I find it very difficult to write a review for The Hobbit. I’ve read this book a few times back in my teenage years and I remember being quite fond of it. Therefor it’s an integral part of my Childhood Memories and it’s linked to all forms of nostalgia. Having recently seen part II of the movie, it struck me that I needed to revisit the book again, mostly because the differences between the movie and my memories were to vast and I wanted some clarity on the matter.
Now that I’ve finished the book again, as an adult this time, it’s indeed true that the movie contains about 75% of new material when compared to the book version. Not surprising, since a literal translation wouldn’t allow them to make 3 high-budget films and therefor wouldn’t allow them to make so much money of the franchise. That said, I think the movie is perfectly fine in it’s own right, the added bits and the twisting of the book storyline all fit perfectly in to the lore and there are enough ties to the original story to keep the reference fairly standing.
But this is’nt a review of the movie, but rather of the book itself. Because of all the nostalgia tied to this story, it’s hard for me to reconcile myself with the fact that I didn’t like it so much this time around as I remember.
The writing style is based on Ye Old English and that makes it weird to read, although, admittedly, it also contributes to the creation of a certain atmosphere that’s present and it has it’s own special flow. A flow that comes out especially when listening to the audiobook (something I can really recommend. A good audiobook really adds to the experience).
The narrative style is obviously aimed at children, with the narrator often breaking the 4th wall and talking to the reader directly. I know that this works very well for children, as it helps immerse them in the story, but as an adult this just plain bugs me, because it breaks the spell of being inside the story and being one with the main character.
The story itself is, contrary to the movie, not that bloody or gory; There are a lot of adventures to be had, but they’re obviously aimed at children ages 6-12, with magical creatures, no bloody fight scenes and relatively little violence all in all. There is of course the fight with goblins, or with gigantic spiders, but there is no fighting between people, it’s always aimed at dark, bad creatures.
Unfortunately there is very little character development, we get to know the main character a bit, but other than that, there is little else going on. Of the 13 dwarves in the company we know very little, we know that Bombur is fat, Fili and Kili are young and Balin is old. We know some family bonds, and that about sums it up. It didn’t really bother me all that much, but it begs to wonder why on earth they needed such a large party in the first place. We know next to nothing about the character of Gandalf, or any of the secondary characters, which is quite a shame.
The Hobbit does excell in the creation of (in)credible Lore and world building and that is still one of the major selling points of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the world of Middle-Earth and all of its inhabiting races again.
In conclusion I’m going to give this a 4/5 stars, mostly for old times sake, but there is still to much nostalgia attached to it to give it any less.