Who is your favorite character?

Discussion in '"The Hobbit"' started by yhwh1st, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. st0rmb0rn

    st0rmb0rn Drag0nL0rd

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    Bilbo. We're a lot alike. I don`t like going places like him, and I love food, and I'm very short (I`m 5'2). :D
     
  2. Thistle Bunce

    Thistle Bunce Member

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    Gandalf, to me, was the most intriguing character. At first, he seems somewhat guileful and tricksy, gulling Bilbo into an invitation to tea, scratching a secret mark on Bilbo's door, then masterfully organizing the invasion of the dwarves a couple at a time. His first words to Bilbo are a rather complicated response to an offhand, standard greeting, making us think that here is someone inclined to wring all possible meanings from simple words, perhaps looking for an advantage by confusing Bilbo?

    "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning;
    or that it is a morning to be good on?"

    Although Bilbo blithely dismisses all of Gandalf's queries, the seed has been planted that Gandalf, at least, thinks deeper about things than what appears on the surface. This trait follows him throughout the story, always shading him with that bit of doubt - Did he mean that, or is he just twisting things to suit him again?

    We know from Bilbo's gushing that Gandalf seems to possess magical qualities (those cuff links, for example), yet we are left unsure if these actually ARE magic, or just Bilbo's rather naive interpretation of things not usually found in the Shire. Is Gandalf truly endowed with powers beyond that of mortals, or does he rely on a bit of hucksterism and stage magic to enhance his reputation? After all, Bilbo recalls Gandalf telling stories that entice normal, sober hobbit lads and lasses to "[go] off into the Blue for mad adventures", and isn't that the hallmark of those that want to take advantage of those with limited exposure to things? Convince them that the grass is greener on the other side?

    It wasn't until Gandalf disappeared and left Bilbo and the dwarves to deal with the Trolls as best as they could, then reappeared in the nick of time, that I was able to sense his true purpose - the education of one Bilbo Baggins, from complacent hobbit to spider-stabbing hero. Gandalf's masterful manipulation of Bilbo's crash course in courage became delightful as it twisted and turned, from the rescue by the Eagles to the abandonment of the party at the eaves of Mirkwood. It was Gandalf's words and actions in the main, that guided Bilbo's growth and development into a wonderful quest tale for the ages.

    Also - I love a good fireworks show. :)
     

  3. Miguel

    Miguel Active Member

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  4. Thistle Bunce

    Thistle Bunce Member

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    Indeed...one of the more engaging elements of going from The Hobbit to the trilogy is seeing how Gandalf is portrayed in each. Naturally, as a 'fairy-tale for children', The Hobbit's Gandalf was much less complex, albeit Tolkien provided a few hints as to his actual capability, which we see displayed in far greater detail in the trilogy. As someone who read Hobbit AFTER the trilogy, I was fascinated with the Hobbit Gandalf seemingly being far less complex than I knew him to be - and probably read way too much into his character as a result.

    For example, when Gandalf leaves the party at the edge of Mirkwood, he says, "Now we had this all out before, when we landed on the Carrock," he said. "It is no use arguing. I have, as I told you, some pressing business away south; and I am already late through bothering with you people." I knew that business in the south was dealing with the 'Necromancer', and that there was a good deal of the (eventual) story that was not made available at that point, if one had not yet found the trilogy. I often regret the fact that I read the works "backwards", and so had to deal with the Hobbit characters with far more pre-knowledge than Tolkien intended. A case of knowing too much, methinks.

    (As a side note, I first found Fellowship in a used book store while on vacation, devoured it immediately, then had to wait over a year until I found Two Towers and another year till I stumbled over a copy of Return of the King. Seems impossible now, but back in the 60's, Tolkien works were as rare as adventure loving hobbits. I didn't find Hobbit until the mid-70's)
     
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  5. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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    You must have missed the 60's, then! :)

    The paperbacks were everywhere by 66, and I picked up my first copies in 67, used (ten cents each).

    Wish I'd also grabbed the Ace editions that were sitting there -- I found them again years later, but try doing it now!
     
  6. Thistle Bunce

    Thistle Bunce Member

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    No, it was more that the 60's missed my area. Not many bookstores, used or otherwise, in a sleepy, rural backwater. Not being old enough to drive, no Internet, and a town library that was only open on alternate Thursdays meant that getting new books was darn nigh impossible. Only real chance I got were those family vacations out in civilization, once a year. More than made up for having to share a back seat with my pesty little sister ;)
     
  7. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Interesting, I first read Fellowship in 2016, then had to wait till Christmas for the rest of the trilogy in one book, and read that for the first part of the new year! It was the longest wait till Christmas EVER.


    :D

    CL
     
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  8. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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  9. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    After I got hooked by reading The Hobbit, the only Tolkien book I could find was Return of the King. So I read the last book first, and then The Fellowship and finally The Two Towers.