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Thread: Who hasn't read The Hobbit?

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Is there anyone on PT who hasn't read The Hobbit yet?
I haven't read it... so i'm eagerly awaiting the Hobbit-movie !!! Go PJ!! Go PJ!!!!

Elk Grinning Smilie
LOL Vir, I'm taking you to the doctors... Tongue Smilie

I've read The Hobbit more then once. Great book! I've started reading it again to my wee ones and they love it, too. Smile Smilie
Just finished reading it for the fourth time (I think)... Still great, really gets you hooked to Middle-earth.

*gives Vir a subscription to PJ fan-club* Go for it, mate! I've always known you like the man, but this...!!!
I haven't Big Smile Smilie
I haven't Big Smile Smilie

*Has a heart attack* I never would have believed that. Shocked Smilie
The answers to this thread's question are only to be expected. Had it been asked in the first month after PJ's LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring hit the screen, it might have received a few less frivolous answers. By now, I expect all our members have read The Hobbit at least once though maybe one or two are still in the middle of it for the first time. Of course I may be wrong. Elf Winking Smilie
Seven times, mate, seven times.
Well, it is possible that with the interest the films generated that there are those who rushed out to read LotR but haven't yet read the Hobbit. I suppose it is possible that there are those here who have seen the films but haven't red LotR - yet.

Anyone want to admit to not having read The Hobbit OR LotR?

I promise we won't sacrifice you or boil you in oil........
I promise we won't sacrifice you or boil you in oil........
That's correct for we do not wish to subject our members to cruel and unusual punishment; still we might tie you in a chair and force you to listen to Vee read The Hobbit to you. Moderator Smilie Were you lucky, she might read from one of the illustrated versions and show you the pictures. I have one with all Tolkien's words, but also with illustrations from the Rankin-Bass cartoon. Cool Elf Smilie
Since I am Vees Plan B, I should be happy no one admits not to have read the Hobbit.
Come on! Admit you haven't read it, nothing bad will happen, really!
Well, Hobbit was the first ever Tolkien book I'd read. Erm...but why are u asking all this?
Special opps, old boy, we're sniffing out traitors in our ranks, those unelflike folks that have committed sacrilege by not reading Tolkien's first book.

That was the reason wasn't it, Vee?
Er...... no.
It's as easy as smashing kittens, Stoney. Whenever a woman starts a thread, it's all about curiosity.
Er...... no, it wasn't.
I am curious what you meant by "curious", Virumor(typical woman, I suppose).

Good thread topic, Vee!

The Hobbit was first an assignment in English class, way back in tenth grade. I loved to read, but I did not love my teacher at the time, so I was not necessarily eager to read something she suggested. Then I read it, and I know it sounds really corny, but it was like my life kind of changed. No this is not a Tolkien Testimonials thread( though that would be both creepy and neat), but I think reading his work literally saved my life. By that I mean that I had a very rough childhood and was a very angry person until that time in my life. I really believe that Tolkien's appreciation and lust for life, which came through in his work, helped me to learn to do the same in the long run.

Cheers to those who have not read it(and perhaps have read other of his works), because they are in for a real treat!
I have read the hobbit but have only just finished it. I found the battle with the dragon good but the man called Bard I thought was dead until the book said he wasn't dead. There must have been a smuge in the writing.
I read The Hobbit simply because my dad had all of the original books, it was a rainy day, and I had nothing to do. Actually, I started The Fellowship first, but found it way to difficult, so I tried the The Hobbit.
I have read the hobbit but have only just finished it. I found the battle with the dragon good but the man called Bard I thought was dead until the book said he wasn't dead. There must have been a smuge in the writing.
Yes, it must have been a smudge, Elf Winking Smilie for Bard's Black Arrow didn't let him down.
And that was the end of Smaug and Esgaroth, but not of Bard.
Yes, it must have been a smudge, for Bard's Black Arrow didn't let him down.

I didn't realise until now but I had read about how bard beat the dragon in another book so it was ceartinly a smuge
I read it over 5 times, thats for sure. Maybe more. But i suuuuure did read it, and i loved it! Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Yes the Hobbit is one of the greatest book i've have ever read and i hope that Peter Jackson won't misuse it for a movie!
I take a grave risk here, but...

wasn't Bard initially thought to have been killed in the Wreck of the Dragon and turned up alive to the surpirse of the stunned Dalesmen (Esgarothians; whatever?) And no, I can't check, because I got the Trilogy along with the Hobbit in the mid-eighties paperback boxset from Ballantine, and it likes to shed pages now. I really need a hardcover edition, but then I'd be torn between wanting to preserve the hardcover and wanting to preserve the "original" for sentimental reasons. That I've read the series, including "enchanting prelude" nine times despite the fact my TT started shedding before I got through Book III and the Hobbit on the third pass is proof of some level of dedication, right (still have all those pages, too?)
I didn't hear before, that Bard has been killed by the dragon Smaug, for he killed him with his an arrow (in my edition 'paperback by HarperCollins).
In the paragraph the Bard killed Smaug fell on the town, Tolkien wrote, 'And that was the end of Smaug and Esgaroth, but not of Bard."

Three paragraphs later, he tells us the townspeople were angry with the Master for running away and said "If only he (Bard) had not been killed ... we would make him a king. Bard the Dragon-shooter of the line of Girion! Alas that he is lost!" In the next paragraph the drenched archer showed himself, and in the following, he announced who he was, that he was still alive because he had dived into the lake after slaying the dragon.

Therefore, Morambar is correct in that the townspeople thought Bard was killed; however, we the readers knew better.
Yes you're right, but i didn't remeber as well as i should have!
My sister hasn't read it, but she isn't a member here to say the least. I have been working on her though. Sneaking the book under her pillow, in her purse, and bookcase.

I've read it twice...needless to say I loved it more than I can say...
and don't tar and feather me, but I am interested in seeing The Hobbit the movie if it ever comes out. I think PJ won't slaughter it as bad as he did the LOTR. There isn't really anything that would be hard to depict. Except for Beorn. Let's just hope he doesn't cut him out, if he does make the movie.
I think PJ won't slaughter it as bad as he did the LOTR.

Hope springs eternal. Even false hope does.
I've read the Hobbit twice now. But as im ashamed to took me the whole summer to get through it when i read it for the first time in 3rd grade. But when i read it again, i read it in one day. so maybe that would make up for not being able to read it quickly the first time! Well, at least ive read it twice! Animated Wink Smilie Smile Smilie
I haven't even held the hobbit in my hands before O.o

but I'm planning on buying and reading it, actually I plan on buying all of tolkien's books, but right now I'm having some funding problems to do so Smile Smilie
by now I have actually read the hobbit only once in english, (I've got a most beautiful german volume of the book on my shelf, but somehow I ain't got any time to read it....) but I had a book report about it last year, and therefore I went over the plot, quotes, details, characters, etc. again and again... I was prepared very well, I should say, but it was sooo much fun working it out. Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie I do love this story very much.

Well i can safely say that i have read the hobbit, itz so beautuifully written itz just one adventure after another!!
I had a book report about it last year

Ithil, you want to say that you study Tolkien at school literature lessons?
That's great! We never did. Our program was always made up of such literature which often made kids refuse reading till the end of days Exploding Head Smilie
Is that a common thing - studying Tolkien at school?
Anyone tell me how the things are all over the world with that?
sorry to disappoint you - I could choose a book I liked for the report. and I chose the hobbit, and my teacher -stupid teacher- in fact wasn't quite happy about it... even wanted to convince me to take something by austen (!!! I hate EMMA!!! how can someone write such a boring book?), but I stayed true to tolkien and took the hobbit. and my classmates - most of whom haven't read it - liked it very much! Elf With a Big Grin Smilie I'm glad I took it.
When i was in school, we weren't allowed to choose what books to read. We received a list of titles to choose from.

Lucky there were always some fun books included, like Day of the Triffids, to compensate for the Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Moll Flanders.
Since children are in school to be educated, it would be rather simplistic to ask the students to choose all their own literature from what they "want" to read. Kids will never choose what they will really need in order to advance in their knowledge, not only of literature, but of life and culture which the literature transmits to them. This is why a certain number of the classics are a must, and why I make them mandatory on my reading lists. But there are Tolkien and C.S. Lewis books on those lists, too.

And, by the way, I read The Hobbit in 9th grade and LOTR shortly thereafter.
I think now a days, teachers who were introduced the Tolkien in their youth, find it easy to include him in the reading list for their pupils.

When I went to school we didn't have Cliff's Notes to help us through those heavy books: we had to rely on Classics Illustrated, the comic book abridgments. If we liked the story in the comic book, we usually read the book after we made our report on it.

I don't recommend this method, for it means you will miss the flavor of the author's writing style; though it is certainly a much faster way of getting through War and Peace.
Oh, yeah, War and Peace...
I remember myself reading it..Those who read it already told me just skip the war and read about the heroes,it's more easy. In fact I liked pieces about war much more than 'peace' as I didn't like a single hero there maybe except Andrey Bolkonski (I don't know how was this name spelled in an english version, so smth approximate).
Tolstoy was very boring to me, although we studied War and Peace at the 10th form (being 15-16), almost grown-ups, it was still boring.
It's a pity many people think there are only Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in russian literature. They are a must, but they are not the best.
Ive read it before but this time I bougth a new one (first published in 1937 - my copy was made in 2002 ) with illustrations by Alan Lee...its very nice and this time I will read it for my children as well
When i was in school, we weren't allowed to choose what books to read. We received a list of titles to choose from.
yea, that's how our german teacher handles the thing (and there's certainly no tolkien or lewis on those lists - only german authors), but in english we may choose books. the thing is, if you choose a book the teacher doesn't approve of you don't get a good mark anyway, so you better collaborate...
still I think it's not too bad for students to choose the books they like. if you take a book you're really interested in the whole work is much more fun and the book report is certainly better than it would be if you took a book you just can't stand.
as we are free to choose the books for the reports our teacher can choose the books we are to read in class, so she's not completely powerless.
and I do agree that some certain classics are to be read at school. f.i.: almost any german teacher reads Goethe's Faust in class. that's a really cool book. Orc Grinning Smilie

Dusting the dust off this thread has given me bouts of sneezing but well this is a funny discussion which terminated quite some time back,so time well spentSmile Smilie

Replying in tune to the question asked,yes I have read The Hobbit but only once long back in my early teens.It bothers me no end that I cannot read it again(lack of time and lack of enough Tolkien books in accessible libraries) and relive that amazing adventure which is fading in the back of my mindSad Smilie

One other thing in this thread I noticed about book-lists for kids to work on in school,in India,we don't have anything like this.We had stipulated texts for an entire year mostly one anthology of poetry,a collection of short stories(from R.K.Narayan to Chekhov) and a classic Austen or Dickens/a play by the Bard.So no choice really.We all had to work on the same texts.So any other reading I did was from the libraries or the ones my family gifted me.

I am both proud and ashamed to report that I have not completely read the Hobbit.  Many reasons for this.  First, I spent most of my teens thinking LotR was just more light fantasy like Chron. of Narn. or Wind in the Willows.  Sure, that stuff is great when you're 6-12, but when you're becoming a teen (and discovering women, let's say) fawns and fairies and talking beavers and moles simply do not have that much of an appeal.  Interestingly enough, while I had no problem dismissing fantasy (and LotR specifically) as "for kids," all the while I was reading the 6 Dune books a dozen times and reading anything Frank Herbert ever wrote (and the MUCH lesser SciFi authors like Asimov, Clark, Gibson, Wolfe, etc.  ; )

When I got a little older and wiser I finally took the "advise" from the back of the Dune novel ("I know nothing comparable to Dune other than LotR" and read FotR, followed a year or so later with TT and RotK.  Having read these amazingly detailed novels, I wanted more, and read Unfinished Tales and began the Silm. 

However, being and "adult" at this point, and having read the "serious, adult" novels, I just always resisted going back and reading the "children's book" that is the Hobbit.  Let's face it, the target audience is 6-12 year olds.  A few months ago I started to finally read the Hobbit for the first time.  I put it down, however, shortly after Riddles in the Dark.

Having read LotR so many times, I always figured the Gollum/ring scene had to be the final, climatic chapter... given that everything happens in LotR because of what happened in the (revised) Riddles in the Dark chapter.  Little did I know that the climax (apparently) is getting treasure from Smaug or some such.

So, I did not read it for years originally because I was "too old and mature" for a "children's book."  And now I haven't finished it because, honestly, the tone of the narrative (the sense Bilbo is talking "down" to kids) sort of grates on me... and I constantly find myself being pulled back into the more "serious, adult" books like UT, Silm, LT, etc., which are filled with deeds both great and terrible.

But I also understand that it's my loss for not reading it.  The half I have read has enriched my appreciation for LotR.  Like when the hobbits come across the troll statues... I was like "ahhhh, now I get it."  And when those present at the Council of Elrond regard Bilbo with grave respect when Bilbo (somewhat sarcastically) offers to be the ring bearer, save for the dwarf that smiles with old memories, I somewhat felt included in those memories.

Heck, maybe I have an excuse for only reading half of it so far... if Peter Jackson can make two movies out of it, why can't I just read the first volume for now?  ; )

Ha, please don't hate those of us who haven't read it yet.  We all (may or may not) have our own good reasons.


I urge you to read it, one and all. It is a jolly, frightening, breathtaking, anguishing , rejoicing adventure. And that is the whole truth. Smile Smilie

If one reads the Unfinished Tales, he becomes aware of the importance of Bilbo's journey to Erebor set in the context of the War of the Ring.  So then, the whole story of The Hobbit becomes (not that it wasn't before that) imbued with a "new" urgency.  Yes, it did begin as a "children's story" which Tolkien wrote for his own children.  But if you seriously think children actually read on that level now, you may want to work in real estate.  Yes, Tolkien's narrator seems to "talk down" to the kids, but so what.  That is just a style of writing, and one that certainly works for that story.  The point is that the book is just as descriptive and just as adventure-packed as LotR. 

And, by the way, the new movies are not based on half of The Hobbit each.  The first is to be The Hobbit itself.  The second, if planning continues as before, is for a movie that spans the 60-odd years between The Hobbit and LotR. 


I love the Hobbit with a part of my heart that will never be replaced. I wouldn't say it's quite AS descriptive as LOTR, but definitely just as adventurous. I'd also say, even by today's standards, The Hobbit is, in its own right, a children's book. Is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not! One of my all time favorite non-Tolkien books is The BFG by Roald Dahl. I'll still pick that up and read it on a rainy day!

For those who haven't, you really should read it. If not for the epic story, then for a chance to see an evolution in Tolkien's writings. And not necessarily in terms of grammatical technicalities or fancy words or anything like that, but how he evolved his own world. For instance, how orcs are called goblins. Or how simplistic Gollum is compared to the one we come to love in LOTR. Little things like that. I also think it's fascinating being able to actually see an example of a good children's book in contrast with a more adult book (like LOTR). It's hard for me to single out these differences, yet incredibly easy to experience them while reading. Try it, you won't be disappointed, I PROMISE!!

Hello again! 

I FINISHED The Hobbit just last night!   I picked up where I left off for several months (right after the barrel sequence), and read the rest in two nights.  All I can say is, wow.

I will have to read it again now like half a dozen times, which is the only way to read Tolkien.  I may very well be mistaken, but I do beleive the tone changes during the book.  I seem to remember there being more "talking down" to the audience in the first part of the book, especially the Unexpected Party and so forth.  I seem to remember it being more like a children's book in the early chapters.  But the second half that I just finished... it seems almost as "serious" as LotR.  It does retain some of its whimsy and "child's tale" qualities, but it is my perception that it seemed more grave and terrible in the second half.  And I really enjoyed it.  I can't tell for sure without re-reading whether it is just my perception that the tone shifted from light to serious, or if it is in fact the case. 

Regardless, I truly enjoyed the Hobbit in a way that I never thought I would (hence, my delay in reading it for fear it was for children only).   It is phenominal in it's own right.  From now on, any re-reading of the LotR main novels that I will do will always begin with the Hobbit.  Not only does it give backstory and enrich the experience of LotR, but it is just damn good standing on its own.  Really neat to see how his universe evolved too.  It does have a little too much action and not enough development of the backstory for my taste, but that is only comparing it to the PERFECTION that is LotR. 

Also, I was under the impression the Hobbit is for 6-12 year olds.  I thought that because that's what Unwin said in the appendecies of the LotR movies (extended edition).  I figured that the kids in the UK are just was smarter than us Americans.  I thought (seriously) that an average 6 year old britt could read this.  Now, I have my doubts.  It is pretty intense, and I think even better educated UK kids might find it a tad overwhelming when compared to lighter fantasy like Lewis. 

Anyway, guys and gals... Planet Tolkien is great!  Even though I'm a fairly serious Tolkien fan, even I had not read the Hobbit.  But, thanks to this discussion, I finished it in two days, and I am better for it.

Thanks for the recommendation, and now I can be one to tell others "You need to read the Hobbit!!"

Thanks, all!


So glad to hear you enjoyed it Shadowfax. Though I do think there is a shift of tone from early to beginning, in my opinion it still isn't quite at the level of LOTR. As for the 6-12 year olds things.....I think that's really just a general age for a book to be classified as a "children's book." Before that it's either preschool or toddler, after that comes young adult. The Hobbit is definitely a children's book. Though I would say it's a more advanced children's book compared to, say, Charlotte's Web or Motorcycle Mouse.

Something you might enjoy is open up The Hobbit and Fellowship of The Ring and read the first 1-3 pages side by side. Then switch to Return of the King and read 1-3 pages side by side with the beginning of Hobbit and then with the end. Sounds like a lot in a paragraph, but really only takes a few minutes or so. It's interesting to see them side by side, you're able to pick up on so many more subtleties. You know, just on a rainy day or something...

Glad you enjoyed it though. If you want to see a REAL shift in tone, you should read Children of Hurin if you haven't already...

Well done ShadowfaxSmile Smilie I'm so happy for you.Well atleast one good thing came from reviving this old old threadSmile Smilie

Heh. There are times when I almost feel my age... Rayner Unwin's report on he Hobbit is quite famous in its way. It was definitely a factor in the book's being accepted for publication. He was ten years old at the time; his father Stanley Unwin used to pay him a shilling a time for reading children's books in typescript as an addition to his pocket-money.  His report ends:

'This book with the aid of maps does not need illustrations. It is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9'. 

He was wrong about illustrations, but apart from that. he was right on the money. He used to say that TH was the best shilling the firm had ever invested. And of course, he was right about the age range too; give or take a year or so. This was dated 30 October 1936, and the children of the educated classes were expected to go to grammar school, for which they needed to learn Latin at least from quite an early age. The vocabulary found in TH would be a stretch for the younger ones, but I suppose they'd be expected to do that sort of stretching.

Rayner was a lovely man, and a good friend of the Tolkien Society. We'd meet every now and again, at various events. The first time I met him was at the TS's 'Hobbit Workshop', held at the Church House Bookshop at Westminster, in 1987. I was looking at the books for sale at a side-table, and this tall distinguished looking chap came along and stood beside me. 'That's a good book', he said, indicating the one I'd chosen. I snuck a glance at his name-badge. Rayner Unwin. Eep! I was a bit tongue-tied at first, but he had a talent for putting folk at their ease very quickly, and we were soon chatting. As a matter of fact, he was very self-deprecating. When I read of his talks to the Tolkien Society, he almost always used to joke about how nervous he was to be among folk who knew more about Tolkien than he did! 

I have that book here now; it's very pertinent to what's been said in this thread already - it's called 'Of This and Other Worlds' and it's a book of papers by Tolkien's great friend CS Lewis. in his paper 'On Three Ways of Writing for Children, Lewis says:

'...a childrens's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last'. "


"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness..."

Lewis enjoyed Tolkien's children's story. He also noted the change of pace which Shadowfax has commented on:

"...Still less will the common recipe [for children's stories] prepare us for the curious shift from the matter-of-fact beginnings of his story... to the saga-like tone of the later chapters... You must read for yourselves to find out how inevitable the change is and how it keeps pace with the hero's journey."

"Prediction is dangerous", concludes Lewis,  "but _The Hobbit_ may well prove a classic."

(The times Literary Supplement, 2nd October 1937, reprinted in 'Of This and Other Worlds', 1982)


He was right, wasn't he?


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