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.

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