Tag Archives: J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: Just awful

I finally saw the first of the three part (oh, no) Hobbit movie on DVD the other night. It sucks. It truly sucks. Mostly because, unlike the Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit isn’t at all faithful to Tolkien’s work.

It starts off with an unnecessary prologue, introduces new, dopey characters, invents a new plot line that is totally unnecessary and compresses some key details in Tolkien’s fine story into a stale cinematic mush. Then it glides off into Hollyweird cliche with trite scenes and dumb characterizations and way too much contemporary dialogue: “Chips, anyone?” “Put that in your cakehole,” et-awful-cetera. I gave up after an hour and found a book to read.

The Ring trilogy was almost too faithful to Tolkien, which is why it was so long. The Hobbit is a bastardization of his tight, almost claustrophobic little adventure tale—until the very majestic end—into just more sweeping landscapes, slavering orcs, sword and battle ax scenes ad awful. Yech

If you haven’t seen it and you have read the book, steer clear. I wish I had.

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!

So we stood on the quay with Sam and Merry and Pippen and watched Frodo and Bilbo sail away with Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel, at the end of The Return of the King. For my son’s second time and my thirteenth or fourteenth.

And when I reached the last sentence and the trilogy we’d been using for bedtime stories for most of his seventh year was over, Mr. B. said he wanted to start all over again with The Hobbit. I said I needed a break of a day or two. Much as I love Tolkien’s melodic prose, particularly his descriptions of the landscape in the turn of the seasons, reading him aloud takes some work.

But there’s a definite payoff. I finally got the names down to where I could pronounce them as J. R. R. intended. And it’s undeniable that Mr. B.  got a certain far-away dreamy look listening to these adventures that he didn’t even with Narnia and Treasure Island. Then there is the reward of his admission, a few days ago, that despite enjoying the LoTR movies, which he had watched over and over again, he’d decided that he really preferred the books.

Rejected query letters

I’ve had a few. This is from an agent queried by J.R.R. Tolkien about his YA novel "The Hobbit.":

"This might be a good place to mention the apparent gender imbalance in the work. There would appear to be just a slight deficiency of female characters in the story. To put this another way, there are none – zilch – zero. There are men with hairy feet, men with long beards, men with pipes, men who can see in the dark – there are even men who can turn into bears. There are men of every size, shape and smoking habit imaginable, but the closest you come to a female character is the inclusion of several slightly effeminate elves. This just won’t cut it in today’s publishing world."

Oh, no, no gender imbalance. Perish the thought. And let’s have a story that looks like Middle Earth!

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!

So we stood on the quay with Sam and Merry and Pippen and watched Frodo and Bilbo sail away with Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel, at the end of The Return of the King. For Mr. Boy’s second time. And when I reached the last sentence and the trilogy we’ve been using for bedtime stories for most of the year was over, he said he wanted to start all over again with The Hobbit. Much as I love Tolkien’s melodic prose, particularly his descriptions of the landscape in the turn of the seasons, I think I may lobby for the Harry Potter series. Or, maybe not. I think I’ve finally got the names down to where I can pronounce them as J. R. R. intended. And it’s undeniable that Mr. B. gets a certain far-away dreamy look listening to these adventures that he didn’t even with Narnia and Treasure Island.