Tuesday

Oldschool Hobbitry

I was perusing the City of Books recently and came across a copy of The Hobbit. Normally I wouldn't have bought it, seeing as I'm pretty sure I'm out of my Tolkien phase, but I hadn't read it in so long, and it was a - so cool - 1965 version, complete with dorky sixties art, that I eventually succumbed. I read the first few chapters of it on the MAX this evening, and was shocked not only by how incredibly entertaining it still was, but also by the fact that I geeked out at finding archaic material in it that was later edited out to bring it more in line with the Lord of the Rings. To whit: Gandalf is described as "a little old man", and it is mentioned that some of the lands beyond Hobbiton were not under the control of "the King." There's a king already? "This is SO cool," I kept thinking to myself. But I still don't know why. I'm OUT of the Hobbit. And LOTR. Moved on to greener pastures like Susanna Clark and Alfred Bester. Maybe it's the nostalgia. All right, I know it's the nostalgia in part, but I bet it just has something to do with the length. I've always found Tolkien was better in smaller chunks; look at Roverandom. His short works, especially those for children, have an immediacy and excitement behind them that, to me at least, typify what Tolkien did best. All that knowlege he'd built up as a scholar just all got unleashed at once, and was formed by an incredibly creative mind into some of the few stories that can rival George MacDonald's. Dang it. Now I have to go track them all down and read them... In the meantime, for anyone else who finds themselves with a sudden and inexplicable relapse of Tolkien geekhood, here's a few tracks recorded in The Prancing Pony. Some of them, like The King's Beer, just make you swell with Gondorian pride... *okay, going away now.* Elrenn and Endereth The Old Troll The Old Troll and the Maiden Dwarf and Orc The King's Beer The Ballad of Balin Longbeard

3 comments:

Erasmus said...

Hey, the music is brilliant! Where did you get it from?

Ben said...

It's from Glass Hammer's "The Middle Earth Album"

Catherine_Creagan said...

Hey, has Susanna Clarke written anything else? besides Jonathan Strange I mean. I'm not terribly up to date on these things.

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