A Tolkien Virgin: The Hobbit - Chapters 2, 3, & 4 - The Journey Continues
The three trolls--Tolkien's Three Stooges?
The Hobbit, I've found by now, is a light, refreshing, fun book that's really easy to read--of course. The story moves along quickly with some expected turns and some less so. Despite his somewhat bumbling manner and the trouble he gets himself and everyone else into, Bilbo remains a likeable unlikely hero.
Chapter 2 - Roast Mutton
In this chapter, I found the Trolls to be less fierce than I would have otherwise imagined. Their three-stooges-like banter is silly comedy that I would never have expected of Trolls. Some parts of the story remind me of fairy tales. The dwarves came wandering up one by one and pop! a sack came down over their heads. Later, the mighty wizard Gandalf dispatches of the trolls not with an overt attack, but by prolonging their conversation long enough to not need to fight them at all...the sun comes up and they turn to stone! I didn't know trolls turn to stone in sunlight! Another thing, I would've thought that Gandalf was a powerful enough wizard to be able to open the door to the trolls cave without a key. But, if he was so powerful a wizard, why does he need the dwarves and Bilbo to get what he's after from the dragon? So, I guess for me, it's one unexpected thing after another, but not in a bad way--I mean, I still really like the story.
Chapter 3 - A Short Rest
In this chapter, I got my first taste of what Elves behave like. They seem a lot sillier and care-free than the Quendi of the Silmarillion. I mean compare the oath-bound sons of Fëanor to these happy creatures! I don't really know how much time has passed between the Silmarillion and the Hobbit: there were many many years during the time of the Numenorians after the defeat of Morgoth, and I suspect the Hobbit takes place even longer after the downfall of Numenor. Maybe the elves have changed. But, then, Tolkien doesn't really describe the day-to-day behavior and activities of the Elves in the Silmarillion. Maybe when they're not fighting Orcs and chasing Silmarils, they're a lot happier.
What a surprise for Elrond to appear in this story! I'd sure like to know how he ended up in that little valley ages after the end of the Silmarillion (where he chose to remain in Middle-earth with Gil-Galad). I find it particularly interesting that this ancient leader of this band of Elves, is really only a little more than half-Elven, over a quarter Man, and a sixteenth Maiar...I think Tolkien implies that Elrond is such a noteable individual in large part because the blood of Elf, Man, and Maiar, courses in his veins. It's almost as if the Silmarillion and its many tales is Elrond's own personal ancestral history. I can't wait to see what part he plays in the Lord of the Rings.
Chapter 4 - Over Hill and Under Hill
Can you believe I didn't even catch that the Goblins weren't Orcs till I was talking with Ted later? Well, actually Ted told me that Tolkien later clarified that the Goblins really are Orcs, so I think it's cool that I mistakenly thought of them as Orcs as I read the chapter--inadvertantly correct. Not that thinking of them as Orcs is that much help since Tolkien never really describes what they look like in the Silmarillion.
So, anyway, I'm wondering when they're going to turn the Hobbit into a Broadway musical--everybody sings! Now the Goblins are even singing their own terrifying song, "Crack! Snap! the black crack..." Did Tolkien ever jot down the tunes for all these songs?
Till next time,