Trolls, elves of course.

Chapters 2 & 3, The Hobbit

The chapters are much shorter than I recall. And less exciting?

The trolls and the elves get almost no physical descriptions, readers know what they look like “of course.” All we’re told is what they say and more specifically, how they say it.

The trolls use obviously accented, lower class language and wipe their mouths on their sleeves. A quick google indicates it’s Cockney (I’m not from the UK, I can’t always tell). The elves sing, ugh. But the elves are scholarly and use proper, even posh English.

“Just look! Bilbo the hobbit on a pony, my dear! Isn’t it delicious!”

Elves actually, not trolls. Both want to eat him up, but in different ways…

It’s the drawing above that at least gives some indication of what the trolls look like, with an appropriately Scandi feel, although the line work is *very* busy. I like the swirl of the fire but the dottedness of the trees, trolls and ground is a little overwhelming. But props to Tolkien, illustrating his own book.

Useful things I learnt: trolls turn to stone in sunlight. In my mind, that makes them sort of like vampires? Should someone write Troll: The Masquerade? Has someone done this already? How many other fairytale creatures are affected by sun/daylight? It’s these types of details that every nerd should know! (jk)

More commentary, as I read.

Reading The Hobbit (again)

The inside covers of The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit both show landscapes/maps featuring trees, fields and houses
The inside covers of The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit

Chapter 1:

You know the deal.

The Hobbit’s famous and the whole Middle Earth thing has inspired so much nerd and gaming culture.

Despite hanging out with nerds most of my life, I’ve never read Tolkien … or more accurately, I’ve never got through a whole book without getting bored.

With the need to stay inside for the 2020 corona virus pandemic, I’m finally gtting around to all the things I’ve been putting off, including (re-) reading The Hobbit.

This is what has struck me – it’s so much like The Wind in the Willows, which I read (& ended up liking) as a child. Here are the parallels:

  • a house-proud main character is lured out to adventure (Bilbo or Mole)
  • they met their adventuring companions just before or in the early part of their adventure
  • detailed descriptions of their homes and how comfortable they are
  • home descriptions begin with house cleaning, whitewashing/freshly painted doors
  • a strong focus on food, drink, cakes, sandwiches, picnic baskets, provisions
  • songs in the middle of the text, ugh!
  • maps and lengthy discussions of geography
  • in the background, a strong preoccupation with inheritance and wealth

And that’s only the first chapter!

Tune in next week (or sometime later) for my reactions to the next few chapters of The Hobbit.

I don’t love it so far – Bilbo feels annoyingly passive, the other characters feel pushy and uncaring. Reading it now, the class consciousness is grating.