Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 18

In the eighteenth chapter of The Hobbit, Bilbo wakes up to discover what became of the battle against the goblins and the Wargs. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.



When Bilbo came to himself, he was literally by himself. He was lying on the flat stones of Ravenhill, and no one was near. A cloudless day, but cold, was broad above him. he was shaking, and as chilled as stone, but his head burned with fire.

OH HOLY SHIT. They left him behind!!! OH MY GOD. The ring he was wearing that kept him from being attacked was now suddenly PROVIDING A GREAT DISADVANTAGE TO HIM. Oh god, what a terrible twist of irony.

The moment doesn’t last very long, though I do adore that this is Bilbo’s reaction:

“Now I wonder what has happened?” he said to himself. “At any rate I am not yet one of the fallen heroes; but I suppose there is still time enough for that!”

I mean…his reaction is a curious wonderment of his environment. Let me give you a peak into what my reaction would be to discovering that I was knocked out during the climax of a bloody, violent battle, and then waking to discover that I was left alone in a strange land:


But Bilbo is not nearly as ridiculous as I am. After taking a moment to familiarize himself with his surroundings (which means GOBLIN BODIES EVERYWHERE WHAT THE FUCK), he spots a man climbing up the mountain towards. It’s when he calls out to him that he realizes that he has the ring on that makes him invisible. I will never not think this is one of the funniest things ever, and I’m not even sure I can give a justification for it. The mental image of a bruised hobbit screaming into nothingness because he’s invisible and then realizing that’s what’s going on is just hilarious. I DON’T CARE.

On a completely unfunny note, it took me until this moment to realize that…jesus, there’s not a single woman in this entire book. I don’t even think there’s a feminine pronoun used once in the whole thing. YEAH WHAT THE FUCK TOLKIEN. I mean…what? How is that even possible? I AM SIDE-EYEING THIS MANFEST SO HARD.

Anyway, Bilbo isn’t left alone very long before this nameless man (no, seriously, this character has no name) carries him back to the surviving party, of which Gandalf is the first who greets him. At no point does Bilbo chide Gandalf for not notifying them all about the disaster of the goblin horde and I will never forgive Gandalf for this you can’t take it away from me.

I must admit that it took me reading the next section about five or six times to understand what has happened, and I’d like to think that I’m not alone in thinking that Tolkien words this poorly. SO: Gandalf brings Bilbo to Thorin, who is wounded pretty badly. Thorin tells Bilbo goodbye, hoping that they can part in friendship, and gives a pretty fantastic little speech about how much value Bilbo truly has, far more than anyone expected. And then Bilbo walks away and starts crying and then:

“A mercy it is,” he said at last to himself, “that I woke up when I did. I wish Thorin were living, but I am glad that we parted in kindness.”

But….but he is living, I thought. YOU JUST SPOKE TO HIM. I went back to read this over and over again and I started to wonder if some huge passage was cut out of my Kindle version of this book. Eventually, after much frustration, I realized which sentence was giving me so much trouble.

“I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed.”

For some reason, my brain read this as, “Oh, so Thorin’s going to go sit inside the hall in the mountain and rule the dwarf kingdom from there.” You know, not as HOLY SHIT THORIN IS DYING. So this is partially my fault, but I was also confused because Thorin’s death technically happens off the page, but is only then acknowledged when Bilbo wishes he were alive. Because of this, I think his death was all the more shocking to me since it appeared to me to happen without me knowing. Plus, at this point in the novel, everyone seemed so safe. This didn’t seem like it would be a book predicated on that sort of loss, and I touched on that yesterday, so I never expected Tolkien to kill off any of the main characters.

It’s with this sadness hanging over Bilbo that he begins the return journey to his home in the west. What fascinates me about this is how different this world seems to me now that Bilbo has the company of Beorn, Gandalf, and the dwarves, who are all more knowledgeable about where they are going. I was also glad that I at least got to find out how the battle ended (BLESS THE EAGLES AND BEORN), though I’m still a bit weirded out by the treatment of the goblins. What I do like, though, and this probably outs me as a big softie, is the fact that this chapter basically turns everything into a giant Friendship Party. I think that I am so used to reading and watching things that are so full of disaster and tragedy that I rather enjoy the fact that everyone bestows honors and gifts and majestic bits of treasure upon one another. Well, there is another small bit of tragedy when Tolkien casually reveals that Fili and Kili both died trying to save Thorin’s life. WHAT THE FUCK THESE TWO ARE AMAZING THEY DESERVE MORE THAN A SENTENCE.

Before Bilbo takes off for his home, the Elvinking insists that Bilbo takes his share of wealth that he so rightly deserves. (Actually, he technically offers Bilbo more than anyone else, doesn’t he?) Bilbo, ever the pragmatist and the humble hobbit, actually refuses to take anything at all, stating that the Elvinking probably has better uses for it than he does. Which is rather nice of him, I think! He only accepts to small chests after all of this, bids goodbye to all the dwarves, and heads off west with the elves, Gandalf, and Beorn. At the Mirkwood Forest, they part with the elves, insisting that traveling through that forest is probably a bad idea. BECAUSE RIGHT. The spiders are still there, aren’t they? I mean…I wouldn’t want to face them ever again if I had the choice, so Bilbo and Gandalf decide to head north around it with Beorn.

God, I’m so glad Beorn is around. HE IS SO AWESOME and I honestly never expected to see him again in this book. And Bilbo gets to spend WEEKS with him, which initially took me by surprise because I forgot exactly how long it took them to travel out to the Lonely Mountain the first time around. THIS IS A JOURNEY THAT TAKES MONTHS. I mean, can you imagine being all, “Wow, I’d like to go home!” and then it takes you TWO MONTHS TO GET THERE. Oh, and you have to walk the entire way there. OH, AND YOU MIGHT GET KILLED. I think that if Gandalf showed up at my house and somehow tried to manipulate me into going on some sort of “quest” for him, I would probably turn it down. And it’s not that I don’t want to travel the world with a wizard. That is high on my list of things I would like to do. But seriously, the man might leave out some crucial information so he can sit back and gloat in the awesomeness that is his dearth of knowledge. “Oh, right, there’s a great wall of flaming pterodactyls over that ridge, Mark, but I probably should have told you before they singed off all your body hair and gave you second degree burns on your arms. But I hoped you’d decode my secret ambiguous foreshadowing hints!”

To be fair, Bilbo gets to celebrate Yule-tide at Beorn’s house and that is worth dealing with Gandalf’s mysterious methodology, isn’t it? I suppose I don’t know what Yule-tide is like in Middle Earth, but that’s also a plus because it’s like a giant surprise. Magic trees? Gifts? Delicious feasts? Story time by the fire with Beorn? Oh god the possibilities are endless.

It’s spring (!!!!!!) by the time that Gandalf and Bilbo arrive at the high pass where the goblins captured them, and it genuinely seems like that was a million years ago. Now there are few goblins left in the entirety of this part of Middle Earth, which….seems a bit fucked up to me? Either way, the entire adventure is nearly done, and I’m a big fan of how Tolkien chooses to end this chapter:

There far away was the Lonely Mountain on the edge of eyesight. On its highest peak snow yet unmelted was gleaming pale.

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!” said Bilbo, and he turned his back on his adventure. The tookish part was getting very tired, and the Baggins was daily getting stronger. “I wish now only to be in my own armchair!” he said.

I know there’s another chapter remaining, but I would honestly be pretty satisfied with this if this were the last chapter. OH GOD HOW WILL THIS END.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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222 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 18

  1. Abigail says:

    Ok.  Thanks to Thorindeath I’m using it as an excuse to go in depth with what I said yesterday about death in Tolkien.  (Apologies in advance.)

    Back to Tolkien’s time in service.  I hope this doesn’t sound presumptuous, but maybe I can talk about it without coming off as one of those people who go around saying ‘well, since I did A then that clearly means I’m qualified to talk about Soandso’s experience with B unlike the rest of the world’.  Hopefully.  I’m currently an active member of the military and, while I’ve never been in an actual battlezone, for roughly a year and a half my job was to provide military honors at funerals.  Now, I am aware that playing a bugle or folding a flag in front of a coffin is nothing like being at the Somme, but you are still exposed to more death than most people.  Your first time being confronted with it is disturbing.  After that you just learn to economize the grief.  One dead soldier is very much like another whether colonel or cook, even when faced with the grieving family.  But as soon as something happens to someone that you actually know well… 

    Then everything hits you.  JRRT definitely understood this when he wrote this book.  As the reader you get some of that feeling of being

    surrounded by deaths that are largely meaningless and have no immediate emotional impact to you.  They are merely facts.  Figures on a casualty list.  A list of funerals for the day.  But then you get the news of the death of someone close to you and everything changes, the toll of the battle suddenly becomes real. 

    That is, I think, part of his genius.  My father is also a military member (who has been in warzones) and Tolkien is the only author he has voluntarily read and enjoyed.  This seems to be common with quite a lot of military men.  They seem to know that Tolkien isn’t doing it for shock value or to make a grand point.  Many modern authors  have a disconnect from death and violence, especially a soldier’s view of it.  Thus, the dead must make Statements about futility or sacrifice or make the survivors look badass or show just how nasty that particular fictional world is.  But for Tolkien’s audience of the 1930s, war and its consequences were not so comfortably distant from everyday life as they are now.  WWI had ended less that twenty years earlier, the sequel was ominously looming and every child reading The Hobbit would have been familiar with it in some way.  Perhaps the father reading the book aloud had trouble with a stammer due to


    Perhaps they passed a monument to the dead every time they went to school or church.  Perhaps the local beggar man was missing limbs or had part of his face blown off.  Perhaps it was only a faded photograph on the mantle of Uncle Walter who never came back from France.  The point is, the original audience of the book did not need to be reminded of death with dramatics or gore.  The products of war were all around their daily lives, not just when an Inspiring Statement needed to be made about Brave Heroes. 

    I don’t know.  Just wanted to get my thoughts in order after thinking quite a lot about it yesterday.

    /end novel.

    Also the lack of female characters bothered me to my core when I was a kid. Somewhere in my parents’ house there is my first piece of fanfiction (written age 5) about a female eagle named Ariel who saves Thorin at the last moment.

    • clodia_risa says:

      That is a beautiful statement, and it does put the novel into a different perspective. Thank you.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Exactly. My favorite biography is Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth. Reading that made me realize that JRRT himself was a hero every bit as much as his little hobbit, Bilbo. In fact, in many ways he was Bilbo– a common man, a scholar, wanting a quiet life, and then thrust into the middle of a horrific adventure.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      You see, I understood that. I understand where Tolkien is coming from, and his own experiences. But for me, the job of the writer is to put himself in the character's shoes. Bilbo isn't a fighter, whose gone to many wars, and has become numb to death. He's had battles before (although fights might be a better word) but this is the first one he's been in where his friends have died. It doesn't feel real to me not to see more Bilbo in mourning, because he's pretty much like a civilian dropped into a battle, not a shell-shocked veteren.

      Its the same way that even though I've never been to war, if I were to write a character who had come from one, I wouldn't give them these emotions reactions, even though that what I'd feel.

      • Abigail says:

        It wasn’t what I meant to talk about, but I think Bilbo’s mourning is fairly good considering. After all, I’m pretty sure he’s one of the few characters we really see mourning at all when he goes off to cry while everyone else is being generally stoic and manly. It’s fairly easy to presume he continues grieving, there just isn’t time to go into it in a children’s book that only has another chapter left.

    • Abigail says:

      And apologies for any formatting fail. That’s what I get for trying post from an iphone at work.

    • atheistsisters says:

      Aw, I love your idea about Ariel saving Thorin!

    • arctic_hare says:

      This is a very very good comment, and you should feel good. Thank you for writing this for us.

    • rabbitape says:

      Thank you for sharing this with us — a great comment that absolutely speaks to what's going on in Tolkien's battle scenes.

      Because he wrote high fantasy, it's easy to forget that Tolkien is a member of the Lost Generation. The Waste Land was written about a decade earlier, and as Tolkien himself has pointed out, by 1918 most of his own close friends had died.

      His war experiences deeply influence not just the battles, but every part of his writing — what makes heros who they are, the value of peace over war, when to fight and what to fight for and against.

    • Lady X says:

      As clodia_risa said that was beautiful. Also one of the reasons my younger self couldn’t get into the story was due to lack of female characters so I completely sympathize with you on that 🙂

    • flootzavut says:

      Awesome post is awesome and you should be proud.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    Yeah, deaths in high fantasy tend to be pretty…subtle, I guess? It's always "going to the halls of my fathers" and stuff. It's very noble and shit but sometimes I'm just like…okay am I bovvered? Are you dead?

    Which is not to say that I am not truly broken up about Thorin's death, because I am.

  3. Ryan Lohner says:

    This is one of the spots where you can telll that Tolkien had no creative writing training. As put on one of the Lord of the Rings movie special features:

    "Would a modern day publisher conceivably take on this enterprise? Of course they wouldn't. They would tell him it wasn't structured like a proper novel, that important characters weren't developed, and didn't have a thru-development in the story…If you take Creative Writing 101, they teach you not to do things like that, but Tolkien did it. And of course it worked. Professionals don't know everything. Sometimes inspired amateurs know something."

    I was really upset as a kid seeing that Fili and Kili were just off-handedly referenced as being dead. It didn't help that my brother read the book first, and lied to me that none of the dwaves died.

  4. cait0716 says:

    On a completely unfunny note, it took me until this moment to realize that…jesus, there’s not a single woman in this entire book. I don’t even think there’s a feminine pronoun used once in the whole thing. YEAH WHAT THE FUCK TOLKIEN. I mean…what? How is that even possible? I AM SIDE-EYEING THIS MANFEST SO HARD.

    Yeah….. Even at Rivendell and Laketown where you easily have mentioned a woman in passing they are strangely absent from the story. Clearly they just don't exist in Middle Earth

    I like the journey home and Bilbo's refusal to go back through Mirkwood. I mean, that has to add at least a month to the trip. But I guess it's worth it to avoid the spiders.

  5. Ryan Lohner says:

    Bu, Znex vf tbvat gb syvc uvf fuvg ng Rbjla. "V nz ab zna

    • Becky says:

      (LOTR spoilers) Rbjla xvpxf nff, sbe fher. Naq V nccerpvngr gung bar bs gur zbfg cbjreshy punenpgref va gur obbxf vf srznyr (Tnynqevry, bs pbhefr). Ohg 2 fvtavsvpnag srznyr punenpgref va gur jubyr frevrf vf fgvyy n ovg bs n qvfnccbvagzrag (V'z abg pbhagvat Nejra orpnhfr V'z er-ernqvat gur obbxf evtug abj naq fur ernyyl oneryl rira nccrnef – gurl ernyyl unq gb rkcnaq ure ebyr uhtryl gb znxr ure n fvtavsvpnag punepgre va gur zbivrf).

      • notemily says:

        V jnf qvfnccbvagrq jvgu jung gurl qvq jvgu Nejra va gur zbivrf. V yvxr ure nf n ybir vagrerfg gung Nentbea guvaxf nobhg nyy gur gvzr, naq V yvxrq ure nf fbzrbar jub pbagevohgrq gb gur Sryybjfuvc'f dhrfg ol fnivat Sebqb sebz gur Anmthy va SBGE, ohg gura va gur yngre zbivrf gurl jrer yvxr "Nejra vf qllllvat, ure sngr vf pbaarpgrq gb gung bs gur evat, oynu oynu oynu," naq vg whfg ybbxf yvxr gurl'er gelvat gb nqq pbasyvpg jura QHQR, GURER VF RABHTU PBASYVPG NYERNQL, LBH NER GELVAT GB FNIR GUR JBEYQ URER. V'z abg fher nobhg gur jubyr "V jnf tbvat gb yrnir gbja jvgu gur erfg bs gur ryirf ohg gura V fnj n ivfvba bs zl shgher xvq fb V qrpvqrq gb fgnl" zbzrag rvgure. Gur xvq vf phgr, ohg V gubhtug gung jnf haarprffnel. Nejra unf znqr ure pubvpr nyernql. Qba'g qent vg bhg.

        • flootzavut says:

          I think what it boils down to is that they needed it to be accesible for everyone from LOTR junkies who know all the backstory right down to people who just wanted to see a movie with cool special effects.

          V qba'g arprffnevyl qvt nyy gur guvatf gurl qvq jvgu ure fgbel, ohg V pna pregnvayl haqrefgnaq jul gurl sryg gur arrq gb oevat ure vagb vg zber. Va gur obbxf fur whfg xvaq bs ernccrnef ng gur raq naq zneevrf Nentbea naq vg'f nyy unccl, ohg V qba'g guvax gung jbhyq jbex fb jryy va n zbivr jvgu crbcyr jub qba'g ernyvfr ubj vzcbegnag fur vf. Evtugyl be jebatyl, gurl jrer gelvat gb snfuvba n fgbel gung jbhyq jbex jvguva zbivr pbairagvbaf. V thrff ng gur raq bs gur qnl, vg jbhyq or vaperqvoyl uneq gb perngr zbivrf bs gur obbxf gung jbhyq znantr gb fngvfsl nyy gur obbx chevfgf jvgubhg pbashfvat be cbgragvnyyl obevat gubfr jub ner whfg orvat vageb'q gb gur jubyr furonat. Gurl jrer arire tbvat gb znxr rirelbar unccl! 🙂

      • flootzavut says:

        Gubhtu fur qbrfa'g nccrne n ybg va gur obbxf nf n jubyr, gurer vf n ybg zber bs ure fgbel va gur nccraqvk. Fur qbrfa'g gnxr ba n ebyr yvxr fur trgf va gur zbivr, ohg gurer'f n ybg zber gb ure fgbel guna va gur obbxf, gbb. Abg rfcrpvnyyl onqnff gubhtu nf V erpnyy! Gubhtu fgnaqvat hc sbe ure ybir naq pubbfvat gb orpbzr n zbegny vf n cerggl ovt guvat.

        Crefbanyyl V guvax lbh unir gb frr gur obbxf nf n cebqhpg bs gurve gvzr, naq gur snpg gung Gbyxvra jnf gelvat gb perngr n zlgubybtl, fbzrguvat gung qbrfa'g genqvgvbanyyl eribyir nebhaq jbzra. Nf fhpu, univat fhpu fgebat, onqnff jbzra V jbhyq guvax jnf nurnq bs vgf gvzr.

  6. jaccairn says:

    It was Bard offering Bilbo the money not the Elvenking, though I assume Bard also gave him some in thanks for their assistance.

    I suspect in the movie that we're going to see a lot of this, which will make the deaths much more prominant.

    • cait0716 says:

      I'm really excited to see the battle in the movie. It gets cut a bit short here when Bilbo passes out. But since they're splitting the book into two movies, I imagine this battle will take up a significant portion of the second one.

      • notemily says:

        PJ loves his battles! *Pbhtu Uryzf Qrrc pbhtu*

        • pennylane27 says:

          TBQ, ORFG ONGGYR RIRE. Bx, gung fbhaqrq n ovg zbeovq. Ohg gurer ner fb znal terng zbzragf. Yvxr "Qba'g gryy gur Rys" naq Gurbqra'f fcrrpu, naq Yrtbynf fyvqvat qbja gur fgnvepnfr ba n fuvryq juvyr xvyyvat bepf, naq… bx, V'yy fgbc abj.

          • cait0716 says:

            Yrtbynf fyvqvat qbja gung fuvryq jnf NJRFBZR. V'z nyfb n ovt sna bs gur zbzrag ng gur raq bs SbgE jura ur fgnof na bep va gur guebng jvgu na neebj, gura chyyf vg onpx va gur obj naq vzzrqvngryl fubbgf nabgure bep jvgu vg. V znl unir snyyra va ybir jvgu uvz n ovg. Naq V qrsvavgryl nterr nobhg Uryz'f Qrrc orvat gur orfg onggyr rire!

            • pennylane27 says:

              LRF! Naq gura, lbh xabj, ur fvatyr-unaqrqyl xvyyf na Byvcunhag naq nyy gur zra ba vg. Ohg vg fgvyy pbhagf nf bar!

            • Tauriel_ says:

              Htu, gur fuvryqobneqvat, qba'g rira erzvaq zr… *fuhqqre*

              V ungr ubj gurl onfvpnyyl erqhprq Yrtbynf vagb na npgvba svther. Ubcrshyyl uvf ebyr va gur Uboovg jvyy or whfg n pnzrb naq jr qba'g frr uvz fvatyr-unaqrqyl xvyyvat Fznht be fbzrguvat…

  7. RIP Thorin Oakenshield. You were the first character whose death I genuinely cried over, and as a kid I had to run to the bathroom to cry after your death, since naturally I couldn't let my little brothers and sisters see me in tears.

    Oh Thorin. I've tried so hard to figure out why I like you as much as I do. You're pompous, stubborn, single-minded and have one of the worse tempers in the history of Middle-Earth. Maybe this is why I do like you. Yes, you're flawed. But as your entrance to the Battle of the Five Armies showed, you do have the potential to a leader and good king. I wish that your death had not ended like this. But you received the name Oakenshield for using an oak branch as a shield against the goblins in a battle. You kept the desire for revenge and homecoming alive in both yourself and your relatives for several decades. I think in the end what I liked most about you is that you were a fighter and warrior. Farewell.

    Okay, yeah. Anyway. Sorry about that, I couldn't contain myself.

    This is probably one of the weakest chapters in terms of writing, in my opinion, though I have to admit that I loved the dialogue on Thorin's deathbed, as far too many fantasy novels opt for some kind of long-winded speech and endless description of emotion, whereas the grief in this one is very restrained. I tend to value understatement in situations like this, as I think too many words take away the impact, so I love that Tolkien did the same.

    The lack of women in this book is definitely annoying. When it was read to me as a kid, I remember thinking that. But now I just don't mind so much. Is it irritating? Yes, of course. But there are more important things to worry about in female presentation in literature than the lack of them in The Hobbit, which isn't intended to be anything other than just a bedside tale. And so I just enjoy the book for what it is- a beautiful deconstruction of the traditional hero in which goodness is valued over brawn and where the hero himself is someone who genuinely wants nothing more than to just go home.

    • notemily says:

      But there are more important things to worry about in female presentation in literature than the lack of them in The Hobbit, which isn't intended to be anything other than just a bedside tale.

      I feel this way as well. I think if Tolkien had tried to force female characters in because he thought there should be some, and then ended up writing them as stereotypical and describing them only in terms of how beautiful they are (V'z ybbxvat ng lbh, Tbyqoreel) it might be worse than just having no women at all.

      • arithmancer says:

        Word. I'm female and read Tolkien in elementary school. I was not in the least bothered. His setting was a fictional world in which the famliar elements (level of technolog that might be deduced from descriptions of weapons, tools, transportation methods, forms of government mentioned, architecture, etc. suggested Medieval Europe or similar.) I thus presumed that I was reading about a world in which the cultures had "traditional" gender roles, so that a female character would not have an imporant role in a story about a long, dangerous quest ending in a big battle.

        And personally, I've always been happy to do without descriptions of extremely insignificant female characters carrying out traditional roles (e. g. mentioning some elf-women preparing the meal or sweeping the floor or looking pretty at their embroidery at Rivendell, or what have you).

        Do I like Fantasy/SF works which describe worlds in which women do take a greater role in such things, or which describe exceptional female characters that do such things despite the prevailing culture? Sure! But that's not what "The Hobbit" was about, and I loved it for what it was.

        • I have nothing more to add. Very well said.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          This, this, THIS.

        • NonnyW says:

          'I loved it for what it was'.

          This exactly. It is a wonderful and valid story to tell. Not all stories have to have perfect gender balance (or any other sort of balance between different groups of people like race and sexuality) to be interesting and valid. In fact, you would be greatly limiting the range of stories that could be told by requiring that.

        • Katie says:

          “I read the Hobbit in the middle school and was not in the least bothered by lack of women”. Yeah, me too. And I’m a woman too. But over time I’ve begun to understand that it’s a whole problem in itself. Already in middle school, we don’t _expect_ that we should get to go to adventures too. We expect that this remains the guys’ privilege. And that we should sit at home and wait for them to come back and marry us if we’re pretty enough…

          And that kind of thinking is what leads to almost zero women as Fortune 500 CEOs and senators and presidents.

          • kristinc says:

            WORDY WORD MCWORDERSON. That is all.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Yes, but it's up to US to change that. We have so many possibilities nowadays, which women of the past didn't – and yet we often don't grasp them. Is it laziness? Resignation? I don't know. But we have the power to make our own lives – we only need to get up and follow our dreams and stop coming up with excuses.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I agree about too many words diluting the impact. The simplest sentence can say so much if done right, so I vastly prefer that to expounding at length and beating a point into the audience's heads.

  8. knut_knut says:

    UGH, I KNOW, WHY ARE THERE NO WOMEN? V’z tynq CW ng yrnfg gevrq/vf gelvat gb nqq zber jbzra gb gur zbivrf. Tolkien is fantastic at creating and fleshing out Middle Earth, but not so much at basic story telling. I can’t blame people who hate the books but are still big lotr fans. V ybir ubj ba gur RR bs GGG, cenpgvpnyyl RIRELBAR onfurf gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq naq Gbyxvra’f ovmneer jevgvat fglyr gung fbzrubj jbexf?

    I am EXTREMEMLY jealous Bilbo got to spend all winter with Beorn! He got to snuggle up with ponies and sheep (?) by the fire!

    • notemily says:

      Vg fhpxf gung CW unf gb znxr hc srznyr punenpgref va beqre sbe gurer gb OR nal va gur Uboovg zbivrf. Orpnhfr lbh xabj gurer ner tbvat gb or obbx-chevfgf jub ner yvxr "FUR JNFA'G VA GUR OBBX! OYNFCURZL!!" naq onfu ure gb ab raq.

      • knut_knut says:

        V'ir urneq n ybg bs crbcyr qba'g yvxr gur npgerff rvgure, juvpu whfg nqqf gb gur ungr 🙁 V'ir arire frra ure va nalguvat, ohg fur ybbxf yvxr na rys!

        • notemily says:

          V qvqa'g yvxr ure punenpgre ba Ybfg, ohg V qba'g unir nalguvat ntnvafg ure nf na npgerff. Naq… V zrna, ubj zhpu npgvat qbrf vg rira gnxr gb or na rys? *pbhtu Beynaqb Oybbz, Pncgnva Boivbhf pbhtu*

      • Tauriel_ says:

        I'm not really bothered about it.

        Whfg orpnhfr fur'f anzrq, qbrfa'g zrna fur'yy unir n ovt ebyr. Zl thrff vf fur'f bar bs gur thneqf ng Guenaqhvy'f cnynpr – fur qvq fnl n yvar va Fvaqneva va bar bs ure vagreivrjf, "Gur pryyf ner rzcgl!", juvpu fhttrfgf gung fur'yy or gur bar jub qvfpbiref gung gur qjneirf unir rfpncrq.

        Vg'f yvxr gung Ebuveevz zbgure jub fraqf ure gjb xvqf gb Rqbenf va GGG. Fur jnf pnfg nf "Zbejra" naq gurer jnf nccneragyl n ovg bs na hcebne, orpnhfr gung'f n punenpgre anzr sebz gur Fvyznevyyvba (Gheva'f zbgure). Ohg va gur raq, ure ebyr jnf whfg gb syrfu bhg gur fgbel, gb qrfpevor ubj gur jne nssrpgf pbzzba crbcyr. V jbhyqa'g or fhecevfrq vs Gnhevry'f (urur 😀 ) jnf nybat fvzvyne yvarf, gb uryc syrfu bhg gur fgbel. Naq orfvqrf, jr'yy unir Tnynqevry va gur Juvgr Pbhapvy ovgf, naljnl…

  9. rubyjoo says:

    When I first read this years ago – after LotR – I wasn't too thrilled. Odd chapters like the one with Gollum seemed quite amazing, but overall I was irritated by the structure and the handling of the deaths of Thorin, Fili and Kili and quite a few other things. But, after reading it again 6 months ago and now, yet again with Mark, I have developed a new appreciation. Tolkien takes you by surprise. He doesn't finish the story after the major climax – the death of Smaug – nor yet even after the Battle of the Five Armies. The book is called The Hobbit and it's all about Bilbo's experience and so he winds down slowly in a very satisfying manner. I really like the way that, having got Bilbo there, he has to get him back again – and, unlike many authors who leave the story dangling after the exciting bit and abandon us to decide on on our what happens next – MUCH too boring, they seem to be saying – Tolkien takes us that extra mile, or even 100 miles, to let us know what happened to the hero, discussing the boring practicalities like going around Mirkwood rather than through it but also giving us the gentle pleasures of things like Yule spent in Beorn's company. Like Mark, I love it when Bilbo stands looking back at the Lonely Mountain but then turns his face towards home, becoming less Tookish with every step. Tolkien understands what children want from a story – they want to KNOW stuff and this gentle ending means that they won't be battering their parents with endless questions beginning: "Well, what about…..?"

    • ladysugarquill says:

      Well, the story is called "Gurer naq onpx ntnva" 😉

      Though, this makes me think, with the backslash suffered by things like the Harry Potter Epilogue (of Awesome) and other stories, so much people nowadays seem to prefer the "make up your own ending" option… I personally prefer the author to tell me, since I prefer to hear the "truth"even if it isn't what I wanted or expected.

  10. stellaaaaakris says:

    Let me paint a picture: I'm sitting at Starbucks, waiting for my train and drinking my hot chocolate. I'm sitting at a table full of strangers, listening to this chapter. In the background, I can still hear The Little Drummer Boy playing. I get to the part about Thorin's end and I let out a soft but audible, "Noooo." Then I hear about Fili and Kili and fling myself on to the table, like that Pinocchio gif that I've seen around. Okay, so I didn't actually throw myself on to the table, but I did in my head. What I actually did was tear up and start searching desperately for a tissue. I got a few looks, but I'm used to it. After all, I read The Book Thief on the train every morning on my way to work.

    Thorin dying was sad and all, but it's really Fili and Kili (especially Kili <3) that get me. They were so (relatively) young and full of whimsy and they had a conscience! I love me some fictional characters who know when they're in the wrong or, at the very least, feel uncomfortable. And we don't even get a real chance to say goodbye! I need to just stop having favorite characters when I read/watch along with you. They almost always die (Rudy :'().

    Hey Beorn, what's up? What have you been up to? So I was mistaken, Hagrid is clearly a descendent of Beorn and not actually the man himself. My bad. That's why Hagrid's more cheerful. Speaking of cheerful, I hope Bard is less grim now that he has treasure and success. Don't be grim, Bard.

    And yeah, the lack of women was something I noticed, even when I first read this. It's annoying that we couldn't even have some female hobbits or elves or lake women just doing their thing. Was Bilbo's mother mentioned or just his Tookish relative? I may be thinking of somebody else. And even if she was mentioned, she clearly wasn't described enough if I can't really remember the possible one female who made an appearance.

    • leighzzz31 says:

      Fili and Kili were my favourite too! I was devastated as a kid to see them die and to die like that… It reminds me now of Lupin and Tonks' death, which devastated me equally (or probably more) and was mentioned in passing like that.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Bilbo's mother, the fabulous Belladonna Took is mentioned in the first chapter.

      I never cared about the lack of females in the stories. He had a story to tell, and I don't see any reason he should have had to shoehorn in an unnecessary character just to have a token female. What significant role would there have been for her? As for women mentioned in passing, he doesn't mention a lot of male characters in passing either– we don't see servants going about their business or farmers or whatever. The Dwarves were single minded in their quest and took no notice of anyone not part of the story.

      • NonnyW says:

        This exactly. Lack of characters of a certain gender (female or male) doesn't bother me if it makes sense with the story's setting. Why shoehorn in a token woman (or man)?

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          Given that Tolkien invented this realm and its rules, though, doesn't it say something that he made a world in which the inclusion of any women as more than set-dressing/props doesn't "make sense with the story's setting?"

          • CRB says:

            Well, yes and no. He created the world at least in part based off old mythologies and romanticized histories, so it also says something that women aren't set up as the cause of men's problems, or as a weakness in the hero's defense.

            Also, I prefer reading the Hobbit to books that include women – even strong women – but set them up as some sort of unknowable different species from the men.

            • bugeye says:

              Yes, I hate "it's some silly female's fault" We went to war to get the pretty girl, or some princess took the jewels. At least it is honest about the cause and effect. Spare me from using "insiped, selfish, love struck female" as a plot device.

          • NonnyW says:

            I think it says something about the specific stories that Tolkien was drawn to tell. When you look at the canvas of this fictional world, there are plenty of interesting potential stories that would naturally include or center on women.

            Of course, those weren't the stories that were written down. But I find it a little disturbing to imply that he was somehow wrong to be drawn to certain aspects of his fictional universe, and then chose to focus on those areas of interest.

            The problem here imho isn't Tolkien. It's the culture that surrounds his work and a lack of stories with reversed gender representation to this one. I don't like to condemn one type of story set up simply because we don't have enough of another type of set up.

            • Mauve_Avenger says:

              "But I find it a little disturbing to imply that he was somehow wrong to be drawn to certain aspects of his fictional universe, and then chose to focus on those areas of interest."

              1) I don't see how his chosen areas of interest preclude the appearance of female characters.
              2) Even if those areas of interest do necessarily preclude the appearance of female characters, I don't think that his interest in those subjects can be completely divorced from sexism. "The culture that surrounds his work" is also the culture that permeates his work and permeates every single member of society. It's not an accident that stories that are deemed "worth writing down" tend to center on male characters doing things that are coded as masculine.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Bear in mind that the Hobbit is only a very, very tiny piece of Tolkien's world and the big story he told in his books. There are plenty of women (and AWESOME women at that!) in his other works.

            • Mauve_Avenger says:

              V'ir ernq gur znva gevybtl nf jryy, naq V'ir nyfb urneq gung guvatf trg n ybg orggre va fbzr bs gur bgure obbxf, rfcrpvnyyl gur Fvyznevyyvba. V zlfgrevbhfyl tbg obgu gung naq Hasvavfurq Gnyrf frireny lrnef ntb (nf va rirelbar qravrf univat beqrerq gurz naq ab bar erzrzoref jub frag gurz), naq V whfg sbhaq gurz va n fgnpx bs obbxf ntnva erpragyl. V'yy cebonoyl gel gb svavfu erernqvat YbgE nf dhvpxyl nf cbffvoyr fb V pna ernq gubfr gjb qhevat gur erivrjf.

              V'z va gur frpbaq frpgvba bs gur Gjb Gbjref evtug abj. Chggvat bss ernqvat orpnhfr nakvrgl sbe svpgvbany punenpgref naq lrg ungvat zlfrys sbe qnjqyvat orpnhfr Rbjla naq Snenzve naq Zreel naq Cvccva. V guvax guvf frpgvba zvtug or gur uneqrfg sbe zr fvzcyl orpnhfr vg'f fnaqjvpurq orgjrra gjb snibevgrf.

        • kristinc says:

          Because the only way a woman could be in an adventure story is because she's "shoehorned in"? Or what? I don't get it.

          • NonnyW says:

            Absolutely not. Because it wasn't part of the story he wanted to tell, and would have been 'shoehorned' into this specific story. If I wanted to write an adventure story with all women, and didn't even really consider including a man because I just felt it didn't fit with the story I wanted to tell, I think I ought to be able to do that. And if Tolkien wants to do the inverse, I think he ought to be able to do that.

            Having an all male or female cast is just part of the range of potential casts. To always limit yourself to gender balanced casting would be to limit the diversity of stories that you can tell.

            • kristinc says:

              Yes, but it's very strange, don't you think, how so very many stories (celebrated stories like The Hobbit) just happen to feature an all male cast, and how comparatively few stories (and even fewer famous stories) feature the corresponding all-female cast? It's not coincidence, it's part of a specific cultural view that women did not have or make stories worth telling, and that needs to be recognized.

              When you say women weren't part of the story Tolkien wanted to tell, you're even saying it: you're saying, Tolkien didn't want to tell a story about women. Which is sad and unfortunate. Because although he wasn't an evil person and didn't consciously hate women, the reason he didn't want to tell a story about women cannot be separated from the social context he lived in, and we can't just pretend that he just happened to want to tell a story about only men completely independent of that social context.

              Edited to add: I'd like to point out as well that Tolkien wrote The Hobbit to read to his young sons, and there is a long and rich tradition of assuming that boys don't want to hear stories about girls and women. A long, rich, and yes, sexist tradition.

              • Pseudonymph says:

                Thank you so much for saying all of this.

              • NonnyW says:

                I'm definitely not denying that there is an imbalance between how frequent/acceptable it seems to have historically been to write male centric works. Not at all. It's simply the principle of it- of condemning a story simply for a lack of diversity in the cast – that I can't get behind.

                We do need stories with diversity, but that doesn't have to mean that we have to consider stories with a lack of diversity wrong. We want more writing that contains diverse characters, and should be encouraging that, not trying to fix the imbalance by ragging on the stuff that's already there. It can be solved by addition, it doesn't have to be solved by subtraction.

                That's my take anyway. I like to read a great variety of stories in most regards. That includes casts of varying makeup.

                • kristinc says:

                  The thing is, nobody is condemning the story for it. But a whole heckuva lot of people are being really quite defensive in the face of this one very specific criticism, which says a lot to me.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Ahhh, I knew she was mentioned at some point!

        I'm not saying he should have shoehorned anybody in and I think having a token female would have weakened the story, but I don't think they needed to be token characters at all. I do think they should be mentioned (but I did forget about Thorin's sister and the Lake women that monkeybutter mentioned, so I admit there is that). But all the elves and guards are males too. And yes, the dwarves were pretty treasure-minded, but this isn't really their story; it's Bilbo's. He's not as focused on treasure and might have noticed a female or two while at Rivendell. V nyfb qvqa'g ernq YBGE hagvy n srj lrnef yngre fb V qvqa'g zrrg Rbjla be Tnynqevry hagvy gura. YBGE vf irel zhpu n fgbel bs gur Sryybjfuvc, jub ner nyy zra, ohg V qvqa'g srry gubfr ynqvrf jrer fubrubearq va ng nyy, abe gung gurl jrer gbxra jbzra. V qba'g frr jul Gbyxvra pbhyqa'g unir qbar gur fnzr sbe guvf obbx.

        As for how this story is partly inspired by his experiences in WWI, that's fine. I think that is part of what makes his experiences so powerful. But women played a role in the war as well, both at home and on the front. Why couldn't that have been mentioned? (I concede I don't know how well known their role in the military was at this point.)

        Basically, 11 year old, history-loving me wanted girls/women to look up to who weren't part of the Baby-Sitters' Club and who lived in a world full of magic.

        I really don't think this is clear. Sorry.

        • anghraine says:

          "I think having a token female would have weakened the story, but I don't think they needed to be token characters at all."

          I agree. I personally dislike when women are included just to have one and their characters are left at that — so many stories are the (male) hero and the (male) snarky sidekick and the (male) smart one and the (male) brawny one and the girl. *That said*, tokenism is not at all the same thing as showing that women exist in the world. Fili and Kili could mention their mother in passing (which would *also* give us a stronger sense of their family, which would make their deaths even more powerful). There could be Elf women. There could be a song about Belladonna Took!

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            You know who would be great at making a song for Belladonna? Starkid. I know they did at least a partial play of LOTR with Lauren Lopez as Sebqb, you know doing her thing and being awesome.

        • I think part of it may have been just inexperience with writing. His writing style drastically changes between The Hobbit and LOTR, and I think that may have been a part of why this world feels so narrow as opposed to that of LOTR.

          That said, I do wish there had been more of a female presence in this book. I wish that very much. But there isn't, and in the end, I think I just try to enjoy the book, despite its flaws. Because even with the flaws, there's still a lot to enjoy.

      • ladysugarquill says:

        This. It's never bothered me at all. In fact, I find it more annoying when there's a character pastede on yay just because it "should" be there.

  11. pennylane27 says:

    Oh god why would you kill Fili and Kili like that? I wasn't baffled about Thorin's death like Mark, the phrase until the world is renewed. kind of gave it away instantly. But still, it was terrible. I wasn't expecting main-character-deaths in a children's book. I remember going to my aunt (who got me to read it) in a rage because she hadn't warned me.

    The lack of women never really bothered me. I was 12 when I first read it, and I just assumed women didn't play an important enough part in the story to appear. Cyhf, V ernq YBGE vzzrqvngryl nsgre, naq V thrff V jnf fngvfsvrq jvgu gur jbzra gung qb nccrne gurer. I don't know. I think if Tolkien was writing now it would be different. Maybe.

    ART! Very grim and dark art, if I may say so.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Bilbo, you are finally home.

    Oh and Beorn <3

    • Dreamflower says:

      Cyhf, V ernq YBGE vzzrqvngryl nsgre, naq V thrff V jnf fngvfsvrq jvgu gur jbzra gung qb nccrne gurer. I don't know. I think if Tolkien was writing now it would be different. Maybe.

      Sadly you are probably right. I say that because I don't think any storyteller or artist should HAVE to include a token character just to satisfy modern sensibilities. The story is the story and should tell itself the way it wants to. If it calls for only female characters I wouldn't have a problem with that either. Off the top of my head I can think of at least one other adventure story whose only female character is the protagonist's mother in the first chapter: "Treasure Island". And then there is "Robinson Crusoe". I am sure there are others.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        I say that because I don't think any storyteller or artist should HAVE to include a token character just to satisfy modern sensibilities.

        Also, Tolkien wrote this decades ago – how could he have predicted what "modern sensibilities" will be around in early 21st century?

        It's like asking someone to write a story now that will appeal to "modern sensibilities" of people living in year 2100 or something. We have no idea what people's ideas about these issues will be then, and what will be acceptable social norms. Maybe people of 2100 will look back at our times and regard many of our social norms silly and/or offensive and/or simply outdated.

  12. @threeparts says:

    I just did a wordcount on an e-book version, and 'her' is used four times and 'she' once, and all but one are in three sentences right at the beginning, talking about Belladonna Took, Bilbo's mother. The fourth 'her' is used in a song as a feminine pronoun for the Night.

    Nice, eh?

  13. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I'm fairly sure that Bilbo wasn't worrying about his internet history, due to the little fact of computers not existing.

    Once again, I enjoyed this chapter. I liked how he pretty much kept Bilbo out of the main fray, which although slightly anti-climatic, is such a wonderful subversion of what usually happens in these things. I also thought Thorin's death was touching, and didn't find it ambiguous at all, but maybe that's because I'm simply use to flowery language and euphemisms when it comes to these things.

    That said, these chapters do demonstrate some of the problems I've been having with Tokein, which has so far stopped me from really loving this book. Filli and Killi are only given a moment to say they were gone- which is okay. Sometimes passing over a death quickly helps show the pure magnitude of something, like how in the Battle Of Hogwarts Harry simply had to note all the dead bodies. But this doesn't really happen here. We never really see Bilbo grieve. I partly feel that the deaths didn't have quite a big emotional effect on me. I love Filli and Killi, they were my favourite dwarves- usually when some of my favourite characters in a book die, I'm really quite sad. Here, nothing. There wasn't the same amount of character development and depth that I'm used to. All we knew was that they were younger and chirpier than they other dwarves. I didn't know about their parents, or their favourite pass-times; we never had them chatting idly about things with Bilbo. This goes for almost all of the characters. This book has a fairy-tale-esque quility, but this means it sacrafices some of the stuff I like about modern literature with some of the (few) things I don't like about mythology.

    And yeah….the women. I think I realised it when we switched over to Bard's perspective a few chapters back, the fact there were absolutely no women. At all. Not even a minor side-character, like the elf jailer. Its just so difficult for me to comprehend as a modern reader. Sexism still exists, and we've seen plenty of media that could be better in their portrayal…but even they at least have one or two female side-characters. Even Sherlock Holmes, written in the Victoria era, had more girls than this!

  14. threerings says:

    Yeah, killing off Fili and Kili as a side-note isn't Tolkien's finest hour. And the lack of women in his work is glaring. But it's one of those things that you just get used to, and forgive as a product of his time. YBGE vf orggre, ohg fgvyy, jung, sbhe jbzra va gur ragver obbx?

    • notemily says:

      Lrnu, naq abar bs gurz gnyx gb rnpu bgure. Tolkien fails the Bechdel test so hard.

      I always think of one of my favorite movies, though, which is Master and Commander, which also has like one woman in it and she doesn't get any lines, just stares seductively at Captain Aubrey. But it's still one of my favorite movies of all time (OF ALL TIME) so I don't care too much. It's also a product of its time, because women weren't even allowed on ships at that point (I think) because of it being bad luck or some shit.

      Tolkien was writing what he knew, which was a bunch of dudes going off to fight while the women stayed at home. I forgive him because the characters he does write about are so nuanced and amazing that I feel their experiences apply universally, not only to men. I mean, who DOESN'T identify with Sebqb'f fgehttyrf va YBGE?

      • Geolojazz says:

        Heh, the opera company in my city is staging Moby Dick, and there's only one female role in the whole bloody thing, chorus included! The company has now drained the city of any male singer worth his salt, and every other community theatre production is suffering from a lack of men. Heh, one company producing Sondheim's Assassins might even have to pull the plug due to testosterone shortage. XD

      • Saphling says:

        The Aubrey-Maturin series mentions that women were occasionally allowed on board Navy ships, but Jack made it his particular rule that they weren't allowed on his ship, because they caused disorder among the crew, or something. *has been a while since she read them*

        • Saphling says:

          Also, notemily, I second the OF ALL TIME nature of how much Master and Commander is one of my favorite movies.

          …Even though it needed more Stephen. >_>

          • notemily says:

            I just watched the Iron Man movies, and I was delighted to discover that Paul Bettany did the voice of Tony Stark's helpful AI, Jarvis.

            I actually didn't expect to like M&C, which is one reason why it totally blew me away. I went with a bunch of friends and I was expecting it to be more of a straight-up action movie with very little thinking going on. Instead it was painstakingly historically accurate and dealt with a lot of emotional issues as well as tactical ones. Plus the music is amazing.

            • pennylane27 says:

              I remember disliking it because it was competing against RotK for the Oscars on most categories, and I was like NOOO, WHO DOES THIS MOVIE THINK IT IS PETER JACKSON AND CO HAVE TO WIN EVERYTHING. And then I actually watched and instantly loved it forever. If it had come out at another time, it would have won everything and I would have been glad.

              Also, Paul Bettany and Russell Crow.

              • notemily says:

                Yeah that was definitely ROTK's year, but I would have been happy if M&C had won more things because I loved it as well. But I don't think too many people in the Academy even saw it.

                • stefb4 says:

                  It must've been hard for Ovyyl Oblq. Or not really, he was more emotionally involved with ROTK.

                  (PJ & Co won EVERYTHING which was an exciting Oscar night for me)

                  Are we rot13-ing actors' names? I know that under no circumstances should Znex svaq bhg gung Frna Orna cynlf Obebzve orsber ur xabjf Obebzve qvrf.

          • knut_knut says:

            I agree! The music is PERFECT and whenever someone says "the lesser of two evils" I always think of "the lesser of two weevils" and then make a fool of myself

        • notemily says:

          Well then Jack is just a bigot. 😉

          • Saphling says:

            Well, actually… (rot13 potential spoilers for the books WHICH EVERYONE SHOULD READ BECAUSE THEY'RE FANTASTIC) lrf. Lrf, ur vf. >_> Ur pnabavpnyyl unf n Ancbyrnavp-ren Ratyvfu Cebgrfgnag'f sreirag qvfyvxr bs gur Cbcr, naq ur bsgra pngpurf uvzfrys orvat ovtbgrq va Fgrcura'f cerfrapr, naq srryf nccebcevngryl nfunzrq naq ncbybtrgvp.

      • anghraine says:

        Vbergu, gur byq urnyre ynql, erpncf gur fgbel gb ure xvafjbzna — ohg gung'f cerggl zhpu n grpuavpnyvgl. Zvqqyr-rnegu vf qrsvavgryl n zna'f jbeyq, juvpu vf cebonoyl jul Tnynqevry naq Ébjla naq Yboryvn Fnpxivyyr-Onttvaf (snibhevgr uboovg rire!) fgnaq bhg fb zhpu. (Gur ynggre fubjf hc va guvf obbx, gubhtu, qbrfa'g fur?)

  15. Stephen_M says:


    Welcome to the realities of war, it rarely plays nice with the narrative.

    Oh and to be honest i never found the last Thorin scene to be unclear at all, not entirely sure why that would cause confusion. Unless it's more to do with not being used to this style of writing, possible if you haven't visited that sort of style before.

  16. Noybusiness says:

    I didn't notice either. Now I want to write a book where all the mentioned characters are women, without any direct reference to this fact or to feminism in the text, and see if people notice.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I imagine they would, sadly. 😛

    • I came very close to doing just that with my first novel (only one significant character is male, and he doesn't talk to any other named male character in the book), but most reviewers didn't seem to notice.

      • chikzdigmohawkz says:

        Wait, which novel is that? (I may, possibly, have checked out some of your books from the library when I saw another commenter wrote something about you being an author.)

      • notemily says:

        Ha, reverse Bechdel test!

        I think it's a bit easier to do books with a lot of female characters in YA, because it's assumed that the majority of YA audiences are female. But when you do an adult book with a lot of female characters it gets stuck with the "chick lit" label. Sigh.

        • I think you're totally right about YA. Just one of the many reasons I love it. That and the fact that you can merrily cross genres and bend them in all directions, and still end up in the same section of the bookstore with the same target readership, instead of being segregated into the SF section or the Romance section or the Western section or whatever. (Although the introduction of the "Paranormal Romance" subsection in YA is a bit of a concern… I hope YA doesn't eventually get subcategorized to death.)

          • notemily says:

            Well, it's all marketing… even what gets classified as YA and what gets classified as Adult is largely marketing. Once the Twilight fad dies down, if it ever does, we'll probably stop seeing so many paranormal romances.

  17. Dreamflower says:

    On a completely unfunny note, it took me until this moment to realize that…jesus, there’s not a single woman in this entire book. I don’t even think there’s a feminine pronoun used once in the whole thing.

    Well, technically not. We are informed about Bilbo's mother, the fabulous Belladonna Took in the first chapter so there's at least a mention of females and a few pronouns. But, no, there are no female characters who appear onstage.

    Even though I'm female, it didn't bother me. He had a story to tell, and it just so happened that there weren't any female roles, and he (being a man of his time and not ours) saw no need to invent one.

    Poor Bilbo! It was very good that he got a chance to make things right with Thorin before Thorin dies! And it's a touch of realism that Fili and Kili die off-stage so to speak– that's the way of battles; it's the way it happened to JRRT himself with his friends. All but one of his close friends were killed in WWI, and he didn't have a chance to say good-bye to any of them.

    Here's a couple of links to some gapfiller fanfics I wrote from this chapter. There are some very eensy-weensy spoilers– the names of some off-stage characters and so forth, and some Appendix material– but that's all. The aftermath of Thorin's death… On the way back… Bilbo's homesick at Yule; Beorn helps him feel better

    • Robin says:

      "He had a story to tell, and it just so happened that there weren't any female roles […]"

      Well, no. As a writer, I can say that while it's nice to think that our stories exist somewhere out in the ether and we are only conduits, that's not the case. Stories are built, and not including female characters was a choice. Whether that choice was informed by conscious misogyny or unconscious sexism doesn't change his culpability, not least because it wasn't as if he were living any earlier than he was. Women were plenty involved in public life during the war and during the time this was written.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Exactly. He didn't look under a microscope, say "oh, no noteworthy female characters here," and then record his findings. This work was produced by his mind, and his mind produced a sausage-fest.

        People need to ask themselves why male-dominated stories seemingly always "just so happen," whereas the inclusion of women as even a minor presence is so often a matter of "tokenism" or "shoehorning in." (And if I read those words again in these comments, I feel like I might legitimately start screaming.)

        People need to ask themselves why they seem to think think it makes more sense for a story to have hobbits and dwarves and trolls that turn to stone and stone-giants and elves and orcs and birds that can talk and men with a capital M than to have any notable representation of a group that presumably makes up roughly fifty percent of all the aforementioned groups.

        • Dreamflower says:

          This story unfolded bit by bit as he told it to three little boys. Three little boys for whom the only significant woman in their lives was their mother; no accident that Bilbo's mother was the only female mentioned. Little boys that age are seldom interested in hearing about girls (or women who are not their mothers). And their father did not live in a time when it was thought important to make sure little boys thought of girls — or women– as being as capable as they were. You can ret-con fiction, you can't ret-con Real Life.

          And the story had hobbits and dwarves and trolls and elves and orcs because that was the world in which the story took place.

          Tolkien was a sexist– more even than most men of his generation– due to his upbringing (he was raised by a Catholic priest). But he was NOT a misogynist. Chivalry is a form of sexism, but it's not hating women, it's putting them onto a pedestal and thinking of them as some special saintly sort of being above mere males, especially mothers; it's every bit as annoying to the object of veneration as the other sort of sexism, but it is not ill-intentioned. He put both his wife and his mother up on such pedestals; he loved and admired them very much, but I doubt he understood either of them very well.

          Ur jnf qrsvavgryl pncnoyr bs jevgvat fgebat srznyr ebyrf. Gur Fvyz cebirf gung, naq va YbgE, Tnynqevry naq Rbjla nyfb cebir gung. Ohg gurl jrera'g fgbevrf gung jrer jevggra nf orqgvzr fgbevrf sbe uvf fbaf.

          • kristinc says:

            "Little boys that age are seldom interested in hearing about girls "

            This is probably because little boys of that age so seldom encounter interesting, active female characters.

    • Genny_ says:

      Yeah, but why do you think the story he had to tell 'happened' to involve no women? And yes, he was 'of his time'- and the time he was of is as worthy of criticism as anything. Stories don't pop outta nowhere, writers create them and choose how they write them, and so if he comes up with a story and it's got no ladies in it, well…

      Plus, I don't see why any of the roles in this story *have* to be male, so I also don't see why he'd have to invent one?

  18. notemily says:

    According to The Annotated Hobbit, Yule-tide in Middle-earth is celebrated for six days: the last three of the year and the first three of the new year. So it's like New Year's, only lasting longer and probably with a lot more food. I'm guessing it's also a Winter Solstice celebration (the Solstice marking the New Year), but I have no idea really.

    It is a bit silly that Thorin is like "Farewell!" and then Bilbo goes off and cries. I think if I were on my deathbed I wouldn't be saying anything with an exclamation point after it. He's just like "See ya! *dies*" Except he dies off-page, so it's even more ambiguous. "Did Thorin just… die?" "You know, it was really unclear!"

    I think that's just Tolkien's dialogue and writing style, though. V xabj va gur YBGE zbivrf gurl qrsvavgryl rqvgrq gur qvnybthr gb or zber "ernyvfgvp" naq yvxr jung crbcyr jbhyq npghnyyl fnl engure guna jung jnf ba gur cntr, naq hfhnyyl guvf jbexrq. (Fbzrgvzrf vg ernyyl ernyyl qvqa'g. "Yrg'f uhag fbzr bep"? Nentbea jbhyq arire fnl gung!)

    It is weird that there are like NO female characters in this book. I can understand for the fighting/armies, but you'd think they would mention some Laketown women or Elvish women when the narrative went to those places. And what of Eagle women? Are they just sitting on some nest somewhere instead of being badass? And how can Beorn have a lot of descendants if there were no she-Beorns around? Now I'm imagining Beorn putting out a personal ad. "Single, vegetarian Northman looking for lifetime companion. Do you enjoy long walks in the woods? Are you an animal lover? Do you go 'berserk' for big hairy guys? If so, you might be the 'honey' I'm looking for. Let's get together and snuggle by the fire. Note: Must be a fan of bears."

    My favorite annotation for this chapter comes right after Balin is like "if ever you visit us again, when our halls are made fair once more, then the feast shall indeed be splendid!" and Bilbo is like "Come for tea anytime!" The annotation reads:

    In The Road to Middle-earth, Tom Shippey singles out this exchange between Balin and Bilbo as a contrast of styles between Balin's elevated language and Bilbo's commonplace speech: "There is not much in common between the language of these two speakers; nevertheless it is perfectly clear that they are saying the same thing."

    • Dreamflower says:

      V xabj va gur YBGE zbivrf gurl qrsvavgryl rqvgrq gur qvnybthr gb or zber "ernyvfgvp" naq yvxr jung crbcyr jbhyq npghnyyl fnl engure guna jung jnf ba gur cntr, naq hfhnyyl guvf jbexrq. (Fbzrgvzrf vg ernyyl ernyyl qvqa'g. "Yrg'f uhag fbzr bep"? Nentbea jbhyq arire fnl gung!)

      Yep. Naq fbzrgvzrf vg ybfg n ybg. Yvxr Zreel: "Ner lbh tbvat gb yrnir zr?" vafgrnq bs "Ner lbh tbvat gb ohel zr?" juvpu jnf n ybg zber cbvtanag!

      How do we know there were no female Eagles? We know that the one carrying Bilbo was male, as was the one carrying Gandalf. But we don't know what the ones carrying the Dwarves were!

      "Single, vegetarian Northman looking for lifetime companion. Do you enjoy long walks in the woods? Are you an animal lover? Do you go 'berserk' for big hairy guys? If so, you might be the 'honey' I'm looking for. Let's get together and snuggle by the fire. Note: Must be a fan of bears."

      *snerk* I love that. I truly do.

    • I would come running to that advertisement of Beorn's, nevermind my complete inability to sprint. I'd get there somehow- and then find a line a mile long 🙁

      I've always just thought the lack of women is something that was a product of this narrative in particular, not any particular choice of Tolkien's. Given the way the expedition was set up, it would have been hard to find a way to include a female presence, and as others have commented, Tolkien's not exactly an expert in the art of storytelling. World-building, yes, storytelling not so much. I do wish there were more women, but I also like the story as it is, and this is partly why I am one of those dreaded book purists who is worried about what the movies will do. I love the presence of strong female characters, but I hate it when they're shoehorned in only for the sake of a female presence and nothing more. It cheapens their effect to me, which is why I hope they'll keep the story pretty close to the original. I have a major hatred for any kind of token lip service, even when it's politically correct to do so.

    • arctic_hare says:

      You win all the upvotes for the Ember Island Players ref. <3 And that personal ad.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      (Fbzrgvzrf vg ernyyl ernyyl qvqa'g. "Yrg'f uhag fbzr bep"? Nentbea jbhyq arire fnl gung!)

      Be Yrtbynf'f "Tnzr bire?" va EBGX RR. *snprcnyz*

    • Nick says:

      Rira vs ur'q fnvq "Yrg'f uhag fbzr bepf", CYHENY, vg jbhyq'ir orra orggre.

    • kristinc says:

      "Except he dies off-page, so it's even more ambiguous. "Did Thorin just… die?" "

      I read this to the spouse and he did an impeccable imitation of Billy Connolly in Muppet Treasure Island.



  19. Appachu says:

    Thorin's death never really upset me all that much, for some reason. Never been sure why. Maybe because the first time I read this, I was more upset about Fili and Kili, because I liked their names better (what? I was seven.), and every time since, I've known it was coming so it wasn't that much of a shock. Things like character deaths don't usually affect me as much on rereads/rewatches, unless they're done really well.

    Or maybe I'm just cruel and heartless. *shrug*

    (Also, I'm inordinately amused by the phrase "majestic bits of treasure". Must find a way to use this.)

  20. Starsea28 says:

    Honestly, as a young girl, it never bothered me there weren't women in 'The Hobbit', because I knew that if any had turned up, they would have been relegated to domestic roles (as they usually are in high fantasy) and I didn't want to read about that. I wanted to read about adventure and Bilbo nearly getting eaten by giant spiders and tricked by Smaug.

    I was pretty devastated by Thorin's death. Seriously?! HE DOESN'T EVEN GET TO RULE LIKE HIS FATHER AND HIS GRANDFATHER BEFORE HIM?! WHAT WAS THE FREAKING POINT? But then, I guess that is Tolkien's point. If more people were like hobbits, there wouldn't be so many wars. :'(

    • notemily says:

      He ruled for like five minutes, when he charged out into the battle and kicked ass. I bet songs and stuff about him will still be going around generations later. And the point is that the Dwarves as a race reclaimed their mountain from Smaug. I think all of them knew that some of them might not survive, when they set out.

      • Starsea28 says:

        He did have his one moment of glory, that's true. I knew some of the dwarves might die, I just didn't think Thorin would be one of them.

    • It didn't bother me either, because by that point I'd already read the Aneavn books and glommed onto characters like Nenivf and Wvyy (rot13'ing this just in case, since I can't remember if Mark has read or has any intention of reading Aneavn), and also because I'd heard my Dad reading bits of YbgE and knew I had Rbjla to look forward to.

  21. ravenclaw42 says:

    I started writing something about the absence of women, then realized I can’t go there yet. I’ve been confronting a lot of my own self-loathing demons in the last year, all to do with how deeply I internalized the dismissal of women in mass media as a kid. One thing that is hard is trying not to overcompensate in the other direction – trying to learn how to be critical and aware without resenting everything that I now realize sent me mixed messages or contributed to my teenage attitude towards women (in short, that they ruined everything and I hated being one). I’m able to compartmentalize my enjoyment of The Hobbit away from the part of me that is critical of it, for which I’m grateful – I’ve had my compartments break down for a few pieces of media I used to love, and there are few things more painful than a story that used to be a comfort to you suddenly becoming a minefield of issues you can’t ignore.

    V ernffher zlfrys jvgu gur xabjyrqtr bs Rbjla, Tnynqevry, Nejra naq rira Rqvgu Gbyxvra, jub ol nyy nppbhagf frrzf gb unir orra n ONZS. Fur naq WEE frrzrq gb unir tbg nybat fb jryy naq orra fhpu cnegaref va rirelguvat gurl qvq gung vg znxrf zr srry yvxr ur jbhyq arire or znyvpvbhfyl qvfzvffvir bs jbzra. Vg’f abg na rkphfr, ohg V pna frg nfvqr gur ceboyrzngvp ovgf va snibe bs rawblzrag n yvggyr zber rnfvyl orpnhfr bs gung? Vs gung znxrf nal frafr.

    “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”

    Beorn being badass! I love this picture. 😀

    • Starsea28 says:

      I think Tolkien had great respect for women, actually, it's just that sexism was SO ingrained in that time, he didn't even realise he was being sexist by writing a book that didn't include a single female character. :-/ I'm glad you're able to enjoy this book without anything getting in the way. <3

    • ravenclaw42 says:

      Oh dear, the first picture seems to have vanished and I can't edit now. Did I screw up the tags or did it just get eaten?

    • Casye says:

      Spoilers for Silmarillion: Ernyyl, va zl bcvavba, bar bs gur zbfg onqnff punenpgref va Gbyxvra'f jbexf jnf srznyr: Yhguvra. Ohg vg frrzf yvxr gurer ner srjre crbcyr snzvyvne jvgu Gur Fvyznevyyvba guna uvf bgure obbxf. Abarguryrff, V jvfu gurer unq orra zber srznyrf va nyy bs Gbyxvra'f jbex.

      I suppose I will content myself with pretending Fili and Kili were woman. (Naq, bs pbhefr Rbjla, Nejra, Tnynqevry, naq Yhguvra!)

      • stefb4 says:

        The Silmarillion is definitely worth reading. You'll like this excerpt from TvTropes (for the Onqnff trope—there are A LOT named specifically for this book):

        –Orera naq Yúguvra. Gurl frg bhg gb fgrny Zbetbgu'f zbfg gernfherq cbffrffvba, juvpu ur xrrcf ba uvf crefba, sebz gur zvqqyr bs uvf sbegerff bs qbbz naq fhpprrq. Nyy bire jung nzbhagf gb n org.

        AND worth mentioning (same trope):

        — Areqnary, sbe nppbzcyvfuvat gur vzcbffvoyr: sbe n gvzr, Sënabe yvfgrarq gb ure. Fur nyfb ober uvz frira fbaf; guvf vf n irel ovt qrny vs lbh'er na rys—srj unir zber guna sbhe, nf vg vf fb qenvavat sbe gurz. Npghnyyl, univat frira puvyqera pna or rkunhfgvat va Erny Yvsr. Naq gurfr ner Sënabe'f xvqf jr'er gnyxvat nobhg.

        it's so true

      • I have to re-read Silmarillion now- I found a cheap copy at a used bookstore which I've been meaning to get to for a while.

        Naq vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl, Tnynqevry xvpxf fbzr znwbe nff va gur Fvyznevyyvba nf jryy.

    • notemily says:

      V ybir Gbyxvra naq Rqvgu'f Rcvp Ybir Fgbel. Ur rira fnlf "fur jnf zl Yhguvra." <3.

    • Ellie says:

      its funny, when i was growing up the majority of women in media were really strong and intelligent (and beautiful), and i always felt like a loser for not being so perfect.
      i wish men and women could just be portrayed equally, varying in skills and flaws

  22. James says:

    Znex, V guvax vs lbh xarj gur bevtvaf bs Tboyvaf, gura lbh zvtug or yrff pbashfrq ng gurve qrcvpgvba. Gurl ner na rivy enpr/fcrpvrf orpnhfr bs ubj gurl pnzr gb or. Vg’f abg tbar vagb va gur obbxf gurzfryirf ohg vg vf gbhpurq ba va inevbhf cynprf nebhaq gurz (Fvyznevyyvba, Hasvavfurq Gnyrf &p), fb V’z abg fher vs gryyvat lbh pbhagf nf n fcbvyre… Ebg-13 gb gur erfphr! Lbh pna ernq vg vs lbh jnag.

    Onfvpnyyl, gurl ortna nf bgure cer-rkvfgvat fcrpvrf gung jrer gbegherq, pbeehcgrq naq gjvfgrq orlbaq erpbtavgvba ol qnex sbeprf vagb gur znyribyrag orvatf jr frr. Gurl’er hanzovthbhfyl rivy, orpnhfr gurl jrer znqr gb or gung jnl.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      It is mentioned in passing in Lord of the Rings ('cause I know that and I never read any companion books) so yes it is a bit of a spoiler.

    • echinodermata says:

      Rot13'd the comment and removed the originally rot13d part since it would have gone to plaintext and I'm too lazy to mess with it.

  23. la.donna.pietra says:

    On a completely unfunny note, it took me until this moment to realize that…jesus, there’s not a single woman in this entire book. I don’t even think there’s a feminine pronoun used once in the whole thing. YEAH WHAT THE FUCK TOLKIEN. I mean…what? How is that even possible?

    And this is why little.donna.pietra thought this book wasn't very good and why she didn't get around to reading LOTR until she was in her mid-20s. On the plus side, I was clearly a very sophisticated and discerning reader at age five.

    (I may have also thought Gollum was creepy as hell, but that was of course not in any way a factor.)

  24. arctic_hare says:

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

    Thorin. *sniffle* And Fili and Kili! WHY. I love this book, but I hate offscreen/offpage deaths and so I heavily side-eye that part. I don't think that's ever good writing. For shame, Tolkien. Also not fond of the lack of women, either. I mean, I get the reasons why, but still. LOTR/movies spoilers: Guvf vf jul V'z tynq Crgre Wnpxfba terngyl vapernfrq Nejra'f ebyr va gur svyzf, naq jul V qba'g zvaq gurz vairagvat n srznyr rys sbe Gur Uboovg.

    Still, I always end up feeling a bit sad and lonely when I hit this part of the novel. The adventure is almost over, and it's time to say goodbye to the friends you've made on the journey. Not every story gives you that feeling, but this one does for me. <3

  25. freetheradicals says:

    I think because I tended to read older books where there are few to no women when I was a young girl, I never really noticed the lack of women. It is problematic, but it is also very much a product of its time.

    My friend was reading things by Tamora Pierce and other authors who have awesome female characters when she was the same age. She started to read The Hobbit, and was like "What the heck, I am going to read a book where there actually are girls!" Whereas it was my favorite book for most of gradeschool. I identified with the idea of the small, seemingly useless character learning to be awesome, and it didn't occur to me until a few years later to be annoyed at the lack of women. I guess I don't want to defend this so much as acknowledge that this isn't unusual in this kind of book written in this time period.

  26. VoldieBeth says:

    Good bye, Thorin, Kili, and Fili! You were all pretty awesome. One more chapter then LotR!!!!! I can't wait!

  27. Tauriel_ says:

    Regarding the glaring lack of women:

    Yeah, you'll kind of have to get used to it, Mark. 🙂 But it gets slightly better in LOTR, and quite a bit better in the Silmarillion, if you ever decide to read and review that (please do! Pretty pretty please!).

  28. stefb4 says:

    The lack of women never actually bothered me. I like a strong female character as much as the next person, but honestly I don't…need them? I don't look for them in every work of fiction I read, and most books I read actually tend to have a female protagonist somehow. I am always, almost without fail, drawn to male characters anyway. They mostly wind up being my favorites, with much fewer female characters amongst that group (Hermione and Professor McGonagall come to mind). I can see why people don't like the fact that there aren't any women, but I'm not one of them. My reaction mostly was: "Oh wait, there's no females in this story…Eh, oh well."

    V jbaqre vs Gnhevry, gur arj punenpgre CW nqqrq, vf Guenaqhvy'f jvsr. Gurer'f arire n zragvba bs ure ng nyy, fb fur pbhyq rvgure or qrnq be nyvir naq ab bar jbhyq or jebat (V crefbanyyl guvax fur'f qrnq). Whfg n ~gurbel~ orpnhfr fur unf ab ebznagvp pbaarpgvba gb Yrtbynf.

    …be fur pbhyq or n enaqbz Rys ynql. N thneq znlor.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      V guvax vg'f zbfg yvxryl fur'f n thneq – Rinatryvar Yvyl qvq bar vagreivrj naq gurl nfxrq ure nobhg yrneavat gb fcrnx va Ryivfu, naq fur fnvq n yvar va Fvaqneva, juvpu fur gura genafyngrq nf "Gur pryyf ner rzcgl!". Fb V'q fnl fur'f n thneq jub qvfpbiref gung gur Qjneirf rfpncrq.

    • flootzavut says:

      Pretty much my reaction too.

  29. stefb4 says:

    In one of the earlier chapters, when you kind of complained a little about the dwarves escaping the goblin caves unscathed, all I could do was shake my head and sigh, because I knew Thorin, Fili, and Kili were going to die. I WOULD RATHER THEY MIRACULOUSLY BE UNSCATHED THAN DEAD. *sobs*

  30. anghraine says:

    Hm, I personally sobbed over Thorin's death as a child, so I … don't find anything particularly ambiguous there? It seemed a very mythic death scene without being particularly self-indulgent, as high fantasy deaths often are (not excluding GRRM from that statement) — which I think is something he's trying to do: combine the experience of the great epics he loved with his own experience of war (if a very different kind of war). So there are battles, but he makes a point of not whitewashing them without indulging in gorn; if you fall unconscious during a battle, you're going to wake up to a field of corpses. You might just find that a bunch of your friends are dead and not really know how or when it happened. (I've just remembered that Fili and Kili were Thorin's nephews. ;_;)

    Er: gur ynqvrf, V ybir Gbyxvra'f srznyr punenpgref fb zhpu gung vg'f uneq gb or vzcnegvny. V guvax vg pbhyq unir orra orggre, lrf, jvgubhg vafregvat naablvat gbxra tveyf jub qba'g svg gur jbeyq be gur fgbel (lrf, Jvyyvr, V nz fgvyy ubyqvat gung tehqtr). V guvax vg'f gur nofrapr bs Enaqbz Trarevp Jbzra zber guna jbzra va gur znva pnfg gung obguref zr; gur ynggre znxrf frafr tvira gur (fho)perngrq frggvat naq gur barf ur jnf qenjvat sebz, ohg gur sbezre … ru. Vg'f pbeerpgrq n ovg va YBGE, gubhtu, naq ybgf va gur Fvyznevyyvba naq Hasvavfurq Gnyrf (gur Znevare'f Jvsr vf whfg …jubn).

    • stefb4 says:

      I know you didn't intend for that to be there, but the wink-face made me laugh after all that serious stuff. I'm a terrible person. But the wink-face makes me laugh either way.

  31. Becky_J_ says:

    This chapter made me feel bad for ever yelling at Thorin, because I grew quite mad at him in the last few. I never wanted him to die 🙁 I also love that they lay the Arkenstone on his chest…. Thorin would have been proud to die to protect the halls of his fathers and, in the end, he achieved what he had set out to achieve.

    What strikes me, particularly at the end of this chapter, is the weariness that is conveyed. I am going through a point in my life where the exhaustion of simply living life is getting to be too much to handle, and maybe I just projected it on this chapter, but when Bilbo thinks of his little hobbit hole, and how much he wants to be there, and how far away it is….. it would be so difficult to know that you have months before you are home. He has gone through so much, and at the end, the tiredness just seems overwhelming.

  32. Ellie says:

    its funny, when i was growing up the majority of women in media were really strong and intelligent (and beautiful), and i always felt like a loser for not being so perfect.
    i wish men and women could just be portrayed equally, varying in skills and flaws

  33. Ellie says:

    oops, that was supposed to be a reply…

  34. stefb4 says:

    GUISE YOU GUISE Go watch last night's Colbert Report, Ryvwnu Jbbq was on and he talks a little bit about The Hobbit. Stephen Colbert literally radiates excitement, and I knew exactly what he was going to bring up when he said "Okay, I've resisted for as long as I can…" It's so adorable.

    Always love when he shows his Tolkien Nerdism.

    SPOILERS for LotR, obviously.

    • chikzdigmohawkz says:

      Excuse me while I go search for this…

      And, in response to a much earlier thread (the fan-fiction discussion) (which was a couple of chapters ago, but I get tired of checking back all the time), I read all of the standalone stories written by other authors first (using daw's characters), including the one where Guenaqhvy zrrgf uvf jvsr.

      So I was already attached to the characters before I'd even started on the stuff written by daw. I've finished 'Urneg'f Rnfr', naq V fxvccrq nurnq bar fgbel naq ernq 'Jngpu Guvf!' (juvpu jnf whfg fb qnzarq phgr).

      I'll let you know when I get to the later stories that overlap with TH and LOTR. I have a tendency to read many things at once, so it's taking awhile to get through them.

      • stefb4 says:

        The first story you mentioned is one of my favorites. It's just so darn sweet (and really sad, actually!) The story you skipped is good though (again, fun and sweet).

    • monkeybutter says:

      Oh my god, it is impossible for me to love that man any more than I already do. He's all bright-eyed and sitting on the edge of his seat at the prospect of getting to nerd-talk with Ryvwnu Jbbq. So cute! <3 I want to know all of their secrets!

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Hahaha…you made me go out and find that clip and it's so cute and nerdy! Not sure what I like more, Stephen Colbert nearly bursting to talk about The Hobbit, or jura Ryvwnu vf fubjvat uvz Fgvat, naq Fgrcura ohfgf bhg uvf Fgvat fjbeq naq gurl unir n zvav fjbeq svtug! <3

    • notemily says:

      I have to go find that now. One of my all-time favorite Colbert moments is the Onyebt clip.

  35. fantasylover120 says:

    Yeah the dismissing of two awesome characters getting killed in one sentance like that will forever bug me. Not cool Tolkien. Not cool.

  36. MKD says:

    This is possibly the only book I've read where we skip the main battle (due to Bilbo being unconscious!) and I don't feel like I got cheated out of a critical section due to lazy writing.

  37. Sakura says:

    I was kind of annoyed at the lack of women in The Hobbit when I was a young girl, but then there was a heroine in the LotR trilogy that I quite liked, and in the Silmarillion, female characters are mentioned a lot more (and some have their own adventures). I don't think Tolkien meant to be sexist – the female characters in his works are perhaps a bit idealized, if anything. I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I found the lack of female characters in The Hobbit a bit glaring, in the end I found heroines in Tolkien's other work that made up for it.

  38. readerofprey says:

    While Tolkien gives all his dwarves names, Thorin, Filli, Killi, Balin, and Bombur are the only ones who actually do anything. Thorin's in charge; Filli and Kill are the young scouts, guards, rescuers, first-people-Thorin-orders-to-do-anything-aside-from-Bilbo, etc; Balin is the lookout, the oldest, Bilbo's particular friend, the guy who can talk to Ravens, and someone who remembers the old life under the mountain; Bombur is fat and funny and falls into enchanted rivers and needs to get hauled up cliffs. He killed off 3/5ths of his significant dwarves, if you count "let's rescue the fat guy again." The other dwarves are more or less interchangeable, and all of them survived.

    I wish he had found more of a use for all 13 of them.

    • stefb4 says:

      I think that will be improved in the movie, and I've read brief descriptions that PJ & Co have given each individual dwarf–how they're related, what they're prone to do, etc. They all have distinct looks too.

    • Dent_D says:

      Dori was relegated to hobbit babysitter at certain points, which I found a bit amusing.

  39. ladysugarquill says:

    Wait what I've JUST read that chapter and that last line is NOT in my book D:

    I think the official version with the goblins is: there are good goblins. But they're just minding their own business somewhere else and thus don't appear in the stories.

    I think there are no women in this story because Tolkien was drawing up from his own life through WWI, and there weren't women in that front either.

    Also, weren't all of Tolkien's kids boys? Maybe that had something to do with it as well.

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