Tolkien and Jackson: My Thoughts On The Hobbit Franchise

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 RingsImageI 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?

Continue reading