sigridhr: (Default)
[personal profile] sigridhr
 *smashes a bottle of champagne over the post* And we're off!

Epic Tolkien Bookclub: Week One (The Hobbit)
Chapter I: An Unexpected Party
Chapter II: Roast Mutton

Rules

I very much doubt we'll require much in the way of formal rules, but just for the sake of formality and clarity:
  • Discussion is welcome and encouraged, as is disagreement. Name-calling and personal attacks will be punished by a barefoot gauntlet walk across a set of lego pieces. 
  • There is no spoiler policy in place. Although we're reading the Hobbit, please feel free to bring in things from other Tolkien works, any of the films, the History of Middle Earth, the Letters of JRR Tolkien, and, if you should like, other literary sources. 
  • There is no such thing as too nerdy. Or too excited. 
  • If you have any concerns at any point, I'm the closest thing this gong show has to a mod, so feel free to get in touch. I can be reached either by PM through this site, or directly by email at sigridhr.lokidottir@gmail.com. 
Discussion on this post will officially run from Friday 11th January 2013 to Friday 18th January 2013. However, the post will remain open after that point, so you're more than welcome to continue discussions on. 

(I'm cheating a bit, as it's not quite the 11th here yet, but I want to get this up before I go to work tomorrow, and 6am posting is just asking for disaster). Have at it, guys! :) 

Date: 2013-01-11 09:02 pm (UTC)
anki_koda: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anki_koda
That was a marvelous introduction. I'm reading the Hobbit for the first time in English ad I have to say it is quite difficult to grasp some of the concepts and the words I'm not very familiar with. And yet, Tolkien has a way to put it simple and giving us enough for a pretty clear image of his world to form in our minds. Just take this line for intance:


In a hole in the ground there live a Hobbit.

You may not know what a Hobbit is but you certanly know what a hole in the ground is. It makes you curious to know wwhat kind of creature lives there that it isn't an animal, of course.

Edited Date: 2013-01-11 09:02 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2013-01-17 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hibari-sensei.livejournal.com
Your comparison of Thorin, Aragorn, Eowyn, and Bilbo reminded me of the Twelfth Night quote: "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

Even though Thorin's quest is one of vengeance, I see some similarities with Aragorn's. They both have to achieve the greatness they would have been born with had their ancestors not lost their kingdoms to greed and evil forces. I find it interesting that they differ in pride. Thorin knows he's royalty and acts like it (I like Tolkien mentioned that he's "too important" for dishes) whereas Aragorn doubts his leadership decisions and doesn't seize the throne when he's in Gondor. Obviously Tolkien views humility as an important trait to have.

Date: 2013-01-19 11:58 pm (UTC)
bewilderebeest: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bewilderebeest
Oh my, this is just so filled to the brim with geeky goodness that I don't know what to do. Sorry I'm so late. Work really caught up with me. I've read 1 & 2, but I'm just going to jump on in with 3 & 4 after I read them right now. Also, I need to bone up on my Middle Earth knowledge - seeing what everyone's saying is making me realize how much I have forgotten. This will be good for me :)

Date: 2013-01-13 02:17 am (UTC)
jenavira: Crop of a picture of Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden, lounging (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenavira
I would love to, but I can't come up with anything to say other than, "Bless."

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Date: 2013-01-11 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Turns out I don't have time to reread the Hobbit (damn school and poor time management!), but I'm going to read your discussions because that was BRILLIANT!

Date: 2013-01-11 05:40 pm (UTC)
twitchime: (Default)
From: [personal profile] twitchime
and I've forgotten to log in to comment. . .

Date: 2013-01-13 12:05 am (UTC)
jenavira: Crop of a picture of Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden, lounging (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenavira
Alas, my notes have nothing interesting about the actual chapters, so I will just point out an interesting thing I picked up from reading The Annotated Hobbit for my library book discussion:

The narrative travels, as it were, back in time the further west it goes. These first chapters are very Edwardian, with the Shire and Bilbo and the troll's not-drawing-room-fashion language. By the time we get to Rivendell we're in high Victorian romance, like the retellings of Arthurian legend that were so popular then (picture a Waterhouse painting, which actually is what I always pictured when reading about Tolkien's Elves). Beorn is a much more Germanic fairy tale-like creature who wouldn't be out of place in a Grimm collection. Mirkwood is a medieval Celtic story about the Fair Folk, who are beautiful and dangerous and capricious. And by the time we get to the Mountain, we're in full-blown Norse epic. (The passage with Bilbo stealing a cup from Smaug almost exactly parallels the same incident in Beowulf, and the whole riddling about his name with the dragon is drawn from the song of Fafnir.) And all the way through it's done so elegantly and so seamlessly that by the time you get to the end you can hardly remember what it was like to live in a house with a clock and a pocket-handkerchief.

(The thing that pleases me most about this is that it's exactly the same sort of thing that James Joyce does in Ulysses, only less showy and with much more engrossing effect.)

Date: 2013-01-13 12:19 am (UTC)
jenavira: Crop of a picture of Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden, lounging (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenavira
I know, right? :D There's a way in which LotR does the same thing, but it's not nearly as tidy as The Hobbit, which is just this beautiful piece of the history of fairy-stories and I love it.

I enjoyed studying Ulysses, but I agree, it's work all the way through. (Not that Joyce isn't enjoyable - I do read The Dubliners for sheer enjoyment.) I've been rereading the <a href="http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/02/lord-of-the-rings-re-read-indexLotR readthrough on Tor.com</a> (spoileriffic and deeply intelligent) and I think that was where I picked up again on the idea that Tolkien is just as much a modernist as Joyce and Yeats and that lot. (Actually, Tolkien has a lot in common with Yeats stylistically. Personally, they probably would have loathed each other.) I would love to read Tolkien in a class on modern literature, to draw out those parallels.

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Date: 2013-01-14 07:42 pm (UTC)
meinterrupted: (lotr: hobbit - kili)
From: [personal profile] meinterrupted
Fascinating! I'll be sure to look for this as we go along. :D

Date: 2013-01-14 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gallifaerie.livejournal.com
Woah, it's good to see how much discussion's been going on!

I loved your intro post [personal profile] sigridhr - it was nice to have it to look back on as I was reading the chapters.

Is it strange that Dwalin has a blue beard, and Fili and Kili have yellow beards? Is that a common thing with dwarves, or is it never mentioned anywhere else?

Also, I had quite forgotten that trolls' purses talk!

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Date: 2013-01-14 07:40 pm (UTC)
meinterrupted: (lotr: hobbit - thorin & balin)
From: [personal profile] meinterrupted
AH! I'm so late!

But yes, I finally finished chapters 1 & 2--not because they're hard or long, but because I've been writing smut, hee!

Anyway, I was really struck by the tone of the book, and having just seen the movie, how different it is from it and LOTR. It reads very much like a simple children's book (which it is, kind of) with very little political maneuvering etc.

I'm very glad that the movie complicated the dwarves' reason for the quest, because as I was reading, I was really struck by just how greedy the dwarves are. Thorin says they "have a good bit laid by and are not so badly off" -- here Thorin stroked the gold chain round his neck -- "we still mean to get it back, and to bring our curses home to Smaug -- if we can." Which makes me make annoyed, huffing sounds, because if you're doing very well (as it seems they are) how can you be so greedy that you'll risk life and limb for this treasure?

And oh my, I giggled my whole way through the Troll scene. Just giggled madly.

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Date: 2013-01-17 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starliings.livejournal.com
Wow sorry for being late to the discussion (blame university!)

I love reading all your discussions, I find it really interesting as a relative Tolkien newbie just how MUCH there is to learn about, it's so amazing and exciting and just COOL.

So yeah I love these two chapters, I love the humour of Bilbo just being generally disgruntled at all these dwarves out of nowhere (aka my internal monologue in almost all social situations!).

Also I thought this part was interesting....
'Indeed they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad, though thy usually have a good notion of the current market value; and they can't make a thing for themselves, not even mend a little loose scale in their armour.'

...It just reminded me of Smaug's eventual downfall, how they had to look for the gap in the armour to find his weak spot. Possible foreshadowing??

All in all YAY THE HOBBIT

Date: 2013-01-18 12:25 am (UTC)
halberdier: I'll do it Laaaater! (Quote: "Pro"crastination)
From: [personal profile] halberdier
Okay, I *finally* got my act together and got a nice new copy of The Hobbit, since my old one is hiding in my bookshelves and won't cooperate. And new one is pretty! With illustrations! So I'm cracking into it tonight, and hopefully will have thoughts and insights beyond just "PRETTY!"

:D

Date: 2013-01-18 04:46 am (UTC)
jenavira: Crop of a picture of Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden, lounging (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenavira
I picked up a copy of Corey Olsen (The Tolkien Professor)'s new book "Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit" from work and I am finally getting into it, now that it is two days overdue. :\ But! One point that I had never noticed before - In his rush when Gandalf kicks him out the door, Bilbo is so unprepared that he goes out without a coat and ends up wearing Balin's spare cloak and hood. I always remembered him getting new clothes in Laketown, but I'd forgotten about this set: Bilbo spends the entire adventure in borrowed clothes. It's a cute little bit of symbolism, and I rather wish they'd kept it in the movie; visually it would make the point rather nicely.

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