The Hobbit :: Week Two

Welcome to the The Hobbit read-a-long! We’re reading this book through November and December. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.

Week Two: Read to Chapter VI


No one answered this question last week, so I’m posing it again: look at the blurb under the picture of the book. Do we say the The Hobbit Read-a-Long, or is “the” redundant? I thought not since we still need an article considering the word “The” in front of Hobbit is actually part of the title – right? Let’s make sure that’s correct, shall we?

Now onto more fun things… week two!

(Just a friendly reminder, place your bookmark at the chapter that I’ve marked each week, for example this week we did not read chapter VI, we put our bookmark there. Also, I know this is a re-read for many of us, but several have never read and plenty of us do not remember – so please, please, no spoilers for what’s ahead. Thanks!!)

I think it’s wonderful how Tolkien narrates the story as if he is actually telling us. Can you feel it? Especially when he uses the “I” pronoun (“I should not have liked to be in Mr (sic) Baggins’ place, all the same”). or mentions us, safely in our homes, hearing the story, “… since you are sitting safely in your home and have not the danger of being eaten…” (chapter 5). It makes me feel like a kid who’s actually being told a bed-time story.

Someone mentioned this last week, but each time Tolkien mentions Bilbo wishing he was home in his hobbit hole, he also mentions “not for the last time!”. This too adds to the lovely feeling of being told a story. If you are familiar with children’s books, you’ll notice that there is often a repeating line ; it’s to engage the young readers, give them something that is familiar, and allow them to memorize something easily so that they can be part of the reading (yes, you are reading with a former teacher). I find myself smiling each time I read this particular line and wanting to shout it out. Anyone else? (It’s ok if I’m the only dork here).

On the note of Tolkien’s writing, I also find it very endearing how he includes us in the story, as if we readers actually know more than we actually do. Again, in chapter three, “Elvish singing is not a thing to miss… not if you care for such things.” As if the readers know what Elvish singing is like and would know whether or not they care for such things. It makes you feel as though you (of course) do like Evlish singing and you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, sorry that he has to miss it. (By the way, I had a distinct memory while reading about the Elves. When I originally read this in middle school, I thought they were fairy-like, spritely, small creatures, which is very different than what the LOTR movies made them to be. If you haven’t seen the movies, think Liv Tyler… she plays an elf.)

And again, with the writing, think of all Tolkien had to remember! All of the characters that overlap in his books, anll of the history of these realms (including the wars, ages, and ancestors). I was reminded of this when Thorin was explaining Dorin’s Day. Even determining when that was was remarkably intricate… “the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the threshold of Winter. We still call it Durin’s Day when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together…”. Whew!

Does anyone get the sense that Gandalf makes the adventure more adventurous on purpose? In Chapter three he says… “or else you will get lost in them, and have to come back and start at the beginning again (if you ever get back at all).” He says things that most encouragers wouldn’t say, and we know he is God-like in the sense that he shows up at the right time to help them out of scrapes, but he also leads the group into them. I wonder (and honestly can’t remember) if this is a bit of adventurous mischief on Gandalf’s part.

Has anyone noticed how very unsentimental Tolkien is about animals? When a pony was washed away in the river last week, it wasn’t a very big deal. And in this week’s reading, the fact that ponies are food for the goblins (and the dwarves’ ponies were never seen again) is certainly not sugar coated. I can’t remember how I felt about this as a 7th grader, but I’m certain if I had read this book (or had it read to me) at an age much younger than when I originally read it – that would have been disturbing to me. As it is, I covered my mouth when I read it! (I am entirely too sentimental about animals probably, but I find we just don’t see that in today’s literature.)

Gollum! Oh. My. Gosh. So much more terrible in the book than he could ever be on screen. I don’t understand why I have absolutely no recollection of this character from this book. I certainly will never forget him now. SO CREEPY. The creepiest. Standing ovation to Mr. Tolkien for creating him (it?). And adding the possibility of eating Bilbo was a nice touch. Nothing quite as creepy (I know, I am overusing this word) than thinking of being eaten. And what fun reading his dialogue with himself and with Bilbo. He’d be a funny little thing if he wasn’t so… let’s say it together now… creepy! When he was trying to guess what was in Bilbo’s pocket, I thought I would melt, until I remembered whom I was melting over, “He thought of all the things he kept in his pockets: fish-bones, goblin’s teeth, wet shells, a bit of a bat-wing…”! Couldn’t help smiling there.

We know that Gollum was once something else because it is mentioned, in chapter five, before the riddle game, “… had been the only game he had ever played… long, long ago, before he lost all his friends and was driven away, alone, and crept down, down into the dark under the mountains.” We are told in the LOTR movies what Gollum is, but I can’t remember if we are told later in this book (and I’m not sure if that was fact from Tolkien’s books or it was for the movie, since I haven’t read the LOTR books), so I’m not going to mention it here – I don’t want to do a spoiler. But I’m hoping we find out more about Gollum. I can’t imagine we won’t now that Bilbo has that ring in his possession.

I’ll leave you (and join you in the comments, of course) with my favorite quote from this week: There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something…” (57).

Who’s Reading Along:

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Wuthering Heightsdiscussion (see below for more information).**

Catlyn Lawson (@ZombieCupcake90)
Melissa Caldwell
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Sarah D
June @So_Meow
SpyrosChrysikopoulos (@chryssiko)
Emma S.
Brittany M
Jenny Colvin (@readingenvy)
Ashley J.
Jeff Whitsitt
kai charles (@YogiKai)

Friendly Reminders:

  • If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
  • Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
  • Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
  • If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
  • If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!

73 thoughts on “The Hobbit :: Week Two

  1. Oh, you’ve already posted my favourite quote from this week =) So I have nothing else to do but to discuss elves. As I reread this week I was again surprised and a bit irritated by the representation of them. Because of Tolkien we imagine them all as… well, for me it’s Kate Blanchett, I don’t like Tyler in the movies at all. They are old, wise, tall, fair, etc. And they sing ballads of the days past. But think about what an “elf” meant before Tolkien: small greeny creatures, which can help, but can also be very nasty, looking like… a bit like Christmas elves, probably. What we see in “The Hobbit” is something in the middle. Maybe Tolkien was just beginning to create his own elves, to drift away from traditional Germanic image of them? he studied and translated works from middle-English, don’t forget it, so traditional elves must have had a great influence on him =)
    And riddles. I LOVED riddles. That’s the only thing I remember liking in my childhood, and however long ago this was, I remembered them all! I’m surprised with myself =)
    Also moonletters. A nice touch isn’t it? And the fact that you can see them only one day a year… Fascinating!

    • If I may, I’ve read that the concept of fairies/elves being tiny airy creatures was a very Victorian thing. Until then they were pretty much of human stature…an example of this would be Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So, the idea of Tolkien’s elves are not really medieval but more per-Victorian. Also, they are very Scandanavian since Tolkien drew heavily from Scandanavian mythology.

      Oh, and I love the riddles too! Each time I re-read this book I try to guess the riddles on my own. (I never ‘remember’ the answers so it is good fun!) :D

      • I guess I picture elves and fairies as being different somehow, though I am not quite sure why. Tomtens, brownies, imps all seem to imply different beings to me, as well as different cultural backgrounds. I loved so many books from picture books on with these different creatures, that I no longer know when or why I started to think of them in different ways. Oh well….

      • Tolkien did. Read LOTR, and you’ll see, they are really different there. And there is no agent Smith in the books, which is a nice bonus =)

        No, I meant the letters on the map, which Elrond saw in the moonlight. So beautiful, isn’t it?

    • Personally, I liked the elves in the films, especially Tyler. I thought she proved all of the haters wrong. I would tend to agree with Risa and would also like to read what she read, although what she says makes perfect sense to me. After reading the LOTR trilogy, I can totally get the draw on Scandanavian myth.

      Yes, riddles are always great!

  2. To answer your very first question, Wallace…I honestly don’t know. I’ve personally thought that an extra ‘the’ would be redundant, but I see how your explanation could make sense. Maybe someone sound in grammar could help us here? I would be interested in the answer as well!

    And speaking of Gollum being creepy….how do you think he would have appeared (or would appear) to a very young readership? Is he the stuff nightmares are made of? Personally, I can’t remember how I reacted to him at first. But then again I was around twenty or twenty one when I first read The Hobbit…

    • Being as this is actually my first read through of this book, (I started and stopped a lot before) this is my first glimpse of book Gollum. Let me tell you, I’m 32 years old and he is WAY creepier than the movie Gollum. If I had read this when I was a kid I would have had some serious business nightmares!

      • WordPress keeps changing my user name from Melissa Caldwell to I’ll just leave it here..if you see Lexley then it’s me Melissa. I’m always David Bowie (icon) lol

  3. hm…maybe to the Read-Along of The Hobbit? or the ‘Hobbit’ Read-Along? I suppose many variants can work.

    I found myself looking at a calendar to see when Durin’s day would happen in our reality (because I’m a nerd) and I’m not sure if it would’ve been this past Tuesday (last new moon) because it is the symbolic end of Autumn, or next month, which is the technical end of Autumn…Anywho, I thought the exchange between Bilbo and Gollum was brilliant.–riddles are usually the only lyrical distractions I can appreciate. It’s a great introduction his character.

    Riddles, moonletters (especially love this idea), myths behind ‘Biter’ and the other Goblin-slayer weapons….all these little folkloric ideas are so critical and wonderful.

    • Moonletters *swoon*

      I think the last new moon is the Dwarves’ New Year. (Happy New Year!!) Durin’s day (and I quote from the LOTR wikia):

      Durin’s Day is a rare event noted by Dwarves. The first day of the Dwarves’ year is the day that begins the last cycle of the Moon, starting with a New Moon, to begin in autumn. When on this day both the Sun and Moon may be seen in the sky together, it is called Durin’s Day. Each lunar cycle takes about 29.5 days and autumn in the northern hemisphere runs until about December 21st. The first day of the last new moon of autumn could thus take place any time between about November 22 and December 21.

      It’s important because:

      In The Hobbit, the writing on the map that Gandalf had received from Thráin II mentioned Durin’s Day. It predicted that on Durin’s Day the last light of the Sun as night fell would reveal the secret door into the Lonely Mountain.

      I think this makes me a nerd too :)

  4. For a “respectable” hobbit who shuns adventure, Bilbo gets into a lot of trouble in the next three chapters. Elves, giants, and goblins, oh my! With Gollum thrown in for good measure!! Poor Bilbo. I can’t count the number of times he wishes he were back in his comfy home. What fun! I can imagine the looks on the faces of children hearing this story.

    I have a question. I understand that there have been revisions to the original text after Lord of the Rings was written. After Bilbo found the ring, the text read, “It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it.” Does anyone know if this is in the original? Just curious about whether Tolkien had the rest of the story in mind while he was writing The Hobbit. At this point, the ring’s function is to make Bilbo invisible, so he can escape. This can be the totality of its magic. Any ideas??

    Wallace, I think you are correct with the use of the additional “the” (the The Hobbit). When I packed up my office in the spring, my favorite grammar book was tucked away, and the boxes are in storage. I know I won’t get to it any time soon. However, if I get to a book store in the near future, I’ll check to see if I can find the answer. Sorry I can’t be 100% definite, but I believe you’re correct.That’s the way I would write it.

    • I can’t look it up today as it is Thanksgiving and I am taking a quick break to read everything, then back to cooking, but there was an article a while back commenting on how Peter Jackson was expanding The Hobbit. He uses material from the Silmarrilion, etc., and in the article he is quoted as saying that Tolkien planned extensive re-writing of it. However, the article also quotes other sources who said that there were very few changes made to The Hobbit after LOTR was written, and that Tolkien concluded he would not make more changes but preferred to allow The Hobbit to stand on its own. I will try to find the article later today or tomorrow and post next week, just in case anyone would like to read it.

  5. I think I held my breath the whole time Gollum was in this week’s reading. When Bilbo found the ring, I knew he was coming! I agree that he’s creepy, but he’s creepysad. Lonely. I have a great deal of pity and sympathy for him, although I realize he’s very dangerous and not-good (I have no pity or sympathy for goblins, though, for example). I am captivated by the way he talks (I can’t be the only one who talked like Gollum to their cat all week?). I think he is one of the most complex characters, period (yet alone in “children’s” literature).

    The other think I am loving is what Wallace noted above about Tolkien telling us the story. I am feeling five years old in the best way possible when I’m reading! I actually get in bed with alllllll the covers on to replicate being told a story before sleeping! I am SO GLAD we are reading this in November and December!

    • Agreed. Sympathy for Gollum and none for the goblins. There is definitely something lovable about him. Perhaps it is because of the childlike way he talks?

    • “Creepysad” is a great way to describe Gollum. This is the first time I’ve officially met Gollum, but I recognize him from movie previews of LOTR. I’m interested to hear more of his back story and am hoping it’s later in this book!

  6. Wallace, I think your extra “the” is appropriate/correct, and I kind of enjoy it (:

    Tolkien is one of my favorite authors and his sentiment (or lack thereof) towards animals always catches me off guard. I’m like you Wallace, probably over-sentimental towards animals. One thing I find extremely interesting (not to keep comparing the Hobbit towards the Lord of the Rings, but) is that the sentiment towards animals changes completely in Lord of the Rings. There are MANY characters who feel fondly towards their animals, particularly horses and dogs. It’s impossible to express how different the attitude is. I wonder what changed for Tolkien? Or if he intended it to be that way?

    I could be wrong, but I’m almost positive that we don’t find out any more about Gollum in this book. Gandalf goes into great detail about him at the beginning of LOTR, for anyone who’s interested.

    I LOVE Tolkien’s narrating!! You’re right, it does make you feel like a little kid being read a bedtime story. It creates a distinction between the reader and the world, like a reminder “hey you’re reading about this terrifying creature, Gollum, but don’t worry! He’s far away! He won’t get you!”

    • Ooooh, good point about The narrating creating a barrier between the reader and Gollum. Brilliant.

      I really must read LOTR. Very curious now why the sentiment towards animals changed. I wonder if the editor had anything to do with that?

    • I wonder if he purposely tried to keep Gollum from being too frightening because these tales were told to his children? The Necromancer sounds far more frightening, but he only alludes to the terrrors of his dungeons.

  7. I was shocked at how scary Gollum was, he who munches on goblins for treats! Yikes. He is also a completely different color in the book vs. movie. I wonder how rabid fans feel!

    I love that anything nothing quote.

    And I will insist on saying the the, maybe we can form it into a whimsical tune.

    Is anyone else listening to the audio? It is so wonderful, just for the reasons you said.

  8. Here is my post:

    I really loved this weeks reading for all the reasons you mentioned but mostly for the first meeting with Gollum. I always assumed he was a Goblin now I want to know more about him. It also is interesting how the ring was introduced. There is some definite intelligence there especially the first time the ring doesnt work for Bilbo right away. I havent read the Lord of The Rings books but I’m wondering if that continued in them. there is a definite sense that the ring is done with Gollum.

    • Interesting point about the ring. Could it be the ring had to test the nature of Bilbo, to see if he was worthy of the capabilities of the ring? And deciding in his favor, the ring worked to save him. My question about the ring: How did the ring get from the island to the tunnel? This change of location for the ring does make me agree with your statement that The ring was done with Gollum.

      • The ring didn’t work for Bilbo until he put it on his finger (must be wearing it for it to work). It was in the tunnel because Gollum was using it be invisible so he could catch goblins, but it fell off of him when he caught his latest goblin and he hasn’t noticed.

  9. Wallace, wording your welcome with the double “the’s” is not only technically sound–at this point I imagine it makes us all giggle so please keep it that way!

    What I love most about Tolkien’s narration are his “clueless” objective moments; for example, “I do not know how long he kept on like this…” And he adds such whimsey by lending the landscape human characteristics; “the great mountains had marched down very near to them;” “the voice of hurrying waters;” “valleys have ears,” “the silence seemed to dislike being broken.” All the while charming us with every extra “er!” “Miserabler.” “Tireder than tired.” (Every “not for the last time” reminds us just how homesick poor Bilbo is for his “safe and comfortable things.)

    Poor, poor Bilbo. “Why, why did I ever leave my hobbit-hole!” “Tea-time had long gone by, and it seemed supper-time would soon do the same.” How could he NOT pity poor Gollum, who truly is insane with loneliness, misery and ring obsession! Gollum’s silly monologues endlessly amuse me. If only HE could spend a few days at Elrond’s “Last Homely House,” to grow “refreshed and stronger while they mend his clothes, temper and hopes.” Homely, of course, in the traditional sense of how we use “homey” today. (“Blind man’s buff” instead of the “Blind man’s bluff” I’m used to hearing. Oh and Jackie, I googled the reeking faggots and baking bonnocks. :)

    Also-> love Gollom’s bulging eyes like telescopes; and the fishes eyes growing “bigger and bigger and bigger from trying to see in the blackness of mountain pools.”

    Don’t forget part 2 of this week’s axiom: “You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” And THIS take-away Tolkien: “It might be worse, and then again it might be a good deal better.”

    • I will absolutely keep the the. ;)

      I hadn’t noticed the personification that Tolkien has been using (oh, why I love read-a-longs!). Now I’ll pay closer attention. Amazing how easy it is to be delighted, yet not be able to pinpoint where that delightfulness comes from when it’s from so many different sources. That Tolkien is inundating us with (I’ll say it again) delightfulness. :)

    • I looooove the personification, too.

      You inspired me to look up homely in the OED. Interesting history of the word. It was Shakespeare who first used homely to not mean of home/simple/ plain but rather unattractive. The word homey entered in the Victorian era (of course :) to act as the word for simple/plain. I love Shakespeare’s wordsmithing, but I wish he left homely alone — I like it better than homey — not to mention the word has morphed once again into a shortening of home boy in slang… LANGUAGE IS FASCINATING!

  10. If this is Gollum’s one and only appearance in the book, I will indeed be sad. The genius of Tolkien’s writing is that you simultaneously feel horrified by Gollum and sympathetic to him. I think the reason that we as readers feel differently towards Gollum than towards the goblins is that there does appear to be a hint of decency in Gollum that is tucked away somewhere behind all of his wretched loneliness (and hearing about Gollum’s past amplified that). The goblins almost assuredly would have killed Bilbo instantly had they the chance after the group’s escape. The goblins aren’t lonely — there are many of them — so they have no human-like yearning for company to temper their wicked ways. Gollum, though, is alone. That is Bilbo’s saving grace, because the riddle game is born out of Gollum’s desperation for interaction, and winning the game is what ultimately allows Bilbo to escape. I think for Gollum, losing the ring was extra painful because it meant losing Bilbo too (literally, in the sense that Bilbo physically disappeared when he put on the ring). I really enjoyed this week’s reading!

    • I agree about the distinction between Gollum and the goblins. But I think there’s a certain level of intelligence that separates them, too. Gollum holds his own in the riddle game until Bilbo asks him a question he couldn’t possible figure out, and Gollum knows he’s been wronged. The goblins aren’t as self-aware and seem to be more instinctual than intellectual.

      • That’s a good point, Ashley, and begs the question of what exactly Gollum is, since he clearly isn’t a goblin or any of the other creatures we’ve met thus far. Someone mentioned that the answer is given in LOTR, but even having read those I don’t remember what it is! That’s okay, I kind of prefer the mystery :-)

        • I too am curious to know more about Gollum. I’ve seen the movies, but never read the books. I really think that Gollum is one of the best characters I’ve “met” in this book so far. Very well done!

  11. First off, I vote for The Hobbit Read-a-long as the title for our illustrious read-a-long :)

    Gollum is ridiculously creepy in the book. I remember that the last time I read it (either late in elementary school or early in middle school), I had pictured Gollum as a Jabba the Hut like creature. Boy was I surprised when I saw the movie version of him for the first time. Now I’m trying to figure out how much more we learn about Gollum in this book and I cannot remember at all. I’m hoping that we will indeed get to learn more about him.

    Also, I remember this book being a lot more difficult to read the first time I read it. It’s definitely an easy read.

  12. I love the feeling of being told a story. It’s very different than what I am used to reading, for sure. I also love all the mythical and whimsy, it really makes me feel like a kid again. How often can we say that?? Not very, speaking for myself.

    I have a hard time drumming up sympathy for Gollum, based on this story alone (so far). I DO, however, have sympathy for him because I know his background story. I find it interesting that someone who hasn’t read/saw LOTR feels sympathetic toward him. In this reading, all I feel is repulsed. Sure he is lonely, and yes we know he had some sort of former life, but we don’t know how he got to where he is. Maybe I am just cold!

    Loved the riddles. They were so fun, I almost forgot we were riddling for poor Bilbo’s life!

    • I agree with you Sarah!! All my pity/sympathy for Gollum is based on knowledge in LOTR. When I first read The Hobbit I felt the same way towards Gollum as I did the goblins. I felt there was a distinction, but I lumped him in with “evil and soul-less!” How interesting!

  13. I’m loving Bilbo’s character so far. He brings a certain degree of compassion to the group that, although fueled by his naivety, allows him to look at the journey from a more humanistic perspective. He sees Gollum as he is, not just as a creature from the depths of the goblins’ tunnels. The following quote really put his character into perspective for me: “A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All of these thoughts passed in a flash of a second” (81).

    I also really like this quote, as I’ve always lived by this idea and seeing it written in the book was a pleasant surprise: “‘Go back?’ he thought. ‘No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!'” (p. 66).

    • Yes! I noticed that line too – and it’s wonderful. Such a simple line, which Tolkien must have put in because it’s true of life, yet it fits the situation so literally that it makes it very clever.

  14. While reading in chapter 4 this quote really struck me: “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something (or so Thorin said to the young dwarves). You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” It seems rather insightful. If you are want something you must look, you probably will find something, even if it isn’t what you were looking for. It seem relavent to life, one will never find anything if you don’t look for it.

    A small motivation/reminder that nothing comes to those that do not seek it out.

  15. I’m still here! Last week I was sick so I didn’t get to comment! I’ve caught up to now, but need to keep catching up! I just wanted to let you know I was still hoping to participate! :)

  16. The thing that I notice the most reading The Hobbit is the personification, like Wallace mentioned. I love that it’s like he is reading us the story; it makes me feel like he is here and I’m laying in my bed, all snuggled in, bitting my nails listening to him read about Gollum.
    About your question regarding Gandalf making things more adventurous, I also get that impression. I remember the first time I read this story I thought “Gandalf seems to want to get Bilbo into trouble to see if he will grow as an person”. I think that is what it’s all about. It’s almost like this adventure is a frivolous bit of fun for Gandalf that he’s doing for the enjoyment rather than the benefit of the Dwarves, while in the LOTRs Gandalf seems to be more troubled by the quest in that book – more serious – and it seems like it is more of a job.

    • That point certainly backs up the theory that Gandalf is supposed to be the God character, doesn’t it? And I like your comparison to Gandalf in LOTR, it’s true – their quest was more important so perhaps that’s why he acts differently (more encouraging, softer).

  17. Just got caught up last night…Gollum was definitely creepy…I really want to know more about him…I may have to read the LOTR after this!!

    Bilbo is so endearing to me…stumbling and bumbling around and finding himself in this extraordinary situation, but so far, coming out relatively unscathed!!

  18. I love the way Tolkien narrates the book too. Actually, I don’t even feel like I am reading it- if that makes any sense. It really seems like someone is reading it to me! The pages seem to turn themselves. Before I know it, I have read another chapter.

    I haven’t seen the LOTR movies or read the books, so Gollum is new to me. To me, he was creepy but in a sad sort of way.

    The ring!!! Finally, I know what all the fuss is about!

  19. Sorry I am late, but I figure better late than never. I quite enjoyed this section and thought is was much lighter than the first section. I really liked the chapter with the riddles; the interaction between Gollum and Bilbo was fun and I liked how the Ring was introduced. Till next week.

  20. I have to agree,I have so much pity and sympathy for Gollum!
    There are so many wonderful parts of The Hobbit but my favorite is the chapter Riddles In The Dark! I love the details of the cave and lake, plus the creepy/scary feeling you get when Gollum is speaking!

  21. Nothing like a good Thanksgiving post trying to get in before the discussion closes this afternoon!

    Wallace, I think it’s interesting you brought up Tolkein’s disregard for the animals this week. Did you hear about all the recent trouble the film is having? There’s a dispute about the safety of the farm where the “actor” animals were housed, since several of the animals died from hazardous living conditions (ponies literally washed away in rivers).

  22. So much great discussion, so interesting.

    About Bilbo, I think I like him because he is so like me, like us — human. He wishes for adventure thinking it will be great fun, but is also afraid of it and really likes thinking about it perhaps more than doing it. However, when challenged, the Tookish side of him exerts itself and he brags a bit about how willing he is. He does what he must, fearful at all times, but working hard to do what needs to be done. He worries! Just like we do, and that endears him to me. He is not some brave hero, someone born to conquer; he is a dear little hobbit with a yen for home and hearth who ventures out into an adventure and does his best to do all that is expected of him.

    With Gollum, I think the reason I don’t dislike him as I do the goblns is because even in this brief scene we see that he, too, is out of his depth. He doesn’t remember things, like how he came to be there; he is fearful of the goblins; and he is bereft when he loses the ring. We hear the depth of his despair as he wheedles and whispers and in his terror and sadness at the loss of the ring, his only “companion” in the dark.

    Can’t wait for next week’s reading.

    Wallace, I am not listed in the participants. Can I be?
    Thank you.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  23. I agree! It does feel like Tolkien is actually telling us the story. Like we’re sitting in a circle with him reading to us. Charming. :)

    I do think that Gandalf is full of mischief and purposely stirs up adventure. That’s why I loved Ian McKellan as Gandalf in the films. He has such a twinkle in his eye that I imagine the Gandalf in the book would have.

    Yeah, I love animals so I was appalled by the indifference myself. It’s awful about what happened to the animals that were being used in the movie (what Emma S. posted above).

    Okay, Gollum is always entertaining, but I kept asking myself…where does Gollum have pockets? I guess I never imagined him wearing clothes. In the film, he wears a sort of loin cloth and in the cartoon version, wears nothing at all. Yikes! I was reading an article about Andy Serkus (he does the voice and all the motions of Gollum in the films) and he said that Gollum in the Hobbit films will have even more expression in his face and look more real. I can’t wait.

    Regarding your question about the title of the read-a-long, I would drop the extra the, but that’s just my opinion. ;)

    Anyway, really enjoying the reread of this wonderful book!

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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