Mr. B., who saw The Hobbit movie while visiting his grandmother in Fort Worth over New Year’s, tells me it’s really good and worth seeing. He remembers me reading the book to him twice as he was learning to read.
But one part he mentioned worries me a little. The makers apparently invented a new plot twist, possibly to enable them to spread the epic out over three movies instead of one. Something about a Goblin-Dwarf blood feud, which I suppose is logical enough.
Mr. B. says it didn’t spoil anything for him, but I’d really rather they’d have left Tolkien’s classic pristine. They can’t possibly have improved it.
UPDATE: Richard Fernandez (Wretchard of the Belmont Club blog) delivers a brilliant review of the book and how it fits with the better-known and more popular LOTR. And the comments, alone, are worth reading.
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.
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!