When it was first announced that Peter Jackson and New Line intended to film the book I decided I should get it and find out what it was like. I struggled, I’ll be honest and say I never got beyond Bilbo and the Dwarves going into the goblin caves. It was just so unlike the other books and so I gave up. I have now finally read it – all the way from start to finish – and I really surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
For anyone who has read it, they will know it is nothing like The Lord Of The Rings, this is very definitely a children’s story, and it is told in the style of an adult telling the story to a child. This was part of my problem the first time round – that and all the songs. If you were to compare the style of this and the later books, you would think it had been penned by different authors.
Its not only the style that is different, the characters are nothing like what follows. The Dwarves come across as cowardly and lazy, they leave all the dangerous work up to Bilbo. I know they come good in the end, and do prove themselves during the Battle of the Five Armies, but up until that point they don’t come across very well.
I was amazed that how much I already knew that happened during the book, didn’t actually seem to take very long to get through. Bilbo and Gollum barely covered a couple of chapters, the trolls and the battle with the spiders in Mirkwood just sort of happened.
But it’s what was missed out that amazed me. I know from reading the appendex to Lord Of The Rings all about the White Council and the fight to drive the Necromancer from Mirkwood. But this isn’t even mentioned, except a few lines maybe in passing and the but that’s a story for another day line.
I will be honest though, for a children’s story it is very dark, so I believe Tolkien wrote it for his own children as a bedtime story. Not sure if it the sort of story I’d want to read to a child of mine.