Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 19

In the nineteenth (and final) chapter of The Hobbit, Gandalf helps Bilbo return to his home. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish The Hobbit.


“Wait…are you seriously done?”

Christopher was sitting up in bed, his hair disheveled even though his mother had told him to brush it not long ago, and he was staring at his father with a look somewhere between anticipation and shock. His father shifted uncomfortable in the oak chair he sat in, his face somewhere between a nervous fear and excited joy, unsure whether his son would approve of the end of the story.

“I think I’m done,” John responded, treading carefully, choosing his words with great thought. “I think I’ve come to an ending for all this, and one that fits the story.”


“I know.”

“This is a big day for you, Papa.”

“I know.”

“Are you going to be all right?”

“Are you going to be all right?”

Please, Papa. I can handle this. I can already guess how this is going to end.”

John closed his leather-bound notebook, full of ruffled pages that curled and expanded over time; once, many months before this, he used to be able to close that notebook cleanly, the pages aligned perfectly, but now the book seemed to be bursting out of the rectangular cover. Pages were turned down at the corner, notes scrawled in the margins, diagrams of hobbit-holes and mountain caves and homely houses taking up entire pages, and ideas and dreams and images were spilling out of the binding at all times. John wasn’t sure his son could see them, but he saw them every single day he gazed upon that notebook.

“Okay, son. How does this story end?”

“Easy. Bilbo returns home to find out that his hobbit-hole was actually Smaug’s lair the whole time.”

“I don’t even think I want to dignify that with a proper response.”

“You don’t like twist endings?”

“I don’t like things that don’t make sense.”

“It makes perfect sense. Isn’t Middle Earth round? That’s why the journey took so long, because they walked over the whole of Middle Earth.”

“Christopher, that…that is not at all logical at all,” John said, exasperated.

“Sure it is. Wouldn’t it be rather ironic if Smaug’s lair was really in his backyard the whole time?”

“Don’t you think Bilbo would have noticed the Lonely Mountain in his own backyard?”

“Bilbo’s been too busy making tea and eating and organizing his hobbit-hole,” he replied matter-of-factly. “It’s easy to get distracted.”

“Distracted for fifty years?

“Hey, you’re the writer here. Make it work, Papa.”

“You’re right about that,” John conceded. “I am the writer here, and that’s not how I am ending this story.” His son stuck his tongue out at him playfully, and John opened the notebook to one of the last few pages to a drawing of the inside of Bilbo’s hobbit-hole. “Now, it’s the first of May when Gandalf and Bilbo arrive at the Last Homely House–”

“That’s late. It’s already May? Wasn’t it barely spring last time you told part of this story?”

“Yes, but remember that these two are walking most of the way.”

“Cars, Papa.”


“……talking cars?”


Fine. Then I will sit here consumed with jealousy for the rest of the evening.”

John ignored this. “As Bilbo and Gandalf walked down the steep path towards the Last Homely House, they heard the elves singing in the trees above them, celebrating the loss of Smaug, and then they soon joined the two travelers to welcome them.”



“Why do the elves sing so much?”

“It’s part of their culture, son.”

“But why do so many characters sing?”

“Well,” John started, wanting to be thoughtful about this, “it’s sort of like…well, I guess that I wanted this story to use songs in the same way they were used in old Norse mythology. You know, songs about military glory and great tragedy.”

“But isn’t it a bit cumbersome to come up with the lyrics on the spot time and time again?”

“Maybe for you and I, but the elves and dwarves are rather good at it. It’s in their nature to.”

“Why don’t you have them write the story, then, if they can write so quickly?”

“I–I am unsure how to respond to that. Characters in a story don’t write their own story, Christopher.”

“Only if you limit your own characters, Papa. That’s on you.”

“Do you sit all day and try to think of logical pitfalls in which to trap me in?”

“What else am I going to do?”

John jokingly scowled at his son and pressed on. “Bilbo began to grow tired as he ate with the elves and listened to Gandalf tell them all stories of everything that had occurred in the last year. Bilbo was surprised to discover the reason for Gandalf’s necessary disappearance when it seemed he was needed most: he had driven the Necromancer out of the Mirkwood forest with the help of a council of white wizards.”

“Whoa, whoa, what? What’s a Necromancer? And there are other wizards? Papa, this is a lot of information to give me so close to the end.”

“I know, but it’s not really important right now. It’s more like…it’s like a clue, I guess.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know…it’s not important right now.”

“What’s a Necromancer?”

“You’ll find out.”

“Am I one of the wizards?”


“You didn’t put me in this book at all?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“What kind of father are you?”

“The kind who puts up with your interruptions for seemingly no reason.”

Christopher paused. “Good comeback. You may continue.”

“I’m ecstatic to have your permission, son,” John replied. “Anyway, Bilbo dozed off, only to be woken up by the singing of the elves.”


“They like singing.”

“That seems rather annoying.”

“Oh, so you don’t like it when someone interrupts an important task with a loud sound? That’s irritating to you, is it?”

“You’re getting good at this, Papa. I’m impressed.”

“I’m learning from the best. Bilbo slept a bit more, hoping the weariness in his body from so much travel and adventure would pass, and he was delighted to wake up hours later, feeling refreshed, eager to enjoy the presence of his new friends, the elves.”

“Do you think the elves would be friends with me?”

“I’m sure you’d make a nice friend to the elves, son.”

“You’re just patronizing me, aren’t you?”

“I’m at a point where I believe you would drive any species to a state of furious anger with your constant need to comment on everything.”

“Maybe the elves really want real-time feedback on their lyrics.”

“I highly doubt that.”

“Do they elves have a form of government?”

“You honestly don’t actually want to know the answer, son. You’re trying to get me to say something that you can then twist against me.”

“Why would you say that?” Christopher replied, putting on the most bashful face he could muster without laughing. “I’m just curious about this stuff, that’s all.”

“I wasn’t born yesterday.”

What if you were?”

“You wouldn’t exist.”

“No, but what if your whole “life”–” He made air quotes at the word “life”–“had actually just passed in a day, and you are a day old right now, and I’m like four seconds old?”

“Can I actually tell you a story?”

“You better hurry, I’m about to turn five seconds. Can we hold a party for my five second birthday?”

“After a week with the elves, Bilbo and Gandalf left the Last Homely House and continued to head towards the lands where Bilbo was born and grew up. It seemed as if his entire life had passed in the last year.”

“I told you that time was relative, Papa. See?”

“It’s a figure of speech,” he said. Refusing to allow his son another word, he started again without a beat. “The two managed to find the place where they had buried the treasure of the trolls, and they discussed how they should split it up; Bilbo naturally declined all of it, but Gandalf insisted that he might need it more than he expected at the moment.”

“He’s doing that thing again, isn’t he?”

“Who, Gandalf?”

“Yes. He’s doing that thing where he acts like he’s an encyclopedia of the future.”

“He’s a wizard. He knows things that non-magical people do not.”

“You mean like the future?”

“You’re just supposed to accept that Gandalf mysteriously knows these things. It’s a fantastical story.”

“Couldn’t Gandalf have just told Bilbo what he meant by that instead of letting him walk into a disaster?”

“Of course, but where’s the fun in that?”

“Disasters aren’t fun, Papa. Now you’re being insensitive to the plight of the hobbits.”

“No, now wait a minute. I created the hobbits. I care deeply about them.”

“Well, apparently not enough to give them a heads up that something terrible is coming.”

“Son, sometimes it’s best to let people go through difficult situations so that they can learn through experience.”

“That just sounds like an attempt to shed accountability. Would you let me walk into a volcano if you knew a certain path led straight into it?”

“Well, no, of course not, but that’s not the same thing.”

“Okay, then what does Bilbo find in his village that Gandalf was warning about?”

John shuffled on his chair uncomfortably. “Well,” he started. He paused, then began again. “Bilbo’s been gone a very long time, okay? And it’s very much not in the hobbit nature to just up and leave one’s hobbit-hole, right?”


“So while Bilbo was gone for about a year….well, his village decided that he had died, so he arrives in the midst of them auctioning off his possessions and his home.”

“You have to be kidding me, Papa.”

“No, I’m not. I think it’s realistic! It’s very queer for a hobbit to leave their comfortable abode for that long.”

“Papa, he just helped the dwarves get their wealth back and he saved like a billion creatures, and you’re just going to take away all of his stuff?”

“It’s not quite like that, son, becau–”

“Oh, you’re heartless, Papa. I’m shocked. Genuinely shocked.”

“No, stop this moral crusade and let me tell you how it ends.”

“Does his hobbit-hole spontaneously combust after this?”

“No, he–”

“Do his feet turn into radishes?”

“What? No!”

“So Smaug is actually a zombie now and he returns and razes the whole of Bag End to the ground and then he poops on Bilbo’s corpse?”

“Now I’m shocked you would even think of that. No, that’s not how it ends.”

“Papa, how could you do this to Bilbo?”

“Sweet lord, Christopher, he gets his stuff back. Well, most of it.”


Oh,” John mimicked, almost sneering at his son. “See, if you would wait for me to finish a story, you might not be so upset.”

“I think a zombie Smaug would probably be pretty cool, though.”

“And then where would the story go? How would this possibly end if an undead Smaug arrives at the end?”

“You could turn it into a trilogy! Part two could be called, “The Horrors of the Hobbit-Hole Horror.”

“That’s the worst title of anything I have ever heard.”

“You’re just jealous of my alliteration skills.”

“This isn’t a trilogy and it isn’t going to be a trilogy, because Bilbo manages to get a lot of his stuff back by proving to people he is very much not dead, though a couple cousins of him give him quite a bit of grief, since they were prepared to move into the hobbit-hole themselves.”

“That’s pretty harsh. They should be happy that Bilbo’s alive.”

“For once, I agree with you, son. You may cherish this moment in silence as I continue.”

“I would set my cousin’s hobbit leg hair on fire if they did that to me.”

“Well, Bilbo disagrees. He merely paid the last few who were resistant to get his furniture back.”

“Bilbo had to pay to get his own stuff back? What sort of fascist arrangement is this???”

“They thought he was dead, Christopher. They didn’t do it while he lived there.”

“But it doesn’t matter because he got his stuff back, all right? Though…” John stopped to think. “Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true. The thing is, it was very odd to all of the hobbits in Bag End that Bilbo not only left, but made friends with lake men, dwarves, and elves, so much so that Bilbo sort of became an outcast in his own village.”

“That sounds exactly like fascism, Papa.”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“I don’t want any part of this oppressive system.”

“But you know what, Christopher? Bilbo liked it.”

“What? Why would he like it?”

“Because he did something with his life. He left that hobbit-hole and he found out he was a lot more clever and adventurous and curious than he ever thought he would be. He made friends, people and creatures he would have never met. He helped defeat a dragon in his own way. He helped a group of mighty warriors regain their land and their pride and their dignity. He became a whole new hobbit, and even if the old hobbits he used to know didn’t treat him the same, he knew that he would forever have the respect and love of people all along the way to the Lonely Mountain, which…you know, it’s probably not so lonely anymore.”

Christopher, stunned, sat in bed in silence for a few seconds, taking in the words. “Wow,” was all he said.

John reached out to ruffle his son’s hair. “Sorry about that,” he said. “I think I came off a little strong there.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” he assured him. “It’s…well, it’s actually a good point. I mean, Bilbo was kind of stuffy at the beginning of the book, wasn’t he?”

“Well, to us, sure, but hobbit culture isn’t quite like ours. But I wanted to show that Bilbo was the one who gained the most wealth, even if it wasn’t in gold.”

“Is that the very end, then?”

“No, no. Gandalf visits Bilbo one more time when Bilbo is nearly twice as old as he was during the story.”

“Did he finally explain why he’s a big secret keeper?”

No, son. It’s probably because his beard is so big. I don’t know! But he brings Balin with him, and the two tell Bilbo how much Esgaroth and Dale has changed, mostly for the better.”

“So Bilbo helped out with all of that?”

“Well, in his old special way. The thing is–and Gandalf tells Bilbo this himself at the very end–that hobbit did play a big part in the events of that year in Middle Earth. But at the same time, he is just one creature in a large world, and there are so many factors that change things. That’s even the case in our world, too; one person can change things greatly, but in the end, they’re still just one person.”

“I suppose Bilbo just did the best he could, then.”

“I think so, too,” John said, bringing the cover to close on his notebook. He sat there, looking at his son, a faint smile on his lips. “So that’s the end. I think it’s as good a place to end as I’ll get.”

“Does Bilbo die?”

“Eventually, sure.”

“That’s really mean, Papa.”

“Son, it’s not in the book. But everything dies, so yes, Bilbo eventually does too.”

“Does he come back to haunt people?”

“There aren’t ghosts in Middle Earth. No spirits of that sort.”

“Oh, come on. No cars, no talking ponies, and now no ghosts? What sort of people do you expect to read this book? Fascists?

“No one is reading this book. It’s just a story I jotted down for you.”

Christopher pointed to the notebook in John’s lap. “That looks like a book to me.”

“Maybe someday when I don’t have so much academic work to do.”

“I bet your colleagues in academia are totally into ghosts and talking ponies, Papa.”

“No, I assure you they are not.”

“Those aren’t the kind of men I’d like to study with, then.”

“Don’t you dare call them fascists, Christopher.”

“I wasn’t going to, Papa! But one day, I’ll improve on your story once you publish it.”

If I publish it.”

“If you don’t, I’ll start showing up with your academia buddies and asking questions.”

John laughed. “Fine, perhaps I’ll give it a try.”

His son stuck out his hand. “You have to shake on it.”

John obliged, taking his son’s hand firmly and shaking. “It’s a deal, then,” he said, standing up and kissing him on the forehead. “Goodnight, Christopher.”


John turned to the door and as he reached the doorway, his son spoke up. “Dad?”

He turned back. “Yes?”

“That was a really good story. Thank you.”

John just smiled in return. He hoped his son was right.


Just a quick note: There is a surprise review tomorrow. There is a surprise next week. Lord of the Rings is coming soon. And shit’s gonna real for y’all.

omg I read The Hobbit and it was really good BUT HONESTLY. I can’t wait to lose my shit for the trilogy. BRING IT ON.

Just to make note of it: we WILL be having a liveblog on Mark Watches of the Rankin/Bass animated movie, but Battlestar Galactica liveblogs are scheduled for the next two weekends. I’ll make a post here when I finalize the date!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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268 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 19

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    Jbhyq lbh yrg zr jnyx vagb n ibypnab vs lbh xarj n pregnva cngu yrq fgenvtug vagb vg?”

    Bu. Zl. Tbq.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    I love endings like this. People are happy and things are good and SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ENDLESS SADNESS. Sometimes people just go back to their hobbit holes and hang out with elves and live their lives.

    I don't think I can wait a week and a half for LOTR to start. I am making this face:

    <img src=""&gt;

  3. pennylane27 says:

    "Gurer nera’g tubfgf va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Ab fcvevgf bs gung fbeg."


    Right, I'm going to finish reading now.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Haha…I was thinking the same thing when I read that.

      Abg rknpgyl, Znex…lbh whfg jnvg gvyy gur cnguf bs gur qrnq va EbgX. Fb hacercnerq.

  4. cait0716 says:

    Characters in a story don’t write their own story, Christopher.


    “Gurer nera’g tubfgf va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Ab fcvevgf bs gung fbeg.”

    Never prepared.

  5. Ryan Lohner says:

    And now I can post the utterly adorable review of the book by the publisher's 12 year old son, to which we owe it being published:

    "Bilbo Baggins was a Hobbit who lived in his Hobbit hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his Dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exciting time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they get to the lonely mountain; Smaug, the dragon who guards it is killed and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home — rich!

    This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9."

    Ah, the days when that was enough to get your work out there.

    • notemily says:

      I love that review. It's a kid's book! If kids like it, SOLD!

    • stickylips says:

      I love when the guy actually reads it in the FOTR DVD appendices. He's so serious about it, I love it. xD

      • notemily says:

        I don't remember that bit of the DVD, but I just looked Rayner Unwin up and he died in 2000, so it's lucky they were able to get that reading from him!

        • stickylips says:

          OMG, that makes me so sad to hear. 🙁 It was from one of the very early segments on Tolkien's life on the first FOTR Appendices disc, iirc. I haven't watched them in yonks, but if Mark watches the films after he reads the books, I will have to pop them into my DVD player afterward!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Stanley Unwin! <3

  6. Saphling says:

    *grins knowingly* Oh yes. Shit's gonna real for us all. ^_^

    I'm glad, though, that you enjoyed The Hobbit, Mark. In my opinion, it is not as good as the following trilogy, but that is mainly an issue of scope and tone. I just finished my once-a-decade reread of LotR, and I'm really excited for you to be starting it. As always, I'm glad we get to share in your experiences, Mark the Eternally Unprepared.

    “Gurer nera’g tubfgf va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Ab fcvevgf bs gung fbeg.”

    Gur jnl vf fuhg.
    Vg jnf znqr ol gubfr jub ner Qrnq.
    Naq gur Qrnq xrrc vg
    Hagvy gur gvzr pbzrf.
    Gur jnl vf fuhg.

  7. These two reviews in this style have been truly amazing. If Mark was to write a book about Christopher and John I would be prepared to spend so much money on it.

  8. Jenny_M says:

    Also, Mark, if you're reading the Kindle edition of LOTR, JRR and the publishers put TONS of spoilers or partial spoilers in the foreward & notes on the revisions. Everything from character names to plot points. So I would recommend shielding your eyes, going to the table of contents, and starting at the actual beginning of the story, then going back and reading the notes later.

    • notemily says:

      Looking at the sample for the Kindle edition, I'd agree with you and just say he should start with Chapter One of Fellowship. The Prologue is a lot of fun but it's also spoilery, so Mark should read it after he reads the books IMO. It's also a bit dry since it contains so much Uboovg uvfgbel that isn't as interesting if you don't know how the story goes.

      • Jenny_M says:

        Yeah, initially I was in favor of him reading the prologue, but now that I've re-read it, I am firmly against it, lol.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        What do you mean Uboovg uvfgbel is not interesting?!!!

        *is outraged*

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Thanks! I'll keep this in note. Does the Kindle Edition have all three books, or just Fellowship?

        • Jenny_M says:

          All three books, though you can buy them individually. Look for the 50th Anniversary Edition, and then the Kindle version of it. Mine cost $21 or something like that.

          Also, just for reference's sake, Tolkien considered The Lord of the Rings as one giant book, not a trilogy, but the jerks who published them were total meanfaces who made him break them up for, like, monetary reasons. So, really, by buying it as a whole, you are staying true to the spirit of his original intentions!

          This is the one I bought – looks to be pretty thorough.

          • Nobody says:

            If I remember correctly, he considered it one giant novel, divided into three parts, to be published as six books. You can find one-, three-, and even a seven-book edition if you look hard enough. (The seventh volume in the appendices.) The meanfaces were probably doing him a favor; by getting Fellowship out as soon as possible, he got a lot of feedback and royalties to help him through the writing of Towers and Return. And it forced the work into a canonical form, freeing the story from Tolkien's endless cycle of rewrites. If Fellowship hadn't been published when it was, the whole thing might have ended up in total rewrite purgatory like the Silmarillion.

        • notemily says:

          What Jenny_M said. The Kindle version is based on the 50th Anniversary version of LOTR, which was trying to stay as true to Tolkien's vision as possible, so they made it all one book, which was his original plan for publication before they made him break it up into a trilogy. You can buy the individual books too, but I imagine that'd be more expensive?

          • notemily says:

            Just checked. Yep, eleven dollars more expensive to buy each ebook individually. By buying the all-in-one you're basically getting one of the trilogy books for free.

        • flootzavut says:

          Definitely go for one with all of the books in one volume, like others have said it's how it was intended to be read. Also, I think it's cheaper, and there's no awkwardness on Kindle with holding a damn great book. Plus, it's cheaper (in the UK, 5.99 for eachbook but 11.99 for the whole thing in one volume.)

    • Geolojazz says:


      I think the only forward you should read is the chapter Concerning Hobbits.

      • stefb4 says:

        No no no! It has spoilers!

      • notemily says:

        That's the Prologue we're talking about above and it does have many spoilers for the story to come, which Mark can find out just by reading the story. It has a bunch of cool details about hobbits, too, which is why I think he should read it AFTER he reads the whole story.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          I'm thinking the OP meant only the very first section, not the entire Prologue. So that way Mark would only be reading the first fourth or so.

          IIRC, there's possibly one spoilery sentence in that section, the sentence that reveals Sebqb'f anzr, naq gur snpg gung obgu ur naq Ovyob jrer onpurybef naq sevraqf bs gur Ryirf. Bar orarsvg jbhyq or gung gung frpgvba bs gur cebybthr erirnyf gur eryngvbafuvc orgjrra Gurer naq Onpx Ntnva naq Gur Uboovg va gur irel svefg srj fragraprf.

          V'z guvaxvat, gubhtu, gung gung jbhyq cerggl zhpu or gur bayl orarsvg gb ernqvat vg orsberunaq (rkprcg n srj zvabe pbaarpgvbaf gb gur znva fgbel, r.t. gung Zvexjbbq hfrq gb or pnyyrq Terrajbbq naq gung Fzrntby'f ubzr jnf gur ovegucynpr bs gur uboovgf, juvpu V frrz gb erzrzore orvat fgngrq va gur frpbaq puncgre, naljnl.

          EDIT: I just reread, and it also reveals that Sebqb vf Ovyob'f urve, naq gung va gurve yvsrgvzr fhqqrayl uboovgf orpnzr vzcbegnag gb Zvqqyr-Rnegu nf n jubyr.

      • flootzavut says:

        noooo that has spoilers. Mark needs to start on chapter one.

      • LunaKyria says:

        Reading all the Prologue-related comments and every time somebody mentions 'Concerning Hobbits' I get the soundtrack stuck in my head…ah, the joys of semi-eidetic memory… ^.^

        Also, I'm pretty amazed at how well I remembered The Hobbit…but then, I'm constantly amazed at how well (I think) I remember LotR-the-book, seeing as I don't believe I've reread it since the first time when I was, y'know, seven. Admittedly, that's only about a decade ago 😉

    • flootzavut says:

      Yes yes yes. I'm so glad someone beat me to it, I've been meaning to say this all week and then he's on chapter 19 and I thought I was going to be too late (I hope you're not) – I forgot EVERY time I was online.

  9. chrisjpardo says:

    Mark, thanks for prompting me to re-read The Hobbit for the first time since I was at primary school; I've loved every chapter.

    Here's how my brain remembered it before:

    Bilbo + Gandalf > Mountains > Walking > Dragon > End

    Trolls? Nope. Orcs? Nope. Gollum? Nope. Five Armies? Nope. Dwarves? Not really. I pretty much forgot all the awesome bits. Stupid brain.

    I've never read LOTR though, so it's good that I'm finally being prompted into doing so! Bring it on.

    Also, Mark Mark Mark… any chance of the HDM extras soon? : )

    • cait0716 says:

      I haven't read LotR since middle school and I'm sure I missed a ton. I'm excited for this re-read. I feel like the chapter-a-day pace will work excellently for this trilogy.

    • notemily says:

      My remembering of The Hobbit was more like Bilbo + Gandalf + a bunch of dwarves > Trolls > Gollum > Dragon > End. I was unprepared.

  10. pennylane27 says:

    Mark, you are killing me with your surprises. You don't understand how conflicted this makes me feel.

    Anyway, I love the end of this book. And Tolkien in general. And this review. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if you did this regularly.

    Jung qbrf rirelbar guvax nobhg gur cebybthr gb YBGE? V'z cerggl fher gung gur ynfg cneg (gur abgr ba Fuver erpbeqf) vf snveyl fcbvyre-unccl. Nygubhtu V'z abg fher Znex jvyy erzrzore vg ol gur gvzr ur svavfurf gur obbx. V npghnyyl er-ernq gur jubyr cebybthr jura V svavfurq EbgX naq gura V npghnyyl haqrefgbbq n ybg bs guvatf.

    To conclude, I can barely contain my excitement.

    • knut_knut says:

      V pna’g erzrzore vs gur cebybthr vf arprffnel gb gur fgbel, ohg vg’f qrsvavgryl ernyyl vagrerfgvat naq V guvax ur fubhyq ernq vg ng fbzr cbvag. Nyfb, jura Znex trgf gb EBGX, jvyy ur or ernqvat gur Nccraqvprf va n Znex Ernqf snfuvba nf jryy? Znlor fbzrbar pna erzvaq uvz gb ernq gur cebybthr gb SBGE jura/vs ur ernqf gur Nccraqvprf.

    • Jenny_M says:

      I think the prologue is okay, because it has pretty much always been a part of the text. It's the later added foreward by Tolkien and the publishers notes in the Kindle edition that I'm really worried about, because they spoil the shit out of some things. (Frevbhfyl, rirelguvat sebz Onyva'f qrngu gb gur fpbhevat bs gur Fuver.)

  11. rubyjoo says:

    "There is a long road yet," said Gandalf.

    I'll go along with that, LOL!

  12. bearshorty says:

    Bilbo does gain a lot from his adventure and he gets to go home to his hobbit hole like he has been dreaming off. I am really glad I reread this book. This time I was able to really appreciate it in a way I didn't as a child.

    Illustrations to Chapter 19 and the cover:

    <img src="; alt="hobbit hole" border="1" height="300"/>

    <img src="; alt="visitors" border="1" height="300"/>

    <img src="; alt="cover" border="1" height="300"/>

    • flootzavut says:

      LOVE the illustrations!

      Also love that it's actually "khobbit". I have HP 1 in Russian and he becomes Garry Potter 🙁

      • notemily says:

        Do words not start with H in Russian?

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Russian doesn't have the sound "H". So when transcribing foreign names with "h" they either use "ch" (which is pronounced "kh", like in Scottish word "loch"), or hard "g".

        • flootzavut says:

          Tauriel beat me to it 🙂

          I personally prefer "kh" to "g", because unfortunately (at least to my ears) lots of words transcribed with a g sound really silly… like ordering "gamburgers" in a Russian McD. But for some reason the people doing the transcribing frequently seem to prefer "g"… hence Garry Potter i Philovskiy Kamyen.

          Doubly glad that was not the case for The Hobbit, because "Gobbit" would just sound incredibly weird to me.

          • notemily says:

            I can understand if they went with Garry instead of Kharry because Gary is an actual name. But gamburgers is just silly. 😉

            • Nick says:

              Is the German city of Hamburg called "Gamburg" in Russian? 'Cos it makes sense to stay consistent, given that the food is named after the city.

              • flootzavut says:

                To be honest I don't know. But as far as I recall, McD's is the only place where they insist on transliterating the names… if memory serves (which it may not…) similar things would be called kotlyeti elsewhere. But I'm not sure if I ever went in an indigenous burger place so I'm not sure.

            • flootzavut says:

              First time a group of us went to McD's in St Pete we were very very confused till we realised they were all transliterated, . The really silly thing is that it applies to everything, so a Happy Meal is a "Kheppi Meel", which basically means nothing in Russian! Though it would be even worse/more humorous if it was a "geppy meal". Essentially, if you ever find yourself in McDonald's in Russia, just order your usual meal but in a Russian accent. Чикен Макнаггетс (cheeken maknaggets) for example, or Филе-о-фиш (feeley o feesh). Except that there are one or two items in a strange kind of hybrid, such as the Двойной Чизбургер (dvoynoy chizburger) or double cheese burger. I guess it's no weirder than when we transliterate foreign words into English, but it really confused us when we first went in!

  13. Idapida says:

    Can't wait for Lord of the Rings 😀 😀 😀
    I love the Hobbit obviously, but imo LOTR is a lot better.

  14. knut_knut says:

    When I was younger I was always really annoyed that, at the beginning, Gandalf basically pushes Bilbo out the door and then doesn’t set up a house sitter or write a note or do anything at all! Things I would not trust Gandalf with: my house. And my job search because he’d probably sign me up for something that involves getting eaten by giant spiders.

    You are so unprepared for LOTR. SO unprepared 🙂

  15. Indigo Sto Helit says:

    Gandalf knows everything about everything.

    That’s why his beard is so big.

    It’s full of secrets.

  16. That. Was. Spectacular.
    Seriously, that was completely amazing. I really love this style of review. Please write more, because unlike most LOTR fanfiction (does this count as fanfiction? I'd say so) this is GOOD. If you ever write a book or something, please let us know! 🙂

    I have to admit I loved the end to this story. It made me laugh really hard while at the same being a bit of a call- back to realism in this world. It's been a year, and Bilbo just took off! The auction's such a nice touch to me because it shows that life doesn't stop for the hero while he's off on his adventure. Bilbo may have been off dealing with dragons, but that's not life for his fellow hobbits at all. And I love the detail that he lost all his reputation and respectability and didn't care at all.

    Is this book flawed? Yes. Stylistically it's not the most well-written book around, and the lack of female characters is a glaring omission that got pretty well rehashed yesterday, I think 🙂 But for all that I really love this book, flaws and all. Bilbo's a hero I can relate to. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this story kickstarted daydream adventures galore for me, all about joining them on their quest and helping to figure things out. This story is also what cemented my love of fantasy at a pretty early age, which led to LOTR, which has been a pretty strong influence in my choice to write fantasy (though hopefully the writing itself isn't imitative). This book has been the cause of quite a lot for me on that account alone, and for that I'm always going to love it as the tale of quite a little fellow in a wide world. And really, isn't that us all most of the time?

    • Also I may or may not have written a back- scene of sorts for my NaNo novel in which a father and his two sons are talking about The Hobbit right about the time when you began this book. No connection at all, of course.

  17. msw188 says:

    I will now unashamedly declare this review one of the greatest works of interpretive art in the past 50 years.

    As we've all said several times now, it is the emotional journey of Bilbo Baggins that really makes this story so beautiful. My eyes actually watered a bit when I read Bilbo's little walking song. It had been so long since I read this book, and it really feels a bit like returning home, even as Bilbo himself does. Although, of course, this is no longer a Bilbo whose idea of a horrible thought is the concept of going without cake, haha.

    Also, I love that the final act of the book is Bilbo handing Gandalf a tobacco jar.

    • flootzavut says:

      I love the end, it's kind of an anticlimax but in a really good way – I can't think how else to put it.

      V nofbyhgryl NQBER gung gur irel raq bs YBGE vf Fnz fnlvat, "Jryy, V'z onpx." Fbzrubj vg'f fbbbbb ybiryl naq cresrpg, vg znxrf zr grne hc.

  18. stellaaaaakris says:

    That was adorable. I forgot how much I enjoyed this book since I haven't read it in over a decade. It's by no means perfect, but it's still sooooo good.

    If I had been Christopher, I would have insisted on the following changes:
    1. Less singing. There were, what, 3 songs this chapter. We could have used singing time to get to know individual characters better. Also, I don't like songs and poems in my novels.
    2. Finding a spot for me in the book. Come on, dad, just make me be one of the guards or a hobbit neighbor.
    4. Talking ponies, because really? They're awesome.
    5. More riddles, maybe some that were easier to figure out. I still don't understand a bunch of them. So basically, it's just going to be "Fish!" as my guess all the time. Also, more time with Gollum would be fun.

    So excited for LOTR! I haven't reread them since I first finished them 10 years ago (wow) just in time for the first movie. I have seen the movies every winter and summer break since then though so I'll remember more of what happened. Watching BSG along with you makes me realize that I enjoy knowing, without a doubt, that you are unprepared. MUAHAHAHA

    • Geolojazz says:

      Lol, at least the songs are decent…George MacDonald litters his books with songs and poetry which are purely TERRIBLE.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I agree with the sining. Music is fine and all, but it looses some of its impact because, y'know, we can't really hear the song. I would have loved to get more in-depth knowledge of the dwarves.

    • MadarFoxfire says:

      Oh man, Kili was my favorite when I read it at like age ten. I don't even know why maybe I just liked his name because I thought it was girly and thus maybe he was a girl dwarf yay!!

      That part, it just devastated me.

  19. Talking cars? Who would believe THAT?

  20. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    I've been reading and enjoying all of these, but haven't had a lot to say. Still, I think now's the time when you can safely watch this:

    [youtube XC73PHdQX04 youtube]

  21. ferriswheeljunky says:

    Oh guys, guys I have totally just discovered that I live JUST DOWN THE ROAD from where Tolkien lived when he wrote LotR and the Hobbit! MIND BLOWN. Seriously, I don't know how nobody told me that when I moved here, because when people ask where I live now that is all I am going to tell them."Hey guess what if I went back in time I would be Tolkien's NEIGHBOUR. We would have, like, tea parties and he would read me his books."

    (Also do you know the story of how Tolkien met his wife, because it is THE MOST ADORABLE THING in the world.)

    • Tinzilla says:

      My brother lives round there too and has been to the pub where Tolkien and CS Lewis and a bunch of other people shared their writing and poems and stuff. The Eagle and Child I think.

    • MelvinTheBold says:

      No, it is the SECOND most adorable thing. The MOST adorable thing is their epitaphs (epitaphi? That should totally take the latin plural…).

      From one of Tolkien's poems, and probably not a spoiler but I'll rot13 it anyway;

      Ybat jnf gur jnl gung sngr gurz ober,
      B're fgbal zbhagnvaf pbyq naq terl,
      Guebhtu unyyf bs verba naq qnexyvat qbbe,
      Naq jbbqf bs avtugfunqr zbeebjyrff.
      Gur Fhaqrevat Frnf orgjrra gurz ynl,
      Naq lrg ng ynfg gurl zrg bapr zber,
      Naq ybat ntb gurl cnffrq njnl
      Va gur sberfg fvatvat fbeebjyrff.

    • stefb4 says:

      For people who do not know—they met when he was 16 at a boarding house, their relationship was frowned upon by the guardian and boarders, Tolkien's guardian separated them, then literally the second he turned 21 (the age of maturity) he proposed, and she left the guy she was already engaged to for him. And soon after they married he went off to war.

      Also, looking at her picture on wikipedia, she was a very beautiful woman.

    • flootzavut says:

      I had a similar thing, FWJ – I found out a week ago that one of my aunties BABYSAT TOLKIEN'S GRANDCHILDREN… and NO one ever thought to mention this to me?!? Christopher Tolkien's children, to be precise, before he went off to France to put together JRR's manuscripts for publication!

  22. monkeybutter says:

    Fascists hate ponies, it is known.

    I love everything about this chapter, except maybe the Sackville-Bagginses. They can go jump. I love that Bilbo's family and neighbors descended on his hobbit-hole the way the armies descended on Lonely Mountain. I mean, there was an auction and legal wrangling instead of war and bloodshed, but I like that people everywhere are consistent in their desire to rake in loot left behind. And that's why you always leave a note.

    I also adore Bilbo for using his ring to get rid of unwanted visitors (so jealous, totally need one), and that he's used his post-adventure time to make up for lost breakfasts and spoil his nieces and nephews. He's a swell guy.

  23. Chris says:

    YESSS!!! I am so glad to hear that you will be watching the Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit! That movie introduced me to Tolkien and I have been a fan ever since. Enjoy!

  24. Starsea28 says:

    I remember when I first got to the end of this book, I was OUTRAGED at Bilbo's relations. And kind of sad about everyone in the village treating him like a weirdo, as I knew how that felt. I could only hope that when I grew a bit older, I'd make friends with lake-men, elves, dwarves and giant eagles.

    Not doing badly so far. 😀

  25. Ellie says:

    lol i had forgotten how campy this video is <3

  26. settlingforhistory says:

    I really love these reviews, Mark! Christopher is almost like the little voice in my head, asking all the questions 'What exactly is Elrond? Why can't we stay a bit longer with the elves, they are so interesting? Will the bad cousins come to a terrible end, because the where mean to Bilbo?' I can't belive how glad I am that there are 3 more books!Poor Christopher actually had to wait for the next book and we can just go on reading… oh we have to wait A WEEK!
    OMG, I'll have to lock away my books so I don't accidentally go on reading. 😛

    I understand Christopher's frustration with all the songs, the bothered me, too. Especially as it was the last chapter and he could have used all these pages to tell more about the elves or Beorn or…well, we do have 3 more books ahead of us.
    Also, all these songs were simply part of the culture of that time, the only real form of entertainment (except for war and you can't be at war all the time, that would be exhausting) and as we see with the elves, it's also a kind of newspaper or in Bilbo's case more like the neighbors loud TV that doesn't let you sleep. Poor guy!

    I loved the part with the Hobbits having declared Bilbo dead. I hadn't even thought about the other Hobbits and that no one had alerted them about Bilbo's adventure. I had simply assumed that adventures where so common, that people would automatically understand that's what happens when someone is missing for a while.
    Again, poor guy!

  27. I wasn’t going to, Papa! But one day, I’ll improve on your story once you publish it.”

    I have all the giggles.

  28. atheistsisters says:

    Mark, the roads go ever on and on and you are never prepared.


  29. Tauriel_ says:

    It's the end of the Hobbit! 🙁 Sad day, but can't wait for LOTR to start! Huzzah! 😀

    And at last I can post this thing:

    Book-a-minute: The Hobbit

    By J. R. R. Tolkien
    Ultra-Condensed by Samuel Stoddard and David J. Parker

    Bilbo Baggins

    Ah, now for some peace and quiet. Oops, someone's at the door.


    We're dwarves. I'm the merry one.


    I'm the happy one.


    I'm the young one.


    I'm the other young one.


    I'm the funny one.


    I'm the joyous one.


    I'm the cute one.


    I'm the jolly one.


    I'm the silly one.


    I'm the one with the funniest name.


    I'm the one with the looniest name.


    I'm the fat one.


    I'm the one with a distinct personality.


    Now that you're all here, let's go on a quest.

    (They get captured by TROLLS, and it is DANGEROUS, because they almost get EATEN. Then they get captured by ORCS, and it is DANGEROUS, because they almost get EATEN.)

    Bilbo Baggins

    What have I got in my pocket?


    I don't know.

    (They get captured by SPIDERS, and it is DANGEROUS, because they almost get EATEN.)


    I'm an evil dragon. Hiss hiss.

    (Bilbo Baggins turns INVISIBLE, and then some obscure co-star SLAYS the dragon, and it makes a MESS.)

    Bilbo Baggins

    I'm going home. Peace and quiet, here I come.



    • monkeybutter says:


      I'm the fat best one.


    • notemily says:

      Bilbo Baggins

      What have I got in my pocket?


      I don't know.

      hee hee hee

      • Tauriel_ says:

        My favourite part is this:

        and then some obscure co-star SLAYS the dragon

        Because it's so true, but it's such a GENIUS twist by Tolkien. Everyone would expect either Bilbo or the Dwarves to kill Smaug (after all, that's what they set out to do, it's the whole point of their quest), and Tolkien is like "HAHAHA NO!" and pulls out Bard out of nowhere, who's hardly properly introduced at all, virtually no character motivation, but comes in and steals all the glory. Genius writing. <3

        • notemily says:

          I wonder how they're going to swing that in the movie. Introduce the lake-men earlier so we see Bard and get to know him before the dragon comes down? Or just pull him out at the last second?

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Oh, I definitely expect Bard's role to be expanded, more background and character development, etc. 🙂

          • flootzavut says:

            I'm guessing, even if he isn't the obvious hero till the last moment, they will bring his character in sooner. You can flesh out a character relatively quickly in a book (ie the fact that he is dour, and that the Master is not popular so Bard has a foot in the door that way) by just telling your reader, in a way that just does not work on screen. Bar bs gur ernfbaf V haqrefgbbq jul Crgre Wnpxfba unq Nentbea, Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf tb guebhtu gur Cnguf bs gur Qrnq jvgubhg pbzcnal, fnlvat "Bu naq ol gur jnl urer ner n ohapu bs urebvp thlf jub jvyy tb jvgu gurz" jbhyq abg syl va n zbivr.

  30. ravenclaw42 says:

    This review is perfection! "Punenpgref va n fgbel qba’g jevgr gurve bja fgbel" YBY NER LBH FUVGGVAT ZR. Ibypnabrf naq tubfgf. V pna'g rira.

    I have a timing warning if you aren't already aware of it, Mark! With the added delay before LotR, I still can't tell if you'll be reaching the Rankin/Bass movie before or after you start Fellowship. The last minute or so of the R/B movie spoils the shit out of the premise of LotR, so I would recommend not watching it until you've read at least the first two chapters of Fellowship! Your schedule may already work out that way, but it's hard to tell. 🙂

    Aaaand the last three Michael Hague illustrations. I love these, they're so peaceful. I read The Hobbit years before I ever read LotR, and although I do think it has its flaws and that LotR is better-developed overall, this is still the adventure I would want to go on. Or, at least, Bilbo is the companion I want to go on adventures with. I think he would make such a fantastic friend. 😀

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      THANK YOU for letting me know about the possible spoilers. 🙂

      • ravenclaw42 says:

        Sure thing! It's literally only two sentences of heavy-handed foreshadowing, but it definitely creates certain expectations.

    • monkeybutter says:

      These illustrations are always so pretty, Gandalf's hat is growing, and you made me realize that Bilbo and/or Martin Freeman would make great companions in the Mark Does Stuff TARDIS.

  31. shortstuff says:

    Taking a poll here, about certain backstory before we get to Lord of the Rings.

    How would you guys feel about rkcynvavat gur bevtva bs Bepf/Tboyvaf gb Znex orsber ur trgf gb gur obbx? Gur bar-qvzrafvbany, rivy punenpgref srngher zhpu zber cebzvaragyl va gur frpbaq naq guveq obbxf, naq fvapr ragver nezvrf bs gurz trg qrpvzngrq, vg zvtug or snve gb yrg Znex xabj gung Gbyxvra uvzfrys qvq fgehttyr jvgu gur vqrn bs n orvat pbzcyrgryl rivy.

    Vs jr gryy Znex gung na napvrag rivy orvat pbeehcgrq naq gbegherq ryirf, naq znqr gjvfgrq pbcvrf bs gurz, erfhygvat va Bepf, vg zvtug uryc phg qbja ba fbzr Znex-enrt, orpnhfr vs V erzrzore vg'f arire zragvbarq va gur obbxf. Va gur zbivr, Fnhehzna qvq rkcynva vg, juvpu urycf n ohapu VZB.


    • Tauriel_ says:

      I'm not sure – I guess it depends on whether Mark decides to read and review the Silmarillion or not (I hope he does), because it's covered there…

    • arctic_hare says:

      What Tauriel said.

    • CRB says:

      Hmm… yeah, it's technically a Silmarillion spoiler… but The Silmarillion is all basically just fyi stuff and background… Perhaps this question should be referred to Mark? Mark, would you like to know something that might help you understand The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings better, even though it's an explanation from The Silmarillion? Are you planning on reading The Silmarillion? Also, you should totally listen to The Tolkien Professor's lectures – but not until you've read the books, because he's very spoilery, even in his chapter-by-chapter analysis.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Gerrorneq nyyhqrf gb vg oevrsyl jura rkcynvavat gung Gebyyf jrer fvzvyneyl znqr nf n zbpxrel bs Ragf.

    • threerings says:

      I'm technically in favor of Mark knowing that, but it opens a whole can of worms, because there's so much backstory and explanation that is not IN LOTR, but that Tolkien fans are aware of. I personally haven't ever been able to get through The Simarillion, but I have read a lot of explanations FROM that book. On the one hand, I would love to have support to finally get me through The Simarillion if Mark did read it, but on the other hand, that's a LOT of time devoted to Tolkien.

      Ultimately, it's going to have to be Mark's call, if he wants to know some of the history of Middle Earth as he goes.

  32. VoldieBeth says:

    So glad you finished The Hobbit! I remember trying to read The Fellowship of the Ring in middle school and stopped because I couldn't get into it. But after reading The Hobbit as a freshman I devoured the whole LotR trilogy and realized movies were coming out about them! Those were the best book to movies ever and I'm so excited for The Hobbit! I can't wait for more!

  33. Becky_J_ says:

    First of all, I love this review style….it makes me laugh and want to cry a little. I don't really know why. Probably just overemotional or something.

    That said, I really really love the song at the end of the hobbit…. here are the lyrics, if anyone doesn't have access to them.
    Roads go ever ever on,
    Over rock and under tree,
    By caves where never sun has shone,
    By streams that never find the sea;
    Over snow by winter sown,
    And through the merry flowers of June,
    Over grass and over stone,
    And under mountains in the moon.
    Roads go ever ever on
    Under cloud and under star,
    Yet feet that wandering have gone
    Turn at last to home afar.
    Eyes that fire and sword have seen
    And horror in the halls of stone
    Look at last on meadows green
    And trees and hills they long have known.

    I think this is the PERFECT summary of Bilbo's journey, and I immediately got a tune in my head to sing along to it…. people have done interpretations of it, like this one : [youtube dE-vX9eU7hw youtube]

    I actually recorded my own version, but as I am not all technologically advanced and stuff, so I don't know how to post it. Mine is much more sad and reflective than the version above, and sounds more like a lamentation. I dunno. I like it.

  34. arctic_hare says:

    :'( Last picture, everyone.

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

    🙁 I can't believe this is already over! I always feel so sad when I get to the end of a favorite book like this, I just want it to go on and on but it has to end somewhere. I feel like we just started reading this and now we're done. Much sadness. This book is really special to me; it's not perfect, but it's something I read as a kid and loved and is now a comfort book to me. Sometimes I just want a fairy tale, a lighthearted adventure to make me laugh and have fun. Bilbo is a wonderful main character, I've never come across anyone like him in fantasy stories. He's brave and curious and loyal and clever, but he's also just a regular guy, and a remarkably kind-hearted and decent one at that. Who else would return the guard's keys so the guy didn't get in trouble? Just one example. Bilbo is fundamentally a really good person, and I love reading about him. I think that's the major reason I always feel so sad to see The Hobbit end: I want to keep reading about him. What a wonderful character.

    Oh well, we still have LOTR to look forward to! I AM EXCITE. PLEASE DO NOT KEEP US WAITING FOR LONG.

  35. @redbeardjim says:

    “I bet your colleagues in academia are totally into ghosts and talking ponies, Papa.”

    “No, I assure you they are not.”

    I see what you did there…

  36. bookworm67 says:

    Also, I absolutely love this format. Please bring it back for the LoTR reviews? 😀

  37. Mirima says:

    Mark, did you know there's a chapter in the Unfinished Tales that tells Gandalf's side to the beginning of The Hobbit? I was wondering if you would consider reading and reviewing it sometime. Maybe next year before the first Hobbit movie, because I think there will probably be stuff from it in the movies. It's not safe to read it yet, because Christopher Tolkien's notes in the beginning of it are very spoilery for the Lord of the Rings as a whole.

  38. LumosNox says:

    Hark, a Vagrant reference! Princess Bride reference! Oblivious Mark-is-unpreparedness! YAY!
    I just have to say, Mark, I ADORE your Christopher-John interaction so much. I just want you to take this adorable relationship and put it in a book so we can all buy it and make you rich. It's so tongue in cheek and cute.
    Also all of this has made me want The Hobbit movie to come out SO BADLY, because Martin Freeman is made of kittens and everything is Middle Earth and nothing hurts.

  39. marie says:

    So… among those references is there one to a certain Kate Beaton comic about Pride and Prejudice? this one . Or was that just a coincidence or a common phrase that I'm not aware of?

  40. Liz says:

    OH GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ LOTR. I’m thinking I might read along with your reviews this time around. AUGH SO EXCITED.

    I’m glad you enjoyed The Hobbit – it is a bit of a sausage fest, it’s true. There’s a great PS2 video game that follows the story really closely but they add a female elf character who kind of helps Bilbo out in a couple situations, probably as a remedy to that problem. And there are a bunch of hobbit/elf/Lake Town women NPCs, so it feels less hyper-manry. It’s not as bad in LOTR.

  41. ATMachine says:

    Just a quick pedantic note: I believe Tolkien actually was "Ronald" to his friends and family, not "John." The perils of having three given names….

    Also, you probably know that Tolkien read The Hobbit to all of his children, not just Christopher–including to Michael, the one scared of spiders. 😀

  42. ChronicReader91 says:

    Juts so you know, I wouldn’t have objected if every review had been done this way. Oh Christopher Tolkien, you’re the best fictional portrayal of a real person in a review blog EVER.

    “Jbhyq lbh yrg zr jnyx vagb n ibypnab vs lbh xarj n pregnva cngu yrq fgenvtug vagb vg?”

    “Gurer nera’g tubfgf va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Ab fcvevgf bs gung fbeg.”

    Nun! Fb Wbua QVQ hfr fbzr bs Puevfgbcure’f vqrnf nsgre nyy. 😉

    Mark, are you going to be doing a predictions post for the first of the trilogy? It will be hard to wait for the actual reviews, but that might be enough to tide me over.

  43. anghraine says:

    Maybe it's just me, but these become infinitely funnier when I remember that Christopher Tolkien is perhaps the most srs bznz purist IN EXISTENCE. (And I say this as one of those people who complain about hair colour and abbreviated backstories — though not Gbz Obzonqvy. He is the purist before whom all other purists are pale shadows. So Christopher + Middle-earth + talking cars … heh.)

    nunununununun, Znex vf fb jebat nobhg rirelguvat. Gur Fuver vf n gbgnyyl qvssrerag phygher sebz rneyl 20gu-praghel Ratynaq! Ab tubfgf be fcvevgf! Gevcf gb n ibypnab! Ur pna'g whfg or gebyyvat hf.

    …Pna ur?

    • notemily says:

      Yeah, didn't Christopher stop speaking to his son Simon because Simon was in favor of the movies and Christopher was against them?

      • calimie says:

        What a meany-head. How can you do something like that to your own son? Over a movie!

        I dislike him so much. I understand how much he has work on his father's texts but I find him obnoxious.

        (This is when I confess Mark's fics made me a bit unconfortable, I just can't picture him so cute as he is here (then again, I avoid RPF for a reason))

        • Dreamflower says:

          I believe those reports of family rifts are over-exaggerated, and concern more than just an opinion of the movies.

          Christopher is 87 now. But once he was a cute little kid, and he and his father were very close. (If you've ever read Letters, the ones he sent his son in WWII were heartbreaking. Christopher was an RAF fighter pilot. JRRT often sent him bits of LOTR as he worked on it, to cheer his son up, and he discussed plot points with him and so forth. It's no wonder that he feels a special connection to his father's work.

          And a lot of stuff that people lay on Christopher don't come from him but from the Estate (which is basically a committee of lawyers).

          And he was a cute little kid once. Get hold of Roverandom and The Father Christmas Letters for a good idea of the Tolkien family

          But I doubt if the real Christopher was ever as adorably precocious and obnoxious as the one in Mark's reviews!

          • calimie says:

            Just one thing: my dislike of him began years ago when I read some of his Uvfgbel bs Zvqqyr Rnegu. V qvqa'g yvxr ubj ur pnzr npebff va gur grkg naq fb V bayl ernq nobhg 3 bs gubfr ibyhzrf.
            Years later, I heard he didn't approve of the movies being made and gave him an exasperated side-eye.
            And now here I find out he's not speaking to his son (and you are right on that, there may be a million other issues) ostensibly over this son's support of the movies and I just gave up in trying to find some reason to like him.

            Lol yeah! No way he was ever as cute as Mark's version.

  44. threerings13 says:

    In honor of how excited I am about starting LOTR, I've finally registered with IntenseDebate.

    I really love the fact that the hobbits are auctioning off Bilbo's stuff. And honestly, I don't think leaving a note would have helped. Even if he'd left a note that said, "Going on adventure, back soon," I think after a year the hobbits would have definitely assumed he was dead anyway. Since that's what happens to people silly enough to go on adventures.

    • flootzavut says:

      "Going on adventure, back soon."

      Oh now I want to read a book about someone who goes on an adventure and leaves that note behind *laughs* that seriously tickled my funnybone… 😀

  45. bugeye says:

    The other Mark Reads events had an "off comments" page for spoiler discussion. Already we have had almost whole term papers under the chapter comments with a great deal of them focused on LOTR and not the Hobbit. I am a Tolkien scholar, I love a good discussion, but I really think for LOTR that we should focus on just current chapters and Mark's reaction. The ROT13 is good and clever but it takes us away from the action, development, and of course Mark's amazing, unique and addictive take on things we love and know so well.

    Can an administrator run a spoiler page for LOTR?

    Maybe we should try to be Tolkien newbies once again, really look at this through Mar'ks virgin eyes. Take time to really understand the songs.

    I have packed my kerchief and have my walking stick at hand, ready to follow Mark through Middle Earth. Let's be off.

  46. stefb4 says:

    Mark, you mentioned your twin is a fan of LotR…does he read your reviews and laugh at your poor, unprepared self too?

  47. stefb4 says:

    Also, the only consolation for waiting a week to begin LotR is if you start rereading Chamber of Secrets (hinthinthint) 😉

  48. kristinc says:

    “For once, I agree with you, son. You may cherish this moment in silence as I continue.”

    Oh JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL, Mark, I laughed so hard I nearly had some kind of bizarre medical emergency.

  49. Doodle says:

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”


  50. Chris Lucas says:

    I love this style so much, and you produce it so well! Midway through this review, it dawned on me that this style of story-telling would make for a great television series: every week, some guy sits with his son at bedtime to extend an on-going fantasy story; we watch as the characters in the story quest on; we switch from fantasy-world to the bedroom to hear the son make odd comments and suggestions, then seeing the impact on the characters. I VERY MUCH WANT THIS SHOW, PLEASE WRITE IT MARK.

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”


  51. Meghan says:

    “I bet your colleagues in academia are totally into ghosts and talking ponies, Papa.”

    “No, I assure you they are not.”

    ^ Knowing Tolkein's colleagues' body of work, I'm LOLin.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Many of his associates at Oxford and other Anglo-Saxon professors elsewhere were apparently quite embarrassed at his writing a novel with his skill at languages, rather than a nonfiction book about myths and language.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Well, Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis were. And some of his other fellow Inklings. But most of his colleagues thought he was bonkers, wasting his time on "fairy tales".

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Well, Mark IS going to read and review gur Puebavpyrf bs Aneavn… 😉

      • Dreamflower says:

        Gnyxvat cbavrf, gura be, ng gur irel yrnfg, Gnyxvat Ubefrf

      • chikzdigmohawkz says:

        That isn't on the confirmed list, so did he say he was doing so elsewhere? Because based on some things he's written in the past, I get the impression that he read the books when he was younger.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          It used to be on the confirmed list, but he took it down. I think he said at some point that he read the first few books, and that he knows how they end and has a problem with it, so he decided not to review them.

  52. Dreamflower says:

    Oh, Mark! I am so glad that you loved The Hobbit!! It has truly been a joy to revisit it at your side, and I am so looking forward to joining you in LotR!!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this!

  53. flootzavut says:

    OK I think when I start being able to recognise certain words in ROT-13 then probably I have a problem?!

    Can't wait to see what you spring on us the next few days, Mark, but LOTR SOOOOOON PLEASE!

    • t09yavosaur says:

      I have just about learned to read it. I still don't quite know all the letters but I can use the ones I do know to figure it out.

      I actually think it is a good thing cause it means I don't have to copy paste all the time.

  54. hilarius11 says:

    Mark, I dunno if its been brought up yet, but when you get to LoTR, and when you finish Fellowship in particular, make sure you don't watch the first movie straight off. Peter Jackson, bless his soul, changed the order of events for cinematic purposes. So, what happens in book two for example happens in movie one. It's not like HP where you have convenient school years to keep everything in line. I'd recommend reading all three books before watching any of the movies in order to not spoil yourself.

    I'm doing a re-read right now of LoTR and I noticed this little issue. Be careful!!

    • notemily says:

      We have talked about this and I think the consensus is Mark should read at least the first chapter of TT before watching the FOTR movie. That takes care of the major plot spoiler.

  55. Lady X says:

    Yay! So excited for LOTR, and I’m excited that your excited, and better yet I haven’t read it yet (clearly there is something wrong with me) so I will be reading chapter a day. Plus, LORD OF THE RINGS. Seriously.

  56. Andrew says:

    So I haven't been able to keep up with comments very well for this, between vacation and being busy in general and also just not remembering the Hobbit very well, but I loved reading along with this. I'm super excited for LotR, which I remember far better and will presumably have more time to participate in discussion. Should be fun!


    Jbhyq lbh yrg zr jnyx vagb n ibypnab vs lbh xarj n pregnva cngu yrq fgenvtug vagb vg?”

    Jryy abj gung lbh zragvba vg…

  57. Winks6 says:

    Oh dear lord, you are going to start LOTR aren't you? I will have to read with you and my mind is already begging me not to get philosophical on that series. You couldn't have just stopped at HP? I mean, now I'm going to have to relive all my LOTR obsessions! OH F**K

  58. Robin says:

    Its not lord of the rongs but I think it relevant becuase of the catch phrase

  59. Winks6 says:

    As I have read through the comments on this page, I am shocked to learn that I know NOTHING about this series. Seriously, if you all can talk to each other in a different language (which yes I googled for an hour last night), I am truly like Mark, NOT PREPARED! I have read the series twice, once in HS and once again when the movies came out. I still fail to see how simply reading these books allows you to speak in tongues, but will someone PLEASE tell me how I can do this as well! I am super envious and now you all have been secretly mocking me for my lack of understanding of these awesome things. AAAGGGGHHH!!!

    • notemily says:

      haha, it's just a code, nothing to do with LOTR. it's called rot-13 and you can decode or encode it here.

      • Winks6 says:

        LOL – AWESOME!I was feeling really low and stupid.

        • Winks6 says:

          and after googling this – I still feel stupid. Thanks for making me more aware I guess… hides face and contemplates how old I am now 🙁

          • notemily says:

            aw, why do you feel stupid? It's kind of an obscure code. someone came up with the idea of using it here to talk about spoilers, because then people who want to read spoilers can decode it, and people who don't, like mark, can just skip the coded bits.

          • flootzavut says:

            Don't feel stupid: it's one of those things that if you spend WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY too much time on the internet (especially on usenet discussing books/films and other things that involve spoilers) then you would have come across, but otherwise, there's no reason you would have. It's one of those things that is an open secret, as it were, something most people don't know about at all until they suddenly have a need to know 😀

            And for what it's worth, you are also not the first person I've seen comment on Mark's reviews who thought it was Elvish or something, so don't feel stupid on that account either 🙂

  60. Smurphy says:

    Bwah… I dont know how I got so far behind but I finally caught up and am finished. AND I just downloaded a couple library books on my kindle. AMAZING FEATURE THAT I LOVE so I'm gonna read those while I wait for you to start. I think I'm also starting Dr. Who. (I'm insane) so I'm gonna be reading that too… and you need to hurry your butt and get the HPs out so we can have Hunger Games before the movie is released. I know I'm being need-y but its just because I love you so…

    You are so unprepared. Do you understand now that there and back again is Bilbo's tale…. he is essentially the narrator. Also did you put that line about his colleagues and ghosts and talking horses on purpose because if you did I lol'd if you didn't I still lol'd but now I'm shaking my head at you for not knowing these things.


    “Qbrf Ovyob qvr?”

    “Riraghnyyl, fher.”


  61. Derek says:

    Regarding Gandalf's knowing-ness. It's kind of like a horror movie, where you know something bad is going to happen but it still surprises you when it happens. And you can't just sit there in terrified stillness; you have to DO something.

  62. @Tonks07 says:

    Mark- you should def check out the Tolkien audio collection. Hearing Tolkien read his own stuff (esp the entire Riddles in the Dark chapter) is fabulous!

  63. @RabidLemur says:

    By Mark's beard! Sir, I love your brain. This was amazing-sauce.

    I read The Hobbit for the first time in 5th grade, having already watched the Rankin/Bass a few times, and I was terrified of Gollum and cried when Thorin died. It felt significant. This story's been with me for a long time, and I can't wait for the movies. I translated the runes on the cover and on the maps all myself. 'Cause I'm a nerd like that. B) Looking forward to your LOTR!

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