Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 2

In the second chapter of The Hobbit, Bilbo heads out on the first day of his journey with the dwarves and everyone is unbelievably dismissive and presumptuous with him. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.


Dear diary:

How rude! How utterly rude! I woke up to many sullied pots and pans today, diary! I feel like cleaning the debris left by those silly dwarves is an adventure all in itself, and I clung to the thought that the dwarves had left me behind in a rush of desire! Oh, diary, how I wish that were true! I was having a rather nice breakfast. A nice breakfast indeed! I had just eaten a few bites when that wizard Gandalf appeared! How does he do that? He just shows up!

Then he insulted me for not dusting the mantelpiece! Well, pardon me, you dusty old man, but I was busy cleaning an army of cookware! It does not clean itself! I am sorry that I cannot just do magic and my entire home is suddenly in order! Who does this wizard think he is, coming into my home and talking about elephants? What are those? I don’t think I have ever seen one!

Diary, the dwarves destroyed my humble home, then ordered me to appear at the Green Dragon Inn through a poorly-placed note. Did they honestly expect me to reach the mantelpiece with enough time? And then Gandalf is yelling at me, and I left the house in a fluster! I am glad that you were in my pocket because I forgot my walking-stick and my hate. You know how much I need those things! Oh, diary, whatever am I to do? I agreed to join these inconsiderate dwarves after being bullied to come! Who can I report such things to? Is there even a force for good in Middle Earth that can come give a stern lecture to these dwarves? I am going to be late for second dinner for sure. This is a tragedy!

I know that today, I am much more upset than I may have ever been, diary. The worst thing that has ever happened to me before this was when I burnt two sweetcakes. In a row! But today, I had to ride a pony while I followed jogging dwarves. Did you know that dwarves travel by jogging, diary? That seems to be a rather inefficient, energy-wasting effort, don’t you think? But things were not so bad on that pony, I suppose, because at least I couldn’t be mistaken for a smelly dwarf!

It was a long day today, diary, and you are my only comfort after it all. That wizard Gandalf disappeared at one point, and we didn’t even realize it until it was nighttime. The rain fell so hard today! And I miss my warm hobbit hole and I miss my fireplace. This is surely the worst thing that I have ever gone through! But today only got worse and worse, diary! Because once the dwarves spotted a fire in the distance, they ordered me to use my hobbit skills of being sneaky to go investigate it! The nerve of these dwarves! They told me to signal them with owl hoots. Do dwarves not wash their eyes, too, diary? Do they not see that I am a hobbit and not an owl? I am feeling the desire to relieve myself in one of their beddings, I think! And no one can stop me!

But oh, diary, I was so frightened. The source of the fire was three large trolls! Oh, I had never seen a troll before, diary! It frightened me so! And these three trolls were hideous and smelly, as if all of the dwarves gathered their stink and created a physical being, and then dipped that being into a vat of poop and then rolled it around in the lint that one finds in a million bellybuttons. And then ate it and threw it back up again.

Diary, did you know that purses that belong to trolls can talk? Oh, I wish that I knew this, so that I wouldn’t have been grabbed by the neck by a troll! I was so deeply frightened! I even offered to cook for the trolls if they didn’t eat me! I did not think this through, though, because don’t trolls eat manflesh? I don’t know if I could cook that! I might be able to cook them dwarves, though. Would that not be a proper payment for those smelly dwarves for bringing me into danger and then sending me off on my own? I would cook them alive and listen to their precious screams as the trolls and I laughed with joy!

I mean, hahaha, diary, just kidding! Thankfully, I did not have to think about such things, because trolls argue! A lot! About everything! Ever! They argue so much that they just drop whatever they’re holding, which in this case was me! But my relief did not last very long, because those smelly dwarves are quite foolish, diary! I am not even certain how it is possible, but all thirteen dwarves were caught by the trolls! There were only three trolls, but somehow, each dwarf came upon the fire alone! Like a procession! This seems like a bad way to investigate something! Even the great Thorin Oakenshield got caught! Oh, diary, I was so afraid that my dreams of dwarf stew would come true, but not even in a way that would make me feel like I had gotten the retribution I deserved!

But just in the nick of time, Gandalf returned, and he sure fooled those trolls! They fought because they thought his voice was one of theirs! And then….then he turned all the trolls to stone. Permanently. Which, diary, seemed to be a bit of an overreaction. Just a little bit! I mean, i only thought about cooking the dwarves for the trolls, but Gandalf used his selective magic to just end their existence! Diary, I wonder if Gandalf uses magic for his daily tasks! Can he bake a fine sweetcake with magic? Can he conjure up some sort of clipping device for his out-of-control beard, so that small woodland creatures will stop living in it? Is it even possible for Gandalf to create some basic respect for another hobbit, too? You know, since he yelled at me very rudely when we were in the troll house. He told me not to interrupt, but he speaks as if my small hobbit brain knows where these mystical places are! Perhaps I will need to visit his own personal resting quarters and relieve my bowels when the time is right!

Speaking of such things, it is time for me to find a place to rest my head. Perhaps I shall need to release liquid from within me in the middle of the night, and perhaps Gandalf’s head will be just too close to where I choose to relieve myself. I’ll have to report back next time I get a chance, diary!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Hobbit and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

232 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 2

  1. Jenny_M says:

    So, did anyone else watch David the Gnome when they were little, and remember the trolls on that show, and how they turned to stone when the sun came up? I think they turned back to trolls when the sun went down, though, whereas these trolls are generally screwed.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yes! This is weird, because I was thinking about David the Gnome while reading this chapter since it was like an introduction to little forest-dwelling folk creatures, and it and the Rankin-Bass Hobbit occupy neighboring spots in my mind. God, I loved that show.

      • Jenny_M says:

        I loved it until the last episode when I was COMPLETELY TRAUMATIZED and had my life ruined. I still don't think I'm over it!

        • monkeybutter says:

          I KNOW! TREES! Poor little fox. 🙁

          • Jenny_M says:

            Didn't the fox die at one point, and they replaced it with another fox? I get that they were trying to teach kids about the circle of life but OMG I want my Tom Bosley and my woodland creatures to, you know, NOT BE TREES. If I wanted life lessons taught to me carefully and with great respect for my age and feelings, I would have watched Sesame Street!

    • FuTeffla says:

      I did!

    • ldwy says:

      You're the greatest for reminding us.

    • Tenalto says:

      Sweet heavens, I haven't thought of David the Gnome in YEARS. That was one of my favorite shows when I was teeny tiny, but it must not have continued playing past age three or so for me because I can't really remember much about it. Phwoar… memory lane….

  2. ABBryant says:

    Typo: "I forgot my walking-stick and my hate."

  3. @threeparts says:

    V pna'g fgbc ynhtuvat ng gur gubhtug gung Znex unf vanqiregragyl fgnegrq jevgvat uvf bja Gurer naq Onpx Ntnva.

  4. Erin says:

    Gandalf didn't turn them to stone. They turned into stone when the sun came up. Gandalf had them so busy arguing that they lost track of time.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      OH. OH SHIT.

    • tanbarkie says:

      Discworld spoilers:
      Nf n fvqr abgr, V’ir nyjnlf ybirq ubj Greel Cengpurgg engvbanyvmrq gur “gebyyf gheavat gb fgbar” gebcr. Ba gur Qvfpjbeyq, gebyyf ner fvyvpba-onfrq yvsr sbezf. Fb yvxr nal pbzchgre, gurl bcrengr snfgre va pbyq grzcrengherf (gurer’f bar terng frdhrapr jurer n gebyy trgf fghpx va n sebmra raivebazrag naq rssrpgviryl birepybpxf vagb travhfubbq, Sybjref Sbe Nytreaba fglyr). Naq jura vg trgf ubg, yvxr jura gurer’f n ovt by’ fha orngvat qbja ba bar’f urnq, gurve zragny cebprffrf fybj qbja gb gur cbvag jurer gurl onfvpnyyl snyy vagb gbecbe.

    • kristinc says:

      Yep, it was sort of their just deserts. If they hadn't been so argumentative, they would have been fine.

  5. knut_knut says:

    I always wondered why the dwarves left their note on the mantle- why not at the table or in the kitchen? Bilbo is a hobbit, and therefore probably spends a lot of time there…and they left a giant mess for him to clean up

    • tethysdust says:

      I just assumed it was because they left him such a big mess to clean up. No room on the table/in the kitchen, so just stick the note over there on the mantle.

      Anyway, Gandalf came by to make sure he showed up on time. I also get the impression that Gandalf wanted Bilbo to be in a hurry, so he wouldn't have time to think about backing out. It may have been deliberately difficult to find for just that reason.

  6. Oh, Bilbo. You remembered your diary and not your pocket handkerchief?

    I always have a fondness for this chapter, even though, if I look at it logically, half of it (ie Gandalf's just taking off) doesn't really make much sense. But when my dad was reading it aloud to us, this was me:

    <img src="; border="0">

    except probably not that adorable. Either way, I love the ridiculousness of the trolls despite the fact that they do still come across as a danger. And I loved Bilbo so much for attempting to pick the troll's pocket. He's trying! He really is! It's not his fault if burgling wasn't a part of his life in the Shire!

    And Thorin knocking out the teeth of one of the trolls and putting out the eye of another cemented him as my favorite of all dwarves. A dwarf against a trolll generally isn't much of a fight- but I loved that Thorin was able to do it 🙂

    In a nutshell this entire chapter made me smile. I love having an excuse to re-read this book.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Hello tiny Jackson children! How I enjoyed seeing you pop up in every movie!

    • VoldieBeth says:

      Peter Jackson's kids are too cute!! 😀

    • knut_knut says:

      they're so cute! I wonder if they'll be in The Hobbit, although they're probaby in their teens by now

      • tanbarkie says:

        Principle photography for LOTR was eleven years ago. They're almost certainly in their LATE teens now.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        They could still have background cameo roles even if they're big now… 🙂 Provided that they want to be in it at all.

        I'm 100% certain PJ will have a cameo, though. 😀

    • Liakela says:

      The scene where this still is from stands out as one of my favorites.. V nofbyhgryl NQBER gur xvqf ernpgvba gb Ovyob’f gnyr. Jura gurl whzc, V trg n yvggyr fnccl.

      • notemily says:

        Careful, people are edging into spoiler territory here. Please rot-13 all references to the LOTR movies before Mark gets to those points in the LOTR books.

        In fact I'm going to rot-13 your comment just in case 🙂

  7. Vikinhaw says:

    Yay! I missed the fanfiction-y reviews. 🙂 In character and hilarious.
    It makes me laugh that Gandalf is trolling the trolls.

  8. Robin says:

    This chapter is rather funny=)
    Is the book what you expected, Mark?

  9. Jenny_M says:

    Also, for those folks who have read Fellowship and/or seen the movie: gurfr gebyyf frrzrq gb or n trarenyyl zber vagryyvtrag ohapu guna gur pnir gebyy va Zbevn. Juvpu vfa'g fnlvat zhpu jura lbh'er gnyxvat nobhg gebyyf, ohg gur pnir gebyy qvqa'g fcrnx, evtug?

    • notemily says:

      V nyjnlf gbbx vg gung "pnir gebyy" whfg zrnag n gebyy gung jnf xrcg va gur qnex bs n pnir naq abg gnhtug gb fcrnx naq whfg gurer sbe svtugvat. Juvpu vf jul lbh srry xvaq bs fbeel sbe vg ng gur raq bs gur onggyr jura vg yrgf bhg gung pel bs cnva naq gura qvrf.

  10. _Sparkie_ says:

    I'm pretty sure the dwarves were on ponies too…

    Also Gandalf didn't really turn the trolls to stone, he just made them keep talking until sunrise because the sun kills trolls. So I guess he did sort of kill them, but then they were trolls I suppose. And now I can only picture internet trolls turning to stone in sunlight…

    Loving the review though Mark, it seems like ages since we had one of these!! 🙂

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yup, ponies jog. But the image of dwarves huffing and puffing down the road, trying not to trip over their beards, while Bilbo bounces along on his pony, pining after second breakfast, is pretty wonderful.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      "Hi ho, hi ho, to steal gold we go! Why are we jogging so? Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho hi HO!"

  11. krystalreid says:

    Bilbo forgetting his walking stick and his HATE made me giggle so hard!

    It was very considerate of Gandalf to bring handkerchiefs for everyone, even if he did wander off in the middle of their adventure. Wizards are eccentric, so what can you expect?

    Poor trolls. William seemed decent enough, as far as trolls go. He was going to let Bilbo go!

    Being American, I'm not that savvy about British accents, but are the trolls supposed to be cockney? If so, I'll give a wag of the finger and a side-eye to Tolkein for giving the big ugly brutes a stereotypical lower class accent. But he gets a pass for being generally awesome.

    I love the diary format. I hope it returns!

  12. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    Ok really? "And these three trolls were hideous and smelly, as if all of the dwarves gathered their stink and created a physical being, and then dipped that being into a vat of poop and then rolled it around in the lint that one finds in a million bellybuttons. And then ate it and threw it back up again."

    I seriously guffawed at that, Mark. I'm not even sure if I've ever guffawed before, but I'm sure I just did. I'm so glad to see you back at the POV reviews again! Love all of the signature exclamation points that make Bilbo so endearing to me. He has a lot of feeling for a little hobbit. He MUST express it!

    Also, I adore the names of the Trolls…no fancy names for these guys. Nope. It's Bill, Tom, & Bert. Makes me kind of want a Muppet version of this book.

    • He has a lot of feeling for a little hobbit.

      Mark frequently has a lot of feeling. And have we ever seen him and Bilbo in the same place? Could Mark be an amnesiac Bilbo? Who knows?

  13. Ryan Lohner says:

    And one day the trolls will break out and terrorize Twilight Sparkle and the rest.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      And now I'm imagining Bilbo riding on Twilight Sparkle for the rest of this journey.

      You have officially made The Hobbit very weird for me.

    • tanbarkie says:

      No worries. The ponies have a freakin' sun god on their side.

      "Dear Princess Celestia, Today I learned that defeating giant rock monsters is easy because I just send you a letter via Spike. Sure, it was weird seeing the sun rise so quickly, and our circadian rhythms are all thrown out of whack. But the exploding troll heads sure were pretty! Thanks again for your help. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."

  14. Kelsey says:

    Yay! I've missed the diary reviews. Poor Bilbo Baggins, he is by far the most unappreciated hobbit out of the shire. And judging by the rest of the hobbits he is probably one of the only hobbits outside of the shire.

  15. earis the istarwen says:

    Gandalf FTW!!!!
    And that is why Gandalf is pretty much the best ever, he defeated three trolls without ever striking a blow! When you're not the strongest, tricky, careful, and cunning can often still win you the day!
    I have always loved this chapter for the sheer humor of it. The trolls' dialect and rhythm is completely different than the dwarves and the hobbits, and the endless discussions about how to cook dwarves is almost like a sitcom. A troll sitcom. But Tolkien is careful to remind us that the trolls are bad guys – the image of the empty clothing and stolen objects at the end is heartbreaking, and a reminder that the stakes are high in the book and that the danger is real.

  16. Geolojazz says:

    Wow, Gandalf, trolls the trolls to troll each other…

  17. tethysdust says:

    At least in this chapter you can kind of see that Gandalf was right about Bilbo secretly wanting to come along. Bilbo's surprised to find himself a little disappointed when he thinks the dwarves have left him behind. Also, why on earth would someone who isn't interested in taking risks attempt to pickpocket a troll that is discussing eating people? Clearly Bilbo has some adventure-urges that he's been keeping carefully hidden, even from himself.

  18. majere616 says:

    I’m sure any number of people have already informed you of how excellent the works of J.R.R Tolkien are, but I am equally sure that they failed to impress upon you just how great they are. Thus, I will try to put it in perspective through a personal anecdote. Three years ago, the lands of the west were covered in darkness as the shadow of Twilight continued its inexorable spread. It was under this pall of hopelessness that I learned that not only had a comrade of mine partook of its filth, but that she had never even attempted to read the words of Tolkien. It was in this moment that I silently vowed; “This shall not stand” and set myself to righting this blunder. But she was resistant, decrying The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as “nerdy,” “geeky,” and worst of all; boring. So a bargain was struck; she would read The Hobbit and LOTR, and I would read Twilight and its ilk. And so it came to pass that I watched with mine own two eyes how the one named Meyers dragged the English language into the dark, dank depths of her mind where, with her dogma and ignorance, she tortured and warped it until when she finally spewed it forth across the page it was left almost unrecognizable. For she had taken what was once beautiful and bright and overflowing with such potential for love, and she had twisted it into something fell and bilious and filled with her hatred for all that was different. But no in the face of every new horror she unleashed, I endured and I did so with laughter on my lips, a spring in my step, and a song in my heart. “But why?” you might ask, “Did your mind break from the torment?” Nay! It is simply that no matter what fresh suffering Meyers may devise, it is but a tiny thing besides the vast joy that sprang from the knowledge that I had given my comrade the greatest gift one could ever hope to receive; a one-way ticket to Middle Earth.

  19. leighzzz31 says:

    Dear Diary…

    Yeeeess, the return of the intriguingly written character reviews! I've missed these, Mark (though nothing will ever beat Hedwig-as-a-spy/agent ones)!

    So, I still haven't located my copy of The Hobbit (must locate ebook, I suppose) but I remember this chapter and the general stupidity of the dwarves when it came to the trolls. I laugh every single time I read that they decide to go one by one and investigate because clearly that is the best way to deal with trolls and disappearing hobbits and dwarves. Also, this chapter reminds me of the Odyssey and my favourite story from there, the blind Cyclops and how Odysseus/Ulysses manages to trick him. I've always remembered that one fondly.

  20. settlingforhistory says:

    Wow, how I missed these diary reviews! A perfect summary of this chapter, totally in-character!

    This chapter surprised me in many ways.
    First of all, I thought it would continue like it had ended, with a lot of explanations and planning and breakfast orders.
    Instead the dwarfs just leave without Bilbo and he is happy about it, which I understand, after all they where not the easiest guests.
    Then given the names of the dwarfs and hobbits, the trolls' names made me laugh out loud.
    I mean William the troll, that sounds just so harmless.
    Bilbo's try at burglary was unexpected, too. The trolls talk about missing the taste of manflesh and he wants to pick their pockets? What the heck are you doing?
    So it seems the lure of adventure has caught up with Bilbo or maybe just is pride, after all he can't return to this condescending dwarfs empty-handed.
    The way Gandalf fooled the trolls was the most surprising though. Here is an old wizard, who supposedly can appear where ever he wants and paints magic signs at people's doors so that they know where to find the 14th man for their adventure and he simply tricks the trolls into staying outside until sunrise. Marvelous!
    That trolls turn to stone in sunlight is new to me, but it explains why they haven't eaten all the people in Middle Earth yet.

  21. VoldieBeth says:

    I love your creative reviews of chapters! I remember feeling the same way about all those dwarves and Gandalf being so rude to poor Bilbo. But Bilbo's heart is craving adventure while his mind is trying to be a sensible hobbit.

    "And these three trolls were hideous and smelly, as if all of the dwarves gathered their stink and created a physical being, and then dipped that being into a vat of poop and then rolled it around in the lint that one finds in a million bellybuttons. And then ate it and threw it back up again."

    I giggled pretty hard at this! I can't wait for more!

  22. enigmaticagentscully says:

    So excited for this book! I was ill yesterday so I wasn't here in a timely fashion for the first review…

    But YAY for The Hobbit! Fun Fact – this is the first book I remember being read! Or just…remember in general. My dad used to read it to my older sister and me before I could read myself. So it always has a special place in my heart, even though I prefer Lord of the Rings now.

    • tethysdust says:

      I missed commenting yesterday, too! By the time I got to the review, it already had something like 400 comments, so I figured I'd just wait till today.

      I first read "The Hobbit" when I discovered my dad's falling-apart old illustrated version in the basement. I fell in love. I'd definitely say I prefer LOTR now, but The Hobbit holds a special place in my heart, too.

  23. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Interesting fact. When I first started reading this my dyslexia kicked in, and I read "diary" as "dairy", and wondered what this had to do with anything.

    Hmm. I didn't think Gandalf turned them into stone with his own magic, but they all naturally turn to stone in daylight. I actually remember that from my first read through. That being said, I hadn't remembered it being permanent, and that does seem rather cruel. And a bit silly…. I've got to say, magical creatures can sometimes have rather ridiculous faults. Can you imagine if all nocturnal animals turned to stone in the presence of daylight? I guess we'd have an awful lot of bat statues falling on us from above, but I suppose it would also speed up natural selection.

    Mark, do I want to know why you made Bilbo obsessed with feces?

  24. ChronicReader91 says:

    I am glad that you were in my pocket because I forgot my walking-stick and my hate. You know how much I need those things!

    You don’t need to bring your hate with you, Bilbo! All you need is love! :p

    Love that the character POV reviews are back! And you’ve got Bilbo’s voice down pat, even the excessive abuse of explanation points.

    I’m glad you pointed out some of the more, shall we say, ridiculous aspects of this chapter. Not just how presumptuous the dwarves are with Bilbo (oh, he’s a burglar, he’ll be fine sneaking up on a potentially dangerous situation, and naturally he’ll know how to hoot like an owl too!) but the dwarves all getting caught by the trolls, one by one, apparently by doing the same thing and coming to investigate. You get the impression that, except for Gandalf and perhaps Thorin, they’re not really any more experiences with “adventure” than Bilbo is.

    I do love the comedy provided by Bilbo insisting that he’s really truly positively not interested in adventure, but he leaves his house in a heartbeat when he finds out the dwarves are waiting for him, and then tries to steal the troll’s purse, because they all think he’s a burglar and he might as well start living up to his reputation. LOL.

    • episkey825 says:

      I'm curious as to why they think Bilbo has experience as a burglar in the first place? Is it just Gandalf messing with everyone?

      • tethysdust says:

        Well, originally it was the sign Gandalf put on the door. After that, I think they were just intimidated into believing it by Gandalf ~ "I'm telling you this guy is an awesome burglar. Are you saying I'm WRONG?! I thought not."

        As for Gandalf… I imagine he knows hobbits move really quietly, so maybe he just thought Bilbo could pull it off. But anyway, he seemed to be pressuring Bilbo into coming 'for his own good' rather than on his merits as a skilled burglar.

  25. Genny says:

    How did I forget how FUNNY I find this book? I was smiling during this entire chapter (and also at your completely perfect review, omg). Not in a there-are-jokes way, but in a way that makes it feel like every word is written with a sort of consistent, wry humour. I think the Hobbit is just such a *warm* book, in a way. I love it.

    It's not always the most logical book (GANDALF WHAT ARE YOU DOING), but I can't care even a bit to be honest.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I think this is what I picked up on, honestly. I'm not totally sold by the diction, but this shit is SILLY AS FUCK.

    • BumblebeeTuna says:

      Warm is definitely the perfect way to describe it. It gives me a lovely fuzzy feeling inside 🙂

  26. tethysdust says:

    I'm testing out image posting, since I never have before. I'm sure Mark has tons of expert Middle Earth language/alphabet advisors, but here is, roughly "Mark Reads the Hobbit'.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  27. arctic_hare says:

    I have things to say about this chapter, but FIRST THINGS FIRST. More of Arctic_Hare's Art Corner!

    <img src="; border="0"/>
    <img src="; border="0"/>

    I love this chapter! The adventure begins, and in a very entertaining way. Gandalf trolling the trolls is one of my favorite things ever. <3 A bit of description here that I adore is the bit about seeing the evil-looking castles on hilltops in the distance, and it makes me feel full of longing to go and explore them myself. Alan Lee's artwork is wonderful in general, but I must comment in particular about the illustration of the group on their journey through the dark and misty countryside. It really captures what Tolkien described so evocatively, and makes me want to be there myself, to just wander that countryside and investigate the old castle ruins and see what I can find. Even in the rain, yes. Or rather, especially – I love being out in the rain. <3 I think Tolkien did a lovely job with this chapter, setting the scene for the beginning of an adventure, and giving the characters a little taste of danger that is at the same time so funny for the readers. Middle-Earth is a really well-drawn setting.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I love the mistiness in the first one, too, it feels quite Romantic. Though I have to say my head-ponies are much shaggier. 😀

    • Ravenclaw42 says:

      I love the misty one. 100% agreed on wanting to be out in the overcast, misty rain, exploring ruins… maybe a faint hint of thunder… stopping under a dry ledge to have a bit of cheese and an apple… (books and my mother combined to instill in my young mind a great love of "adventuring food," so I've had a slice of crusty bread with a bit of butter, a slice of cheese and an apple for more lunches than I can count). I just love that picture, it's so evocative!

      And I think those trolls look more like my mental image of trolls than the ones in my own book, who just look like large, angry soccer hooligans.

  28. notemily says:

    I'm deleting this. Please don't mention what happens in the films before we get there.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      But anything I've gotten to that is in the movie version of this book is fair game to talk about and post GIFs from, FYI!

  29. la.donna.pietra says:

    This post is very reminiscent of a hilarious parody of LOTR and Bridget Jones' Diary that's floating around out there (it is, of course, spoiler-tastic, so don't go looking for it just yet).

  30. kartikeya200 says:

    So, when I finally tracked down a store with a copy of the Hobbit in it, I found I had a choice. I could either get the BORING complete set, or the annotated version, or the one that Arctic_hare has with the pretty pictures. My choice was quite clear.

    I'd forgotten that the troll bit comes so soon. I was sitting there going 'but this is only the second chapter!' because for some reason I thought there was a lot more wandering around in the rain being miserable before they all nearly got eaten. Newp, trolls.

    Which brings me to a random tangent: there's a game out there called Lord of the Rings Online. It's not my favorite MMO (though it is quite decent, especially since they made it free-to-play), but every now and then I feel like playing it, and I load it up. The reason, and the thing I love about that game, is that the world is ridiculously huge, and contains a surprising amount of detail. Why am I mentioning this? Well, because I realized I knew exactly the route Bilbo and the Dwarves were taking. The name 'Lone Lands' jumped out at me, and then I remembered that this game bothered to include the ending of this chapter:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I feel like wandering through and taking chapter relevant screenshots now, though I wouldn't be able to do it for the whole book (they get into areas that the game doesn't cover).

    • If you don't, I'm totally doing chapter-relevant screenshots until they get past Tboyva-Gbja. XD It's an awesome idea and you should feel awesome.

    • notemily says:

      I'd forgotten that the troll bit comes so soon. I was sitting there going 'but this is only the second chapter!' because for some reason I thought there was a lot more wandering around in the rain being miserable before they all nearly got eaten. Newp, trolls.

      lrnu, rfcrpvnyyl pbzcnerq gb gur tynpvny cnpr bs YBGE'f bcravat puncgref. Naq gur evqqyr tnzr vf bayl va puncgre svir! guvf obbx vf qbjaevtug fcrrql sbe Gbyxvra!

  31. Mia says:

    Man, I forgot the troll part came so quickly! I remember my dad reading this to me when I was little, and being absolutely PARALYZED by fear that the trolls would eat everyone.

  32. Rain says:

    I sorta came at these books backwards. I devoured The Lord of the Rings from the public library when I was in high school (the ones with the yowza psychedelic covers!) and, yes, wrote “Sebqb Yvirf” all over everything I owned. Hey, it was the ’60s/’70s. I’m allowed. ;D

    Anyway, I could never get into The Hobbit because it just seemed too kids-bookish. So I finally discovered and cherished The Hobbit while reading it aloud to my daughter, some 22 years ago. Kids are a great excuse to catch up on books you missed as a child. My husband and I read aloud to her every night, from The Hobbit through all the Narnia books and then through all the Little House on the Prairie books. It was pure pleasure for all three of us.

    So now The Hobbit holds a specially warm spot in my heart. Yes, it can feel a bit stilted. Yes, the descriptions can go on for days. But try reading it aloud to a child, and you’ll find the heart of where Tolkien was coming from with The Hobbit.

    Oh… and I totally think Bilbo probably put rocks in those dang dwarves’ bedding. And burrs. And snails. LOL

    • notemily says:

      V ybir "Sebqb Yvirf" orpnhfr V yvxr gb guvax bs vg nf na rneyl zrzr. Yvxr "Gur Pnxr vf n Yvr" be "Jrnfyrl Vf Bhe Xvat." Vs V jrer n YBGE sna n srj qrpnqrf ntb V jbhyq unir orra nyy bire gung fuvg 🙂

      • Jenny_M says:

        Oh my gosh, could you IMAGINE if the Internet had been around when these books came out? The wars over who had the MOST underground American edition…

  33. ahahah omg laughing can't breathe omg

  34. Elisa says:

    OH. MY. GOD. I'm sorry Mark, but I hate JRR Tolkien's writing style. I used to want to shoot myself while reading the LOTR trilogy because ENOUGH DESCRIPTION AND SINGING AND POEMS DUDE! I'd have to skim pages and pages, I don't have time or patience to read about how every single blade of grass looks and feels. Great story idea, horrible execution. I hate his style and for that reason actually (for once in my life) feel the movies are better because they get to the point.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      In the commentaries Jackson, Walsh, and Boyle talk a lot about how they had to work really hard to break down Tolkien's love of songs, and also properly pace the story to be told in three parts, rather than one story artificially broken up. Really neat stuff.

  35. Stephen_M says:

    Got to say I've been both looking forward and dreading the reviews of Tolkien's work. Looking forward because, well, it's Mark and he comes up with interesting ideas during these reviews and has a somewhat… what's the word… enthusiastic and exciteable view which is often very refreshing in this age of internet cynicism. Dreading because they're not modern books, have a slightly different writing style and are going to be pretty information-dense to both read and review a chapter a day. Fingers crossed I'm worrying for nothing.

    Really like the diary style used here, interesting way of putting across the reader's reactions and pretty funny to boot. Got to say though couple of things that aren't accurate (that I don't think are done for comedic effect, many appologies if they are):

    1) The dwarves are also on ponies, mentioned four paragraphs up from them jogging off from the inn.
    2) Technically the dwarves send Bilbo as he's the burgler / expert treasure-hunter rather than any skills they think he may have as a hobbit (though I'm 50/50 on this being for comedic effect).
    3) As has been mentioned perviously Gandalf doesn't use magic. He even says "Dawn take you all, and be stone to you".
    4) Gandalf doesn't yell at Bilbo inside the Troll's lair. The party as a whole asks (with some justification it must be said) why he didn't mention the key earlier but Gandalf's "Don't interupt" comes the next day after they have mounted the ponies and moved on again.

    Really sorry if the above seems like nitpicking but… well to be honest I sorta worry that while it's not important here later chapters (and pretty much all of Lord of the Rings) might make little sense if similar misunderstandings occur. Wow, that sounds really terrible, it's not meant to, just that I've loved these stories for over 20 years (first read LOTR when I was 10, Hobbit… 8 I think) and have introduced a few people to them over the years. This sort of thing has cropped up more than once as a complaint about the books themselves where really those I was talking to had misunderstood what was being said. Okay, I'll stop blathering now, roll on tomorrow!

  36. fantasylover120 says:

    Rereading this I'm now puzzled as to why Bilbo went in the first place. I mean dwarfs come and are rude to you, smash up your place. First thing you want to do is go on an adventure with them, am I right? I'm not sure what it says about my younger self who got kicks out of poor Bilbo's predicament…

  37. echinodermata says:

    I hope in the movie version they show Gandalf totally amusing himself when he does the voices. Cause I bet he enjoyed the shit out of it.


    Here's some images from a book just released with some of Tolkien's own fanart – never seen before! Can some more familiar with the books than me vet these for spoilers? Thank you!

  39. @unefeeverte says:

    Er, unless you count the animated film. Right.

  40. readerofprey says:

    Gandalf is the ultimate troll. Not only deoes he troll the trolls, I think he's trolling Bilbo at least a little bit in these early chapters. I think he knows that Bilbo wants the adventure but would never enter into it willingly so he keeps putting social pressure on him (you don't have a choice; we're already waiting for you), but I think he's also enjoying making this comfortable little Hobbit's life more difficult.

    Also, can you imagine what Bilbo would have brought if he'd had time to pack? Hobbits are so in to their creature-comforts that I can't imagine all 15 of them carrying all the stuff he would think necessary for a journey.

  41. arctic_hare says:

    Please don't use the word "crazy" on this site.

  42. frogANDsquid says:

    ” they ordered me to use my hobbit skills ”

    I dont even know why I found that so funny. But im happy to be back and following along with you, this is my first time reading the series, though I have seen the movies multiple times.

  43. @SableFlag says:

    Has anyone seen The Troll Hunter? This chapter and that movie make me think of the other at any time I'm encountering one or the other.

  44. Tauriel_ says:

    LOTR-related question:

    Mark, after you finish each LOTR book, will you be also watching/reviewing the corresponding film? Or will you wait with the film trilogy until after you've finished reading the books? (There are a couple of scenes that were moved from one book to another for the films, and in one particular case it could be a pretty major spoiler…).

    But in any case, I'd love to read your reviews of the films as well. 🙂

    • notemily says:

      Which particular case are you thinking of? (Rot-13 of course.) The only major scene I can remember that was moved was moved to the LATER movie, not the earlier, so it wouldn't be a spoiler. (Furybo)

      I'd like to see him review each movie after each book, simply because trying to tackle them all at once could be challenging, especially if he wants to do liveblogs (which are going to be difficult in any case because the movies are 3-4 hours long). But not if there are huge spoilers, of course.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Obebzve'f qrngu. Vg gnxrf cynpr ng gur ortvaavat bs Gur Gjb Gbjref (obbx), juvyr va gur svyzf gurl zbirq gb gb Sryybjfuvc (naq evtugyl fb, VZUB ). Vs Znex jngpurq SBGE orsber ernqvat GGG ur'q or fcbvyrq sbe Obebzve'f qrngu.

        Abg gung vg'f abg rkcrpgrq – Obebzve vf, nsgre nyy, cynlrq ol Frna Orna, juvpu vf va vgfrys n uhtr rkcrpgngvba fcbvyre gb gur punenpgre'f qrngu! 😀 😀 😀

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          So what is the verdict? My plan is to do the corresponding movies on Mark Watches after each book.

          • notemily says:

            I think you should still be able to do it, but you would have to read chapter 1 of the second book before you watch the first movie. That takes care of the major spoiler Tauriel was thinking of. Unless anyone can think of other major spoilers?

          • notemily says:

            Also, were you going to do liveblogs, regular reviews, or both? I recommend (and I think most others would agree) watching the Extended Editions of the movies, but they ARE about four hours long each (split onto two DVDs) so they would take forever to liveblog.

            Personally I'd prefer regular reviews, either in addition to a liveblog or on their own, simply because there's so much to talk about and I don't want the analysis to get lost in the rush of liveblog comments.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Notemily has a good solution. Read the first chapter of The Two Towers before watching Fellowship, and you'll be fine. The rest of the changes are non-spoilery (i.e. moving a scene from an earlier book to a later film). At least I can't think of any, and I've recently re-watched the films… 🙂

            And as notemily says, DO WATCH THE EXTENDED EDITIONS. Yes, they're long. But they also flesh out the story much better – there are certain changes of characters (as is expected in adapting such a huge book as LOTR), but in the Extended Editions the added scenes help the change make sense internally. So you can still disagree with it, but the change in actions of those characters make sense within the context and are not jarring.

          • arctic_hare says:

            Adding my agreement to those saying to 1) read at least the first chapter of TTT before doing the first movie, 2) watch the Extended Editions, and 3) liveblog and regular reviews OR just regular reviews.

        • notemily says:

          Oh dude, I completely forgot that that scene was in the other book! Maybe we could wait until he gets to the chapter at which it is no longer spoilery, and then tell him it's OK to watch the movie?

    • Kiryn says:

      I also vote for just the reviews, or at least to make sure to have them too. Again, I think there's so much to comment on, even if you don't go with the Extended Edition, and plus, I've never yet been able to participate in a liveblog, and I certainly wouldn't be able to with LOTR (I love the movies to death, but it's just too long, and I have so much else I need to be doing…).

  45. Smurphy says:

    I think you find Hobbits rather silly and I also think you will grow to love them. Especially the ones with some took blood in them. Keep reading…

  46. Tauriel_ says:

    So, someone asked what would "You are not prepared" be in Elvish. I don't know any Sindarin, but I used to "study" Quenya (it's a gorgeous language), even though I didn't have much practice for years.

    Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, then YANP would go like this in Quenya:

    Unalyë manwaina

    "Nalyë" means "you are"; "u-" is a preposition indicating negative.
    "Manwa-" means "prepare", of which passive participle would be "manwaina" (or possibly "manwana").

    Written in Tengwar it looks like this:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I'll check it with a friend of mine who studies Quenya pretty intensively, and if it's correct, maybe you could use it in the LOTR banner… 😉

    • notemily says:

      Dude, I bow to your Elvish skills.

      • Kiryn says:

        I bow as well. I'm just starting to learn French, and I can't even imagine myself learning to speak one of the Elvish tongues, though it does not surprise me at all that quite a lot of people do. But I wonder…can you speak any Tolkien language out loud (besides the movies)? How do you know if you're pronouncing the words right?

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Tolkien described the pronunciation of both Sindarin and Quenya in a pretty detailed way (he was, after all, a linguist). And there are a few recordings of him reciting Quenya – the most notable is Tnynqevry'f Ynzrag from FOTR, which can be found here. 🙂

          Almost all Elvish spoken in the LOTR films is Sindarin – it was a common speech among the Elves, while Quenya was considered "higher Elvish" and was spoken mostly at ceremonial occasions (it was basically the Middle-earth equivalent of Latin). There are a few lines in Quenya in the films, too, though – Tnynqevry'f terrgvat "Anznevr", Fnehzna'f fcryy gb ghea Pnenquenf ntnvafg gur Sryybjfuvc (vapvqragnyyl, Fve Puevfgbcure Yrr unf gur orfg cebahapvngvba bs nyy gur npgbef 😉 ), Sebqb'f vaibpngvba bs Rneraqvy'f yvtug jura ur svtugf Furybo "Nvln Rneraqvy ryravba napnyvzn" (vapvqragnyyl, obgu ur naq Tnynqevry zvfcebabhapr gur anzr Rneraqvy va gur svyzf – gurl cebabhapr vg fvzcyl "ru-era-qvy", jurernf vg fubhyq or "ru-nu-era-qvy") naq Nentbea'f punag ng uvf pbebangvba "Rg Rneryyb Raqberaan hghyvra. Fvabzr znehina, ne uvyqvalne, graa' Nzone-zrggn."

          • Kiryn says:

            Damn, where did that rot13 link go? *goes off to search so she can read above apparent spoilers*

            • Kiryn says:

              Ah, I see now. I always kept mixing up which one was the formal and which was the informal, but now I know. 🙂 And that's really awesome, the Quenya in the movies. Since now I know that's what it is, I shall pay attention next time I see them.

              • Tauriel_ says:

                Sindarin and Quenya sound very different. Sindarin was (sound-wise) inspired by Celtic languages, Welsh and Scottish in particular, and Quenya was (sound-wise) inspired by Finnish.

          • ladysugarquill says:

            Didn't the actors end up having conversations in Elvish by the time they were finishing the movies? I think I heard that somewhere. XD

            I love how Tolkien used to build entire languages just for fun XD And I'll add an anecdote regarding elvish: I'm a Spanish speaker. After I finished LotR I read all the Appendix regarding names and pronunciations. There I realized that, except some constructions like Celeborn (which I'd been saying "Seleborn" when it's "Kelenborn"), for a Spanish speaker like me it was basically "read it like it's written". The correct pronunciation of everything was how I'd say it naturally.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


  47. BumblebeeTuna says:

    Oh, I don't have my copy of the Hobbit with me, so don't really have anything insightful to say.
    But did anyone ever play the PS2 game of the Hobbit? This part was my favourite, you had to sneak around one of the trolls (Tom, I think) whilst he yawned, and if he heard you he would immediately jump to his feet crying "That was no badger!". Of course, if you didn't move for a minute or two, he would settle back down muttering "Must've been one of them badgers." Me and my brother and sister used to do it over and over laughing hysterically at him contradicting himself.
    Well, it was funny at the time…

      • BumblebeeTuna says:

        Hahaaa oh god now why am I picturing Matt Smith as Bilbo wandering around with a badger puppet on his arm?

        Oh man, how great would Bilbo be as a companion in the TARDIS??! Actually, no, I imagine he'd be pretty awful, and more often than not the Doctor would have to forcefully drag him out of the nice safe warm cosy TARDIS to see all the ~*wonderful*~ sights. And Bilbo would just be going "No, let me go back to the TARDIS, I have halff a seed-cake left and my cup of tea is going cooooold!"

        OT, I always wanted to try Dwarf Jelly. Although it sounds like it would probably taste of feet.

        • Kiryn says:

          I didn't have any idea that there was a Hobbit video game for the PS2. Shall now have to look into that. Anyway, I've played The Return of the King on the Gamecube, and I believe I have The Two Towers for the PS2, now. 🙂

          • BumblebeeTuna says:

            If you find it, I definitely recommend you buy it. It's the sort of game you want to play on a rainy day to cheer you up. Plus the music is wonderful.
            Actually, I've realised how much it's coloured my view of the Hobbit. As much as I love Aidan Turner, Fili and Kili should be blonde godammit!

  48. snakebyte42 says:

    I have only read the first two lines of this review, and immediately thought YES! ONE OF THESE REVIEWS!

    I then scrolled down to tell you of this.

    Carry on.

  49. Kiryn says:

    This book is far sillier than I thought it would be. I'm really enjoying it, though.

    But OMG, mention of Elrond! 🙂 Seriously, I have barely any idea what characters are going to end up showing up in this book, as before this I had only ever read a little excerpt of chapter 5. So I can hope for Elrond to be more than just a passing mention…

  50. Dreamflower says:

    Oh my! *too funny*wipes eyes* That's the Bilbo I love– so contradictory: hobbity even when he's being Tookish! (And yes, Tooks are hobbits too, but as we learned in chapter 1, a special sort of hobbit!) And I love how you play up his crochety side, because a cranky Bilbo is hilarious!

  51. whovianforever says:

    Actually, I thought that it was actually quite common knowledge, the fact that trolls turn to stone once sunlight touches them. JRR didn't make it up. >< Care to explain what you meant, Mark? My comprehension skills are at a fail right now.

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