The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. 317/317.
Owl read me The Hobbit. Apparently I cannot read the Hobbit myself, because I have not read The Hobbit since I was eight and my mother last bothered to read The Hobbit to me. I then thought about reading The Hobbit for the next fifteen to twenty years. I even managed to cycle through owning several different editions of The Hobbit but I did not actually read any of them, perhaps because they were not as glorious as this giant golden version I am holding in my hands.
EXCEPTION: I can read ‘Riddles in the Dark’ in any form. I am that person. I am the person who waits for the best part of the book and leaps into the air with all their limbs waving and goes OOH MEE MEE MEE I WILL DO IIIIIIIIIT like it is a burden unto Ring Bearing and a golden retriever’s favorite tennis ball all in one. I fought off a group of kindly Medievalists to win that chapter in a group readaloud in grad school, and in my seventh grade Readers Theater class I competed for the honor of being a be a slimy, ill-socialized, murdering magpie of the murky depths in an actual head-to-head readoff against my scrawny nerd frenemy Devin DeCamp.
I also read it now. But mostly it was Owl, because I cannot read The Hobbit myself apparently.
Here is what I learned after fifteen to twenty years of not reading the Hobbit:
- Elves are GOOFY BAD CHILDREN who sing songs almost entirely about how they are better than you and you are cold fa la la la la tra la la la la you will die and they never get old tra fa la tra fa la DON’T TRUST ELVES WHO TRY TO LOOK COOL, THEY ARE NOT COOL
- BILBO IS SLY, BILBO IS SO SLY, BILBO IS JUST ONE SLY ENTREE WITH A HEAPING SIDE DISH OF PRAGMATISM Bilbo is who I feel I could be on my best day and is definitely who I am every time I play D&D, which infuriates people, I SHOULD POINT OUT TO THEM THAT BILBO IS PERFECT WHEREAS THORIN, TYPICAL D&D PLAYER, RASH, STUBBORN, AND INTERESTED IN UNNECESSARY FEATS OF ARMS, ENDS UP COMPLETELY DEAD
- The best way to write about traveling is to say, “Bilbo felt that he had done this terrible thing x for years and would never again be happy,” and then it turns out he was there for a week, or “The lake men starved to death and were weary and sick in that time” and that time is like, two days, JUST TO MIX IT UP.
- A lot happens after they meet Smaug, a perfect person who is the only important part of the book according to reduced book wisdom (mine), so it is surprising that there is more after him.
- Fewer than the expected number of dwarves die. Hurrah! But some of them later move into Moria even though they have just established that it is full of goblins who hate their guts. NOOOOOOOOO.
I also learned as previously suspected that Tolkien has a sense of humor, and none of it has to do with snot. Peter Jackson, I’m looking at you. And then I am looking away, because YOU HAVE DONE HEINOUS THINGS TO THIS BOOK YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT
Five stars! THE HOBBIT.