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)
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Jenny Colvin (@readingenvy)
kai charles (@YogiKai)
- 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!