Front and center confession: while I don’t claim to be a full-tilt Tolkien purist – I have not read The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales and it’s been awhile since I’ve wound my way through the Appendices of the Rings Trilogy – The Hobbit is my favorite of the material I have read by Tolkien. I adore The Lord of the Rings, but Bilbo’s story holds a very special place in my heart and, as such, it would be impossible for me to be objective regarding the adaptation of the book…especially when the 300-odd page children’s book is being adapted into not one, not two, but three films to be a companion series to the Rings franchise.
The Hobbit was my first foray into Middle-Earth. I know I’m not alone in that; it is, after all, the chronological first chapter in the story regarding the Baggins family and the predecessor to The Lord of the Rings. I usually consider myself one of the kids who transformed from non-reader to bookworm with the meeting of one Harry James Potter, but reading The Hobbit actually came first and embodies a personal literary landmark in my life. Fantasy is my favorite genre, very closely followed by Historical Fiction and Tolkien is largely to blame for that. I have a significantly greater appreciation for Rings than I would have if I hadn’t read The Hobbit first. I even remember feeling bitterly disappointed that Fellowship of the Ring shifted focus away from Bilbo so early in the story. I complained – quite colorfully – that I didn’t really care to get to know a whole new protagonist; why should I care about this Frodo kid? Why couldn’t we follow Bilbo to Rivendell instead?