A FANBOY'S LOVE LETTER TO HIS FAVORITE BOOK
Illustration by Nathan Moore
Listen up bibliophiles, because today’s review has been a long time in waiting. It’s time for me to review my favorite book ever, and due to fortuitous timing I will speak for a little bit about the film version, which has recently been released into theaters. I am, of course, speaking of The Hobbit. Released in the wondrous year of 1937, I first laid eyes on this hallowed tale on my 8th birthday. It took me four months, but I read it in its entirety the following spring. I have since read it 15 times, in 2 languages. Let me tell you, Der Kleines Hobbit is a bitch to get through, even if you do speak German.
I have been hurt, dear readers, in the past by adaptations that I was excited for. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Time Machine, The Three Musketeers, disappointed me on a depth so thorough that I was terrified of how The Hobbit would turn out. Even The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, epic as it was, was entirely different from the books. Let me say that my fears were entirely without basis.
The thoroughness with which the movie was true to Tolkien canon makes it apparent that Peter Jackson either is or hired a Tolkienerd. Very few things were left out, even fewer changed radically, and the scenes, characters and events that were added fit so well that Tolkien might have written them himself. Interpretations of minor characters that were originally written without much personality were subtle enough that they were still minor characters; yet it gave them enough flesh that they weren’t simply plot devices to move the story along.
But enough about silly movies. This is the Literature page, goddammit! Let’s get some Literature up in this bitch.
The Hobbit is told in the style of a grandfatherly tale being relayed to children, with times where the fourth wall is suddenly broken. For example, at one point the narrative is paused to explain what a Hobbit is (for those of you who don’t know, they are small humanoid creatures with large hairy feet). The diction is very fairy tale-esque, yet it still manages to encompass the scope and severity of the Dwarves’ mission.
The main reason that The Hobbit has stood up all these years is the story is simple. Thirteen Dwarves and a Hobbit are venturing across the land to try to reclaim their home. They face many obstacles, overcome through a mixture of bravery, cunning, and luck, and more than a little of the last.
Back to the movie. Surprisingly, the movie has taken this story and expanded it, bringing in multiple antagonists in the first part of the trilogy alone and, as I said before, they all fit. Actual characters that were merely mentioned in the book are given life and made relevant within the Tolkien Universe.
If you like fantasy, I recommend the book, and if you are looking for some fun fantasy I recommend the movie. This is fantasy at its height, and if you are into that you will enjoy yourself.
However, I do NOT recommend Der Kleines Hobbit. That shit is hard.