Saturday, January 23, 2010

Catching Up with Bilbo

Eva, the host of the Hobbit read-a-long, is asking...

* Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?

I meant to just read a few more chapters before answering these questions so that I wouldn't embarrassingly be still only three chapters along. But. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I read the rest of the book in two days. So I am finished with the book. Yes. This wasn't my first time through. (It was my third.) So my expectations were met. I did notice a few things I hadn't before. Like how 'my precious' refers to Gollum himself. I guess I always assumed that the 'precious' was the ring itself. That he was talking to the ring. I don't know why I assumed that. I guess that's the impression I got from the movies maybe.

* Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?

Not really.

* Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?

I really tried to read them all. I can't say that I appreciated them as poems exactly. But at least I didn't just skip them altogether.

* What do you think of the narrator’s voice?

I like it. I think what I appreciate most about the book is the humor. And by humor I mean wit. Sometimes it feels like you're laughing at the characters (be it Bilbo or one (or more) of the dwarfs), and other times it feels you're laughing with the characters. I love the matter-of-fact-ness about it as well. I think that is one reason why I always buy into the story, I never have trouble "suspending my disbelief" with this one. He (the narrator) tells me it is so, and I believe him.

* Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?

I am reading a *really* tacky copy. It's older too. So the pages aren't the best in the world. I would love to own a really nice edition of this one at some point.

* Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?

I do love Bilbo. I love him *so* much more than Frodo. I loved this quote, "It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait." (205) And again, "It was a terrible battle. The most dreadful of all Bilbo's experiences, and the one which at the time he hated most--which is to say it was the one he was most proud of, and most fond of recalling long afterwards, although he was quite unimportant in it. Actually I must say he put on his ring early in the business, and vanished from sight, if not from all danger." (267) For my favorite scene, I'd have to say Bilbo's (daring) conversation with Smaug, a battle of wits. As for a favorite minor character, I liked Beorn. I liked how Gandalf 'tricked' him into being such a good (and friendly) host. That whole story (with all its interruptions) is just a delight to read.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Melissa said...

Ah, I haven't read this one in *years* (or LOTR, either, come to think of it). I'm not sure I'm in the mood for it now, so maybe later. For the record, though: I love Bilbo, too. Though Sam's still my favorite Hobbit.

Anonymous said...

Bilbo is adorable, isn't he?:)

What a lovely post! I now want to go off and re-read "Bilbo" myself... L.

Anonymous said...

"My precious" refers to the ring, but Gollum also uses it occasionally to refer to other things.

Jess - A Book Hoarder said...

Becky, I thought the same thing about "My Precious." I thought it was what he called the ring so I was surprised when he was calling himself-or his other half-precious.

Amy said...

Bilbo is just so much fun to travel with! I really enjoyed re-reading it and now I can't wait for the rest of the books.