Illustrations do help the reader's imagination

A Preparation – The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

I didn’t expect to read this as soon as now. I have always been curious what is it with The Lord of the Rings but I never really got around to it because I am not a fantasy reader. Besides, I was traumatized when I was forced to watch the film adaptation of the third book some good years ago. It bored me to death that I spent 75% of the movie sleeping.

And surprise, surprise, last Christmas, I asked my office mate to gift me the whole series. Excuse me for the verb gift, but I think you know what I’m saying. The gift was pretty neat and timely because the first book of the trilogy will be our book club’s upcoming book of the month.

I asked some of my bookish friends if it would be better to read the prequel of the trilogy first. It doesn’t matter, they said. But I insist. I should read The Hobbit first.

I heard random strangers before complaining of the difficult language that Tolkien employs. I want to laugh at them now because I think the language is understandable enough. Sure, he has a penchant for the word confusticate, but that’s about it. Remember that he’s telling a story set way earlier than our popular Victorian novels.

The narrative is simple, engaging, fast, and unpretentious, which, I think, is a quality shared by most fantasy books. Take a look at this:

There was the usual dim grey light of the forest-day about him when he came to his senses. The spider lay dead beside him, and his sword-blade was stained black. Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath.

“I will give you a name,” he said to it, “and I shall call you Sting.”

Not the vocalist of The Police, mind you. Anyway, I’ve been a little fond of Bilbo Baggins. In fact, one night, after reading a huge chunk of the novel, I had a dream that had a feel of the movie Inception. Let me tell you about it.

I was on a sort of pirate ship with a number of unknown people on it. The ship was sailing through the air, through an “imaginary sea”, and then suddenly, it came to a “waterfall”, which leads to a real sea. While the ship was crashing down the sea, I realized that this will send me back to my “normal” consciousness, because the “imaginary sea” is like a “higher” place of consciousness, where time is slower and where one is supposed to be at peace.

And then I woke up, still seeing in my head that sea where we crashed and the island smacked in the middle of it. That’s more or less the dream, with a lot more details that I won’t be boring you, because my point here is that the next time I attended to my reading of The Hobbit, I got to that part where Bilbo and company escaped from the wood elves by way of the river, which led them to a lake town, not without a lot of barrel-crashing, bruising, and losing of consciousness.

That’s the best that I could do to link my dream to that chapter and to make my dream a little more significant than it actually is.

Date Started: May 20, 2012. 11:15 PM. Book #30 of 2012.