are great. Got it? Write it down. Good. Now crumple the paper up and set it on FIRE. Because a wizard is coming to tea. And he hasn't told you this but he's bringing thirteen dwarves bound on a do-or-die quest to slay a dragon with him. And he's told them you want to be part of the quest. But first they eat all your food.
Happy Sharky2 Doing all the dishes in the morning is just the start of your problems. Get ready for rough weather, limited food, no handkerchiefs, and complete lack of respect.
Surprised Smiles Oh that's true. The main character, Bilbo, isn't even as tall as a dwarf and isn't as strong or fast either, so they usually treat him like a very troublesome piece of luggage they have to haul around whenever they're fleeing.
Surprised Sharky 2 Hauling him literally in a few cases. You've got to feel sorry for him, he always gets left behind.
Default Smiles The summary comes off as a standard fantasy quest/unlikely hero/growing into the role scenario, but to say that misses out on all the wonderful narration and character dialogues. Well written descriptions, sure. But what's great is that the narrator always sounds like they're telling you the story directly. Little things like 'as you know', 'you might have noticed' and 'as we'll see very soon' pop up frequently and make for a nice conversational tone. I always love that kind of narration.
Happy Sharky2 I mostly remembered the story and big battles. But rereading it again I discovered something wonderful. Almost everyone in this story is more grouchy than heroic, and get increasingly sarcastic with each other more often than not. Gandalf isn't always grumpy but he's nearly always casually rude to people who try an attitude with him, and it's so great.
Happy Smiles There’s always something funny about the rest of the cast very seriously buying into the atmosphere of the story, while one character hasn’t really got the idea, This is definitely a fantasy setting, and physical traits aside Bilbo definitely isn't a fantasy character and probably belongs in a bank. You get a few moments like this, and one of the best is an honestly hilarious image where the grand Elf-king and the true heir to a lost city are sort of just… staring at Bilbo while he puts on his best stuffy businessman air and says things like “This is all very uncomfortable, you understand.” About a siege.
Happy Sharky He really does come into his own though. It's great to see how he goes from being… well, any one of us in a dangerous fantasy land, honestly, to a valued, confident, more resourceful member of the group. But still kind of uptight and constantly wanting to go home, which is great and pretty important, because it usually means he keeps his head when everyone else is too busy with ancient grudges and pacts and prophecies and gold-fever to be very sensible. If you thought things would be better when the dragon dies, BOY are you wrong.
Default Smiles Enjoy our dramatic representation of defeating a dragon and how people can get hurt doing it.

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Default Sharky That's… really not what happens.
Default Smiles Well I don't want to give it AWAY.
Default Sharky One problem I do have is there's thirteen dwarves, and only a few of them really get much characterisation. Two of them are… younger than everyone, I guess, which makes them more active and not very cautious. One of them's… fat. Okay. And the rest just get a few lines here and there. I get there isn't enough room in the story to really flesh them out more but it just bugs me.
Surprised Smiles That being said, their leader is a fully fleshed and interesting character in his own right, and the other two get attention based on the fact that they go out of their way to help Bilbo when he's at his most helpless stage. One of them especially, Balin, is a pretty great minor character and seems like a stand-up guy to have on your side.
Sassy Sharky Which is quite nice considering nobody, including Bilbo, really wanted Bilbo along.
Default Smiles There's actually loads of characters, mostly unnamed, because you always get the sense that the story's taking place in this full world where so much is happening off-screen. But in the end we're really following Bilbo's story and how he grows. But still always sensible, friendly Bilbo, dreaming of home.
Sassy Sharky And then the fantasy atmosphere gets absolutely shattered when he comes home and finds out that people thought he was dead and are squabbling over his house and furniture. Everything the hobbits do is just great, they're so completely unsuited to the setting.
Surprised Smiles One more thing. There are a LOT of songs. I mean a lot. Everyone has one. Possibly three. For me, they're nice poems and really set the mood, but if that and 'ye olde fantasyland' are things that make you roll your eyes, it might not be for you. But if this is all new territory and you want to give dwarves and dragons a go, this is an amazing place to start.

2 thoughts on “The Hobbit J R R Tolkein

  1. haha this is so much fun – I hardly enjoy reading long reviews , but well you’re good!
    pay a visit to my blog sometime – not as witty and thoughtful but its something :p

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