Saturday, October 17, 2015

Two Worlds in One?

As we were reading The Hobbit last week, I was thinking about how it is the first of Tolkien's published Middle-earth works. The Lord of the Rings didn't happen until decades later, and as we've discussed in class Tolkien went back to The Hobbit afterwards and changed a few things to make it fit.
My question to you all, then, is what things did you notice that seem to put The Hobbit in a different world from The Lord of the Rings or even the Silmarillion? For me, the elves were very different in The Hobbit. They sing jolly, even mocking songs, party into the late hours of the night, and the Wood Elves get so drunk that they pass out! For me, this seems a far cry from the somber elven songs of The Lord of the Rings and the sad, angry Elves of the Silmarillion.
What are your thoughts? Was there something else in The Hobbit that struck you as different from in the rest of the mythology?

3 comments:

Ossë said...

One difference I've always found interesting is the presentation of the Ring itself. In The Hobbit, its main purpose is that it grants the wearer invisibility. The Ring seems to be a helpful trinket that Bilbo happened to come across in the caverns. However, in LOTR, the Ring is much different. We learn that the Ring (correct me if I'm wrong) shifts the wearer into a different dimension, which is why they become invisible. This dimension is the world of the Ringwraiths. This isn't really mentioned in The Hobbit; Bilbo simply becomes invisible and sneaks around. In LOTR, the Ring is a much more sinister force.

Nienna said...

In my opinion the main difference I notice is in tone. Each of the individual differences I notice are encompassed in an overarching difference in tone. LOTR has a more serious and somber tone. It is also not written for children. The Hobbit, in contrast, is much lighter in tone. The battles are less dire, the stakes are lower, and the overall tone is simply more cheery. For LOTR the fate of the world is at stake and it is more than a simple thirst for adventure and treasure. I think each work is effective in its purpose by conveying a tone that better fits each story.

Vairë said...

Interesting that you mention the ring, as one of its more unfortunate victims, Golem, is very different in The Hobbit and LOTR. In The Hobbit he is evil, he has no moral backing and is totally wretched. However in The Lord of the Rings, Golem/Smeagol gains a sympathetic side, and we learn pity for him if nothing else. As well, Golem is portrayed as more trickster than depraved in the hobbit.