Sunday, 9 February 2014

Worth A Second Look - The Hobbit

I first attempted The Hobbit when I was thirteen. At the time, I found it to be confusing and tedious for several reasons, and I abandoned it after just a few chapters. Firstly, there are lots of characters [12 dwarves, a hobbit and a wizard are all introduced in the first chapter alone, and  background information is also given about some of the dwarves and the hobbit's descendants] and most of these characters have very similar names [the dwarves are introduced in rhyming pairs e.g. Oin and Gloin] and are descended from people who also have similar names e.g. Thorin the dwarf is descended from Thrain the dwarf. As a young teen I had previously not encountered so many characters in one go before; I was not used to reading on such an epic scale and I found it intimidating. Secondly, even though the plot is pretty straightforward [dwarves engage a hobbit as a burgular to get back their treasure from a thieving dragon], I didn't actually fully know what was going on the entire time I was reading it, and even though the book is packed with action, I found it quite slow going. Yet, despite struggling with it myself, I can still see why it is often billed as a children's book, as it's a book that could really fire up a child's imagination if the child was only paitent enough to try and understand the book properly.

I decided to retry the book as an adult again after recently watching the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy, and I'm very glad I did. Normally I would not advocate watching the film before reading the book, but in the case of The Hobbit, I wouldn't have given it another chance if I hadn't. I have now managed to complete it  [which gave me a huge feeling of satisfaction] and this time round I really found myself enjoying the text, and I would even go so far as to count it among my favourite texts. Have you ever given a book that you originally rejected a second chance? If so, what was it? Do let me know in the comments below!