Sunday, September 29, 2013

LOTR Read-Along: Prologue: Concerning Hobbits, and Other Matters

I think the way I'll structure these posts is that I'll post my thoughts on the chapter as a whole, mention whatever particular things I feel are worth mentioning or discussing, and list off some favorite passages.  I might also think up a discussion question or two.  Then you can comment with your own thoughts on the chapter, reactions to my post, your own questions, your favorite lines, etc.

Also, I'm putting in page numbers when I quote things -- you don't have to if you don't want.  That's more for my future reference than anything.  But, just so you know, all my page references come from my copy, which is from the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston and New York, the edition that was first published in Great Britain by Harper Collins Publishers in 1994. 

Okay, enough of that.  Time for the important stuff!

Ahhh, Hobbits.  Aren't they delightful?  I love how Tolkien speaks of them as if they're real, saying they "are becoming hard to find."  Helps me slip into the fictive world so easily.

If you're reading this book for the first time, please don't get scared away by all the place names and different breeds of Hobbits listed here.  You don't need to remember them; there won't be a test or a pop quiz.  Anything that's important will get brought up again later.

I don't know about you, but my house is full of mathoms, and I love the description here of them.

WARNING!  Once again, if you haven't read this or The Hobbit, but you're watching Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies and do not want to know how that all ends, this prologue contains spoilage in the fourth section, "Of the Finding of the Ring."  Skip the first paragraph and you'll be okay.  Or skip the whole first part and begin again with "Now it is a curious fact..."

Favorite Lines:

But in the days of Bilbo, and of Frodo his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great  (p. 2).

...they were, perhaps, so unwearyingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them...  (p. 5).

...they liked to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions (p. 7).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Do you read prologues?  Forewords?  Did you read these?  If so, did you find them useful and/or enjoyable, or do you just want to get into the story already?

(Don't feel like you have to answer the discussion questions if you don't feel like it -- just comment with whatever you want to share, ask, or explain!)


  1. I think it depends on the novel for the foreward. If it's a classic, I usually read the forward, as I like the historical background. Although I did read the forward to Tony Dungy's memoir because Denzel Washington wrote it and there's no way I'd pass that up :)

    As far as prologues, I usually always read those as I consider them part of story. :)

    1. I can't remember ever regretting reading a foreword. But I don't mind spoilage usually, which they do contain sometimes. And yeah... if Denzel wrote a foreword, I would definitely read it!

      I also consider prologues and epilogues part of the story, so I always read them.

  2. If I remember I think I usually read the prologue of this one, but not always other books. . . .

  3. Eek!! How did I miss your blog up to now, even being friends with Birdie!? I'm following now and will start re-reading Rings as soon as I get a chance so I can participate. Tolkien is my shining star of literature! :D

    1. Hee. I know how you feel! I've discovered several blogs the same way.

      Happy to have you on board for the read-along! And it's nice to "meet" you :-)

  4. The Discussion questions remind me of my online college classes. lol :P Unfortunately Tolkien is not one of the authors covered in my class. Since I have just read the book not that long ago, I will not actually be reading along, but I remember well enough to discuss it in detail for all of these posts.
    I don't think I actually read the Forewords, maybe I should.
    Sorry for the late comment, I must have missed the post when you first posted it.


    1. P.S. I forgot comment about the book!

      I really liked how Tolkien provides so much exposition in his work by listing all the races and origins like it was real history. I know some people do not like his expeditionary style, but it is virtually the basis of most subsequent world building in other works.


    2. A friend of mine says that sometimes my posts don't show up in her Blogger feed right away, and I'm wondering if that happens when I created the post a while ago and save it as a draft to publish later. When I was prepping for the read-along, I made a post for each chapter ahead of time, just with the chapter title for a subject line and then the labels I figured I'd use. Did all three of these read-along posts so far not show up for you when I posted them?

      Also, you should read the forewords for these! Of course each edition probably has a different one, but the ones in my book rock. The prologue is the same for everyone, though, since that's really part of the story.

      And yes, I love how thorough Tolkien's world-building is. He spent so many years on it, and it shows.

    3. Saving the post as draft should not cause the post not to show, unless you had it set to post automatically, which rarely shows on the dashboard. In my case, I believe your post was lost on my Blogger dashboard because I was offline a while and a lot of other people posted the same day.



What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome! Posts older than 7 days are on moderation to dissuade spambots, so if your comment doesn't show up right away, don't worry -- it will once I approve it.

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)