Saturday, October 1, 2011

ReView of THE HOBBIT by J.R.R Tolkien ; journey, present moment, lyrical writing, morals,


Before JRR Tolkien created his grand master pieces of art - the trilogy of 'The Lord of the Rings' - he gave us 'The Hobbit.'  Many times I have heard that you HAVE to read 'The Hobbit' in order to really understand the LOR ('Lord of the Rings').  That's not necessarily true.  I am currently reading LOR and I have to say that the first book ('The Fellowship of the Ring') gives you enough background on 'The Hobbit' that it isn't really a required reading for the understanding of the LOR.  However, it is still one of the most incredible books I have read so far.  And that's what I want to talk about here....

First of all, the writing is absolutely beautiful.  J.R.R is a genius of POETIC EPIC FANTASY WRITING. 

The book contains very elaborate working descriptions of geographical and historical background information about the fictitious creatures - wizards, hobbits, goblins, wolves, dragons and their perspective locations and territories.  The cultural networks of the hobbits, wizards, and elves are written with a fine-tuned literary skill that instantly draws you into their lives and worlds.  The interconnectedness of all the different creatures and characters creates a really three-dimentional picture for your to envision clearly what's going on and how it is all relevant.  And on top of everything JRR Tolkien is so amazing at humour, metaphors, and even playing around with literal meanings of certain expressions we use all the time that we don't really pay attention to.

The language is one of my favorite parts of this books. I really enjoyed reading it for that reason, especially the names J.R.R Tolkien gives to the characters: Balin/Dawlin ; Killi/Filli; Dori/Nori/Ori/Oin/Gloin; Bifur/Bofur/Bombur/Thorin.  Some of my favorite words he used were 'bewildered and bewuthered - confusticate and bebother these dwarves.'  He's also really good at giving us lyrical poems and songs... and for that you have to read the book to know what I mean.

Of course, the core of the book, the dough of the whole story is Bilbo's journey throughout it.  Although Bilbo has an end point or target in sight for his journey J.R.R Tolkien has made sure that we fully embrace every 'now' moment he goes through.  The present is much more important in the book than the future or where he is going -much along the same lines it is in real life.   Bilbo's journey is very uncertain and unstable, he's not guaranteed tomorrow, he MUST take advantage of surviving and getting through now in order to have a chance at tomorrow.  And speaking of survival, the element of preparation, supplies, and a little bit of luck are crucial to his survival on the journey.  He has much help from Gandalf and one or two more people, but more than anything the rest of the group he journeys with depends on him more than he has someone to depend on.  And the irony of his character is that at first he is under scrutiny by everyone around him.  Except for one person, Gandalf, who truly believes he will be significant and an asset to the journey, everyone else doubts him to be of use and of good service. Gandalf is right.  Bilbo's journey is physical, mental, mephorical, spiritual, and literal.  His destiny is half acquired by him, and half choosen for him.  And all along there are many unknowns.  Which is how the trilogy begins - to answer all the questions left unanswered in 'The Hobbit.'

Lastly, one of the most powerful reasons I love this book so much is because it is full of morals, questions and ponderings.  Lifestyle of the hobbits is singing, good food, and company - much along the same life we all would love to live - the good life :).  It's possible that Gollum represents our inner most possible evil that can surface if we give in to the evil powers of life - represented in the book as the One Ring.  What about compassion and courage?  How are they dependent or independent of one another?  What about fear, secrets, disguise.... how do they fit into our journey of life....

J.R.R Tolkien is one of the masters of the genre of Fantasy Fiction.  I can't believe sometimes that people are reading and even encouraging the youth to read 'Twilight' or 'Harrry Potter' or 'The Hunger Games' and yet they will shy away from J.R.R Tolkien's works of art.  Why?  Mostly, I hear, because they're lengthy and 'hard.'  Spread the word.  READ J.R.R Tolkien ... before or after you've decided to read any of the above mentioned ... but READ J.R.R Tolkien.  Maybe I'm biased - I do enjoy his writing.... but I'm not alone.







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