Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

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Hickepedia
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Hickepedia » April 8th, 2010, 9:25 pm

Definitely The Hobbit. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

And, may I say, I'm envious that you've still got this experience in front of you. I hope the books give you as much pleasure as they have me. They might seem trite and clichéd at first - but that's just because everyone else wanted to do what Tolkien did first...and best.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by otherside89girl » April 8th, 2010, 10:39 pm

The Hobbit! Just because it's really good. It'll get you pumped to read the rest of them.

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Mira
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Mira » April 9th, 2010, 1:09 am

Oh! You're braving Tolkein. Very cool. I hope you like him. :)

My recommendation - the Hobbit. It's fun and funny, and worth reading even if you never get to LOTR.

If you decide to move to LOTR, Ink's right - The Fellowship starts slowly, and if you already know who Bilbo and Gandolf are that helps to hold your interest through the first chapter. And skip the descriptions in LOTR, if you want. He takes 20 pages to describe a road, I just skip over it. He was a scholar and he was world building, well, good for him, but most of us don't need 2000 years of history. The story is good enough. :)

Hope you like it! It's the start of a genre. History, if nothing else..... :)

Add: Oh I didn't read the second page. Sounds like I'm echoing the majority. :) And I'm going to side with Josie on this one. Don't touch the Simarrillion with a ten foot pole. I adore Tolkein, but I've never made it past the first 10 pages. Very dry world building.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by TheShadow » April 9th, 2010, 11:54 am

I started with Fellowship since there is no chronological need to read The Hobbit first. Also, I decided to read the books before the movies came out (I put off reading them for a long time), so I wanted to finish them as quickly as possible. You could ask yourself "Should I watch The Hobbit first, or the Fellowship?" The movies didnt lead off with Hobbit, and I think the same can be done with the books. Its all personal preference, I think.

Also, I have to disagree with what some have said here. Dont skip a single page or word (not saying that you would) Each page and paragraph is a window into the massive world he created. Looking back on it, I was ashamed it took so long to read the father of all fantasy, and I would have been more ashamed if I skipped any of his elegant writing.
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Rik » April 9th, 2010, 3:47 pm

Start with the Hobbit. You could always read it out loud to some children, in case someone decides to question your reading choices.

Whatever you do, do not - DO NOT - start with the Silmarillion.
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » April 9th, 2010, 4:06 pm

The Silmarillion warnings make me laugh. Not that they're wrong. Quite the opposite, really. The Silmarillion comes as a surprise, I think, to most readers, because it's not what they expect: a novel. It's not even a collection of stories. Heck, it's not even modern narrative. It's an invented mythology, and is written in that style. It's not immersive in the sense that it doesn't put you inside the story. It's like reading the old Greek myths. You don't swing down inside Perseus and see his thoughts, feel his pain, hear the hiss of the medusa heads... it's more "Perseus was given a glorious pegasus and a mirror-like shield and flew off and did battle with the minions of Hades and cast them back into the underworld". I think that's usually a shock for readers who are coming from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has wished that he'd written some of the Silmarillion stories as actual novels (in the mode of LotR). Beren and Luthien anyone?
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Holly » April 9th, 2010, 5:08 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:Okay Internet, question of the ages. I'd like to resolve my most glaring gap books.

But should I start with THE HOBBIT or THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING??

THE HOBBIT is kid-lit. The others are for adults. You might enjoy THE HOBBIT because you just wrote a book for kids.

I just pulled out my well-worn FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING because of the discussion on your blog. Time to read LOTR again. It's a magnificent, dear old friend, and for me, one of those desert island books.

Warning: if you start with FELLOWSHIP, the beginning is verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slow, so stick with it.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Hillsy » April 9th, 2010, 8:29 pm

Depends.....I mean anecdotally I read the Hobbit when I was, err, about 12...the the LOTR trilogy after. About 14.

What would I do now?....I re-read the hobbit recently after re-reading LOTR....I'd almost say, in my late twenties, blasphemous as it may be, skip the Hobbit unless you wanna know about the world itself. IF you want to be entertained, fantasy-wise, just read the LOTR books........then read the hobbit as a world building exercise thing ONLY IF you loved LOTR as much as most of us do.

As much as I think LOTR is basically something that should be taught in schools or handed out on the NHS, the Hobbit could, potentially, put off non-heavy fantasy readers. AS has been intimated in previous posts the Hobbit and LOTR are pitched for very different audiences.

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Rik
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Rik » April 10th, 2010, 5:09 am

"The Silmarillion warnings make me laugh. Not that they're wrong. Quite the opposite, really. The Silmarillion comes as a surprise, I think, to most readers, because it's not what they expect: a novel. It's not even a collection of stories. Heck, it's not even modern narrative. It's an invented mythology, and is written in that style. It's not immersive in the sense that it doesn't put you inside the story. It's like reading the old Greek myths."

What got to me was the names and relationships stuff. When I first tried reading TS. I was forever darting to the genealogy tables trying to make sense of who was meeting who and how they were related and why it was important. Epic Fail. Then I learned the trick of not worrying about all that stuff and the read became a lot easier - if you can't remember whether a character's turned up before, just assume they're a new character and get on with it.

I'm currently working my way through George Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, which has a similar horrendous hoarde of interlinked characters. As long as I remember who the key characters are (ie the POV characters and their immediate families), I cope fine with the story. I haven't looked at the genealogy pages once while reading the books, though flicking through them when I reach the end of each book helps clear up a little bit of confusion.
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by knight_tour » April 10th, 2010, 6:33 am

Start with The Hobbit, certainly. It is quick and easy and very good. LOTR next and only then try the Silmarillion. The latter book can be tough, but is worth it if you do it right. I once posted about my feelings on how to read it properly - http://tedacross.blogspot.com/2010/03/d ... great.html

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » April 10th, 2010, 1:36 pm

Rik,

Lol, you should try Steven Erikson's Malazan series. Fantastic books... but they can make your head hurt with the number of characters overflowing the pages.
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by tameson » April 10th, 2010, 7:53 pm

I suppose I am an outlier here, but I first tried to read Hobbit (8th grade) and tossed it aside as stupid. I was later convinced to try Fellowship and I fell in love. I was warned that it started slow, but I devoured it, finding every part fascinating and interesting. Afterwards, I was able to make it through Hobbit, but it has never been a favorite. So, I read maybe the first 3 chapters of Hobbit before Fellowship and had no problems with needing more background info.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Lorelei Armstrong » April 11th, 2010, 1:14 pm

Be warned that Tolkein got the LOTR trilogy published without editorial input, and it shows. Expect slow writing, passages that could be yanked out entirely, and writing that is, well, not great.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Emily White » April 12th, 2010, 11:36 am

I've never read The Hobbit. I started right with LOTR and didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. However, I will recommend that you also read The Silmarillion when you are finished with the trilogy. It is so good.

Edit: Hmmm...this is what happens when I don't read all the comments first. I tend to repeat what was said. Oh well.
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Nick » April 16th, 2010, 7:55 pm

Ink wrote:The Silmarillion warnings make me laugh. Not that they're wrong. Quite the opposite, really. The Silmarillion comes as a surprise, I think, to most readers, because it's not what they expect: a novel. It's not even a collection of stories. Heck, it's not even modern narrative. It's an invented mythology, and is written in that style. It's not immersive in the sense that it doesn't put you inside the story. It's like reading the old Greek myths. You don't swing down inside Perseus and see his thoughts, feel his pain, hear the hiss of the medusa heads... it's more "Perseus was given a glorious pegasus and a mirror-like shield and flew off and did battle with the minions of Hades and cast them back into the underworld". I think that's usually a shock for readers who are coming from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has wished that he'd written some of the Silmarillion stories as actual novels (in the mode of LotR). Beren and Luthien anyone?
It may be because I read a lot of the other histories first, but a good chunk of them, whether incomplete or complete, are written in a very similar manner, so the Silmarillion wasn't that jarring. It also helped that was a sacrilegious child and read Graeco-Roman myths in church during the service. My only complaint with the Silmarillion really is that it progressively got slower, and when it picked up it never picked up for very long. This may have been because I was like 12 the first time I read it, but I dunno, they just kind of become worse paced and less interesting as they went on. Since the teachers are going on strike, maybe I'll re-read it while I'm stuck at home next week. I will say I actually found the creation myth the best part, which is unusual for me.

And on the topic of the histories, The Book of Lost Tales is a very fine place to start in that department, or the much-Christopher-involved Children of Hurin, which actually builds off of the Silmarillion.

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