The Hobbit: A Review
The book I read and analyzed was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein. I shall discuss
the plot and character development, setting, author’s style and my opinions
There are too many characters in the story and so it is hard to follow and know
each one of them. (There are many dwarves and it’s confusing.) In the beginning
there is an introduction where the author tells a bit about what is a hobbit
and the hobbit’s (Bilbo) family. It is not very complicated and the author
makes it easy to understand. This introduction gives the general background,
which makes the story easier to understand, for the plot and its development.
The plot development in the middle is not complicated and easy to follow. It can
even be summarized in a few sentences. The ending is expected since the author
gives hints about it. As in the introduction when he says that the hobbit would
gain something, this means that he will not die. Then, the reader is not kept
in suspense and does not expect to see what happens at the end.
The last climax (or what is supposed to be the climax) takes a long time to
occur (the last fightgood (men, elves, dwarves ; eagles) vs. evil (wargs ;
goblins)) and this reduces its effectiveness. After the climax there is the long
return home. It is quite boring since there is nothing to expect to and the
reader knows that the hobbit would get home safely. In my opinion it should
have been shorter.
The creation of the characters is done by their dialogues and monologues,
actions and things noted by the narrator (the author in this case) himself. An
example for dialogue: All the same, I should like it all plain and clear, also
I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses… (by Bilbo, page
22, it shows that he is not ready to jump into things so quickly). An example
for a monologue: Now is the time for our esteemed Mr. Baggins, who has proved
himself… (by Thorin, page 210, it shows Thorin’s style). A good example for
action is when Thorin blocked the Gate in the mountain that shows the reader
that the treasure is important to Thorin and he rather die than giving it away.
An example for notes by the author: You are familiar with Thorin’s style on
important occasions… (page 210) the author talks directly to the reader and
helps him understand the text.
Each character has a physical description. The length and content of the
description increase as the character importance to the plot increases (e.g.,
the hobbit has very long descriptions in the story (especially in the
introduction) and the Elvenking has fewer descriptions). The more important
characters get an emotional description too, but it is not well seen, but it
can be extracted from the text by analyzing it. The example I gave before about
Bilbo not rushing into things is a good example for this too.
The central figure is the hobbit, Bilbo. He is the one that makes many things
occur by his mistakes and luck. The author gives long descriptions of him and
refers to him a lot, he also made him save his companions’ life and without him
the plot would not have been the same. The supporting cast is divided into the
more important characters (such as the dwarves and Gandalf) into less important
and less described ones (such as the elf guards that caught the party in the
woods). It is hard to believe that the characters can exist in reality since
they cannot, and they are not supposed to since it is a fantasy book.
The story occurs in the imaginary worldMiddle-earthcreated by the author, it
is appropriate since creatures that are found in the book (e.g., goblins and
dwarves) do not exist in our world. Since the story happens in many places over
Middle-earth the author gives a deep description only in places where important
things to the plot happen but in other places he gives a more general
description. Most places make the reader have a picture in his brain of them,
the author uses the appropriate words and gives good descriptions. It takes the
story about a year to occur. It starts at the spring and ends in about the same
time the year after. Parts of the story take place in every time of the day
The mood is of fantasy world, where everything (like magic and huge treasures)
can appear and happen.
The words used in the book are not very complicated, but there are some words
that are not longer in use, or used just in poets (such as ere’ in some
The style in which the dialogues are written depends on who is talking and when
(e.g., when the Elvenking talked to Thorin he did not treat him with respect
(because elves hated dwarves) and so did Thorin because he was offended with
There was no suspense in the story, because of the author that destroyed it
right at the beginning and with his hints all over the story, saying that the
hobbit and his friends would win and get what they wanted. At the end it was
clear that the good people are going to win the battle against the evil.
The plot is not very complicated and it can be summarized by one paragraph or
something like this.
Although I like fantasy style, I did not really like this book. The book was the
worst fantasy book I ever read, although I know that the author is considered
to be one of the people that gave the fantasy style a great push.
Even though the book is well written there are some faults that make it boring
and uninteresting (such as the lack of suspense that I already discussed
before). Comparing this book to the Dragon Lance series and especially the
first, original ones, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman the Dragon Lance is
For this book to be more interesting some changes need to be made, like dropping
all the notes that the author puts in about the characters. These notes that
reduced the suspense made the book very boring and I even fell asleep once
If you want to read a fantasy book, you should skip this one and read a book of
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman that are better authors. If this writer (died?)
wants to continue writing, let it be, but he should not expect me to read it.