I am so looking forward to the second installment of The Hobbit movie this Christmas. Anyone else? If I didn’t have two young children who insist on getting up at 7am (I know, I’m spoiled, some children get up MUCH earlier) I would so be going to a midnight showing.
I guess my midnight showing days are over… at least until my kids are old enough to be interested in that sort of thing.
But this post is not about the movies. It’s about the book. My husband just finished reading this book out loud to our girls for the first time. (They’re four and one… so the one year old didn’t get a lot out of it, she mostly toddled around and climbed whatever happened to be nearby… the four year old seemed to enjoy it, and often asked, “What’s going to happen to Mr. Bilbo and the Dwarves tonight, Daddy?”) LOVE IT. I really enjoy sharing these sorts of things with my kids: the things I loved when I was growing up. I love reading to them, listening with them while their Daddy reads to them, sharing my favorite books with them (and waiting to share these things until they’re old enough to understand and enjoy them is HARD WORK… but I really don’t want them growing up TOO fast!)
This post is not even really a review, either, but rather just some musings about another one of my all-time favorite books and the role it has played in who I am today.
I don’t even remember how old I was the first time my dad read me this book. Probably pretty young. He read us that book many times before I ever even knew there was more to the story. He read us Lord of the Rings when I was maybe ten or eleven. I still remember meeting Aragorn for the first time, experiencing Helm’s Deep for the first time, watching Eowyn slay the Nazgul, and laughing out loud in true delight when she points out the loophole in the Nazgul’s prophetic armor.
I owe much of my love of fantasy to J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit was the first true fantasy I was ever introduced to, and I never looked back. I haven’t branched out a ton in my interests – though I love things like “Little House on the Prairie” and anything Shakespeare ever wrote… but the vast majority of my library is comprised of fantasy books.
My favorite thing about this book, even though I’ve read it more times than I can count. Even though I’ve seen the cartoon, and directed the play at the school I taught at. Even though its story sometimes seems as familiar to me as my own reflection… there are still bits of it, phrases, a line of dialogue, that strike me anew or that I never really “noticed before” every time I read it. Even this latest reading, listening to my husband read the book aloud to our daughters: there were parts that made me go, “Huh! I didn’t remember that!”
And that, my friends, is how you know it’s a truly good book.
I’ll just leave you with this picture from my favorite edition of “The Hobbit.” This illustration is from the 1984 green hard-cover edition of the book, and the illustration is by one Michael Hague and I just love his illustrations. I desperately want to own my own copy of this particular edition, but it is extremely hard to find. Anyway, this is the best illustration depiction (in my humble opinion) of Smaug.
I’m really hoping the movie gets him right.