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Introduction to The Hobbit 
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Post Introduction to The Hobbit
THE HOBBIT
J.R.R. Tolkien

Introduction



Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:19 pm
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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Exactly what are we supposed to comment on here? I have examined more than one edition of "The Hobbit" and find that the introductions vary with each one. The one I am currently reading is by Christopher Tolkien (the introduction, not the book), :) and it mainly talks about his father's background, and has excerpts of some of dear old dad's notes, including some Elvish runes. :?

If I may be permitted some latitude here, I recently saw something somewhere that said LOTR was an analogy of Christianity vs. Islam. Interesting, as when I first read LOTR, I noted it was written in the 1960s, and could easily have 'translated' it into Cold War geography... The Shire and Western Lands being Western Europe and Mordor the Soviet Union. :twisted: But I prefer to think of it as just fantasy.


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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
I've also read that some have tried to read it as a description of WWII, and that J.R.R. Tolkien himself was appalled by all such attempts to find connections between his fantasy world and real world history.


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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
I too believe that Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" as pure fantasy. Tolkien was inspired by the oral tradition of story telling and Norse mythology. Tolkien considered before writing, "The Hobbit", what might the lost tales and poems of the English peoples, the Saxons and other tribes have been like and would it be possible to weave these hypothetical narrartives into an ambitious work of fantasy.

I have found some interesting material that inspired Tolkien while writing "The Hobbit". Tolkien was very interested Norse mythology and the poems in the Elder Edda. The poem, "Voluspo" was the source for the dwarf names in "The Hobbit" and may have inspired Tolkien to write "The Hobbit". Here is an excerpt:
Quote:

There was Motsognir/the mightiest made
of all the dwarfs,/the Durin next;
Many a likeness/of men they made,
The dwarfs in the earth,/as Durin said.

Nyi and Nithi,/Northri and Suthri,
Austri and Vestri,/Althojof, Dvalin,
Nar and Nain,/Niping, Dain,
Bifur, Bofur,/Bombur, Nori,
An and Onar,/Ai, Njothvitnir.

Vigg and Gandalf/Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin,/Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,/now have I told
Rigin and Rathsvith/the list aright.

Fili,Kili,/Fundin, Nali,
Heptifili,/Hannar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori,/ Fraeg and Loni,
Aurvang, Janri,/Eikinskjaldi.

The race of the dwarfs/ in Dvalin's
throng
Down to Lofar/ the list must I tell;
The rocks they left;/ and through wet
lands
They sought a home/ in the fields of
sand.

There were Draupnir/ and Dolgthrasir,
Hor, Hougspori,/ Hlevang, Gloin,
Dori, Ori,/ Duf, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir,/ Skafith, Ai

Alf and Yngvi/ Eikinskjalki
Fjalar and Frosti,/ Fith and Ginnar;
So for all time/ shall the tale be known,
The list of all/ the forbears of Lofar.


http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14726/14 ... 4726-h.htm

Another poem from the Elder Edda that inspired Tolkien was, "The Slaying of Fafnir". This poem includes a magical ring.

What is "The Hobbit"? Is it a fairy tale, a quest story, or a heroic epic? It may be best described as a epic fairy tale. I am very fond of fairy tales, to read a fairy tale, or any story of fantasy something is required of the reader. The fantasy writer, Ursula K. Le Guin said about reading fairy tales, and fantasy stories,
Quote:
"For fantasy is true, of course. It isn't factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy".


I think this is true while reading novels of fantasy, horror or fairy tales. The reader needs to set aside what they know to be true. The reader needs to believe that what they are reading is the truth to fully appreciate the events in the novel. Dwarfs and Dragons of course are not factual, but while reading about them, they are truthful.

Dwarfs, the hobbit, dragons, elves and other little, or not so little creatures all derive from the fairy. Hollywood has transformed the fairy by way of Tinkerbell into this sweet smiling creature that little girls around the world love. However, the truth about fairies would make the girls of the United States quiver with fear. Fairies are creatures to be afraid of, terrified of, and many countries still believe in the fairy faith. Many people in England and Wales still place saucers of milk outside their doors to keep the fairies happy.

Fairies were known to kidnap babies and replace them with old and ugly fairies. I suppose whenever there was a child with a handicap or deformity it was easy to say that the baby was switched as birth by a fairy. A good resource to learn more on the fairy faith is here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34853/34 ... 4853-h.htm



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Thanks Suzanne. You included some great info on The Hobbit and fairies. In reading your comments about fairies it reminded me of the fairies in the Sookie Stackhouse novels written by Charlaine Harris, where some can be beautiful and appealing but others are mean and nasty with razor sharp teeth and like to torture people. I also like your quote that fantasy isn't factual but is is true. I have not been reading a lot of fantasy lately, but several years back I did and I always prefer to think of the stories as occurring in some far away place, but that they do actually happen... at least in my brain. :) The last time I read the Hobbit was probably about fifteen years ago, so I'm hoping I will enjoy returning to it again now and maybe I'll make it through the LOTR books. I could never make it through them. The movies came out about the time I was going to try and I just took the easy way out and watched the movies instead of reading the books.

Does anyone have any comments on the movies versus the books for the LOTR?



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Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:59 pm
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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
sal10e wrote:
Does anyone have any comments on the movies versus the books for the LOTR?


The movies were really amazing but I cannot compare them to the books because I haven't read the books. I'm pretty excited about "The Hobbit" movie coming out in December.



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Chris OConnor wrote:
sal10e wrote:
Does anyone have any comments on the movies versus the books for the LOTR?


The movies were really amazing but I cannot compare them to the books because I haven't read the books. I'm pretty excited about "The Hobbit" movie coming out in December.



Chris you're going to have to read the books sometime. They're fantastic!

The movies did a pretty good at keeping to the original story in the books. They changed a few things and left a few things out but I understand why they did it. If they left everything in we'd have 3 six hour movies instead of 3 three hour movies.

Did you guys know that they decided to make The Hobbit into three movies? There will be one coming out every year for the next three years.



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Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:09 am
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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Olivia22 wrote:
Did you guys know that they decided to make The Hobbit into three movies? There will be one coming out every year for the next three years.


This is fantastic news!

The Hobbit Trilogy titles and release dates

The final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, now titled “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” will be released worldwide on July 18, 2014.

The title of the second installment in the franchise will be “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and the film will be released on December 13, 2013. The first film in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” opens this holiday season, on December 14, 2012. Shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second, the trilogy of films will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D.

From Academy Award®-winning director Peter Jackson, the trilogy of films is set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

Under Jackson’s direction, all three movies are being shot in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Additional filming, as with principal photography, is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
This is great news; I have read all four books (LOTR is in my personal library), and saw the animated Hobbit, and all three LOTR movies. Just a side note; while Officially, "Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King" won all the Oscars, I think the Academy was really awarding them to the entire trilogy. :)


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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
I know! I'm so excited. When the LOTR trilogy was just coming out my friends and I would go see them on opening night. It was rather sad when they ended. We're going to try to it with The Hobbit!

Cattleman- I agree about Return of the King. I think the Oscars were for the entire trilogy. Interesting fact: Only two movie sequels have won Oscars for Best Picture: The Godfather Part 2 and LOTR: The Return of The King.



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
I enjoy the movies; it's good to get them out and follow all the parts thru as a DVD Pigout. Jeff and I did that recently.

I think I'll just hang around for the discussion - don't think I'll get as far as opening a book.



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Hi everyone.

I'm new to the forum so I don't know how you usually do these things, but I noticed a book I have actually read was being discussed, so I figoured I could write something.
It's many years since I read this book though, I read it some time after the LOTR film triology was finished, when Tolkien was quite "the thing" within my then very young social circle =)

Since I was just a child then, it wasn't that hard for me to imagine it being true.. a way I've thought when I read fantasy recently, which is kinda silly, is imagining it happens in a paralell universe with slightly different laws of physics that we don't know about.. =P

Looking forward to the Hobbit film adaption!



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
MushyMushroom, books allow us to forever remain children. When I read fantasy genre books like "The Hobbit" or any of the Lord of the Rings books I feel as if what I'm reading is real and I'm a part of it. No other genre captivates me as fantasy does.



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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
Suzanne wrote:
Hollywood has transformed the fairy by way of Tinkerbell into this sweet smiling creature that little girls around the world love. However, the truth about fairies would make the girls of the United States quiver with fear. Fairies are creatures to be afraid of, terrified of, and many countries still believe in the fairy faith. Many people in England and Wales still place saucers of milk outside their doors to keep the fairies happy.


One of the ways Tolkien addressed this issue was in the way he spelled the word. According to tolkiengateway.net,

Quote:
J.R.R. Tolkien's concept of Faërie uses a deliberate variant spelling of fairy. While both spellings derive from Middle English faie ("possessing magical powers"), the name fairy carries connotations of 'prettiness'. Tolkien wanted to distance himself from this modern sense, and by using Faërie (variants included Faery and Fayery) he sought "connotations older and considerably darker".


As you say, Suzanne.


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Post Re: Introduction to The Hobbit
I'm new here, and am pleased to see the interest in The Hobbit and the LOTR series. Several years ago I read The Hobbit, followed by the 3 LOTR books. I read them as an adult, and thought they were pure magic. Tolkien is a brilliant wordsmith, and some of his text is almost poetic. I've seen the 3 LOTR movies, and am currently re-reading The Hobbit because next months I'll be seeing the movie with my son and grandson.



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