Yesterday I finished reading Snuff by Terry Pratchett and started reading The Hobbit. So far, all thirteen dwarfs have arrived at Bilbo’s and have eaten him out of house and home. They’re about to start singing.
My first impression is good. It’s fast paced and interesting, unlike The Fellowship of the Ring which I found very slow going. The Hobbit marks Tolkien’s first steps into Middle Earth so it makes sense that there may be more action than description at this stage. In fact, at first it’s questionable that it is set in Middle Earth as the narrator speaks directly to the reader as if hobbits live in our world. What description there is, is vibrant. I can easily picture the hobbits and believe I could still have the same image in my mind without having spent so many years embroiled in Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth.
I find myself having to remember that this is an old book. Tolkien seemed to be very fond of exclamation marks in dialogue which is already starting to bother me.
This actually gave me a little hope as an aspiring writer. I know that things have changed dramatically in the world of publishing since Tolkien but his work is still accepted and appreciated, so it feels alright to use this as hope that the rules of writing can be broken.
Being utterly in love with the film, An Unexpected Journey, I can’t help but make comparisons. I have always stuck to the rule that the book is better than the film, however, while I’m enjoying The Hobbit, I can’t help but prefer the film so far. This is down to characterisation.
While I think that, so far, Martin Freeman has got Bilbo spot on, the dwarfs feel quite different. I loved the dwarfs in the film and, ok, so I’ve only just met them in the book but already they seem a little less fun, a little less exubrant and Thorin is a little less imposing.
Still, these are only first impressions and I can’t wait to continue reading…