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Either Beorn or Smaug. I don't know why, I typically like secondary / supporting characters much more than protagonists. And both Beorn and Smaug first scare sh*t out of protagonists, and then reveal intellectual side - without losing any of their scariness.
Confusion reigns here, it seems. Neither Tom nor Turin appear in the book in question.
As for Sauron, he "appears" -- sort of -- as the Necromancer, but wasn't, at the time, connected in Tolkien's mind with the Dark Lord, so you could say that, in the "world" of The Hobbit, he didn’t exist.
Though I simply can’t view Gandalf as portrayed in TH in isolation. As probably with many if not most people, I first read LoTR, in the German translation at age 27, the original at almost 30. TH definitely came later, so I already had some kind of LoTR “picture” of Gandalf lodged in my mind by then. Nowadays, I automatically see Sir Ian McKellen when reading anything about Gandalf. I think McKellen nailed his character more perfectly (though perhaps not by much) than any of the others – and probably often despite PJ.
A side note: I once saw an interesting take of what one could call “The Ring Saga”: a boxed set (paperbacks, I think) with seven books in it. TH as book 1, and the others the six books as defined by JRRT himself, rather than the three volumes as first published for well-known reasons.
No, I never was much of a radio buff, except for around 1973/74, when I listened to the "American Top 40" hosted by "Wolfman" Jack on Sunday evenings, with headphones on the radio of my dad's "stereo system" (he wasn't much of a hi-fi freak, as one said then) while my parents watched TV. And in college, when I didn't have a TV. I'm more of a visual guy (I used to joke that to make sure I did something that someone asked / told me to do, I'd have to write it down - but after having written it down and read it, I could throw the note away, as now I could remember it). But that said, I guess it might irritate me if I heard a voice that wasn't Sir Ian McKellen's doing Gandalf ...
Yes! I thought it was 1980-ish though. I distinctly remember tuning in to hear it when it was first broadcast. I was so excited, I had my copy of the Fellowship of the Ring in my hands, ready to follow along, haha.
I think you're right. Wiki says broadcast 81, I believe.
Hah. I remember when it was rebroadcast, I taped it. One night, I had to leave right after it began, so I turned the sound down, but left it on. My roommate came home, thought I'd forgotten to turn the radio off, so did it himself. Aaargh!
My favorite character in The Hobbit is Beorn. Very interesting guy with not nearly enough backstory.
If we're expanding to LotR (as seems to be the rule), it would be Sauron. I tend to be fascinated by the bad guys (you can probably tell by my user name). When I had read LotR and not yet glommed onto the Simarillion and learned all about the First and Second Ages, I wondered... who IS this guy? Why is he so evil?