O Hobbit - Ilustrado J.R.R. Tolkien


Published: 2013


374 pages


O Hobbit - Ilustrado  by  J.R.R. Tolkien

O Hobbit - Ilustrado by J.R.R. Tolkien
2013 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 374 pages | ISBN: | 9.63 Mb

Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? Unless you are an author of equal worth to the one whose work you review, what powers of prose and observation are you likely to have to fitly adorn the work?The Hobbit is at one level simply a charming adventure story, perhaps one of the most charming and most adventurous ever told.

There, see how simple that was? If you havent read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable. At some level, there is little more to say. Enjoy the story as the simple entertainment it was meant to be. Read it to your children and luxuriate in the excitement and joy that shines from their faces.

Thats enough.But if it was only simple entertainment, I do not think that it would be anything more than just a good book. Instead, this simple childrens story resonates and fascinates. It teases and hints at something larger and grander, and it instructs and lectures as from one of the most subtle intellects without ever feeling like it is instructing, lecturing or being condescending.At its heart, the complaint I opened the review with is just a variation on one of the many nuanced observations Tolkien makes in The Hobbit when he complains that a story of a good time is always too quickly told, but a story of evil times often requires a great many words to cover the events thereof.

How often has that idea fascinated me.Consider also how the story opens, with Bilbos breezy unreflective manners which are polite in form but not in spirit, and Gandalfs continual meditation on the meaning of Good morning.’ How much insight is concealed within Gandalfs gentle humor!

How often do we find ourselves, like Bilbo, saying something we dont really mean and using words to mean something very unlike their plain meaning! How often do we find ourselves saying, I dont mean to be rude, but..., when in fact we mean, I very much mean to be rude, and here it comes!

If we did not mean to be rude, surely we wouldnt say what we say. Instead we mean, Im going to be rude but I dont want you to think Im someone who is normally rude..., or Im going to put myself forward, but I dont want you to think of me as someone who is normally so arrogant..., or even, Im going to be rude, but I dont want to think of myself as someone who is rude, so Im going to pretend Im not being rude...I think that is what makes this more than just a good book, but a great one. Tolkien is able to gently skewer us for our all too human failings, and he does so without adopting any of the cynicism or self-loathing so common with those that seek out to skewer humanity for its so evident failings.We fantasize about heroes which are strong and comely of form, and we have for as long as weve had recorded literature.

Our comic books are filled with those neo-pagan mythic heroes whose exaggerated human virtues always amount to, whatever else may be true of them, beats people up good. These modern Ajaxs, Helens and Achilles dominate the box office, and I would imagine dominate our internal most private fantasy lives as well. Oh sure, the superhero of our fantasy might have superhuman ethics to go along with his superhuman ability to kick butt, attract the opposite sex, and enforce their will upon others, but it is always attached to and ultimately secondary to our fantasy of power and virility.

How different is Tolkiens protagonist from Heracles, Lancelot, Beowulf, or Batman - short, small, mundane, and weak. Of all the principal characters of the story, he possesses probably the least of that quintessential heroic attribute - martial prowess.And yet, he is not actually merely an average Joe. Bilbo is just as much an exaggerated idealized hero as Heracles, its just that those attributes in which Bilbo is almost transcendently inhuman isnt the sort of attributes we normally fantasize about having ourselves. Bilbo is gentle. He is simple. He is humble. Power and wealth have little attraction for him.

He is kind. He takes less than his share, and that that he takes he gives away. He is a peacemaker. Though wrongly imprisoned, he bears no grudge and desires no vengeance for the wrongs done to him. Rather he apologizes for stealing food, and offers to repay in recompense far more than he took. Though mistreated, he harbors no enmity.

He never puts himself forward, but he never shirks when others do.How often do we fantasize about being this different sort of hero, and yet how much better we would be if we did? How much better off would we be if we, like Thorin could declare in our hearts, There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

How often is it that we hunger after all the wrong things? What profit would we really have if we had in great measure the power to beat people up good? What real use could we put it too? How much better off would we be individually and as a people if we most desired to be graced with Bilbos virtues, rather than Achilles speed, strength, and skill with arms? How much less mature does this mere childrens book of a well lit-world cause our darker fantasies to seem?Now, I admit I am biased in my review. I read this book 36 times before the age of 16.

I broke the spines of three copies of it with continual reading. Yet in my defense I will say that Im considered only a moderate fan of the book by many. Ive known several devotees of the book who, like the protagonist of Bradburys Fahrenheit 451, can recite whole chapters from memory - ensuring that this would be one of the few books that would survive the sudden destruction of all the worlds technology if only the worlds story tellers survived.

If you are inclined to think no book can be that good, and that my review overhypes it, so much the better. Go in with low expectations so as to be certain that they will be met or exceeded. Forget all I have said save that, If you havent read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable.

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