Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of The Hobbit, Tolkien gives us nightmare fuel that will last a couple thousand centuries. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.


THE LORD IS TESTING ME WITH THIS CHAPTER. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to the horror genre, both the written word and film. I’m sure there are a lot of studies or theses or papers about why humanity loves to seek out this stuff, but I don’t really analyze it all that much, which is surprising when you think about how much I over-analyze everything in my life.

I actually didn’t start with movies; those came later, when I was about eight or nine years old, because it was much easier to sneak away and read books than to find a way to watch something clandestinely on the television. Living in a strict Christian household meant that whatever I consumed in terms of media was highly regulated. I was only allowed to watch a small handful of shows, all approved by my mother. The same with any books I read, though sometimes my mom ignored me because she was more pleased by the fact that I was reading than causing trouble. Still, she was always openly involved in any reading choices I made.

At least that is what she thought. An older sibling had left behind a lot of books in a box in the garage, and that box came with us when we moved from Boise to Idaho. But when I was seven, I picked up an Edgar Allen Poe anthology, one with these horrifying black and white line drawings in them. Before I even devoted time to reading the stories, I’d spend hours flipping through the book to look at the illustrations; then I moved on to investigating the table of contents, intrigued by the titles, some which seemed to tell an entire story, others which made no sense to me.

When I did muster the courage to start reading, I didn’t understand a lot of what Poe wrote about, but I understood things like the visceral ending to “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I read the entire anthology, latching on to stories like “Berenice” or “The Oblong Box,” feeling terrified by “The Pit and the Pendulum,” or “The Fall of the House of Usher.” And it took me years to fully understand any of these stories! Sure, I understood the basic idea behind them, but they were so much more complex and layered than I realized at the time.

From there, I tried my hand at a few Lovecraft stories, which I loved and also had no real clue what I was reading. When I was nine, however, I read Stephen King’s It. I was nine. NINE YEARS OLD. ARE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED THAT A BOOK ABOUT A MALEVOLENT ENTITY THAT FEEDS ON PHOBIA SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME? But even then, I just went with it. I didn’t think about why I liked the sensation very much. Even now, I’m not sure I know why either. I started to move on to horror films, sneaking peaks at some of them on TNT or TBS. (To this day, I’ve only seen about a third of a horror film about mutant cockroaches that I’m sure is terrible, but I can’t remember the name of it and I would love to see it again, mostly because it gave me nightmares just from watching the last half hour.) I would take advantage of any opportunity when my mom wasn’t home to see if there were any scary movies or shows on, and it’s how I discovered The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. In the same year I started It, my mom allowed me to stay up and start watching The X-Files, and up until I started living on my own when season 8 started, I watched the entire show in real time.

My obsession was set in stone in that point. I wanted to be creeped out. I wanted to read and watch stories that dealt with the paranormal, with alien invasions, with monsters and ghosts and demons. And honestly, this hasn’t gone away over twenty years later. I still love all of this! I still get excited when there’s a new horror movie coming out that might look like it’s going to terrify me. I still watch those movies and am generally disappointed by most of them BUT I NEVER GET UP. I read books like House of Leaves because I want to be frightened. I’ll spend hours at night reading Wikipedia entries on urban legends and ghost stories, getting lost on the web as I click from one page to another because I CAN’T STOP.

I suppose that might be a little weird in some cases because I’m an atheist. Why would I be so obsessed with ghosts or demonic possession if they might disprove my belief that there is no god or gods in the world? I think that simplifies the issue, and also ignores the power of fiction to make us feel things. I suppose that I don’t think about how certain things I am entertained by might clash with my atheism because…well, who cares? I’m entertained! Ghost stories rule! And if there is a god and I get to become a ghost after I die, I am not going to complain. I’m just going to haunt the shit out of all of the people who bullied me. OR EVEN BETTER: I could go haunt people like Donald Trump or Rick Perry. HOLY SHIT. CAN THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN?

The point being….I can’t figure out why I like this stuff. I genuinely don’t know! I’ve thought that perhaps it’s tied to my sense of individuality, since I had to sneak around and enjoy this sort of stuff because my mom wouldn’t let me have it. Perhaps I’m biased in this regard. But how would that explain the fact that I spent four hours online last week reading about Area 51? (I DID NOT KNOW THAT THE GOOGLE SATELLITE IS ALLOWED TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BASE NOW!!! DID YOU KNOW THAT? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A HUGE MOMENT THIS IS IN MY GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY LIFETIME????)

So, in this quest to be frightened constantly, I’ll seek out shitty horror films on Netflix. I’ll believe all the hype for a film online. I’ll go to any amusement park humanly possible, and I will ride every single ride there. (With one exception: rides that only spin. Fuck those. I can’t do those.) I’ll read almost anything that people say is creepy. Once, in 1998, I read every Dean Koontz novel that had been released up to that point in time. They weren’t very good, for the record, and I think I finished that project just to say I did it. I think the best example of my unbearably obsession with being scared and uncomfortable happened in 2008: I got Netflix for the first time. Before I added a single movie to my queue, I Googled, “creepiest movies ever,” and found my way onto a message board I had never seen, full of HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF SUGGESTIONS of movies that had very creepy scenes or creepy ideas in them.

I put them all in my queue.

Okay, not every single on in the whole thread, but I made it about halfway through. Any movie I had not seen when into my queue. I lasted about two months on that queue, getting three movies at a time, before I became EXHAUSTED. Not just by watching movies with NO JOY IN THEM (which was a big part of it), but by the very process of having to sit through a lot of the same tropes and techniques night after night. I don’t regret this, by the way, as there were some gems amidst the crap. It was also like a giant lecture on the different sub-genres of horror and thrillers as well! (Funny story: I re-arranged my queue after my two-month binge and added PLEASANT FILMS all near the top, but six months later, forgot to remove some of the things I’d added first, and I’d keep getting the WEIRDEST SHIT in the mail, movies with titles like Boner Bloodbath or Demons and Guts and I would never be able to recall why I had added these atrocities to my queue.)

Now, I don’t know that I would call chapter eight of The Hobbit “horror,” but many years before some of these techniques and images would appear in film and literature, J.R.R. Tolkien was scary the pants off children. I will straight up admit that I was taken completely by surprise. I did not expect The Hobbit to be anything but dense and whimsical, and now the group is lost in a goddamn forest that’s pitch black, where they must suffer at the hands of magical Wood-elves and gigantic, poisonous, and talking spiders. In short: WHAT THE HOLY FUCK DID I JUST READ.

Tolkien wrote this nearly seventy-five years ago. Children and teenagers and adults have been reading this since then. And not anyone I ever came into contact with who enjoyed this book ever mentioned anything about the never-ending nightmare that is a black forest full of monster spiders. I’m not even particularly frightened by spiders; they sometimes creep me out, but they aren’t a fear of mine, per se. But there are a lot of things in this chapter that are now familiar tropes to me: the use of disorientation to frighten; the use of every day creatures, but magnified to a horrifying size; the use of light and dark to build suspense; the fear that comes from feeling just as overwhelmed and overstimulated as the main character; and the very real threat of death hanging over anything.

And while I did want to make this all about how terrifying this chapter is, I can’t end this without acknowledging that Tolkien also gives us character growth. If you had told me after chapter one that Bilbo was hacking the legs off giant spiders and stabbing them to death seven chapters later, I would have made a passive-aggressive tweet about how silly you were being. The pattern continues: we get new creatures every chapter, and Bilbo discovers a new aspect to himself that he never knew was that.

I would not be surprised if this ended with Gandalf telling Bilbo and the group, “I told you so. Bilbo Baggins is valuable.”

In the meantime, here’s to hoping I don’t dream about getting caught in a venomous web tonight. DAMN IT.

About Mark Oshiro

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

273 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 8

  1. Cassie5squared says:

    Oh, maaaaan, I think this chapter is where my spider-phobia first developed. Up to then I was kind of okay around spiders, but when I was about nine I started to develop this unreasoning fear of beasties I'd once willingly picked up and let crawl all over my hands. I first read The Hobbit when I was eight coming up for nine years old.

    I have only just made this connection. Thank you, Mark, you've now explained the origin one of my worst fears to me. :p

    Seriously, though, I love these reviews, I've been following them for a couple of months now and have ploughed through the archives too. It's amazing to see a whole new, very insightful perspective on books I love.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    Bilbo is the biggest little BAMF who ever hobbited around the place. For real.

    Also! Sting gets its name! Yay for Sting!

  3. Ryan Lohner says:

    Well, I am scared by spiders. It's like Ron Weasley says: it's just the way they move. One of my most remembered video game experiences is Resident Evil 2, where you go into the sewers and with absolutely no warning get a shot of a giant tarantula RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. At least it gave me time to calm down a bit before trying to fight it, but then even its death throes freaked me out.

    Another person scared of spiders: Peter Jackson. That should certainly help this sequence if it goes in.

    • bookworm67 says:

      V fnj fbzrjurer (cebonoyl gur YBGE svyz fcrpvny srngherf) gung Crgre Wnpxfba qryvorengryl ercerfragrq nyy uvf srnef va (YBGE fcbvyref) Furybo, naq tnir vg/ure nyy gur punenpgrevfgvpf ur ungrq va fcvqref. Fb, ur tnir vg gur fybj, fgrnql perrcvat bs gur gnenaghyn juvyr vg’f farnxvat hc ba Sebqb, ohg gur fhqqra fchegf bs zbirzrag nf vg’f nggnpxvat Fnz.

      Zber ba guvf jura jr trg gb gur eryrinag cneg bs YBGE, V thrff 🙂

      • pennylane27 says:

        Zbfg greevslvat fprar rire. Furybo vf jbefr ba fperra guna va gur obbx. Qnza Crgre Wnpxfba.

      • tethysdust says:

        Uhu, gung rkcynvaf vg, gura. V nyjnlf gubhtug gur PbF fcvqref ybbxrq xvaq bs snxr, ohg Furybo jnf greevslvat. V sryg yvxr Furybo zbirq yvxr n fcvqre. Avtugzner shry…

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Cyhf, ur jnagrq Furybo qrfvtarq nsgre n fcrpvsvp Arj Mrnynaq fcvqre pnyyrq n ghaary jro, naq gb trg gur rssrpgf thlf n zbqry, nabgure perj zrzore jub unq n srne bs fcvqref unq gb qvt nebhaq va uvf tneqra gb svaq naq pncgher bar. Abj gung'f fhssrevat sbe lbhe neg.

        • bookworm67 says:

          Oh god, that's horrible xD

        • notemily says:

          …I love those movies.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          The level of dedication of the LOTR cast and crew is unmatched by any other film project in the history of film. That's my opinion and I stand by it.

          • notemily says:

            What Tauriel said.

          • Danielle says:

            Hear hear.

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Yes. I agree so much. Are the LotR movie appendices tidbits considered spoilery? Not sure if it was established if or when Mark will check them out. I'll rot13 just in case…

            V zrna, va gur zbivr nccraqvprf gurl gnyx nobhg ubj gurl jrer pbafgnagyl er-jevgvat gur fpevcg rirel qnl, nyjnlf fgevivat gb cresrpg vg hc hagvy vg jnf nofbyhgryl arrqrq sbe svyzvat. Gung'f qrqvpngvba.

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              Of course, I'm asking about non-story related stuff in the movie appendices, like what I posted above.

            • Tauriel_ says:

              You mean stuff from the DVD extras? I'd rot13 them, just in case, until after Mark watches their respective films. 🙂

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                Ok, I wanted to be sure, because I've seen some non-rot13 comments that talk about what happened during movie production. Nothing spoilery in regards to the story, but it's stuff that Mark won't watch for awhile.

                • Tauriel_ says:

                  Oh, I see what you mean. I think interesting background information about the production, as long as it doesn't give any spoilers or hints to the plot or the characters, should be fine without rot13. 🙂

      • notemily says:

        V'z cerggl fher tvnag perrcl ohtf naq vafrpgf ner yvxr Crgre Wnpxfba'f GUVAT. V fnj YBGE svefg, univat arire frra nal bs uvf bgure zbivrf, ohg gura V ernq hc ba gurz naq sbhaq bhg ur ybirf ubeebe naq tber (Jvxvcrqvn pnyyf uvf rneyl zbivrf uvf "fcynggre crevbq"). Jura V fnj Xvat Xbat jvgu vgf tvnag ohtf, V jnf yvxr "BU! GUVF vf jung Crgre Wnpxfba yvxrf gb qb!" Trggvat gb znxr Furybo jnf cebonoyl n uvtu cbvag sbe uvz, rira vs ur jnf sernxrq bhg.

        V zrna, ur qvq uryc sbhaq Jrgn Qvtvgny, juvpu vf ANZRQ nsgre n tvnag oht. Nyfb, ur cebqhprq Qvfgevpg 9… n svyz nobhg vafrpgf gung ybbx yvxr tvnag ohtf. V erfg zl pnfr.

        • Ryan Lohner says:

          Though he did get his back, as one day while making LOTR his habit of wearing shorts resulted in a particularly big and ugly weta crawling up his bare leg, and the rest of the crew got to see him completely freak out over it.

        • notemily says:

          And of course I meant ALIENS that look like giant bugs.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          vpx…gubfr ohtf va Xvat Xbat ernyyl perrcrq zr bhg. V'z abg hfhnyyl irel fdhrnzvfu nobhg ohtf va trareny, ohg V fvzcyl pnaabg jngpu gung fprar jvgu gur tvnag ohtf. Fbbb tebff…

      • Tauriel_ says:

        And now imagine vs gurl rire svyzrq Fvyznevyyvba – Hatbyvnag jbhyq or orlbaq fpnel. Furybo vf n phgr yvggyr crg pbzcnerq gb Hatbyvnag. Uryy, rira ZBETBGU jnf nsenvq bs Hatbyvnag.

        • earis the istarwen says:

          V xabj gung gurl pna'g svyz nyy bs gur Fvy, ohg gung fprar jurer fur chgf bhg gur Yvtugf jbhyq or gur zbfg greevslvat guvat rire svyzrq.

        • Neet says:

          Thank you for that. Just the image I wanted in my head tonight. V guvax V xvaq bs tb vagb qravny nobhg Hatbyvnag jurarire V erernq gur Fvyznevyyvba. Zl oenva ershfrf gb nqzvg fbzrguvat pbhyq or jbefr guna Furybo. Gur svefg gvzr V ernq YbgE (ntr fgvyy va fvatyr qvtvgf), fur jnf gur zbfg greevslvat guvat V'q rire rapbhagrerq naq V qba'g guvax V'ir rire dhvgr bhgtebja gung.

      • flootzavut says:

        Lrnu V jnf guvaxvat bs Furybo – vs gur cbegenlny bs Furybo vf nalguvat gb tb ol gura gur Uboovg fcvqref jvyy or nccebcevngryl ubeevsvp!

    • notemily says:

      Another person scared of spiders: Tolkien's son, Michael. Tolkien specifically put spiders in this book so his son would be MORE SCARED when listening to the story. Way to troll your kids, JRR.

  4. tethysdust says:

    New creature: Giant Talking Spiders.

    Okay, so I am terrified by spiders. They are terrifying creatures that haunt nightmares, even when they aren't gigantic. Strangely enough, though, my nightmares after re-reading this had nothing to do with spiders. I vaguely remember having a nightmare about someone criticizing my skill at playing the piano. It was awful, but well.. no spiders.

    It's amazing how much Gandalf being gone has really forced Bilbo to step up! Back in the last chapter, when Gandalf was all, "I need you to look after all these dwarves for me!", it sounded kind of patronizing, like something you would tell a kid to make them feel involved. After this chapter, though, it seems pretty clear that the dwarves do need him to take care of them!

    Also, about Bombur. There was a lot of criticism of Bombur in this chapter, but I just wanted to point out: When he woke up, he'd already not had anything to eat for days. They were acting like he was just being wimpy, but I think he had a perfectly valid reason to be a lot worse off than the others. I do get the dwarves frustration, though… nobody wants to have to carry somebody else when you're already starving to death.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Even though Fili and Kili are still my favorites, I kinda want to stan for Bombur just because he gets so much hate from the other dwarves in this chapter. Yeah, it sucks to have to drag him around, but he nearly drowned in that lethe-like river. And then he got pinched a lot by spiders. Cut him some slack!

      Oh god, I just looked up a photo from the film. Uvf oenvq! I love it!

  5. Darth_Ember says:

    Giant spiders… yeuch. Hate hate hate. It's why Chamber of Secrets creeped me out (and why THAT BIT of the movie did so even worse.)

    Though I usually avoid horror movies. I have this vivid imagination, and even without them, it conjures up horrifying stuff in my nightmares at times. It doesn't need the extra fuel. (You know when you describe a nightmare to someone, it sounds less scary? Yeah, I don't always have that problem. Describing my nightmares can creep people out.)

    I will say, however, that the movie that scared me the most? Event Horizon. Hands down, Event Horizon. That is frickin' scary stuff.

    • Weston says:

      The Warhammer 40K fans insist that Event Horizon occurs in that universe, representing humanity's first encounter with… well, everything.

      I cannot disagree with them.

  6. cait0716 says:

    More than any of the other chapters, this is where I really noticed the Hobbit influencing practically every other media I've consumed over the years. Some of it was silly and probably unintentional. When Bilbo decided to name his sword sting the way he phrased it reminded me of Dory and her Squishy. The description of the elves reminded me strongly of Pratchett's description of them in Discworld:

    Ryirf ner jbaqreshy. Gurl cebibxr jbaqre.
    Ryirf ner zneiryybhf. Gurl pnhfr zneiryf.
    Ryirf ner snagnfgvp. Gurl perngr snagnfvrf.
    Ryirf ner tynzbebhf. Gurl cebwrpg tynzbhe.
    Ryirf ner rapunagvat. Gurl jrnir rapunagzrag.
    Ryirf ner greevsvp. Gurl ortrg greebe.

    I'm used to seeing elves portrayed as fairly benevolent creatures, and I thought a lot of that impression came from Tolkien. But here they're a touch xenophobic and I was convinced for a while that they were purposely leading the dwarves and Bilbo off the trail.

    And then there's the huge spiders who terrified me when I first read this. And now I remember why Aragog scared me so much in CoS. It's a very similar scene, and I was definitely flashing back to this imagery when I first read Harry Potter.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Ybeq naq Ynqvrf <3

      • That was my first Discworld!!

        • monkeybutter says:

          That's such an odd place to start! Ohg vs V guvax nobhg vg, ONZS Tenaal Jrngurejnk, Anaal Btt, naq Evqphyyl nyy va bar obbx vf n cerggl nznmvat svefg rkcbfher. Guerr bhg bs zl gbc svir punenpgref va terng sbez!

          • Oh, yeah, it's one of my favorites, and not just because I'm fond of it for being my first. V ernq gur Jvgpurf obbxf va erirefr beqre, naq gurl tbg jbefr naq jbefr, juvpu jnf naablvat, uru. Gubfr rneyl obbxf ner xvaq bs jrnx, jura Cengpurgg qvqa'g ernyyl xabj jung ur jnagrq gb qb jvgu Qvfpjbeyq naq unq ab vqrn jung "cybg" jnf.

            • Elexus Calcearius says:

              Crbcyr graq gb ernyyl ybir gurve svefg bar, va zl rkcrevrapr. Sbe zr, vgf Zbeg, gubhtu bs pbhefr V ybir fb zhpu zber. Ybeq naq Ynqvrf vf jbaqreshy: ohg vg vf pregnvayl na bqq cynpr. V'yy nqzvg, V qvqa'g zhpu yvxr gur Jvmneqf orsber gura. Gurer jrer fb znal, gung V bsgra sbhaq zlfrys hanoyr gb trg n frafr bs gur punenpgref. Ohg jvgu whfg n pbhcyr bs gurz, frg nybatfvqr gur jvgpurf jubz V xarj fb jryy: cresrpgvba!

              • clodia_risa says:

                Hayrff lbh cvpx ragveryl gur jebat bar gb fgneg jvgu. Zl svefg bar jnf Jleq Fvfgref, naq V ungrq vg. Nofbyhgryl ungrq vg. Pbhyqa’g znxr vg guebhtu. Gur fprarf qhevat gur cynl jnf whfg gbb rzoneenffvat.

                Sbeghangryl, V unq n sevraq fhttrfg V gel ntnva fbzr svir lrnef yngre, rkcynvarq gur svefg srj obbxf jrer xvaqn njshy, naq V fxvccrq nebhaq dhvgr n ybg. Abj ur’f bar bs zl nofbyhgr snibevgr nhgubef. Fgvyy unira’g erernq Jleq Fvfgref, gubhtu.

                • BumblebeeTuna says:

                  Ernyyl? Jleq Fvfgref jnf zl svefg bar naq V ybirq vg. Zvaq lbh, V jnf avar ng gur gvzr (ena bhg bs obbxf ba n enval fhzzre ubyvqnl naq cvpxrq hc bar bs zl qnq'f. Ynhturq ulfgrevpnyyl sbe nobhg unys na ubhe orsber V znqr vg gb gur frpbaq cntr.) V ernq zl jnl guebhtu gurz srebpvbhfyl sbe nobhg gur arkg sbhe lrnef, naq ZNL unir qerffrq hc nf Tenaal Jrngurejnk sbe n fpubby obbx ercbeg va lrne frira.

                  • clodia_risa says:

                    Bu V ybir Tenaal Jrngurejnk, ohg V unir na rzoneenffzrag fdhvpx NAQ vg frrzrq evqvphybhf gb zr gung gurfr guerr jbzra qvqa’g xabj jung n cynl jnf. V whfg qvqa’g ernyyl trg vg, V guvax. V’q cebonoyl yvxr vg n ybg orggre vs V ernq vg abj, whfg orpnhfr V’q trg gb ernq Tenaal Jrngurejnk orvat Tenaal Jrngurejnk.

            • notemily says:

              V npghnyyl dhvgr yvxr "Jleq Fvfgref." Vg'f n uvynevbhf Funxrfcrner fraq-hc. "Jvgpurf Noebnq" V qvqa'g guvax jnf nf tbbq, ohg Tenaal Jrngurejnk vf nyjnlf nznmvat. V nyfb rawbl "Rdhny Evgrf," rira gubhtu vg'f abg dhvgr Qvfpjbeyq nf jr xabj vg lrg–vg'f fgvyy n tbbq obbx.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Rfzr Jrngurejnk + Zhfgehz Evqphyyl = BGC SBERIRE NAQ RIRE <3 <3 <3

            • monkeybutter says:

              lol oddly enough I was thinking about that the other day (because I care about important things.) V ybir gurz gbtrgure jura gurl jrer lbhatre, ohg V ybir gurz zber nf gurve byqre, fvatyr fryirf. V jbhyqa'g jnag gurz gb unir nalbar ryfr sbe n cnfg ybir gubhtu. Vg'f gbb cresrpg!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Qvfpjbeyq <3 V ybirq ubj ur oebhtug onpx n zber pynffvp cbegenlny bs gur Ryirf: abg nf xvaq, fjrrg jbbqynaq fcvevgf, ohg guvatf gung jvyy shpx lbh hc. W.E.E. Gbyxvra'f nera'g dhvgr gung onq, ohg fgvyy.

      And you're right, I was getting similar imagery from Chamber of Secrets. However, I felt like the spiders- or at least Aragog- were more neutrally written in terms of morality. Rowling's spiders were eating because they needed food, and we knew they could make loyal bonds…here, they need food, but they also seem more evil and purposely cruel. Still wishing for more moral ambiguity.

      Enjoying the horror, though.

    • boyamiconfuzed says:

      Is it sad that I knew what that rot-13'd bit said as soon as you said Discworld?

    • fandomphd says:

      <3 Tenaal Jrngurejnk SO MUCH. Now I want to reread all the Qvfpjbeyq Jvgpurf books. Even Rdhny Evgrf and Jleq Fvfgref.

  7. MadarFoxfire says:

    Oh god, THIS CHAPTER wigged me the royal fuck out.

  8. pennylane27 says:

    I still can't believe you were nine when you read It. I started reading it a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't get past the first chapter because I was alone and it was late at night and I was already terrified. I'm on chapter three now, but I'm taking my time. To be honest, I didn't use to like the horror genre, mostly because I couldn't see the sense of being scared by something by choice, but I get it now. I can't explain it either, but I like the thrill, and I don't think I need to analyse why. Human nature, I guess.

    Anyway. Bilbo rules. He named his sword Sting. He sang songs to the spiders and then killed them. I'm not usually afraid of spiders, but huge ones intent on eating you? NO THANK YOU. Why, Tolkien, why?

    Also, I forgot to post this in the Beorn love-fest that was going on yesterday:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Look at Bilbo looking all adorable. John Howe is awesome.

  9. Kelsey says:

    This chapter is definitely the magnum opus of spider terror. I remember reading this the first time, late at night, then consequently staying up all night far to frightened of giant spiders coming to eat me. Fun, fun times.

  10. knut_knut says:

    I don’t have the nerve or the stomach for horror, but I always find myself crawling back to it, especially late at night when I can’t fall asleep or when I’m home alone (fun fact: when we lost power due to the snow storm on Saturday, I thought it would be a FANTASTIC idea to start House of Leaves. IT WAS NOT). There is nothing, NOTHING, worse than spiders, though. Especially when they skitter across your face at 3am causing you to drunkenly take apart your bed and sleep in the kitchen. Or when you wake up and find your ceiling crawling with baby spiders. Or when they’re on your person, specifically, in your hair.

    Not sure if this is a spoiler, but rot13-ing just in case: Nyy guvf gnyx nobhg gur qvssrerag xvaq bs ryirf vf znxvat zl urnq fcva! Jura V ernq gur Fvyznevyyvba V gbbx abgrf naq znqr pbybhe-pbbeqvangrq punegf naq snzvyl gerrf, ohg V fgvyy erzrzore qvqqyl jura vg pbzrf gb gur qvssrerag xvaq bs ryirf naq jub vf jung xvaq b_B

    • pennylane27 says:

      Qnza, V qba'g unir gur Fvy urer, naq V unira'g ernq vg sbe n juvyr, ohg V guvax gung Zvexjbbq Ryirf ner Fvyina, ohg Yrtbynf naq Guenaqhvy ner Fvaqne, Terl Ryirf. Fbzrbar pbeerpg zr vs V'z jebat, ohg Fvaqne Ryirf jrer gur barf Guvatby ehyrq jvgu Zryvna, evtug?

    • My mum always likes to watch horror films when she can't sleep. Apparently, if she's scared out of her skull, she sleeps better because she's not thinking about other things instead. I…dunno. All I know is that I got burned out on horror films by the age of 6 or 7 because I used to sleep in my parents bed when my dad was working nights. And of course, it's a brilliant idea to watch Candyman and Hellraiser with your 4 year old (although some of my friends take this as further evidence that my mum has been trolling me all my life).

  11. kartikeya200 says:

    And if there is a god and I get to become a ghost after I die, I am not going to complain. I’m just going to haunt the shit out of all of the people who bullied me. OR EVEN BETTER: I could go haunt people like Donald Trump or Rick Perry. HOLY SHIT. CAN THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN?

    This just made me choke on my water. <3 <3 <3 <3 Mark. YES LET THIS HAPPEN. Except not because being a ghost kind've requires you to be dead first. Maybe you could invent the machine from the Caspar movie?

    Right, today I bring SPIDER STORIES.

    So I DO have a particular fear of spiders. It's strange, because this doesn't really extend to other insects (if they suddenly zip out over my hand or something, they'll startle me, sure, but I'm not phobic) EXCEPT FOR WASPS because FUCK WASPS. Wasps were the source of most of my childhood trauma, I'm just saying. Anyway, I have no childhood traumas involving spiders, and when I was younger I remember picking up 'Daddy Long Legs' without fear. But when I was just entering the fourth grade, we moved to the Pacific Northwest, to a little town in Washington, and as it happens, there's some kind of spider up here that is HUGE and BROWN and makes horrible horrible crunching noises when you squish it (if you can). I was never bitten by one or had one fall on my head or anything, but our house had big high ceilings and every now and then one would camp out in the corner and just sit there, being all malevolently spiderly (which means he was probably eating the really annoying crane flies, but IT WAS CREEPY).

    And then I spent half a year renting a basement that, it turns out, was absolutely infested with these same monsters, and they'd go scuttling across my floor and hiding in my shoes and chasing my ferrets (I had ferrets).

    So what I'm saying is, I haaate spiders. There's something about the way they move that gives me an instant creep/fear reaction. I hate walking into the bathroom and finding one just out of reach. I hate finding one IN reach in my bedroom, only to miss and have it leap away and ninja vanish and asfsfsfs NOW IT IS HIDING IN MY ROOM. A few weeks ago I opened the front door to take my puppy for a walk and one swung into my face (not the big brown monsters, thankfully, lately it's been smaller black ninja spiders). I am in a constant spider war.

    And I blame Tolkien for making it so EVERY SINGLE FANTASY WORLD EVER contains, inevitably, giant spiders. This isn't a problem reading about for me, really. Even watching the spider scene in Harry Potter didn't really give me more than a slight thrill and 'yeah, run those spiders over, magic car!' But I play a whole LOT of video games. And my favorite video games are RPGs. And RPGs tend toward fantasy (though even KotOR had those…things, in caves. They weren't spiders BUT THEY WERE CLOSE).

    Baldur's Gate? Giant spiders everyfrickinwhere. Dragon Age? Giant spiders THAT DROP FROM THE CEILING. Dragon Age 2? A GIANT SPIDER SO GIANT IT FILLS UP MY SCREEN. Everquest and Everquest 2? Terrorantula. Lord of the Rings Online? Entire spider nests where spiders will slowly DROP IN FRONT OF YOUR SCREEN when you least expect it.

    Morrowind and Oblivion didn't have any spiders. Okay, Oblivion had spider daedra, but those were basically spider centaurs with weird looking ladies for the human half, and didn't really bother me. BUT THEN, I installed a beautiful mod called Deserts of Anequina. Deserts of Anequina comes pre-packaged with something called a 'no spider patch'. Of course I installed it, and I thought myself safe. Then I found WEAVER CAVE. You know what Weaver cave is? It's a cave full of tarantulas the SIZE OF SMALL PONIES. And it's DARK. And they're EVERYWHERE. So I hacked my way through them, and get to the last part of the cave, which is this huge cavern, and I'm expecting a bigger spider. Because there's always a bigger spider. But the cavern is empty. So I creep into it, and suddenly I see A GIANT SPIDER SHADOW MOVE ACROSS THE FLOOR. It was in the ceiling. …I mean, okay, this wasn't a design choice, turns out the spider was so freaking big that it was stuck in the ceiling, but it could still attack me, and I couldn't hit it, and I finally said 'fuck it', opened the console, targeted one huge leg, and typed 'kill'. Victory was mine.

    Until I closed the console and the giant spider body FELL ON ME.

    So anyway, I blame Tolkien, and this chapter, for this prevalance of giant malevolent spiders in my favorite genre, and my favorite type of games (which are one of my favorite activities), and for the number of times I've scared my dog by nearly falling out of my computer chair in haste to back away from the screen.

    But that's okay, Skyrim's coming out very soon.

    <img src=""&gt;


    • knut_knut says:

      your poor ferrets!!! There's something conniving about spiders that I don't always get with other insects… They always look like they're plotting how best to kill you or how to crawl into your ears and lay eggs in your brain so that one day you'll have a terrible headache and then millions of baby spiders will start pouring from your face (this was a legitimate fear of mine when I was younger).

      • kartikeya200 says:

        There's something conniving about spiders that I don't always get with other insects… They always look like they're plotting how best to kill you

        I am convinced this is the actual truth.

        And yes, my ferrets were lovely and hilarious, but did not know how to cope with giant monster spiders. They ran and hid in their bed. They also were perfectly happy to watch mice zip past their noses (predatory instincts? What's that?). I bought a bunch of spider traps one day, then realized I couldn't actually use them because my ferrets could and WOULD put their paws in them and get stuck if I actually left them out.

      • monkeybutter says:

        If spiders aren't technically insects, do they get a pass for not getting along with them? Yes, I'm being pedantic!

        • knut_knut says:

          good point. Now I feel bad for grouping insects with spiders 🙁 Although a lot of them are still incredibly creepy and do not need to live in my house

      • BumblebeeTuna says:

        Thank you for that nightmare.

    • Doodle says:


    • DFM Marlink says:

      I'll never forget the day that my beloved, previously-safe Legend of Zelda series decided to embrace the giant spider fantasy trope: Ocarina of Time (wasn't afraid of the Gohma enemies in previous Zeldas because they looked more like crabs, which are cute to me). Skulltulas. Queen Gohma in Ocarina of Time. ARMOGOHMA. FUCKING ARMOGOHMA in Twilight Princess. I don't care how easy people say that battle was. She's a GIANT SPIDER who looked more spidery than any previous spider in the series.

      Also, FUCK THOSE FUCKING Resident Evil 2 giant tarantulas!

      And I am sooooo not looking forward to Skyrim's take. At least Spider Daedra in Oblovion were kinda pretty from the waist up–if you didn't get too close. (I always play in 100% Chameleon gear, so they never know I'm there.)

      Where I live as of 2006, we have a huge population of giant hunstman spiders. About a month after moving into my new place, my boyfriend had to kill two in the kitchen that were as big as my hand. 🙁 We also have a lot of wolf spiders. I swear I'm moving to Antarctica.

    • kristinc says:

      I live in the PNW and I know the spiders of which you speak. They're in the same family as "hobo spiders", although apparently most of them are not actual bonafide hobo spiders. Whatever. They're huge and they look malevolent and I'm pretty sure if I just listened hard enough I could hear them giggling creepily as they stalk me across the bathroom.

      I'm not even arachnophobic. I have a genuine fondness for the orb weavers in the garden. It's just THOSE spiders. They're evil spiders, I'm telling you.

      I have my spouse take them outside instead of killing them. First, the crunch is truly traumatizing, and second, I don't like the thought that they have entire spider families who might avenge them.

      • notemily says:

        Now I'm imagining little spiders wearing worn-out clothing and carrying bindle-sticks.

      • kartikeya200 says:

        Ahah! I went and looked at spider pictures and in my totally not remotely an expert opinion, was like: 'I think they are hobo spiders'. I feel all smart for being close.

        Hate them. Haaaate.

  12. bookworm67 says:

    All these comments about Stephen King are making me want to read…well, Stephen King. Which I've been meaning to for a while, actually, but was postponing it until after American Gods and House of Leaves (which I no longer have access to D: ) .

    Any suggestions about where to start? 'It' sounds like it has some good/creepy reviews going for it here, but I've heard of a lot of his other books too.

    • pennylane27 says:

      I've read The Shining and was instantly terrified, The Stand, which is not scary but great, and just last night I finished Under the Dome, which is a thousand pages long and very entertaining. 'It' so far is making me regress to clown-fears from my childhood.

      • kristinc says:

        "The Stand, which is not scary but great"

        SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! 😛 V arneyl unq urneg cnycvgngvbaf rirel gvzr V unq gb jnyx qbja n qnex be qvz pbeevqbe sbe lrnef. "Pbzr naq rng puvpxra jvgu zr va gur qnex" vaqrrq.

        It is great though. I guess I would call it deeply creepy more than scary.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Seconding the recommendation for The Stand. It's King's magnum opus as far as I'm concerned! Make sure to read the extended edition, which has some great extra characterizations.

    • Darth_Ember says:

      One of his books I've read that scared the hell out of me was Duma Key. That one was just… brr. I sat up, not sleeping, mind feverishly categorising the modus operandi of the scary stuff in it, calculating whether or not it could possibly come and get me.

      • clodia_risa says:

        Same here! I wasn’t expecting it, but I couldn’t read it at night without all the lights on.

        I was amused that the one book set in Florida had a Maine transplant in it, though. But somehow the vibrant colors described throughout made everything…worse.

    • clodia_risa says:

      Honestly, I’d start with his short stories. He’s got quite a few good collections, and you’ll be able to get a sense of whether or not you’ll like him. Everything’s Eventual was a particularly good one, in my opinion.

      Carrie was his first book, the one I first read, one of his shorter books, and one I heartily recommend. The movie is a fantastic interpretation, but the book has all kinds of things that didn’t make it in. It’s my favorite.

      As for longer books – The Stand is certainly a standout. The Green Mile is slightly less horror, but has his signature amazing characters. Duma Key is more recent and is one of the few books that required me to turn on every single light in the house when I read it after dark.

      The Dark Tower is amazing, but if you decide to read it, wait until you’ve read through half his bibliography.

      On that note – Did anyone else know that he’s got another Dark Tower book coming out in the spring? Vg gnxrf cynpr orgjrra obbx sbhe naq svir, ohg fgvyy! Jung zber vf gurer gb gryy? (Gbgnyyl cvpxvat vg hc naljnl.)

      • calimie says:

        Seconding this. I really like his books but I wish some of them were shorter
        My fav short story is "Survivor Type" from Skeleton Crew.

        Tangentially, his "On Writing" is absolutly fantastic.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Carrie was the first one I read, too! I dressed up as a zombie princess for Halloween in fourth grade (because I wanted a floofy dress and lots of bloody make-up), and my neighbor asked me if I was supposed to be Carrie. I thought she was talking about another girl named Kerry standing about ten feet away, and was totally confused. Hearing there was a book about a cebz dhrra pbirerq va oybbq (do I need to rot13 that? It's part of American culture, like "No, I am your father" by now, right?) lit up my eight-year-old brain.

        • clodia_risa says:

          It’s on the cover of the movie! It’s the anti-spoiler! They want you to know how it ends but to want to see how it happened.

    • la.donna.pietra says:

      Pet Sematary is a good introduction to his general oeuvre, as are his early short story collections. Carrie is damn good too.

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      I'm not very familiar with Stephen King, but I loved The Stand. I read the extended version, and I would recommend that one, since I can't really think of any scenes that I could bear to part with. V nyjnlf ungrq gur Qrhf Rk Znpuvan ng gur raq, gubhtu. Gung'f ernyyl gur orfg lbh pna pbzr hc jvgu, Xvat? V nz qvfnccbvag.

      I started reading The Shining a while back but haven't gotten the opportunity to finish. I might someday, since I didn't think the movie held up very well. Sorry, Kubrick, but it fell kinda flat for me. Especially when the screen goes black and then, with an ominous music sting, the word TUESDAY appears. That just makes me roar with laughter.

    • claretstock says:

      I've read Carrie and Salem's Lot, which were both fantastic. I like reading Author's books in chronological order, because the writing will progressively get better, so I started with Carrie.

      I'm thinking of reading The Dead Zone next.

      Oh and I am SO skipping IT and Pet Sematary. After having watched movies of both of those, I am pretty sure revisiting them would be more than I can handle. (Incidentally, I watched Pet Sematary when I was 10, and I had a pretty active imagination the combination of which equaled years of nightmares. No, I don't handle horror movies very well.)

  13. stellaaaaakris says:

    I am terrified by spiders. Not so much outside as long as they keep a good long distance, but if I see them inside my house, I lose my shit. Not even joking. This goes for crickets as well. Last summer, we had an infestation of camelback crickets, which look like spiders. That jump pretty long distances. DO NOT WANT. It was just me and my dog at home because my family was in DC. The crickets were only in the basement before but they made their way to the ground floor and terrified me. My dog was sitting on the couch with his head tilted, just watching as I was sobbing and screaming and desperately trying to trap these things that I thought were jumping spiders. I eventually found a can of Raid and was able to save myself, but it wasn't good. It certainly didn't help that I had been watching CoS at the time, and was about 15 minutes away from meeting Aragog.

    But giant spiders, inside or outside, I will probably die of fright. I think I must have repressed my memories of this chapter because I do not remember it at all. Kind of grateful for that.

    I want to throw Bilbo a BAMF party because he deserves one.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I'm sorry, that sounds terrible. I get those, too, and my cats earn their keep by batting at and pouncing on them.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      That may be the best Aragog story ever.

    • knut_knut says:

      We have tiny, tiny green crickets that live on our front door in the summer, so whenever people talk about how creepy crickets are, I’m always like noooooooo they’re so cuuuuuuute and smaaaaaaaaaall! <3 <3 I looked up camelback crickets AND THEY ARE HUUUUUUUUUGE! So many limbs D: ASDK;AJ disgusting. I hope your basement is cricket free!

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        It's not. 🙁 Since I'm terrified by them I see them pretty much instantly. I saw one Sunday night and yelled for my dad to come and kill it. Every time it moved, I screamed. And there was another one upstairs last night! I couldn't find the Raid for a while and it escaped while I started crying. I sat around for an hour holding the newly found Raid can, waiting for it to reappear.

        • knut_knut says:

          NOOOOOOOOOO!! that's terrible! Do they at least die in the winter?? Another reason why I'm not a summer person- too many bugs!

  14. monkeybutter says:

    Yeah, I'm not afraid of spiders. I'll squish the hell out of them if I find them inside, but I'll do that for any insect (except stink bugs. Never stink bugs.) And it was reassuring to find out that my big nose would save me from being suffocated by giant spiders' silk. 😀

    I looooved scary books and films when I was a kid, and I even read It at the about the same age as you. I wasn't so much scared as engrossed by reading and watching grotesque, terrible things. Oh, and there was the benefit of watching my sister squirm in terror because she hated scary movies. Oddly enough, it was just a phase for me, and she loves horror films now. Go figure.

    Anyway, for me the grossest part of the chapter was Bilbo stabbing the spider in the eye. I like how he was shocked after doing that, but then became more certain of himself and charged headlong into the spiders to save his companions. He became a hero under pressure.

  15. Araniapriime says:

    I read every Dean Koontz novel that had been released up to that point in time. They weren’t very good, for the record, and I think I finished that project just to say I did it.

    That explains soooo much about Mark Reads/Watches. LOL!

  16. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    All this spider talk is giving me the squirms…thank goodness for the BUTTERFLIES, even though the nasty spiders are eating them…ugh. I abhor spiders. Seriously. They all deserve Death by Sting. No matter how many times I tried to read Charlotte's Web to make myself not afraid of them, I still wanted to scream like a little girl whenever I saw one stalking me from my ceiling (cause they ARE all after me…it's a conspiracy). That's why I love that post on Hyperbole and a Half about her battle with the spider. If you haven't read it…do.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I have a friend who is afraid of butterflies. I think it's related to them starting off as caterpillars, but still, she's scared of butteflies. This would not be a good chapter for her, lol.

      • knut_knut says:

        My mom is afraid of them too, although she doesn’t break down into tears or try to kill them or anything like that. She said it’s their bodies that scare her O_O

  17. (To this day, I’ve only seen about a third of a horror film about mutant cockroaches that I’m sure is terrible, but I can’t remember the name of it and I would love to see it again, mostly because it gave me nightmares just from watching the last half hour.)
    Was it Mimic, directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Oscar winner Mira Sorvino? I think I dug it.

    And I loved Dean Koontz!

  18. Wookie_Monster says:

    Oh Mark, you're truly my seekrit astral plane twin! I started reading my mom's Stephen King collection at age nine, too, but didn't get to "It" until I was eleven;) I watched all kinds of horror movies at that age. With my mom. Who is awesome.

  19. rabbitape says:

    Oh, you like scary creepy stuff? I'll just leave this here then.

    It was made for me.

    And the last 2 pages for visual terror.

    • monkeybutter says:


    • clodia_risa says:

      That is amazing and awful and omg thank you.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • birdbrainblue says:

        You can get the whole thing online!

      • MidnightLurker says:


    • Dent D says:

      I was feeling like some kind of badass for not being scared at all by this chapter (although Tolkien's description of the pervasive darkness of Mirkwood is really good). I don't really get scared or creeped out by horror books/movies/tropes at all. I kind of think the horror genre is boring (oh god don't kill me for not liking horror).

      But then you reminded me of THIS MANGA. I have read it several times and it remains THE CREEPIEST nightmare-fuel inducing thing I have ever read. Thankfully the internet has helped tone down the creep factor by turning the famous noise into a meme.

    • birdbrainblue says:




      • rabbitape says:

        In sharing this manga, I feel a little bit like I'm distributing the video from "The Ring." Like, I'm damning the innocents by putting it out there.

    • Chris Durston says:


    • chikzdigmohawkz says:

      Well, that was terrifying.

  20. ravenclaw42 says:

    I wrote a whole thing and then it got eaten. I can't brain this morning. But I do have some pictures of spiders and elves and Bilbo being badass. 🙂

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    OT, one of my gerbils died a little while ago. I feel like I jinxed him by naming him Sirius. 🙁 I'm just glad I didn't name his tank-mate Remus or I'd be extra-paranoid. And you could not pay me any money to read Pet Sematary again. Never. Again.

  21. Smurphy115 says:

    Still dont have Internet.

    I STILL DON’T LIKE HIM. I’m sorry.

    I’m a scary movie person too…. I get it. Are you watching American Horror Story? I was like this show is probably going to be horrid but I have to AND NOW I CAN’T STOP. Watched the first episode by myself at night… No sleep that night.

    You are so not prepared.

    • pennylane27 says:

      OMG I'm watching it! In fact, I watched the last three the same day and almost died. I had to mix some Wilfred in so I wouldn't have nightmares afterwards.

      • Smurphy says:

        WILFRED. I was so against watching that show… I mean come on… but then my sister watched it and I am just so completely in love with it…. I actually watched it more religiously than she did. (She is THE BIGGEST Eligah Wood fan EVER,)

    • stefb says:

      I would be perfectly fine if they never went into the basement ever again. Or if Dylan McDermott walked around naked a little more often. But yeah it’s an addicting show.

      • Smurphy says:

        The opening titles alone are… horrid. Although I was pretty much able to guess the back story from them. I mean hello. Obviously some sort of botch doctor/abortionist.

    • Smurphy says:

      I love how it doesn't have my account link but it has my profile picture… lols. Oh the system.

  22. ChronicReader91 says:

    Hey, at least Bilbo didn’t have spiders as his only friends back in his Hobbit Hole. 😛

    Ba guvf fhowrpg, gur bgure qnl V jnf pyrnavat zl lneq naq V yvsgrq hc n gnec naq sbhaq yvivat haqrearngu vg GUR OVTTRFG OVT NFF FCVQRE V UNIR RIRE FRRA naq bapr V fgbccrq univat urneg nggnpxf naq fuevrxvat, V pbhyq bayl guvax nobhg gur tvnag fcvqref va Uneel Cbggre naq gurfr obbxf, rfcrpvnyyl Furybo. This vf onfvpnyyl zr jura vg pbzrf gb fcvqref, ogj.

    Anyway. The chapter. Bilbo is such a little BAMF, isn’t he? I just love how far he’s come since the first couple of chapters. And he FINALLY gets some respect from the dwarves.

    The Wood Elves are kind of jerks. Here we are in the middle of the dark impassible woods having a feast! But it’s only for us! Not anybody who happens to be lost in the woods and starving!

    • readerofprey says:

      I imagine that most of the stuff that interruptes the woodelves' feasts in the depths of wild and uninhabited Mirkwood are a lot less innocent than a bunch of lost dwarves and a hobbit.

  23. Appachu says:

    OH GOD THE SPIDERS. I hate spiders. I've been terrified of them for basically my entire life, and my family (and most of my friends) all think I'm nuts for it. Seriously, my mom once tried to "cure" me by picking up a spider and letting it run all over her hands and waving it in my face and saying "see? It's not that bad!" (Dear mom, you're just making it worse.) And then I read things like this and, well, so much for sleeping tonight.

    Qrsvavgryl abg ybbxvat sbejneq gb gur Furybo ovg. Shaavyl rabhtu, gung qvqa'g sevtugra zr nf zhpu gur svefg gvzr V ernq vg, orpnhfr gur qrfpevcgvba jnf inthr rabhtu gung V qvqa'g npghnyyl cvpgher n fcvqre. Abj gung V'ir frra gur zbivr, gubhtu….*fuhqqre*

    • notemily says:

      I can be benevolent towards spiders in my mind, because they eat other bugs, and Wisconsin isn't a state with very many poisonous kinds (just one). But seeing them is still kind of freaky, especially when they're big. GIANT spiders would just be terrifying.

      • Appachu says:

        I've never bothered to find out if there are any nasty kinds in my area – I know we have black widows, but I don't know of any others – mostly because if there are other nasty kinds, I prefer to live in ignorance. But yeah, seeing them in any context just wigs me out completely, because even when they're not moving, they're just sitting there – or hanging there, which is worse – and staring malevolently at you and plotting. At least that's where my brain goes.

        And giant ones? Do not want. True story: (Old!Who spoilers) V jngpurq Cynarg bs gur Fcvqref erpragyl naq rira gubhtu gur fcvqref va gung bar jrer irel boivbhfyl snxr, V jnf qrsvavgryl pevatvat naq pbirevat hc cnegf bs zl pbzchgre fperra ng cbvagf orpnhfr V jnf fb tbqqnza perrcrq bhg. Tvnag fcvqref = jbefr guna Jrrcvat Natryf.

  24. readerofprey says:

    I love Bilbo's naming of Sting. It's such a great moment, when he gives his little sword a name like the great ones of Gandalf and Thorin. I also love that he doesn't play around with Elvish names or even grand sounding things like "Foe-hammer" and "Goblin-cleaver." His sword is tiny but sharp and he uses it first to kill spiders. What better name than Sting? It has no pretensions to it.

    • notemily says:

      I love it too! And how the text points out that the spiders weren't used to creatures with such a large sting. Like Bilbo is a random insect they caught in their webs and he turns out to be more dangerous than they thought.

  25. hpfish13 says:

    To lighten the mood here's a pretty spoiler-free landscape of the Misty Mountains and some wizards.

    <img src=""&gt;

  26. clodia_risa says:

    As another atheist, I think it’s silly to think that we can’t enjoy horror/supernatural/paranormal stories. Just because I believe in a rational universe, it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy stories with wizards and goblins and ghosts and elves and conspiracy theories (that make sense in their fictional universe, not half-baked ones like we never landed on the moon, omgreally?). It’s fiction! That’s what it’s for!

    • settlingforhistory says:

      As a fellow atheist I totally agree, I love anything paranormal. Maybe because everything in life is so rational and can easily be explained we simply need a bit of mystery.
      And Fantasy and Sci-Fi just like fairy tales don't need to be believed, I can enjoy Harry Potter and LOTR even though I never expected a Hogwarts letter or found a golden ring in a cave.

  27. stellaaaaakris says:

    I can't read rot13 with out the converter thingy but I always glance at it to try and some words pop out to me, like I can now read "and" and "hahaha," but I keep seeing Furybo which my brain reads as Furby-o…which doesn't help at all. I won't trouble you all with the image that pops into my head with Furby-o. =/

  28. forgottenusername says:

    This is one of my favorite chapters, the others being "Riddles in the Dark" and one which hasn't come up yet. Something I really love about this book is that Tolkien is so good at conveying atmosphere and tension without overdoing it.

  29. clodia_risa says:

    Spider stories! I heard one on Car Talk the other day that was simply horrifying.

    So this woman has her car stolen. It’s an old car, she’s only had it a short while, and it had been sitting vacant for some months previous. She manages to get the car back, drives it to the movie theater, and when she gets back the outside is covered with 20 tiny white spiders. So she opens the door, and there’s 20 more tiny white spiders on the inside of her car. She drives the car home, looks for the source of them, and finds a big black spider with a red hourglass marking on her. The black widow had set up in nest in the car.

    She calls the local university and talks to the entymologist, who tells her that black widows dislike extreme heat and cold.

    Tom and Ray tell her to set the car on fire. And to double-check that she doesn’t have any enemies.

  30. arctic_hare says:

    I actually had a dream last night about there being two tarantulas in my bed. Argh. I guess I knew this was coming today and my subconscious wanted to get that out of the way early. THANKS. Anyway, onto pleasanter subjects: Art Corner brings you a lovely trio today!

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

    That first one with Bilbo high up in the trees of Mirkwood is one of my favorites in the whole book. <3 Just gorgeous. And of course the second one is extremely creepy and chilling cause GIANT SPIDERS and DWARVES IN WEBS. Eeek. Yeah, I'm generally not a fan of spiders myself, though this lack of love leads me to stomp on them immediately rather than scream and run. My fear of most insects prompts me to figure out how to get rid of them as quickly as possible, rather than provoke shrieking, it's just a weird way my mind works. Even in my freaky dream (which started out with one tarantula skittering around my bathroom, and then turned to two in my room and then my bed) ended with me squishing them dead.

    I FUCKING LOVE THIS CHAPTER, THOUGH. <3 I HAVE BEEN WAITING EAGERLY FOR THIS ONE. BILBO TAKES SEVERAL DOZEN LEVELS OF BADASS HERE, SERIOUSLY. Fending off spiders singlehandly, rescuing dwarves, stealing the goblins' shtick of singing songs to piss his foes off, killing so many… yeah, Bilbo is fucking awesome here and I love him for it. This is exactly what Gandalf must have seen in him, the potential to kick this much ass. It's so gratifying to see the wizard's trust be rewarded, and <i>finally the dwarves are grateful. As they should be! Bilbo's done more than enough to earn their respect now.

    Also, Mirkwood sounds very very dnw. I love trees and forests but AUGH. The bits about all the eyes in the dark is so so creepy. AND HUGE MOTHS WHEN THEY LIT A FIRE, AIEEEEEE. Yeah, never going in there.

  31. notemily says:

    So, this chapter can be summed up as “Bilbo Baggins Becomes Badass.” He uses his little hobbit-sized sword to KILL SOME FUCKING GIANT SPIDERS, and then NAMES IT, and then KILLS SOME MORE GIANT SPIDERS WHILE TAUNTING THEM WITH SONGS ABOUT HOW THEY SUCK. Fuck yeah, Bilbo!

    About Bilbo’s spider songs: I had no idea what any of that stuff meant when I was a kid reading this book, but now I have reference books and teh internets. The Annotated Hobbit says that “Attercop” is from Old English and simply means “spider,” from “attor” = poison and “coppe” = head. A “Tomnoddy” is “a foolish or stupid person.” “Lob” is from an Old English word for “spider,” but also means “a slow, heavy, dull-witted person” (hence “Lazy Lob”), and “cob” comes from “cobweb.” Those last two come in particularly useful in crosswords, btw.

    My favorite version of the fairies’ hunt or the Wild Hunt is in Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones, but I also like the one in The Mists of Avalon, which is more symbolic. Tolkien’s is way less mystical than either because he’s just like “elves need to eat, too, yo,” but pure-white animals are still supposed to be a portent of an encounter with fairies or otherworldly creatures.

    From The Annotated Hobbit:

    … [A] question that has been fiercely debated among [Tolkien’s] readership: Did his Elves have pointed ears?

    The nearest thing to an answer that one can give is founded on the linguistic elements in Tolkien’s invented languages. In the “Etymologies,” a kind of dictionary of Elvish word relationships that Tolkien maintained for his personal use in the 1930s, which is now published in volume five of the History [of Middle-Earth], The Lost Road, he notes in regard to the stems LAS{1} from lasse = “leaf” and LAS{2} “listen” (lasse = “ear”) that there is a possible relationship between the two in that Elven “ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped” than human ones. All that can be said, then, is that certainly at one time (probably in the mid-1930s) Tolkien held this view.

    Tolkien’s own artwork does not provide any further clues, for in the only drawing in which he depicts elves, they appear as very small figures, and features such as ears are not visible.

    COME ON TOLKIEN, why didn’t you say whether or not elves have pointy ears? YOUR FANDOM IS FIERCELY DEBATING THIS. It reminds me of gur “Qb Onyebtf Unir Jvatf” pbagebirefl. I bet Tolkien would laugh at the kind of things the fandom wonders about.

    BU zna, Znex vf tbvat gb YBIR pregnva Ohssl rcvfbqrf, V pna gryy. “Avtugznerf,” “Unyybjrra,” “Gur Jvfu,” “Srne Vgfrys,” “Uhfu,” naq yvxr rirel bgure rcvfbqr rire… V PNA’G JNVG.

    LOL “Boner Bloodbath.” For a while I was sharing my Netflix instant watching password with some friends who lived in a different city, and they would always watch the weirdest, most obscure movies they could find, as well as anything that sounded like it might be porn. So then I’d get an e-mail from Netflix like “How was the picture quality of A Good Day to be Black & Sexy?” (I got them their own Netflix account for Christmas. But now my watching history is so much less amusing.)

    Also, Cleolinda had a thread on scary movies and specifically The Ring, which I’ve never seen. So I googled it and read up on the plot and then I WAS SCARED TO GO DOWN INTO THE BASEMENT AND GET MY LAUNDRY. Just from READING about the movie. I probably shouldn’t actually see it or I might dive under the covers and never emerge. (I hardly ever watch horror movies, so I have very little tolerance for creepy shit. I do love it when Steven Moffat scares the crap out of me, though.)

    • kartikeya200 says:

      True story: I have no tolerance for horror movies, none. I am a complete and utter wimp, and am fully capable of scaring the living daylights out of myself from mere descriptions of them (which…sometimes I do find and read anyway. Ah well.) But the worst kind of horror movies to me? The absolute worst? Ones with ghosts.

      I also don't watch R rated movies. I'm Mormon, it's a thing (and since I'm a wimp anyway, and most horror movies are R rated, this works out!) The reason I mention this is because The Ring? The Ring is not rated R. The Ring is pg-13. One day my father decides to watch The Ring. In the den. Where my computer is. I had my back to the TV for a good third of the movie, but I couldn't resist peeking, and I could still hear it, and TRAUMATIZED FOR LIFE, OKAY.

      No seriously, to this day, and this was years ago, I cannot so much as see a screen capture from that movie without being intensely creeped out. If it happens at night, when my imagination is already running wild, I CAN'T SLEEP PERIOD. Even seeing the box cover is enough to make my skin crawl.

      Mind you, as I said, I'm a wimp. The plot itself is ridiculous (A VIDEO TAPE KILLS YOOOU) but I can't even.

      • cait0716 says:

        Growing up my next-door neighbors were Mormon and had special cuts of certain R-rated movies that my mom would occasionally borrow whenever my little brother got insistent about watching a movie that she thought was too violent/gory for him. I was surprised when I saw the theatrical release of Gladiator later in life and it was twice as long as I remembered.

        I'm way too chicken to watch The Ring,or most any horror movie, though.

        • kartikeya200 says:

          I remember, like, ages ago, hearing that you could find these in Utah, but I'm fairly sure they got into trouble for it, because you know, copyright is kind've an important thing.

          On the other hand, they could be recorded off the TV, as that's what my mother used to do. One of her favorite movies is Pretty Woman, and she's never seen the theatrical cut.

    • notemily says:

      FUCK I thought I put that in rot-13. Brb.

    • hpfish13 says:

      So, my friends in high-school were secretly evil people. They talked me (who never watches horror movies because I'm a scaredy-cat) into watching The Ring at a friends house. Less than 5 minutes after the movie ended, the telephone rang and no one would answer it except me, because in my own words "Whatever, it's just a stupid movie." I pick up the phone and hear "seven days…." in a creepy whisper. No one had left the room, or made a phone call. Needless to say, I was freaked out.

      Not ten minutes later, someone pounded on the window to her bedroom and everyone screamed (this was not planned, so this time they were genuinely startled). It turned out to be my friends sister, who was locked out of the house.

      We let her in and then went out to dinner, on the way to which we had to walk past an abandoned building (I was on crutches at the time and could hardly walk). After dinner, I decided I wanted to go home, so I called my mom and had her come pick me up. We were living in my grandmother's house at the time which looks like this

      <img src=""&gt;

      I then realized I had forgotten the movie I brought as an alternate at my friends house. I called them up and said I wasn't going back inside her house. When we got there, they were all standing on the curb looking ashamed. They explained to me that it had all been a setup and my friends sister had been hiding in the house the whole time, waiting for someone to close the door to the room we were in (it was open about 4 inches). She then snuck out and came around and banged on the window. This was almost 2 hours after we had finished the movie.

      Well, I was traumatized and then had to go back to this creepy house and fall asleep in this room that was bigger than my former living and dining room combined, while the house creaked and the faucet across the hall dripped. I jumped at just about everything in the following week. And this ridiculously long story is why I never watch horror movies.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      I watched The Ring twice when I was in middle school. The first time, I was fine. I was watching at night but all the lights were on and my family was in the kitchen making dinner. The second time was in 2003, right before the black out that left much of the east coast without power. I was watching with my younger brother who does not like scary movies but decided to give this one a try since it was day time. Oh god, the screen flickered and went out and then the power returned for about 10 seconds before losing it for the rest of the day. He freaked out. My parents worked in New York City and it took ages to get home what with traffic lights not working so we stayed at a neighbor's house, but we went back at night to our hose to grab our stuff and he was practically attached to my side. He's still never seen the end.

      • kartikeya200 says:

        The end of that movie (or the last fifteen minutes or whatever) is what cemented it in my mind as being the most horrifying movie I've ever seen ever. Twists in horror movies are pretty much to be expected, and it's not like this one was that surprising, but it STILL broke me. Your brother is wise.

    • SporkyRat says:

      You don't really want to crawl under the covers to escape The Ring. Promise.

    • Guys, I think it's time for a fun story.

      One night, my family and I were watching The Ring. I had already seen it, so I went to the kitchen to get a drink. My mom was already in there doing the dishes with just the one light over the sink. So apparently me walking out of the darkness with my hair down and hearing the music from the movie scared the shit out of my mom. She turned towards me, yelling in small bursts "AAH! AAH! AAH! and flicked dishwater at me.

      I'm like, "What kind of self-defense is that? Dishwater? Really? You wouldn't pull out one of the steak knives you just washed? Amateur."

      The moral of this story is that if my mom lived in a horror movie, she would die first.

      After some consideration, I would die second, because I'm the unreasonably confident one.

  32. Kiryn says:

    *snorts* This would have been the part where I'd have been like, "Oh HELL THE FUCK NO, I am NOT going into a place with murderous spiders of any size." I too am terrified of spiders, and I started wigging when they observed that there were spider webs at all. *shivers*

  33. Tauriel_ says:

    So, basically, Thorin and Co. are like, "WTF you can't leave us now!!!"

    And Gandalf is like:

    <img src=""&gt;


    • Dent D says:

      I am slow on the uptake. Why is there a 3 in the caption?

      • Dent D says:


        • Shane says:

          Shit. I still don't get it. Help?

          • Mauve_Avenger says:

            They're 3D glasses.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            That's the first released photo of Gandalf from the set of The Hobbit (I believe Ian McKellen posted it on his blog). He's wearing 3D glasses, because The Hobbit is filmed in 3D. 🙂

            • Shane says:

              Oh! See, I've not been paying attention to the whole 3D thing lately, so 3D glasses still look like those red and blue paper bits in my head. I just hope there's a non-3D option for the film though, those things give me the most wicked headache which is compounded by the fact that they are just not made for people with glasses.

  34. stefb says:

    I love the wood-elves 🙂

    Gurer'f guvf fcrpvsvp snasvpgvba nhgube, bar bs zl snibevgrf sbe YbgE, jub unf n irel jryy-qrirybcrq Zvexjbbq jbbq-rys phygher gung va zl urnq vf pnaba abj. Gurer'f n frevrf bs fgbevrf (n ybbbg bs fgbevrf) nobhg Yrtbynf orsber SbgE naq fvapr uvf snzvyl vf haqreqrirybcrq ol Gbyxvra, gur nhgube perngrq gurve bja uvfgbel naq fbzrgvzrf V pngpu zlfrys rdhngvat vg jvgu Gbyxvra'f pnaba. V erernq gurz rirel lrne, naq nz va gur cebprff ntnva abj. V'ir arire pevrq fb zhpu sbe snasvpgvba va zl yvsr–bire gur fnzr guvatf rnpu gvzr V ernq. Ure BPf ner gung jryy-qrirybcrq naq orybirq ol ure erthyne ernqref. Nyfb, fur unf n irel tbbq qrcvpgvba bs gur jung gur jbbq-ryirf jrer qbvat qhevat Gur Uboovg, fb jr trg gb ernq gurve cbvag-bs-ivrj (bar bs gur guvatf fur vapyhqrf vf gung gur Ryirf znl unir orra pryroengvat n jrqqvat, juvpu pnaabg or frra be urneq ol zbegnyf).

    • Eager_Ears says:

      That sounds interesting – could you link to it?

      • stefb says:

        Sure! The problem is, I think, is that it's much more fulfilling if you read everything either in chronological order, or the order she published them (the very first would be at the bottom of her story page). If you read it in chronological order (she has a list), you can immediately tell which stories were her first ones, although they are all well-written. Also, there are only really two canon characters that are consistently in the stories (you can guess who), so you would be reading mostly OCs. But very well-developed ones that you learn to care for.

        Anyway's here's that specific story (spoilers for things):

        Let me know how you like it! This story actually has a list of OCs at the end of each chapter that briefly explains them, because she didn't want people to have to read everything else beforehand.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      They even bothered to remember the mention in this chapter that Fili had a big nose. Bless.

    • IntrovertedAnalyst says:

      Just- wow. They're so perfect and even more amazing than I imagined, which is actually a first for me, normally I feel disappointed when I see things like that. So yeah- I may or may not be staring at Kili in the creepiest way. And Thorin.

      I can feel the judgmental stares already… *goes on staring*

    • Dent D says:

      Wow! So many spoilery thoughts. But I can ask this, why does Kili look more like a rugged elf?

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Well, I guess they needed an obligatory hottie for ye fangirls… 😀 (Yrtbynf bayl univat n pnzrb – fznyy, V ubcr…)

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Ah! I knew there was a reason I thought Kili was my favorite a few chapters ago. Aidan Turner = <3

    • Neet says:

      V yvxr gung Tybva ybbxf zbfg yvxr Tvzyv.

  35. FurrySaint says:

    Allow me to recommend the book 'Sphere' by Michael Crichton. Lots of creepy horror-y elements in it. Do not watch the shitty movie first, read the novel. >_>

    • Guest says:

      One of my favorite, most vivid Crichton novels. I had it cast in my head years before anyone thought of making it a movie. Mark Hamill and Wallace Shawn were in it. Definitely read the book, the movie is optional.

  36. birdbrainblue says:

    J.R.R. Tolkien was scary the pants off children.

  37. BlueMoon says:

    If you like analyzing horror tropes you might like Danse Macabre by Stephen King. It's non-fiction and basically his opinion and interpretation of the genre.

    OT: "Furybo" is hilarious when ROT13-ed. I shall refer to things as furybo from now on. V'z greevsvrq bs fcvqref, fb vg znl gnxr fbzr bs gur perrcvarff bhg bs gurz.

  38. SporkyRat says:

    Mark, you are not prepared.

    By the way, did you find a source for the Rankin Bass production?

  39. Mitch_L_Grooms says:

    "Boner Bloodbath?" Is that… you know what, I'm not gonna finish that question.

  40. Lady X says:

    A couple of things:
    1. The Twilight Zone is the best show ever to be made and Rod Serling is 100% genius in human form. There. I said it.
    3. Gandalf is the troll you wish you were 😉
    4. Fili and Kili win all things ever. Mostly because it’s fun to say their names
    5. Spider and darkness, and creepyness, and do not want ever 🙁 🙁

  41. la.donna.pietra says:

    …and that box came with us when we moved from Boise to Idaho.

    Quite a feat, moving from Boise to Idaho.

  42. Alright guys, personal spider experience, coming up. For those of you with arachnophobia, you may not want to read further.

    Although, I do not have a general fear of spiders, there is one kind that used to scare the pants off me: Black Widows. Seeing as how I lived in a rural area growing up, Black Widows were not hard to find. So I did my best to avoid their regular hangouts. Unfortunately, I do have a personal fascination towards other species of spiders. Namely, the wolf spider (seriously, those things are COOL). I was around the age of 13 when I found a spectacular wolf spider nest in my step-father's work shed. It was a funnel web attached to the handlebars of an old mower stored in the back of the shed. So, on a number of occasions, I would go in the shed and "visit" the wolf spider. But it was always during the day…

    One particular night, I had put off my outdoor chores (I lived on a ranch and it was my job to feed the rabbits and check all the animals' waters). So I headed out with a flashlight, and took care of my responsibilities. When I was finished, I decided to go check on Wolfie. In the large shed. That had no light. So I walked in and headed towards the back of the shed, pointing the beam of the flashlight at the mower the entire time. Unfortunately, Wolfie was either asleep or hiding from the giant light pointed directly at his web. I leaned in close to try and get a better angle, but something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I pointed the flashlight to my left and in the shelf, six inches from myself, was a web with a GIANT Black Widow in its center.

    I didn't move. I stared hopelessly for what felt like an eternity (this was my usual response when I encountered one of those black demons). I slowly stood and started to back away, my eyes never leaving the evil entity. Then a thought occurred to me and a feeling of despair drenched over me. I was familiar with this shed. I had seen it many times in the daytime. I knew of dozens of empty webs in every crevice and corners of junk. Empty. During the day. Sure enough, I pointed the flashlight at the opposite wall, and there was another Black Widow. I turned to my right. Two Black Widows on the wall next to me. I looked at the work bench to my left. Another Black Widow, occupying the tool shelf. I turned around slowly and looked at the doorway. A web was located in the corner of the doorway, at about eye level. There was yet another Black Widow.

    So there I stood in the center of the shed surrounded by six Black Widows. I knew that those six were just the visible ones. There were more lurking in the darkness. So I backed out slowly, making my way towards the door, never taking my eyes off the deadly beasts for too long. Thankfully, I escaped unscathed.

    Anyways, that's my story. Hope you liked it.

    • notemily says:

      AAAUGH. I don't have arachnophobia but that is TRULY CREEPY and I would probably be terrified too. Spiders in general are one thing–CLEARLY POISONOUS SPIDERS are another. It's like the difference between being afraid of snakes and suddenly being confronted with a rattler.

    • clodia_risa says:

      That is absolutely horrifying. I can’t even…omg. I don’t even have acrophobia, but if this happened to me, I think I would have afterward!

  43. Tinzilla says:

    Mark, you sound like you need to read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. Or watch the play (which is on in London…come to London!) You may already be aware of it because the film adaptation has Daniel Radcliff in it and is coming out next year.

    But holy moly, I saw the show, and just…it's terrifing. It doesn't help that it is put on in the CREEPIEST THEATRE EVER.

    The book is pretty scary too, and not very long. Anyways look it up 🙂

  44. catkinquill says:

    Have you seen Pan's Labyrinth? Please tell me you have and PLEASE post a review of that film, because I'd love to see your thoughts on it, because it's honestly one of the greatest movies of the last decade, if not the greatest.

  45. ElisabethMK says:

    Loving all the spider stories. Just read this chapter now, and am a little sad that no one pointed this out:

    "As a boy he used to practise throwing stones at things, until rabbits and squirrels, and even birds, got out of his way as quick as lightning if they saw him stoop; and even grownup he had still spent a deal of his time at quoits, dart-throwing, shooting at the wand, bowls, ninepins and other quiet games of the aiming and throwing sort — indeed he could do lots of things, besides blowing smoke-rings, asking riddles and cooking, that I haven't had time to tell you about. There is no time now."

    I don't know why, but this gives me the giggles every time I read it. Bilbo the Horrific Stone-Thrower! Everybody out of his way! And I guess he's more complex than riddles and cooking…who knew???

    • notemily says:

      That just seems mean to me! Who would throw a stone at a cute little rabbit? Well, unless it was eating your garden I suppose.

      I have a friend who is very allergic to cats, and he stayed at my apartment once. Of course I have a cat, and she kept peering around the corner to look at him curiously. He started throwing things at her to make her go away–except he was throwing CAT TOYS, so she thought he was trying to play fetch.

  46. Alexander_G says:

    I'll just leave this here 😉

    • Dent D says:

      Right. I'm probably a bad person. I laughed when I clicked that link and my husband got creeped out.

    • cait0716 says:

      That's awesome. I like that he gets stuck for a minute when you suddenly switch directions before he figures it out. And you can feed him insects!

  47. @MeagenImage says:

    Whatever it is that makes humans drawn to scary ideas, I seem to be missing it. I get absolutely no joy out of being scared. I also have some problems with anxiety and scary things just sink into my brain and hang around for hours tormenting me. I'm in bed, I'm trying to sleep… BUT REMEMBER THAT SCARY THING WHAT IF IT GETS YOU no that's silly they don't exist BUT WHAT IF YOU HAVE A NIGHTMARE THEY ARE REALISTIC AND SCARY yes they are AND THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT IT THE MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO DREAM ABOUT IT oh no I'm thinking about it now WHAT IF YOU JUST FELL ASLEEP AND YOU'RE DREAMING AND ONE'S ABOUT TO-

    And that's about the point where I'd turn on all the lights, turn on my computer, grab my headphones, and surf cute kitten websites while listening to cheerful music until the first light of dawn makes the terror abate enough for me to sleep the remaining two, three hours of the night.

    Thankfully it's gotten somewhat better since I got married (my husband is a warm cuddly nightmare repellant) and started on anxiety meds, but I still don't enjoy being frightened and I doubt I ever will.

    • notemily says:

      You're not alone. I've had problems with anxiety for years, and a few years ago when it was really bad, I couldn't watch ANYTHING that got my adrenaline up, even if it was supposed to be the GOOD kind of exciting. I had to turn off the pilot episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" because I couldn't deal with the building suspense and excitement. Forget about watching anything ACTUALLY scary. And yeah, I have those obsessive thoughts too–certain phobias tend to creep into my mind at the worst moments and take delight in tormenting me.

      I'm on meds now so now I can actually enjoy scary stuff like on Doctor Who, where the monsters are obviously not real. But I still don't like gory stuff, because the gory images get burned into my brain and I start thinking about them obsessively later.

      • drippingmercury says:

        It's interesting – I also have anxiety problems, but my own anxieties relate to social interactions and personal failure (real or perceived) so watching/reading terrifying stuff doesn't aggravate them; actually it can help as a way to distract myself or sort of… shift my anxious feelings. Probably not the best coping method, I guess, but it's more affordable than meds right now and if transferring the blame for my racing heart and trembling over to suspenseful entertainment helps, well, why the hell not.
        I'm glad you're able to enjoy exciting/suspenseful stuff again. It sucks when you have to stop doing something you would otherwise enjoy for fear of aggravating a mental health problem.

  48. stefb says:

    One time, I think I was a baby or not even born, my dad walked into the shed only to discover that it was INFESTED with wolf spiders. He burnt the shed down. I think my mom almost killed him.

  49. nanceoir says:

    Note to self: There's no need to read all the comments when you come to a review, particularly when the chapter in question features giant talking spiders. Most of the comments will be about spiders and will subsequently creep you out.

  50. BumblebeeTuna says:

    Watching Harry P and the Chamber of Secrets, and AT THIS VERY MOMENT Harry and Ron are escaping the giant talking spiders. In a dark, scary forest. Where they have been told to never leave the path, but do anyway. And then are rescued by an unlikely hero.
    Woah, that sounds familiar. If only Harry, Ron and Fang had beards, and the Ford Anglia came in singing taunting songs to the spiders…

    • Tauriel_ says:

      I daresay the further Mark explores Tolkien's books, the more familiar scenes and images from HP he'll find… 😉 UOC (rot13'd) is particularly guilty of that…

      • BumblebeeTuna says:

        Ha yes, I can think of at least eight different examples off the top of my head. The coincidence of reading Mark's review and that particular scene just made me laugh.
        Especially when I realised what a brilliant dwarf Ron would make.

  51. Tauriel_ says:

    Exactly. 😉

  52. Meltha says:

    So, did you recognize Aragog in there? The Forbidden Forest in HP is really, really closely related to Mirkwood, in my humble opinion. Actually, it might be the same place. 😉

  53. redletter_ says:

    I am terrified of spiders, so yeah, this chapter is completely horrific for me. I remember my phobia getting much worse after I had the chapter read aloud to me as a child.

    It did not help that I had a huge huntsman crawl across my face not long after either. In fact, that has happened far too many times in my life.

    Naq lbh orggre oryvrir V jnf fuvggvat zlfyrs fb uneq guebhtu nyy gur furybo fghss. Rfcrpvnyyl va gur zbivr gurnger. Bu tbq, V jnf fdhvezvat fb zhpu.

  54. t09yavosaur says:

    I am generally fond of spiders. I dislike it when they make webs on my bike (Overnight! how do they work so fast!?) or ride along with me (i feel bad taking them away from their home), but other than that they are pretty cool. I used to be the designated camp spider removal in my youth and I could even probably bring myself to pick Daddy-Long-Leggers up again if my pride was on the line.

    One thing though, the most traumatizing movie trailer I have ever seen was the one for Eight Legged Freaks. I have never seen the movie, never planned to, but I was pretty young when it came out and the image of dog-sized tarantula's attacking people really really scared me.

    To end with something cheerful: A couple years ago I had a dormroom on the fifth floor. My desk was right at the window and living in the pane outside was a cute little brown spider. He had a pretty awesome web that you could only see in the right light and he slept in the corner of the pane. I named him Fredrick. One day it rained pretty bad and his web was washed away. After that I didn't see him again for at least 3 month but, like the Isty Bitsy spider, he found his way back and made himself a new web.

    • snakebyte42 says:

      I am not much of a movie person, but Eight Legged Freaks is seriously one of my favorite movies of all time. It's wonderfully satirical, hilariously inconsistent, and the commentary reveals that they utterly screwed up a main plot point of the movie. The spiders are often comical rather than frightening and I really recommend you give it a watch if you can do it without screaming. ^_^

      • t09yavosaur says:

        I have figured out since that the movie probably wasnt very scary, but the trailers…. I just watched a couple on youtube and even the campy ones made my chest feel tight.

  55. claretstock says:

    I read this when I was 16 and I still remember this chapter as the one the freaked the living hell out of me.

    Yes, I hate the idea of giant spiders, in any universe. I totally admit to my scariest nightmares as a child being mostly about swarms of spiders crawling all over my bed.

  56. Adam D. Bram says:

    Okay, I mentioned this in suggestions, but I didn't know you already read it. But…I STILL think you should RE-read "It" for MarkReads. See how you feel about it now.

    I can already picture the site banner for it. Jet-black with blood-red lettering, and the "You Are Not Prepared" slogan written on a bright orange balloon…

  57. Depths_of_Sea says:

    Hey, getting caught up on all the Hobbit posts atm, but just wanted to chime in to add my assent to everyone who is all "I HATE SPIDERS OH GOSH GET THEM AWAY."

    Large bugs in general are kind of Do Not Want for me, especially wasps and cockroaches (who can grow to three or four inches long and can freaking fly at your face like a demon of death in Texas, where I live). Spiders are the worst for me. If it's any bigger than the nail of my pinkie finger I don't go near it. My friends and family can all testify that I'll be on the other side of the room quivering in nervous terror.

    Most of the blame is on Tolkien. (But there was also this one time I leaned against an info booth at Disneyworld that I later noticed was covered in inch long black spiders millimeters from my face oh jeepers I hated that.)

  58. Dreamflower says:

    Tolkien is a brilliant horror writer, only he just qvfurf vg bhg va qevof naq qenof. Fbzr bs uvf cbrgel– tbbq urniraf, V qba'g guvax gurer'f nalguvat perrcvre guna "Gur Zrjyvcf" be "Gur Funqbj Oevqr"!

  59. cjm62790 says:

    If you like to be scared, have you heard of Slenderman? Or Marble Hornets? SCARIEST SHIT EVER! Frakking seriously, I watched the Marble Hornet videos at TWO IN THE MORNING WHILE HOME ALONE. I got NO sleep for a couple of nights. Take Paranormal Activity, remove teh bullshit (which basically leaves you with nothing), add a dash of The Silence, some creepy audio tricks, always watching the background, AND BAM. Nightmare fuel. I will provide you with a crappy trailer that still GIVES YOU ABSOLUTELY NO PREPAREDNESS.

  60. jordan says:

    I think the movie with the movie about the giant cockroaches is "The Nest" – it was released in the late 80s.
    Also, It's nice to know I'm not the only one who spends there free time watching bad horror films on netflix! 😉

  61. Will the DFW area be around the record of possible sites for this exhibit?

Comments are closed.