|The Hobbit first edition|
The Hobbit is the
first step on Tolkien’s long journey into Middle-earth. The story is set in
Middle-earth sixty years before The
Lord of the Rings, and portions of the film are adapted from the
appendices to Tolkien's The Return of
the King novel. An Unexpected
Journey tells of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is
convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen dwarves
led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to
reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon.
I saw the movie
twice, within a short space of time (all right, four days!), and just loved it
all over again. Amazingly, the book has never been out of print, and encouraged
by the book's critical and financial success, the publisher requested a sequel.
The Lord of the Rings was the result. So much has been written on that subject
I won’t even try to offer an opinion, suffice to say that I am a huge fan of
the book, and regularly reread the tome.
I read a few
reviews of The Hobbit movie before I saw it and although there were some
complaints, I was undeterred. I went determined to enjoy myself. I did not
notice the 48 versus 24 whatever per second that people said made it blurry or
‘unreal.’ I did not notice the length—I could have sat through another three
hours quite happily. And as for one critic saying all the dwarves were the
same, well, they were not at all. With the second viewing, I noticed small but
pertinent details that gave every character his unique aspect. I absolutely
loved the grand, nay, spectacular setting, and being a huge fan of the LOTR
trilogy, it was wonderful to see the fantastic scenery again unfold on the big
complained that the quest was drawn out and could hardly fill the time allotted
to it. However, The Hobbit’s quest is smaller, more intimate, and the fate of
Middle-earth is not the issue. The fate of the dwarves’ home is the central
theme, as well as Bilbo’s personal growth into a brave hobbit. Here, as well,
is where the One Ring makes its first appearance. Everyone’s individual quest
is naturally scaled down, but no less important than the grand quest of LOTR.
|Lord of the Rings|
However, the best
part of my trip to the movies was this: a visit to a bookstore in the cinema
complex displaying a host of books dealing with The Hobbit and LOTR. Books.
Real books. Books in print. Books with richly embossed covers and fabulous
illustrations. Not e-books. That, for me, was the best part. How can anyone
expect to appreciate the grandeur of Tolkien’s vision on a Kindle or e-reader?
So, when all is said and done, just remember that real books are an unexpected
adventure in themselves.
I have just read an
article on the dire situation facing Britain’s High Street bookshops (they have
halved!) in which the writer (Allan Massie) says that bookshops have to get more personal to
survive. Call us old-fashioned but bookshops seem to still be alive and well in
South Africa. They are bright, welcoming, colourful, with displays of the
latest books, and (cleverly) are usually aligned to a coffee shop. You can
browse as much as you like, enjoy your coffee, read the latest newspapers and
books, and no one chases you out for lounging among the best examples of the
written word. Long live bookshops, I say!
Here are just some of the wonderful
visual accompaniments to the film.
Richly illustrated with more than 100
colour photos from the film, and featuring a brand new fold-out map charting the
journey from Bag End to Wilderland, TheHobbit: An Unexpected Journey Visual Companion begins the Quest for the
Lonely Mountain in spectacular style.
|Don't forget the map!|
Enter Bilbo Baggins’ world through
exclusive interviews with director Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen
and all the principal cast and filmmakers, who share film-making secrets and
tales of what it was actually like making movie magic in Middle-earth.
Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos of the actors,
locations, sets, creatures and costumes, TheHobbit: An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide has been produced in
collaboration with the filmmakers who have brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic
novel into breath-taking three-dimensional life.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design
of the creative vision of Academy Award-winning filmmaker
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
. The book is packed with more than 1,000 images
of concept artwork, photographs, and development paintings by the artists
working behind the scenes to bring Middle-earth to life, who each provide
detailed and entertaining commentary that reveals the story behind the vision.
a bonus feature unique to this book, there is a special fold-out map printed in
glow-in-the-dark ink and a giant four-page fold-out of Bilbo's contract.
|Of course, the contract!|
In The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook
, Alan Lee, the Oscar-winning conceptual
designer for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, discusses his approach to
depicting Tolkien’s imaginary world. The book presents more than 150 of Lee’s
celebrated illustrations to show how his imagery for both the illustrated Lord
of the Rings and the films progressed from concept to finished art. In
addition, the book contains 20 full-colour plates and numerous examples of the
conceptual art produced for Peter Jackson’s film adaptation.
Happy reading, and if you haven’t seen The Hobbit yet, go and enjoy director Peter Jackson’s splendid vision.
By Fiona Ingram