The Hobbit: A ReviewIntroductionThe book I read and analyzed was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein. I shall discussthe plot and character development, setting, author’s style and my opinionsabout it.
Plot DevelopmentThere are too many characters in the story and so it is hard to follow and knoweach one of them. (There are many dwarves and it’s confusing.) In the beginningthere is an introduction where the author tells a bit about what is a hobbitand the hobbit’s (Bilbo) family. It is not very complicated and the authormakes it easy to understand. This introduction gives the general background,which makes the story easier to understand, for the plot and its development.
The plot development in the middle is not complicated and easy to follow. It caneven be summarized in a few sentences. The ending is expected since the authorgives hints about it. As in the introduction when he says that the hobbit wouldgain something, this means that he will not die. Then, the reader is not keptin suspense and does not expect to see what happens at the end.
The last climax (or what is supposed to be the climax) takes a long time tooccur (the last fightgood (men, elves, dwarves ; eagles) vs. evil (wargs ;goblins)) and this reduces its effectiveness. After the climax there is the longreturn home. It is quite boring since there is nothing to expect to and thereader knows that the hobbit would get home safely. In my opinion it shouldhave been shorter.
Character DevelopmentThe creation of the characters is done by their dialogues and monologues,actions and things noted by the narrator (the author in this case) himself. Anexample for dialogue: All the same, I should like it all plain and clear, alsoI should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses… (by Bilbo, page22, it shows that he is not ready to jump into things so quickly). An examplefor a monologue: Now is the time for our esteemed Mr. Baggins, who has provedhimself… (by Thorin, page 210, it shows Thorin’s style). A good example foraction is when Thorin blocked the Gate in the mountain that shows the readerthat the treasure is important to Thorin and he rather die than giving it away.
An example for notes by the author: You are familiar with Thorin’s style onimportant occasions… (page 210) the author talks directly to the reader andhelps him understand the text.
Each character has a physical description. The length and content of thedescription increase as the character importance to the plot increases (e.g.,the hobbit has very long descriptions in the story (especially in theintroduction) and the Elvenking has fewer descriptions). The more importantcharacters get an emotional description too, but it is not well seen, but itcan be extracted from the text by analyzing it. The example I gave before aboutBilbo not rushing into things is a good example for this too.
The central figure is the hobbit, Bilbo. He is the one that makes many thingsoccur by his mistakes and luck. The author gives long descriptions of him andrefers to him a lot, he also made him save his companions’ life and without himthe plot would not have been the same. The supporting cast is divided into themore important characters (such as the dwarves and Gandalf) into less importantand less described ones (such as the elf guards that caught the party in thewoods). It is hard to believe that the characters can exist in reality sincethey cannot, and they are not supposed to since it is a fantasy book.
SettingThe story occurs in the imaginary worldMiddle-earthcreated by the author, itis appropriate since creatures that are found in the book (e.g., goblins anddwarves) do not exist in our world. Since the story happens in many places overMiddle-earth the author gives a deep description only in places where importantthings to the plot happen but in other places he gives a more generaldescription. Most places make the reader have a picture in his brain of them,the author uses the appropriate words and gives good descriptions. It takes thestory about a year to occur. It starts at the spring and ends in about the sametime the year after. Parts of the story take place in every time of the day(and night).
The mood is of fantasy world, where everything (like magic and huge treasures)can appear and happen.
Author’s StyleThe words used in the book are not very complicated, but there are some wordsthat are not longer in use, or used just in poets (such as ere’ in somedialogues).
The style in which the dialogues are written depends on who is talking and when(e.g., when the Elvenking talked to Thorin he did not treat him with respect(because elves hated dwarves) and so did Thorin because he was offended withhis captivation).
There was no suspense in the story, because of the author that destroyed itright at the beginning and with his hints all over the story, saying that thehobbit and his friends would win and get what they wanted. At the end it wasclear that the good people are going to win the battle against the evil.
The plot is not very complicated and it can be summarized by one paragraph orsomething like this.
Critic’s ChoiceAlthough I like fantasy style, I did not really like this book. The book was theworst fantasy book I ever read, although I know that the author is consideredto be one of the people that gave the fantasy style a great push.
Even though the book is well written there are some faults that make it boringand uninteresting (such as the lack of suspense that I already discussedbefore). Comparing this book to the Dragon Lance series and especially thefirst, original ones, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman the Dragon Lance ismuch better.
For this book to be more interesting some changes need to be made, like droppingall the notes that the author puts in about the characters. These notes thatreduced the suspense made the book very boring and I even fell asleep oncereading it.
If you want to read a fantasy book, you should skip this one and read a book ofMargaret Weis and Tracy Hickman that are better authors. If this writer (died?)wants to continue writing, let it be, but he should not expect me to read it.