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The First Hobbit

Post 1

Gnomon - time to move on

I've ordered a copy of The Hobbit which is a facsimile of the first edition. It's due to arrive tomorrow.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in the 1930s. In it, Bilbo the Hobbit goes on an adventurous journey. Along the way he finds a magic ring which will turn the wearer invisible. This is a useful tool and Bilbo uses it get out of lots of tricky situations.

The Hobbit was very successful. The publishers pressed Tolkien for a sequel so he came up with the idea of The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo's ring was now more than just a tool. It carried much of the spirit of Sauron, the Dark Lord, so it corrupted its wearer. This didn't quite match the references to it in The Hobbit. Particularly, the character of Gollum who had carried and worn the ring for 500 years, was far too nice - he engaged in the riddle game with Bilbo on the understanding that if Bilbo won, Gollum would give him the ring. This just didn't match with Tolkien's new conception of the Ring.

So he rewrote The Hobbit in a second edition and this was published in 1951. Every edition since then has included this revised text, although there have been a few other small changes. First editions of The Hobbit with the original text are available but rare and worth thousands, so up to now there wasn't much chance of getting a hold of one.

This new facsimile edition will make the original text available for a relatively modest sum - it's still about €40 but I want it.


The First Hobbit

Post 2

The Left Reverend Doktor Baron Grim

I can understand why. smiley - ok


The First Hobbit

Post 3

Recumbentman

He wantss it, his preciouss.


The First Hobbit

Post 4

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

I guess Tolkien's writings are hobbit-forming.


The First Hobbit

Post 5

The Left Reverend Doktor Baron Grim

smiley - flan


The First Hobbit

Post 6

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

The idea of Gollum being too nice boggles my mind....


The First Hobbit

Post 7

Recumbentman

I heard an interview with Tolkien once, where he told of his sadness in writing the episode where Sam was harsh to Gollum just as Gollum was coming close to making peace with Frodo. Sam saw Gollum approach the sleeping Frodo, wanting to touch his head, and Sam shouted at him to get away from his master.

Of course if Gollum had become reconciled to the hobbits, he couldn't have made his final malicious move that unintentionally completed Frodo's mission for him.

A most juicy ethical tangle.


The First Hobbit

Post 8

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

Ethical tangles are the stuff of all the heavyweight dramas. Even when they start as innocent tales for children. Or, in the case of "Star wars," for young teens.


The First Hobbit

Post 9

Gnomon - time to move on

The book arrived.

It is an exact replica of the original First Edition, even including the misprints.

There's an obvious misprint in the blurb on the dust cover, Dodgeson rather than Dodgson, which was corrected by hand on each of the 1,500 copies before they were put on sale. Since this edition is based on one of those, it includes the correction, with the letter e blotted out.

Haven't got around to reading it yet, but the pictures look great. Also included in the package are:

- a CD with a Tolkien reading the chapter "Riddles in the Dark"
- a short history of the writing of The Hobbit
- a copy of the Map

The Map was supposed to have letters in "Moon Runes" which could only be seen by moonlight when the moon was in the same phase as it was when the runes were written.

Tolkien's first proposal was that the map should be a folded insert with the moon runes done as water marks which could only be seen when the map was held up with the light behind it. This was considered too expensive - water marks are normally only done for official documents such as banknotes.

He then suggested a double-sided sheet, with the moon runes in white (un-inked) on a black background on the back of the sheet. When you hold the sheet up to the light, you see the moon runes through the paper. This was also considered too expensive in the original publishing, but that's what they've done now.




The First Hobbit

Post 10

Recumbentman

Wow. Send it back, demand the map in its original published form.

Paul, I can't accept the words 'heavyweight drama' and 'Star Wars' in the same breath. Star Wars began as a B-movie transfigured by fantastic camera work (the dance of the spacecraft, with the point-of-view camera also dancing). The script never amounted to much, but it was rescued by the characters of Kenobi and the droids.

The project then fell into a disastrous pit of money and continued unforgiveably as a tale of interminable spoiled-brat squabbles and spiralling moral vapidity. I brought my seven-year-old son to the first film and all my family to a few more, but we gave up after three or four out of sheer disgust.


The First Hobbit

Post 11

Gnomon - time to move on

It includes the map in the original published form, in the endpapers of the book. The double-sided map is just an extra included in the pack.


The First Hobbit

Post 12

Recumbentman

Respect.


The First Hobbit

Post 13

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

" I can't accept the words 'heavyweight drama' and 'Star Wars' in the same breath. Star Wars began as a B-movie transfigured by fantastic camera work (the dance of the spacecraft, with the point-of-view camera also dancing). The script never amounted to much, but it was rescued by the characters of Kenobi and the droids." [Recumbentman]

The fault is entirely mine. For decades I've been hearing about the significance of the Star Wars canon. So much so that I figured there was something deep there that I just didn't notice. The movie industry makes coming-of-age films, not because they are deep or essential, but because 12-to-20-year-olds are such a predictable cash cow for the industry.

But this is the only world there is. People will be talking about these movies, and I don;t want to seem more out of it than I already feel. I went to the recent "Solo," and walked out after seeing about 35 minutes of it. My tolerance is waning.....


The First Hobbit

Post 14

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

Ooh! I wants it!

I do have a copy of The Annotated Hobbit, which is rather good fun.

TRiG.smiley - book


The First Hobbit

Post 15

Gnomon - time to move on

Some interesting little differences:

As Bilbo and the Dwarves move east from where Bilbo lives, they come to a land where there are no longer any policemen.


The First Hobbit

Post 16

Gnomon - time to move on

I haven't seen the new Solo film yet. I've heard it was pretty pathetic from someone I trust. I'll probably watch it on DVD when it comes out.


The First Hobbit

Post 17

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

That's two votes for pathetic. smiley - winkeye


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