J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

 Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In December The Hobbit is coming to our cinemas. The Hobbit. My favorite book of all time. My brother lent it to me when I was in elementary school. With my family we went to Croatia on our holiday in Cervar. Croatia was still a part of Yugoslavia like Slovenia was in that time and Croatia was a common holiday destination for all Slovenians. Our coastline was just too short, but Croatia on the other hand had beautiful islands and long coastline with many beaches.  I started to read the Hobbit on the beach. After first 50 pages I was not impressed. But after that the story started to develop and I could not let the book out of my hands. Instead of going snorkeling I’d rather read book. My father hardly convinced me to go snorkeling with him. In that time we were spearfishing a lot. We had a rubber powered spearfish with which we were usually spearfishing the mullets.

As soon as I went out of the water I immediately grabbed the Hobbit and continued to read it. This was the book that truly amazed me. Tolkien fantasy world of goblins, dwarfs, hobbits, elves, and other magical creatures I couldn’t resist anymore. The book was so amazing and I was so sad when I came to the end of the book.

»The end. Now what? How could it be over? Why there are not 1000 pages more so I could continue to read this book?« I immediately asked my brother if he has anymore books like that. He said »well, I have Lord of the Rings but it’s not translated in Slovene, I have it in English only.« I was 11 years old, I could not just go and started reading Lord of the Rings in English. One of the greatest books ever written in history of human kind. I was going to a club for about a year where we were learning English, but other then “my name is Uros. I am from Ljubljana” was near science fiction at that time for me. So I asked my brother “When will they translate the Hobbit?”. “I don’t know” he said. The Hobbit was translated in Slovenian language around 1985 and Lord of the Rings was translated around 1995. By that time I had already read LOTR in English. I have read Hobbit five times in my life and LOTR three times.

None of the books that I read later didn’t come even close to Hobbit or LOTR.  Tolkien magical world was unique. My brother had a lot of books by Stephen King which I read. And he also had all that green collection of Karl May’s books about Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, who were indispensable characters before I read The Hobbit. Books about cowboys and Indians were great but when Hobbit came along, Tolkien magical world had no competition it was a new dimension.

The subsequent books that I have read, such as The Da Vinci Code, Angels&Demons, Deception point, and all kinds of books that movies were based on, not to mention so popular Harry Potter were no match for The Hobbit and LOTR. As soon as any book involved wizards, elves, or other similar magical creatures, it felt to me like a cheap copy of Tolkien’s characters. Tolkien was one and the only master of fantasy world and magical creatures. The Hobbit and LOTR were his eternal monuments which will inspire many generations to come.

I have also read a few science fiction books, especially Odyssey 2001 and 2010 by Arthur C. Clark were masterpieces, but still could not match The Hobbit and LOTR. I was also impressed by the Stanley Kubrick movies made after the Odyssey novels of Arthur C. Clark.

You can imagine my immense joy when a few years ago LOTR trilogy came to our theaters. But the most I liked the extended versions of LOTR movies and today those extended versions are still my favorite movies. But no matter how advanced special effects in the movies became and offered breathtaking landscapes, action scenes with incredible special effects they still could not match the book. A world which was created by my brain when I was a child, based upon the book was much more colorful and magical, as could be seen on the big screen.

The movie itself also did not contained all the details that were hidden in the book and did not displayed all the relationships and personalities of characters so fully as Tolkien did in the book. Nevertheless the movies in general are more focused on visual effects and on the breath taking scenery rather then on dialogue and deep presentation of a character. Therefore, those of you who may not have read the book and saw only a movie could not experience all of the magic Tolkien world has to show. Do not get me wrong, LOTR trilogy movies are masterpieces but the movies are even better if you read the book before watching them on big screen. Also all the actors did a phenomenal job, but I was most impressed with Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Vigo Mortensen), Golum (Andy Serkis) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett).

And one month from now in our theaters is coming the Hobbit. Every time I’ve looked at the first official trailer of the Hobbit I got goose bumps after fifty seconds when the party started to sang. I only hope that movie will live up to my high expectations. But then again if not, I can still read the Hobbit for the sixth time.

I can hardly wait for my son to be old enough so we can sit together on the couch and watch all the extended parts of LOTR and The Hobbit…

Uros Rozac, My life story at 33: Pineal gland cyst

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