Snow After Fire

I gobbled The Hobbit up so quickly. I don’t think I fully appreciated it when I read it 10 or 12 years ago, but I loved it this time.

For all the beautiful language and general Tolkien-ness, The Hobbit is incredibly simple. It’s just the basic quest/hero’s journey story. You have your reluctant hero who is chosen for a task he doesn’t want to do and goes off on a perilous journey.

When I started reading The Hobbit again, one of my friends told me that she didn’t like the book because it was so simple. But I think that the simplicity is part of what I loved most about it. There doesn’t have to be an elaborate plot with crazy twists and turns or complex imagery or themes. The characters still feel real. The place still feels real and ancient (well, I mean, it is Tolkien, so of course it does). It works.

I think I liked The Hobbit so much because it let me feel like a little kid again. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Tolkien (the last time I read him was the last time I read The Hobbit as a preteen), but I didn’t remember his voice being so grandfatherly (for want of a better word). I felt like I was listening to this wonderful old man tell me an epic adventure story. At times I was almost like a child sitting at Tolkien’s feet, leaning forward and hoping for more detail. It was great.

I know that The Hobbit isn’t perfect, but it’s so hard to think about its flaws. I know the fact that it has a grand total of ZERO female characters is a huge sticking point for some people, but it doesn’t bother me too much (if I don’t think about it). It kind of bothered me when I was reading the book, but I just reminded myself that Eowyn exists in Lord of the Rings, and she’s pretty badass most of the time. Even though it’s annoying that Tolkien didn’t find room for any women in The Hobbit, I’m willing to forgive him. It actually might be the first thing I’ve ever read where there is absolutely ZERO romance.

Anyway, I love The Hobbit and I wish I’d appreciated it more the first time I read it. HOW was this not my favorite thing ever when I was younger?

Also, “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”

Tolkien, you are so wonderful.
Rating: ****
Up Next: The Sound and the Fury

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