Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pre-Hobbit Thought

I'm so absurd. I posted about how, shopping at an antique store for Christmas presents last week, I found a picture that I really liked for myself but didn't buy because it wasn't in my plans. Well, today, I caved: after writing pages and pages for who knows how many essays in the last couple weeks and then taking a final this morning, I found myself back at the antique store headed toward my beloved picture. But it was gone. Tears. So instead, I bought more Christmas presents and a little $3 silk scarf for myself. That certainly wasn't the plan.

And that also isn't what this post is about. 

You see, it's difficult. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't reread The Hobbit again before the movie (I last read it a year ago, which I think is still recent enough), for the same two reasons I didn't reread Breaking Dawn. I literally haven't had the time this semester, and I think it will be better to view the movie on its own first. Then I can think about how it differs from the book. Because we know it will differ from the book.

So I'm also not going to do a list of things I expect to be in the movie or anything of that nature. But I do want to give one thought that occurred to me last night. It's the framing of the story. (Most people know about this by now since it was even in one of the trailers, but if you don't know what I'm talking about and wish to remain unspoilered, you may stop reading.) While on one hand, it's a little ridiculous to have Bilbo telling the story to Frodo, it also makes sense on a number of levels. First of course is to put The Hobbit into context for people who only watched The Lord of the Rings and know nothing of Tolkien's writing. But it also mirrors Tolkien's evolutionary thoughts on The Hobbit. We know, of course, that he wrote The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings--then he had to come up with a reason why the first book was written as a children's story. This is why the "extra" material of The Lord of the Rings talks about how Bilbo originally told and wrote one story, but eventually Gandalf and Frodo were able to discern the true story, with Frodo (and I think Sam, too?) making notes in the margins of Bilbo's writing. 

So there are already, in Tolkien's writings, multiple Hobbit narratives, if you will. What Peter Jackson and Co. may in fact be doing is uniting these narratives, uniting the backdrops of rich historical detail with the simple children's story. That could be an interesting unity. 

Only about sixteen hours until I watch the movie and finally find out.

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