Michelle Isenhoff

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

One year. That’s how long I have to wait for Peter Jackson’s new movie, The Hobbit. Like its sister, The Lord of the Rings trilogy (which I dearly love!), this will be a multi-part production, the first film being released in December 14, 2012, the second in December 13, 2013. [8/12 update: Yup, it’s now official; it’s going to be a trilogy. Last one’s scheduled for summer 2014.]
I am thrilled to see the return of so many familiar faces, particularly Ian McKellan (Gandalf), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Christopher Lee (Saruman), and Ian Holm (old Bilbo) who stared in the LOTR movies. Even Elijah Wood (Frodo) gets a bit part written in, though he’s not yet born in the original book. You see, The Hobbit is the prequel to LOTR. It is the story of how the ring came to Bilbo, and the adventures that young hobbit found himself a part of.
I’ve dusted off my old copy of Tolkien’s first tale and put up a review for those who may not be familiar with it, including some challenges I believe the movie makers will face. In the meantime, here’s a movie preview. Needless to say, I’m highly anticipating this one!
Watch the movie trailer.
Read my review of The Lord of the Rings.

Divided Decade Trilogy, book one
Read it free!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

45 thoughts on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  1. Hey Erik! Books: Like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is some pretty tough reading. It’s an older style, with very long sentences and a LOT of description. The books are LONG and detailed, with lots of back history and a thousand wierd names. (If you do read them, I’d recommend that you write down names as you go and note who they are!) That’s why I’d probably recommend these for 12+. But the adventures are excellent! There are some battles, and there is definitely epic good and evil, but the content is clean, and so is the language.
    Movies: The LOR movies are faithful, beautifully done, and the language is clean, but the amount of battle footage is way out of proportion. They get pretty graphic and gruesome. I do let my kids watch them with me, but I click over all the nasty parts and just explain what the scene accomplishes so they don’t lose the storyline. (I had already seen them twice before I let them join me, so I knew what to cut.) We watch them once each fall when daddy goes hunting.
    My kids have grown to love the stories. I hope someday they’ll pick up the books. If you can get into the first one (it might take several chapters), I think you’d like the story, too. Definitely start with The Hobbit. If you can’t get into it, wait a few more years and try again. (I’m still trying to get into “Little Women”. Maybe this year I’ll finish it regardless.) 🙂

  2. I had my ninth graders read The Hobbit a few years ago, and they enjoyed it. I think they were surprised at how much they did like it. I remember referring to the map of Middle earth often to help them understand the plot.

    1. I love Tolkien’s map! I tried finding a frame-worthy copy one time but didn’t have much luck because the best ones had been withdrawn over copyright issues. In fact, I was thinking about it yesterday when I was on your Anabar blog (which I think is so cool!). You do have a map on there, but I’d suggest more detail – perhaps a hand-drawn one? I was comparing it to Tolkien’s, which is a tall order, I know. 🙂

      1. Here’s a prop replica maker’s link for a real map, reproduced exactly as seen in the book. He does amazing work, including a Red Book of Westmarche (Bilbo’s journal seen in the LotR trilogy

  3. Did you screw this up like you did the Lord of the Rings? I would like to know because I almost walked out of Two Towers. I would really like to go but I wouldn’t if you did.

  4. I read the book and I love it! I was thrilled when I learned there was a movie coming up, and that it would be directed by Peter Jackson. But I was disappointed and quite taken aback when it became official that it would be split into three parts.

    1. They may be working in some of the back stories from the Appendices in order to make the story richer. Technically, there are two major adventures in the Hobbit – finding the mountain and dealing with Smaug, the second being the management of the war that follows the liberation of the Lonely Mountain when everyone wants a piece of the action.

      1. I hope they do work in some of the back story. Tolkien gave his stories an incredible history. I’m still very curious to see how Jackson pulls off three full-length movies from it, though.

  5. I read The Hobbit the summer before fifth grade (age 9), and looking back I’d say it was quite appropriate even at that age. Granted, some of the content is frightening and violent, but Tolkien very much leaves the details to the imagination of the reader. He also injects ample humor, and his themes tend to be a little easier to understand for a younger reader in The Hobbit versus LOTR. I was at first a little disappointed at the decision to do a trilogy. But if Jackson uses enough supplemental material from the LOTR appendices then the structure of The Hobbit lends itself well to a trilogy. Film one can cover the journey to the Lonely Mountain, including the Trolls, the Goblins, Gollum, the spiders of Mirkwood, and the Elves’ dungeons. I recall Benedict Cumberbatch saying the first film ends with Smaug’s eye opening, so I assume the second film will cover the confrontation with Smaug through his death. The conflict over the Arkenstone and the Battle of Five Armies can form the heart of the third film. The story of Gandalf’s encounters with Necromancer/Sauron, the evolution of the Saruman character, and the decisions of the Council will, presumably, be woven throughout all three films. I can’t really imagine the structure being anything other than this, since trying to force together any of these three central narratives (journey, Smaug, battle) would be a lot of climax for any one film.

    1. Very well written, Thomas, and I follow you completely. I never really thought through the logistics of start and stop points for the trilogy but what you say sounds very logical. I’m amazed that you read this at nine! Unfortunately, I was an old college lady before I was introduced to Tolkien.

  6. I’ve been reading the books since 7th grade. I usually read The Hobbit every Autumn and The LOTR trilogy over the winter months. Kind of a ritual.
    This is the first I’m hearing that The Hobbit movie is being made into a trilogy. I think that is a huge mistake. Although, Thomas has a very good idea on how the movies should (and hopefully will) play out. I’ve been super excited about the movie, because Peter Jackson did SUCH a good job on the LOTR movies. Crossing my fingers that I won’t be disapointed.

      1. I got into Tolkien so young because The Hobbit was on a display next to Lewis’ Narnia books in our public library. Also, it had a dragon drawn on the cover and when you’re nine years old that seems pretty appealing! I did try to read LOTR shortly after that but it overwhelmed me a bit. I had read LOTR several times, in fact, before I was old enough to appreciate some of it (around my mid-20s). Thanks for liking my notion for how the movies might be split. Also: it’s always heartening to know there are places in the internet where people talk to each other in a way that is civil and, dare I say it, nice 🙂

        1. A little courtesy is nice, isn’t it? 🙂 Ah, now I see. They put it with Narnia. I was reading those at about ten, but when I reread them in my teens I remember how my eyes opened. Those, too, are among my favorite classics.

  7. Before I forget, a quick question. I recall Peter Jackson saying that he couldn’t do The Simarilion or use parts from it in any of The Hobbit trilogy, because Christopher Tolkien owned the rights to it and hadn’t been all that pleased with the LOTR adaptations. Honestly, I was relieved because I’d always found that collection quite inaccessible and I have trouble imagining it being an enjoyable film. I’ve had quite a few Tokien enthusiasts for friends say how much they like The Silmarillion and would love to see it adapted, so I’m wondering what you all think about it. But maybe that’s for another post/thread :).

    1. The Silmarillion was an extremely difficult read for me. I love genealogies and long explanations of histories but this book was just so chock full of description it was mind boggling. If The Hobbit is being made into a trilogy, then The Silmarillion would be a never ending series of movies that extended at least 5 years..hahahaa!
      It’s nice talking to you too. My quest for intellingent conversation on the internet has been ongoing for quite some time 🙂

    2. I found The Silmarilion overwhelming, too. I read through it once just because I was hoping for another LOTR, and I did find it interesting. But it doesn’t have the same sense of story as the others, so I’ve never revisited it. That was several years ago. I should read it again.

  8. Where did you find this poster? I hope it’s not an official poster, since Bilbo really shouldn’t be wearing that brooch and cloak; he never even went anywhere near Lothlórien, which is where the fellowship were given them!

    1. Good eye, Covarr! I didn’t pay such close attention to detail. I just found the poster in an image search and stole it for my post (almost a year ago now). I liked the balanced look of it. I’ve no idea if it’s official or not, though I assumed it was.

  9. This masterpiece of Tolkein is not just in and of itself the ruminations of a brilliant mind of papist loyalties, but the culmination of the inspired studies at Oxford of two men who rightly deserve enshrinement: J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. Not just for their seminal works, but their friendship and founding of the Oxford Inklings, which too is worthy of a cinema filmer’s capture. Watch everything put forth, but remember these men were vastly different in religious leanings but whose commonality is set forever in there mutual love of myth, legend, Gothic lore and fantasy. The reason the lines were “long” is that like Dostoevsky, Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck, these men did not play to the uninformed, they wrote.

  10. Please remove this picture from your website immediately. The hobbit it my favorite book and I have not wanted to see a movie more in my life but every time I search the hobbit on google I see this poor looking fan made poster that came out a long time ago… There are plenty of pictures now for the movie and I’m tired of seeing this random guy dressed like bilbo and the three dwarves from the scene in the fellowship of the ring with the extra dwarves! Thanks! This had bugged me so much I decided to leave a comment on this after I followed the link! It’s simple, google is using this picture as the hobbits front picture and its unacceptable thanks. From a normal guy who is just a huge fan

    1. Will, I appreciate your opinion. I posted this last year when I first heard the movie was coming out and I never really looked at the poster again. You and Covarr made me take a closer peek. It’s not Martin Freeman in the picture, and the dwarves are from LOTR, and Bilbo is wearing the leaf from Lothlorien. So it isn’t official. But I still think it represents the essence of the story, so I’m going to leave it up.

  11. I read the Hobbit at 11 and I read at least once every year since. I got LOTR after I finished the Hobbit, but didn’t read them for a while because it felt strange – I didn’t get past the first chapters the first few times I attempted to read them because I was so fond of Bilbo, I didn’t like that it was a Middle-Earth story without him. I think I was 12 before I actually decided I would try read LOTR and now many of the LOTR characters are as much favourites of mine as Bilbo is.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Madeleine. I had the same reaction initially, but by the end of a few chapters of LOTR, I liked Frodo just as much as Bilbo. Course I was 25 at the time. I can’t wait for the new movie!

  12. I have recently purchased the Hobbit along with the LOTR books, from what I have seen posted Iam glad I did so and hope to enjoy reading them.:)

  13. The Hobbit is full of wonderful dialogue and the stories are fantastic for kids. Bilbo, who was, at the beginning, stuck in his comfortable Hobbit hole, becomes a great hero by going on an adventure. He does things he never thought he would ever do and becomes very brave and wise in the process. Of course, he has Gandalf the wizard instructing him and encouraging him. There are several really important moments of rescue that teach us always to hope and do what is right and in the end it will all turn out for the good, but not necessarily without a little sadness. Thanks for letting me post here.

  14. as a kid stuck in cross state car rides with many brothers i loved reading. the Hobbit was the first book th totally enthral me, i have read it and listenened to unabridged audio books for years, and now all 3 of my sons love all thing Tolkien. We even read the father christmas in winter. I read “a leaf by Niggle” to the students in my kids classes.

    1. I just saw the post you responded to that said much the same thing as mine. This is embarrassing haha. Oh well, you can still take that link as proof that the photo is fake.

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