It is with a lot of excitement, and a certain amount of trepidation, that I, along with a few million others, anxiously await December 14, and the release of the first part of Peter Jackson's movie interpretation of The Hobbit.
Just so everyone is aware, I am a long-time devotee of all things Tolkien, and have been for a long time. I first encountered The Hobbit as a child in the mid-60's (Yes - I am THAT old!), and, while the story was enjoyable, it really didn't worm its way into my psyche the way it has until much later. In fact, in the mid-70's, I was one of those Lord of the Rings super-nerds, who could recite the names of all of the chapters in all 6 books - in reverse!! (I know, I know!) And greet you in Sindarin, and recite poems to Elbereth, etc, etc, etc.
Nowadays, I either entertain, or annoy, my friends and colleagues, by challenging them to name the thirteen dwarves - and, when they cannot, I go on to do so! Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, Dwalin, Kili, Fili, and Thorin Oakenshield. For extra points - Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror; King Under The Mountain. And I didn't look at the book - honest injun!
Inherent in gaining that amount of knowledge was a certain amount of disdain from the folks surrounding me. The challenge of enjoying "Fairy Stories" undisturbed and uncastegated was an active part of my teenage years. So now, after the wonderful (but certainly not flawless) work Peter Jackson and his team undertook to produce the immensely successful LOTR movie trilogy, I again find myself wondering how those who remain from that time in my life will view The Hobbit. Will it open a window into what I was going through so long ago - the creativity, the escapism - or will it be seen as just another waste of time?
For me, as with the LOTR, there is a certain amount of concern in the making of a movie version. First of all - The Hobbit was not intended for the same audience as LOTR, but a much younger audience. Will Jackson's work - based, as it must be, in the world-view of the Middle Earth he created - over-power the much gentler environment of The Hobbit? I suspect so. Also, will the narrative tone Tolkien used in The Hobbit be captured successfully by Jackson? That is a greater challenge, especially when viewed from the Adult perspective of LOTR. Also, like many, I decry the need to expand the film to three episodes, when, in reality, even one might have sufficed. The book is, after all, not even as long as The Fellowship of the Ring! On the other hand, the opportunity to see so much Tolkien brought to life thrills me, too!!! And if they use it to provide a linkage between The Hobbit and LOTR - fill in the gaps - that is fine, as long as they do not take too much poetic license.
And what afterwards? I know that Tolkien's family are against these movie versions, although I do not understand why, and that they have said there would not be a movie version of J.R.R.'s other tales. As far as The Silmarillion goes, that is understandable - there are many, many tales woven into that work, that one, two, or even three movies would not be able to support the stories. However, a television series, such as that used for Game of Thrones, would be hugely successful, I am sure. Having done so much work - volume after volume of posthumous publications - I fail to see why Christopher and his brethren would fail to capitalize on such a wonderful opportunity.
But, for now, I, like so many millions of others, will, with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, be content to watch The Hobbit, and partake in movie marathons of all six films - you know it is coming - and even buy the extended, extended, Middle Earth Director's Cut on blu-ray, or whatever technology has replaced it by then - because we are, and always will be, Tolkienites of the First Degree!
Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo!