I’m Going on an Adventure… Again!
Rereading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings after a long journey behind the scene of this stories
In the summer of 2017, I saw an announcement on Litsy for a readalong of all the major works by Tolkien. I thought there was no way I could take part. Where would I find the time?
I almost dismissed the idea. Still, a nagging thought kept coming to me: it’s such a long time since last I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, not to mention The Silmarillion. What if I joined, after all?
One year of reading Tolkien (almost) every day
In the summer of 2017 I went on an adventure
I read one chapter a day by Tolkien for months, to the beginning of 2018. Then a small group of us kept going into The History of Middle-earth.
At the end of last year we started reading The History of the Hobbit, then the History of The Lord of the Rings. We soon decided that it was only fitting that at the end, we should read the books again.
Two years of the most enriching adventure of a Tolkien reader
Reflecting on our Tolkien readalong on our second anniversary
And so, here we are!
We’ve committed ourselves to reading The Hobbit in December and The Lord of the Rings starting from January 3, the Professor’s birthday.
The Oral Hobbit
Tolkien was a born storyteller. He enjoyed reading stories and telling stories and writing stories. When his kids were young, he would invite them in his study after dinner and tell stories to them that he invented night after night.
Most of the children’s books he published during his life were born this way. The Hobbit was no exception.
Tolkien recounted The Hobbit to his older children. Three boys. His only daughter was too young to follow such a complex story. John D. Rateliff, author of The History of The Hobbit, suggests this as an explanation for the lack of female characters in the book. The Tolkien kids were all in an age where their interest was in battles and epic adventures, not any ‘girl’ stuff. Since Tolkien was a very receptive author, he adjusted his tale to what his audience appreciated the most.
Rateliff wrote an amazing book, a very in-depth analysis of The Hobbit’s elements and inspirations. I’m looking forward to rereading The Hobbit in light of everything I read in Rateliff’s book.
September: A Hobbit Month
Why are Tolkien fans so crazy about September? Let me tell you all about it
An exiting adventure
Because I love me a good challenge, I thought, why not blogging about this reading every day as I read the chapters? Writing allows a much more in-depth reflection. I’d love to share my thought with other Tolkien enthusiasts. And it would be good for my Medium routine.
Brilliant idea, since I’m already four days behind, right?
I don’t know whether I’ll make it. Writing on Medium every day has proved challenging so far. But I’m willing to try, and with a subject I always enjoy writing about.
Are you coming along?
Gandalf! If You Had Heard Only a Quarter of Whave I Have Heard about Him
The Hobbit — Ch. 1 An Unexpected Party — A fantastic introduction to a new world
The Tolls, Tolkien’s Kids and Being a Receptive Author
The Hobbit — Ch. 2. Roasted Mutton — How the Trolls reveal the oral origin of the story and the author’s attention for…
Elrond and the Intrusion of Tolkien’s Legendarium Into His Children’s Stories
The Hobbit — Ch. 3. A Short Rest — Although The Hobbit is considered the prequel to the Lord of the Rings, when it was…
Tolkien’s Goblins, the Evil We Know
The Hobbit — Ch. 4. Over the Hill and Under the Hill — The goblins and the ‘common’ evil entering our life
Gollum: Evolution of a Character Too Important to Remain in the Dark
The Hobbit — Ch. 5 Riddles in the Dark. After writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote this chapter from The Hobbit…
Tolkien’s Dwarves and the Evolution of the Silmarillion Through The Hobbit
The Hobbit — Ch. 6 From the Frying-pan Into the Fire — Although it wasn’t originally thought to be part of the…
Beorn, a Power of Nature
The Hobbit — Ch 7 Queer Lodgings — Beorn reveals what Tolkien loved the most as an adult and a father, and what his…
Mirkwood the Dark and the Spiders That Eat Light
The Hobbit — Ch 8 Flies and Spiders — In the darkness of the forest, Bilbo finds his true self
Thranduil, the Elven-King Who Might Have Come from the First Age
Tolkien’s legendarium tried to intrude The Hobbit many times. The Elven-King might have been another breach.
I am Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror King under the Mountain! I return!
The Hobbit — Ch. 10 A Warm Welcome — A chapter of passage and a mistake turned into an opportunity
“It is always poor me.” Bilbo Emerging as a Leader
The Hobbit — Ch. 11 On the Doorstep –And how this chapter lays the bases for an alternative and a choice
Dragons: Of Temptation and Ethic Choices
The Hobbit — Ch. 12 Inside Information — It’s alone and in the dark that Bilbo makes the most important decision of his…
“A Burglar Indeed.” The Lure of the Arkenstone
The Hobbit — Ch. 13 Not at Home — The Arkenstone and the rising of Bilbo’s and Thorin’s leadership
A Little Hobbit and the Grand Movements of the World
The Hobbit — Ch. 14 Fire and Water — Slowly, the theme of the hand of the small people shaping the big events — that…
The Words of Thorin and Bard and the Power of the Dead Dragon
The Hobbit — Ch. 15 The Gathering Clouds — Deeper questions have been raised in the previous chapters, but the…
The Hobbit, the WWI Officer and the Power of Freewill
The Hobbit — Ch. 16 A Thief in the Night — Bilbo and all his unorthodox decisions
“Long Will I Tarry, Ere I Begin This War for Gold.”
The Hobbit — Ch. 17 The Clouds Burst — Self respect and the strength of the humble hero
A Return Journey to What Is Essential
The Hobbit — Ch. 18 The Return Journey — “If more of us valued food and cheers and songs above hoarded gold, it would…
Sarah Zama is a Tolkien nerd and proud of it. She read The Hobbit the first time as a teenager and was a Tolkien fan years before Peter Jackson’s trilogy ever hit the theatres. She’s always been involved with Tolkien groups, both online and in person. In 2004, she founded a Tolkien group in her city, Verona (Italy), which is still meeting and divulging the Professor’s work. In 2017, she started reading Tolkien’s work with a group of other nerdy readers, one chapter a day. They are still on the road together.