Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving... and The Hobbit

The thing about my blog is that I'm so random it's not funny.  I won't get into my personal life, since it's not interesting… to anyone… except to say that you need to watch your books.  That's right.  Watch your books.  I'm doing some house excavating since I'm trying to sell the old place and I've found books that I thought were perfectly fine, except for a little age smell to them.  Well, a word to the wise here, a book that smells aged is only so much paper getting set to be recycled.  Anything with mold or mildew won't make it in a throwaway world. 

We're not talking about classics, just some children's books that sat too long in occasional humidity and sunlight.  How was I supposed to know that was a… okay, really, I didn't know they were just sitting there like that, anyway.  Most of the books put away were in boxes and they were just fine… I think.  So… where I was going with this is, when you store books away use dry containers, dry locations, maybe - I'm going to experiment with a bacterial type of spray when I have to box most of mine up… since I imagine they'll sit for a time before going on shelves.  I'll likely use plastic tubs rather than cardboard, or plastic bag liners… I'll have to find the best storage method before I do.  I already have books that are in cautious condition but only for their age, nothing to do with mold or mildew.

So, let's get to the real reason for this blog… books that have inspired me in the past.

And this is a great time to bring up a book I've avoided because no one has ever forgotten it.  The Hobbit.  Yes, it's a classic and most people have read it a few times and seen versions of it animated, but it is now coming to the big screen from the man who brought The Lord of the Rings trilogy to life, Peter Jackson.

The Hobbit.  It's the story of young Bilbo Baggins and his adventure with the dwarves.  The wizard Gandalf includes him as a final lucky number to their group.  We all know how the story goes… if any of you don't I suggest reading the book.  It is fun.

I have nothing against the Lord of the Rings movies, I love them, I'm actually watching it(read - have it on in the background) as I'm writing this.  Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, have just entered the underground passage to meet the ghosts… 

I used to read the four books… I include The Hobbit as a prequel and a part of the set… every year.  As my library expanded I read them less often.  As my writing increased I barely read them at all.  And then the movies came out and I have all three in extended versions and I watch them again and again, more often than I read the books.  Of course that  made me lazy about the books and I tended to enjoy the movies.

Then, one day, when I had a job where I drove to work, I listened to the undiluted CDs of The Lord of the Rings.  It was interesting to hear the difference.  There were parts where I wouldn't have recognized the movie was based on the book at all.  Even with an extended version of the movie, Peter Jackson had to pare down the story… shorten it.  Then, since he wasn't making a literary work, he had to add extra moments of drama and - what was missing from the books - romance.

What?  Didn't the books have romance, you say.  Well, not exactly.  Mr. Tolkien was a British gentleman, but, while I do believe there was romance of a type in his mind, he was all about the fellowship of the men.  His experience in life, with war and with teaching, was one of fellowship… look at the Inklings… though they had females among them, it was a fellowship of writers.  Fellowships aren't about romance, except in a pure sense, at least there was no sex but a platonic relationship between fellows. 

Obviously, by the title of the first book, we should realize the direction Mr. Tolkien is going.  Also, keep in mind that a British idea of fellowship can be a bit different than an American (United States) version of fellowship, in a general way.  His story is about a group of men who come together for a specific purpose, the disposition of a Ring, and grow close through trials and tribulations.  Even the four hobbits grow through it all.  There is a great deal more depth in the books than in the movie, but a great deal less romance.  The elven princess does not find the hapless ranger nurturing a wounded Frodo and make a heroic stand at the river against the black riders.  One version stands as a book and the other as a movie.  However, a princess of the Rohirrim does take a hobbit into battle under her cloak.  Mr. Tolkien was not against females, but his story dealt with war and death and dying and I believe he wished to keep most women free of that, at least in an idealized way.

Why have I written a (tiny) critique of The Lord of the Rings movie vs. books?  Well, it's because The Hobbit is a similar story.  There are no female dwarves in the party.  There is no romantic lead in the book.  Again, it's a story of a fellowship, and it brings about the growth and education of one hobbit… after all, he's the star of the show.

What Mr. Jackson and his team do with the story is yet to be seen, but I anticipate the viewing of it.  I'm certain, simply from trailers and his previous work that it will be enjoyable.  I will wait to get all three extended versions… I must.

Oh, right, yes, The Hobbit inspired me in both my reading and writing.

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