Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hobbit

Violence. Depending on your imagination and age, this could vary from 3 to 6. There are a few battle sequences, but Tolkien doesn't write them graphically, so they don't pose a problem for me.
Language. 0.
Sexual. 0.
Rating as a book: PG, since Tolkien doesn't use very descriptive language in regard to the violence.

Rating it would be as a movie: Since they normally depict said violence fairly vividly, this would be PG-13. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, premiering in theaters 12:00 A.M. Friday, December 14, is rated PG-13.
Therefore: Anyone whose mind is matured enough to withstand the oftentimes boring language of old writers should be able to read this. I think it was originally written for children, and it's simpler to read than its sequel The Lord of the Rings; I read it when I was eleven or twelve years old for the first time.

   I am now rushing in where angels fear to tread. What fans of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien would dare criticize his genius? But a critic is a critic, and I can't throw my opinions by the wayside simply because of the world's ideas. I've held for several years that Tolkien is lord of some of the most poetical language I've ever read; he was amazing, being familiar with over twenty languages, and creating some of his own. What can there be to take from him? Well, and thankfully for me (as otherwise some more precocious readers might voice angry opinions of me), not much.
   Here I am going to state blandly that for once I appreciate modern-day writing, if for only one thing: typically, in a good book, characters are so well-known that you appreciate them almost like your sister or brother. Tolkien's are not quite as well-crafted as some are these days, though they still hold differentiating traits. Bilbo Baggins, the center of this tale, is a Hobbit: that is, he dislikes adventure (which he deems "anything from climbing trees to visiting elves"), he adores food, and he never or rarely does anything unexpected. He's also tiny, not more than three and a half feet (which is pushing it for a Hobbit). So, while this may appear to be a deep personality, in reality any other Hobbit might be the same. I can vouch for some of his companions (affectionately termed "Thorin and Company"): Thorin is a "pompous windbag" with not too high an opinion of the Hobbit; Balin holds much more compassion for Bilbo.
   The plot is definite, with one very secure end: but before that end come various other conflicts. This is one of the best things of The Hobbit--that struggles abound before the goal is reached. That everything is against them. That even when it appears that they have won their race, they have been misled; more trials await. Since it would be unfair to leave the entire plot out, I'll give you a glimpse: One day, a few Dwarves, under the direction of Gandalf the Wizard, come to the house of Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit, and expect him to partake of an adventure: namely, of reclaiming a vast treasure hoarded by a fierce red dragon named Smaug. Since Bilbo is a Hobbit, this is obviously not the best of ideas to him.
   And the faith, the morality? There are no references to God (this is, after all, Middle-Earth), but with the amount of "good versus evil" (something often found in science fiction and fantasies), and with Tolkien's Catholicism, it's obvious that the morals would be strict throughout. Even anger between friends holds no place with Tolkien.
   As for other minor missing details, I only have one thing in argument with The Hobbit, and it's disputable. It's that, during the highlight battle of the novel, in staggered time frames every hero of the book appears to help conquer (whether they're the victors or not, I can only say that I can't say). It seems kind of "too good to be true" to me. But if that's so, then it would be wise for me to take my own advice and put it into action with my fantasy.
   Is The Hobbit worth its popularity (if not quite as huge as The Lord of the Rings), and its impending theatrical debut? I know it is, even if I can raise up arguments against it, however "That is so stupid!" response-worthy they may seem. But what is a critical review without critique, eh? I could also list that Tolkien is a bit too fond of describing landscapes to the letter, although it doesn't appear nearly so often in this book as it does in The Lord of the Rings. But this is the conclusion; I must be brief; and if I do nothing else I want to say this: That anyone who sees the movie in theaters without reading the book first has completely robbed themselves. The adventures of a rabbitlike, sheltered Bilbo, as well as his triumphs over himself, are classic. If you were to read no other book from the several I've reviewed so far, let this be it!


  1. I've read the hobbit and I thoroughly enjoyed your review! I also think you gracefully treaded the critiquing of a " Master" and I enjoyed reading all your point of views on this book! I'm glad you didn't throw your opinions by the wayside.

    1. Thank you SO much! That is extremely encouraging when I wasn't sure how this review met with the opinions of my readers :)

  2. Love this review! Yeah, I'm going back and reading all your old posts. Whatever:) I first read the book when I was 8!


    1. Thank you, Layla, I'm so glad you liked it! I do that to blogs too....

      I'm glad you were able to read it (and understand it) at such a young age. I was slow to start reading but, as my grandma says, now won't stop :) I wasn't mature enough to read classics at that age, but waiting was worth it.


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